ducation in Nigeria has indeed come a long way. Years ago, one could boast of Federal Government colleges, Military schools and some notable private schools that were the pride of the nation and a “must go” by many, but today the field of education is diverse. The country has indeed moved forward in terms of the choice of schools available. You don’t have to lose hope if your child does not make the “cut off’ mark for that Federal school! They can write other “tough” exams and attend prestigious schools in the country.
New schools are springing up everywhere because there is a loss of confidence in what the public sector has to offer. The evolution of private schooling at all levels of education has proved that people are more enlightened. Parents are willing to give quality education to their wards. There is a high value placed on intellectual achievements and it is a sign of development. Private individuals and organisations have trained and become exposed to the high standards of education available in other countries and have reproduced such in Nigeria. One is sure of good value for the money invested in children’s education. “Education cost money, but then so does ignorance.” (Claus Moser)
The education of children should be one of the major priorities of any nation. The development of private schools in Nigeria which are comparable to their Western counterparts is truly a remarkable development. And it attests to the fact that the age of ignorance and academic decadence is no longer acceptable. Over time, funding and investments have led to the establishment of private primary and secondary schools all over the nation. As the public schools get more funding and attention, they don’t have to look too far for a model to “copy” because the private schools have set a benchmark which can be followed.
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” (G.K Chesterton). In the wake of the excellent education being offered in most private schools in Nigeria, parents are no longer sending their kids abroad for primary and secondary school education. In fact, the reverse is the case; parents are bringing their wards back home for their formative years, especially primary and secondary school education. It is amazing that when the children get into the Nigerian system of education, some of them are playing “catch up” because the academic standard is high. The discipline is different compared to what they are used to abroad. And a sense of cultural integration is also part of the combo!
“Education is more than a luxury; it is a responsibility that society owes to itself.”(Robin Cook)
In the midst of the challenges of our nation, it is important to note that academic excellence is thriving. Educators have seen the need to seek expert training and funding to change the level of what is taught in schools. Gone are the days when everything was left for the Government to do. Citizens have realized that, “Upon the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends.” (Benjamin Disraeli). So seeking affordable private education has become the alternative way to ensure that children get quality learning in their early years. A solid academic foundation should not be compromised for our children.
In conclusion, as much as private schools are setting a new trend for academic standards in the nation, it would be great if the average Nigerian child can get a “private style” education in a public school. There should be equality and uniformity in the level and standard of education in the nation so that the gap between the rich and the poor is bridged. We can’t measure our academic success based entirely on what is happening in the private schools. The children in these schools are the “minority.” It is the pride of a nation to say that it has fulfilled its role in providing quality education for its citizens.....basic amenities, school supplies and resources, good salary and training for teachers, and upgrading and monitoring of the curriculum. As the nation continues to develop, we hope that more funding would be available to cater for the education of the masses, (the majority) because, “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youths,” (Erasmus).