Nelson Mandela gave a popular quote to education when he asserts that; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. This assertion, I believe evolved from his discovery of the numerous benefits of education; which and also points to the reason why Education is not solving problems in Nigeria.
When people are enlightened, they see things positively different. What was previously a challenge becomes a project in which they can easily proffer a solution. A major significance of an enlightened people is the rapid development (human and infrastructure) that takes place within the educated community. Solving problems is a lot easier for an educated society compares to a less educated society.
But what happens when members of a given society are “educated” and still their problems abound in a great multitude? One such society is the Nigerian country with lots of educated individuals who have had both formal and informal education yet her problems remain unsolved. what could be the reason why education is not solving problems in Nigeria?
A very quick answer is the weak institutional frameworks in the country. Every society is built on structures and if these structures are not rightly established with positive growth-oriented goals it cannot produce a healthy outcome for the societal good. Institutional frameworks are the preconditions for the successful implementation of policies and ideologies.
Firstly, education in Nigeria has been hijacked by the uneducated and operated on behalf of the educated. If education is a weapon as described by Nelson Mandela, then a weapon works better under the hands of skilled individuals. A pen would not fulfill its purpose on a paper if used by a toddler. So also, a car would never fulfill its manufacturer’s design is driven by an animal.
Unfortunately, education in Nigeria has been operated by those who aren’t educated nor understand the need for education; and as such education is not solving problems in Nigeria.
Leadership serves as the eye of the people. They occupy sensitive positions that determine the outcome of the society; hence it ought to be undertaken and administered by enlightened and result-driven individuals whose foundations have been dug in education.
Secondly, education in Nigeria is not solving problems because it has not been prioritized and this Z-list position is also a result of weak institutions.
How often has the Nigerian society celebrated the dividends of education, whether in science or commerce? How often have the government accepted ideas from seasoned scholars from researches regarding her economic and political issues in the country?
The country can boast about free education for its citizens but how many of the citizens access this free education and to what level? How many educated specialists have been appointed to positions where their seasoned ideas are harvested and utilized to transform a ministry or a sector of society? The question list is endless.
Over the last 20 years of Nigeria’s democracy, we have seen and can attest that education has not solved the Nigerian problem because it has never been prioritized in society. Nigeria society is one that celebrates mediocrity and gives credit to incompetence and corruption by trading blames. While some parts of the country place acute value on education, some other parts perceive education as inconsequential. This parallel perception towards education in Nigeria diminishes the efficacy of education towards problem-solving.
It is a platitude to state that because education has not been prioritized in Nigeria, the problems plaguing the country has as well remained unsolved. On the other hand, one can quickly insert that Education is not all about the paper and pen, education is more of sharing knowledge. This is true, however, is a mixed society like Nigeria, no informal education is the ultimate or a standard. This is because due to the complexities of the Nigerian society, informal knowledge or education is majorly a product of culture, superstition, and bias belief systems that every region of the country holds dear to.
Therefore, if the Nigerian society will solve the problems of terrorism, superstition, unemployment, corruption, and overpopulation then an independent and practical academic knowledge formed out of research must be accepted, communicated and disseminated. It is only a genuine formal education that remains a potent tool for solving the problems in Nigeria.