In reality, Nigeria is not ready to tackle its educational quagmire because education can never survive only from students’ revenue.
Tertiary Schools and government must think out of the box, tap some resources, get money for their schools and for the government.
What Nigerian education will be if governments and schools largely depend on students’ tuition fee, JAMB fee, admission fee, Post JAMB fee and so on? One can ask, why poor students all the time?
The act of collecting students’ money for governments to offer what they don’t have is illegal constitutionally. This is why we have Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and others that protect the right of consumers, but ridiculously, JAMB has turned to be a lucrative venture of generating innocent children’s money for the name of revenue while almost half of students that sit for JAMB in every year cannot get admission in Nigerian schools. It doesn’t make sense for someone to pay for what he cannot get, and this kind of system will never solve Nigerian schools’ problems, but, rather, will continue to add salt to an injury.
As a case study, schools at abroad are meant to generate revenues for government but in Nigeria, schools become burden on government.
At this time, schools need to think out of the box and put hands on deck for the right things to be done and stop pointing accusing fingers to each other. We must agree that the governments have the largest share of the blame. Yes, because they are in-charge and they are the sponsors of the schools, but failed to make the schools to do the right thing. Though, it made me happy that President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of Education directed Nigerian tertiary schools to design ways for revenue generation to satisfy their needs. Indeed, this is the last and the best option for Nigerian schools quigmare but not at the discrepancy of the schools because the government as a stakeholder must be with the schools to get it done in the right way.
Privatization of Nigerian schools is not the answer to our falling education. If government could task schools on commercialization; that can solve educational problems and will be the only system that will halt academic staff strikes.
Generating revenue for schools does not means universities should establish diploma programs for revenue. Though, one time, I heard that such programs will be cancelled. Surely, it is the right thing to be done. However, Polytechnics’ degree programs should also be cancelled and let everything be at its right position.
“We must think out of the box to reposition Nigerian schools” as Professor Idris M. Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education emphasized. From him, I had seen good examples on how Nigerian schools could get out of the woods and even solemly fund themselves.
Kaduna Polytechnic, under professor Idris M. Bugaje targeted 2 billion Naira internal revenue in 2020 from its commercialized departments and products, and we have seen giant strides in the institution.
To generate revenues for Nigerian schools, each department should commercialized its potentials for consumers because it is a big shame on Nigeria schools to employ the service of paperless air-conditioner (A.C) engineer to fix their A.Cs. This is laughable. But, this is what is exactly happening in almost all Nigerian tertiary schools.
It is really pathetic to know that some Agricultural departments in Nigerian schools never plant anything on their farms and don’t engage in any research to help farmers. Like, what happens in the developed countries, government and the citizens put their trust and hope on their schools when they are faced with problems. To pacify food crises in Nigeria; government should indulge schools and task them for the way out. But it seems, governments of Nigeria forget that they have researchers in schools. The Anchor-Browers programs for farming development only targeted farmers directly and did not involve schools and students. This is a good example of government’s weaker side.
Another neglect from the side of government is during contract work in schools, all the workers do come from outside, when students of Building Engineering department can be used to partake in the work as their practicals, with that they can generate revenue for the Department. That’s what happens in developed countries.
However, when it comes to welding and fabrication, electric wiring and so on students can get money from such works but instead our schools and government abandon all these opportunities to people who don’t have any paper qualitifcation, morever, at times the school and the government trust the paperless workers more than the students. And, because of this doubt on Nigerian students, Nigerian schools and education continue to fall a part. I could remember, during Covid 19 pandemic, Kaduna Polytechnic produced automatic-mechanized hand washing machine and hand sanitizers but there was no patronage from the government. Meanwhile, it is for this reason Nigeria is faced with out-of-school children challenges. This made many parents believed that Nigerian schools produce paper students not “skills” oriented. For this reason, parents that want their children to be successful marketers are taken to markets for the practical knowledge.
As Professor Idris M. Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) said, skill is the new white color job and the only poverty alleviation opportunity, I also believe that skill is the only solution to Nigerian educational problems.
Why auto-machanic departments in Nigerian schools will not have standard service workshops for revenue and students’ practicals? And when we have the Vice Chancellor’s cars and top government officers patronizing the workshops, who will not do? But, surprisingly, things are not done that way.
Technological Centres in Nigerian schools are not meant for exhibition but for productivity, all Nigerian universities should be saddled with the responsibility of designing and producing technological products that the country will benefit from. We should forget about producing cars and airplanes (just for propaganda) for now and focus on the things that we can do perfectly to resuscitate our economy. A good example is the Tricycle machine (Keke Napep) that is imported from India, production of the body and other parts I think can be easy for Nigeria. This is just one example but we can do more if we have the opportunities.
But, if churches and mosques are now commercializing their spaces by establishing schools and businesses, why Nigeria governments will not help their schools to do same? And if lecturers can go for strike because of funding, why governments cannot commercialize schools for both benefits? Commercialization is the only system that will solve all the problems facing Nigerian education, and Nigeria as under-developing nation cannot win if it privatized its schools. Remember, poverty and ignorance are still eating deep into the country’s flesh. There are people who still perceive that Western Education is abominable and for this, Nigerian governments should have a second thought about privatization.
To generate revenues for government and schools, and to bring an end to all the blames of falling educational standards, each department of a school should be saddled with a responsibility to commercialize its program, and government in its part should fund, provide logistics and monitor the programs and any department that fail should be held responsible for its failure. May be, if we decided to be patriotic for once, we can turn a new leaf for Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the system will protect our images from taunts of people that look at Nigerian educationists as unproductive. Because, in China for example, primary pupils produce what they learnt in classes, then, why Nigeria cannot borrow that system to improve its economy and education?
Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim Goronyo is a lecturer of Mass Communication Department, Kaduna Polytechnic and can be reached via [email protected]