April 20, 2020

Nigeria Education in Focus (Issue 5)

According to UNESCO, about 35.9 million primary and secondary school learners are currently out-of-school as a result of the school closures. For primary schools, this number totals approximately 25.6 million students, of which about 87 percent (23.5 million) are students enrolled in public schools. The numbers are just as stark for secondary school learners. Of the roughly 10.3 million secondary school students who are out-of-school as a result of the closures, approximately 81 percent (8.4 million) of them are public school students.
In Nigeria, school opportunity is correlated to income level, and public schools differ from private schools in the populations they serve. While private schools serve learners from higher socio-economic backgrounds who are willing and able to pay more to access the better resources offered by private schools, public schools which are usually free, comprise students from lower socio-economic households and low-income areas. In instances where distance learning opportunities are available, uptake will be low from the students in the public school’s category, as a result of poor infrastructure such as no electricity, or poor/no internet connectivity, etc.
Opportunities to learn within the homes are also limited, given that a parent’s ability to provide education support to their children will be shaped by their own level of educational attainment, general literacy level, and other commitments. Given the significant relationship between educational attainment and income level, and the correlation between parentals income level and school choice, we can infer that the literacy level of parents in public schools in Nigeria might be lower than their private school counterparts. In instances where the parents are educated, investing the time in training their children during this time might be a luxury.
For Nigeria, the reality is simple – while the school closures are necessary to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus until the ban on movement is lifted and schools are reopened, the majority of students will not be learning.

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