Moulding Nigeria's Education with Your Vote

Published Dec 26, 2018
Image Credit: Teacher Head

With the upcoming General Elections in Nigeria, which will be held on 16 February 2019, it is time to think about how our own behaviour regarding the election can mould the education system in the country. Election Day is far more important than most want to admit. This day is the day when a citizen’s right to vote has a say in shaping the whole system. The right to vote isn’t just a right, it is both an obligation and a privilege. It is the most powerful tool in democratic system which shouldn’t be neglected because what is chosen now, will lead to either positive or negative changes in the future. And the consequences will not only affect the ones who caused them but also the children who still aren’t granted the right to vote, yet will need to follow the order, which is just one more reason for a responsible and reasonable voting.

Whether we like it or not, the leading government has an enormous effect on children in schools. The interrelationship between politics and education is an everlasting bond. The government sets ideologies which are then spread by its policies, very often using education system and schools as a powerful tool. This is inevitable because no education system can exist isolated from its political environment. One of the ways the government achieves this is by shaping the teaching program. Spreading political ideologies is a common case in the past, present and will also be in the future; it is only the question of how much pressure does the government put on spreading its political theories. The question that is even more important in this case is what do adults allow their children to learn and accept. Moulding the education program isn’t necessarily primarily linked to political manipulation; it is actually a very important task a new government has on its agenda. Because every country faces different economic, social and cultural conditions, takes different place on the development scale and recognizes different things as community’s needs.

Every country should tailor its education system regarding its own local community’s issues and conditions. Just like in any other country, when tailoring the Nigerian school system and program, everything from development level, diverse cultures to existing languages must be taken into consideration. Trends in education shouldn’t be just blindly followed, copied and thoughtlessly implemented from one system to another, without remoulding it to fit the new environment; it is a government’s task to recognize these needs and answer to them with a proper school program. Political leaders often set other priorities when it comes to funding from the government’s budget, while schools constantly lack financial support. This decision affects schools, its staff and students in every possible way. Whether providing students with adequate school supplies, school furniture or ensuring safe classrooms, it all comes to the decision whether the government wants to invest or close eyes to schools’ needs; and not enabling children a decent learning environment mustn’t be tolerated. Even the most motivated and competent teachers cannot easily fulfil learning goals with children without politicians recognizing their work.

Financially supporting the teachers and acknowledging their efforts is also a great matter because teachers are an essential element of education. With choosing competent teachers for the job and giving them opportunities to develop themselves as professionals during teacher training and workshops, government directly contributes to the improvement of the general education standard in Nigeria. Both school programs and teachers, materials and facilities, can provide the students a creative, motivating and progressive path to gaining knowledge in schools. Sometimes even the slightest change in the classroom can motivate children and awake their interests. Whether this change happens or not is actually your decision to make as a voting citizen.

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Ana Dimitrov

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