On Wednesday, August 28, 2018, the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa, CSEA, organized a round-table discussion within the framework of Southern Voice’s study on the State of the SDGs (SVSS). The theme of the workshop was Educational Performance in Nigeria: Dimensions, Drivers and Implications for SDGs, and Demand for Education and Systems Change in Nigeria. The meeting was held at the Ushafa Hall of Rockview Royale Hotel, Abuja Nigeria.
The specific objectives of the meeting was to:
- Identify the dimension of exclusion in quality education outcomes;
- Examine the key drivers of exclusion in quality education outcomes;
- Evaluate the state of key means on implementation in achieving quality education and to;
- Provide policymakers with insight on excluded groups that require more attention in the educational sector.
CSEA’s Executive Director, Dr. Chukwuka Onyekwena who welcomed participants to the meeting explained that the meeting was based on an on-going research project supported by SVSS. He introduced the participants to the central theme of the workshop and noted that the meeting would highlight more details on Nigeria’s Education System.
Dr. Adedeji Adeniran, Senior Research Fellow, CSEA, gave the first presentation on ‘Quality Education in Nigeria: Who are the excluded and why? Dr. Adedeji noted that Nigeria recorded an impressive performance under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Under the MDGs, Nigeria successfully expanded access to education with a gross enrolment rate of over 80%. Gender gap significantly reduced across regions, wealth level and place of residence. In the South- East, South-South and South- West, females have become the advantaged group with enrolment surpassing that of the males. The Survival rate—which measures the percentage of a cohort of students enrolled in the first grade of a given level or cycle of education in a given school year who are expected to reach a given grade, regardless of repetition—also significantly increased under the MDGs.
However, while expansion of access of education has increased over the years, quality of education is declining. For instance, youth literacy rate stood at 56%, a continuation of the downward spiral from 71.2% in 1991 to 69% in 2003 to 66.4% in 2008 and 56% in 2017.
Preliminary Evidence on Declining Quality Education
Quality Education by Region: The North-Central have the lowest quality of education, followed by the North-East and the South-South. These regions are below the National Mean of 0.57 percent. The South-East have the highest access to quality education, with the South- West and North- West following closely behind.
Quality Education by Household Wealth and Region: Across the regions, the richest households have greater access to quality education being above the National Mean of 0.57 percent. Among the poorest households, the South- South and the South- West have the worst outcomes.
Dr. Adedeji also looked at the access to quality education by people in urban states and also across gender lines.
Dr. Grace Onubedo, Senior Research Fellow, CSEA gave the second presentation on ‘Understanding Synergies, Trade offs and Global Systemic Issues in Meeting SDG4 in Nigeria’. The presentation was focused on defining the interconnectivity and relationship the SDG has with the other 17 SDGs.
Education and Poverty Reduction: study by Global Report revealed that there would be a 12% reduction in poverty if every child left school with basic reading skills. Also, a UNICEF study revealed that the years of schooling has an impact on education. For instance, an extra year of schooling increases the income of individuals by 10% and the increases the income of women by 20%. Studies have further revealed that a child has a 27% chance of being employed if the mother of such child is educated.
Education and Hunger: Studies revealed that the population of children with stunted growth would reduce by 1. 7 million if all women completed primary education, and 12.2 million if all women completed primary education.
Dr. Onubedo also looked at the impact of Education on health, equality and justice, peace, sustainable development, sustainable growth, environment and partnerships.
Some Workshop Suggestions and Recommendations
- The purpose of education has to be defined in Nigeria by Government and stakeholders in order to gain the necessary interest and investment required for the achievement of SDG4.
- Government as well as development partners need to approach education as an investment. Education offers the highest value for the least input although it usually takes time.
- Education may need to be incentivized in order to reduce brain-drain and retain the best of minds in the country.
- Education for children with special needs like altruism need to be prioritized on the education agenda for inclusive quality education. There is a plethora of information online on education for children with special needs which can be accessed and harnessed for inclusive quality education.
- Areas of the current education system such as the learning assessment system, the teacher’s management system and the school-based management committees (SBMCs) need to be measured and strengthened.
- In improving quality of education, infrastructure has to be provided in order to meet up with the expansion of access.