17 Current Problems of Education in Nigeria & Possible Solutions

Problems of Education in Nigeria
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Problems of Education in Nigeria – An Introduction

The current situation of Nigerian education is not encouraging, and it seems like the current problems facing education in Nigeria are too big to surmount.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund estimates that over 10 million children do not go to school in Nigeria.

These horrendous numbers don’t even include the number of uneducated adults or youths going through bad education.

In other words, the problem of education in Nigeria is colossal. 

However, to give up is to let ignorance and illiteracy triumph.

The chances of incorporating quality into the education system in Nigeria are high, and there’s a need to start playing certain cards right.

But before anything can be done, the problems facing the Nigerian educational system have to be uncovered.

This article aims to highlight the problems of education in Nigeria and their possible solutions.  

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Educational System in Nigeria – Problems and Prospects 

To be honest, the Nigerian educational system is plagued with a multitude of problems, and with every passing minute, these problems get closer to crippling the entire country.

Here are some of the Nigerian education problems and their solutions.

1. Lack of Funding

This is the canopy under which most of the problems in the Nigerian educational system lie.

In plain terms, education in Nigeria is underfunded, and the government is not doing well when it comes to funding higher education in Nigeria.

The government would allocate billions of tax payer’s funds to less important or fictional sectors, rather than finance education in the country.

The lack of funds to finance Nigerian education is the reason why teachers are underpaid, academic bodies embark on strike, there are no facilities or standard laboratories, students “learn” in terrible environments, and there is a shortage of teaching staff.

It seems as if the government does not regard Nigerian education, because if they did, they would be intentional in their efforts to upgrade it to a standard level. 

On another level, compared to Western education, Islamic education receives less funding from the government.

This remains one of the biggest problems of Islamic education in Nigeria.

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2. Corruption

Like a cankerworm, corruption eats deep into the insides of any entity, and currently, it is feeding off the quality of education in Nigeria.

It is one of the major problems of financing education in Nigeria and it takes various forms in the Nigerian educational system. 

First on the list is nepotism.

A situation where a person (student in this case) is favored over another; not on merit, but because of personal relations. 

A close second is the diversion of school funds.

It throws the system off balance, and schools are found wanting in various sectors, thereby reducing the standard of education. 

Examination Malpractice is not left out

Corruption within the system also breeds and encourages social vices such as examination malpractice.

This menace continues to lower the standards of graduates in society and it poses a big problem to the structure of the education system in Nigeria. 

Other forms of corruption within the system include;

  • Teacher absenteeism
  • Bid-rigging of textbooks and school supplies
  • Appointment of unqualified teachers, and
  • Admission of unqualified students.

Corruption births many of the problems with education in Nigeria, and something needs to be done about it. 

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3. Poor Training of Teaching Staff

Teaching is more than walking into a classroom – chalk and textbook in hand and speaking for long hours.

There’s a psychological side to teaching, and it exists so that teachers can get through to their students.

Sadly, many teachers don’t even know this.

Even if they did know, they wouldn’t know how to go about it.


Poor or zero training.

When teachers don’t know how to effectively handle their students, they go about it the wrong way, and in the process, dish out bad education. 

4. Depleting Interest and Belief in Education

A couple of years ago, getting a degree was the ticket to getting a good job and living the dream life.

Today, one might as well keep on dreaming, because the reality is that formal education is no longer enough – even if it is at the highest level.

There are millions of Nigerian graduates with great grades that have now been rendered redundant because there are no opportunities for them.

Education is no longer a ticket to success in the country, and as such the people, including the children, are losing faith and interest in it. 

This has led to the unpopular saying, ‘School na scam.”

This is also one of the problems of traditional education in Nigeria.

These days, youths only care about making money – no one wants to learn about culture, customs, or societal traditions anymore.

5. Shortage of Teaching Staff

In many Nigerian schools today, you will find a single teacher taking on about 3-5 courses, some of which they are not qualified for.

Classroom teachers are forced to become lab technicians, and some low-tier schools don’t even have teachers to take certain courses.

These unfortunate situations exist because of the shortage of teaching staff in the educational system.

This may be partially attributed to poor salaries and remuneration packages, and zero recruitment plans.

This is one of the major problems of primary education in Nigeria. 

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6. Poor School Environments

Many primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions suffer from poor infrastructure and environments that are not conducive for learning.

Sometimes, students have no choice but to sit and write on the floor, there’s also the problem of noise and environmental pollution, as well as poor learning facilities.

These are the issues many Nigerian students face daily, making them victims of bad education. 

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7. Poor Teacher Welfare (Salaries and Compensation Packages)

Teachers and workers generally give out their best when they are appreciated and being compensated properly and when due.

In Nigeria, proper and timely payment of salaries and compensation packages is a myth.

Teachers and lecturers are owed months of salaries and remunerations, which begs the question, ‘will these teachers give their best in teaching students.’

Many teachers and lecturers are unhappy about the payment structure in Nigeria, and there is almost no way these people will be happy to impact knowledge into the lives of their students. 

8. Cultism

Cultism is a social vice that is currently plaguing many Nigerian schools.

The saddest part is that it is existent in as low as the secondary school level.

Students voluntarily/involuntarily join cult groups that exist to disrupt school proceedings and society.

Cultism in Nigerian schools does nothing but impede the growth of education.

School cultists engage in violence and destroy school properties like computer labs, which becomes a problem for computer education in Nigeria.

Furthermore, cultism breeds drug addicts, thugs, criminals, and young people that have no respect for authority whatsoever.

Victims of this feisty menace waste the best parts of their lives chasing dangerously irrelevant things, and for those who finally make it out alive or in sound health, they often realize it’s too late. 

9. High Cost of Education

The legend of the Clash of Titans is a myth, and so is free education in Nigeria.

Education, even at the most basic level can be quite expensive for millions of Nigerian parents and children.

This is no surprise because the country has been quoted as the poverty capital of the world.

Many Nigerian parents cannot afford quality education in Nigeria for their kids. This is why they end up sending them to low standard schools that feed them nothing but poor education.

It is a tragic situation, but sadly, it is the reality of many Nigerians, especially in the Northern region

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw many schools switch to online classes.

Despite the simplicity of this, many students were still unable to participate due to the cost associated with online learning.

Cost remains one of the problems of distance education in Nigeria, and is still amongst the problems of online learning in Nigeria.

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10. Diminishing Standards

Due to depleting standards of education in the country, basic achievements are now seen as spectacular.

Teachers, lecturers, and students do the bare minimum and leave it that way because that is what has been done for many years now.

The requirements for admission into some Nigerian schools reduces annually, which means less qualified, interested, and motivated individuals are gaining admission.

This may also indirectly equate to the breeding of incapable graduates.

11. Outdated Curriculums and Orientation

Nigerian education has never been dynamic.

Many schools, especially universities feed students with outdated information and facts.

Discoveries in tech, agriculture, science, art, and business occur every day, but many students are oblivious to this.

Those that strive to find out about these new updates are seen as “I too knows (ITKs)” and may even get reprimanded for trying to incorporate their newly-found knowledge into their learning.

Teaching with books and curriculums dating as far as the Stone Age makes many Nigerian students only as smart as dinosaurs and Neanderthals, and that is the situation today. 

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12. Terrorism

Terrorism and insurgency are currently impeding the progress of formal education in Nigeria, especially in the Northern region.

Reports of kids being kidnapped from schools are almost as normal as the sun rising in this part of the world.

Teachers, students, and school management staff now go to school in fear, while some refuse to show up at all.

Who can blame them?

Education is fantastic, but sadly, red biros, textbooks, and chalk won’t do much against semi-automatic rifles and armored tanks. 

13. Incompetent Teaching Staff

Sometimes, inefficient and bad education stems from incompetent teachers and lecturers.

In Nigeria, we have many incompetent, inexperienced, and clueless individuals disguising as teachers and scholars in schools.

They either feed students with wrong information, fail to make them understand basic theories, or don’t teach them what they should.

There are so many reasons why incompetent individuals plague Nigerian schools, some of which include;

  • Shortage of staff
  • Corruption
  • Falsification of certificates, and
  • Inability to hire competent teachers due to lack of funding.

This problem is negatively affecting the standard of education in Nigeria because students are not being taught by the right people. 

14. Poor Parenting and Indiscipline

While it is true that parents always want what is best for their kids, some parents go about it the wrong way – especially when it comes to education.

A parent’s interest and motivation can have a massive effect on a child’s education, but some Nigerian parents show low or zero enthusiasm in their child’s education.

All they want to do is pay the fees and see good grades. 

Also, many parents support examination malpractice by buying special centers for their kids to attend and have their exams written for them.

This is gross indiscipline on the part of many Nigerian parents. 

Lastly, Nigerian parents often go overboard with scolding their kids for bad grades.

This affects kids physically and mentally, and indirectly have repercussions on their education.

Poor parenting and indiscipline are amongst the problems of early childhood education in Nigeria. 

15. Poor or Inexistent Laboratories and Facilities

This is one of the problems of technical education in Nigeria.

It is one thing to teach students theories and abstracts, but being practical about it is a different ball game.

Laboratory help put things in perspective for many students and they get to have hands-on experience on what they learn in class.

Unfortunately, many Nigerian schools cannot provide this for their students.

16. Political Interference

Politicians run the show in many Nigerian schools, especially at the tertiary level.

They determine who gets admitted, individuals who get hired, how funds are allocated, who gets promoted, and even protect their people from disciplinary action.

Sometimes, they even fund cultism in tertiary institutions and use the brainwashed students for their devious political activities.

Education is meant to be independent of politics, but that is not the case in Nigeria.

Yes, politicians run Nigerian tertiary institutions and at this rate, they might just run it into the ground. 

17. Religious and Cultural Extremism

Religion and culture are highly revered in Nigeria, but some sects take it a little bit too far.

Extremism is one of the problems of girl child education in Nigeria, as some cultural and religious sects believe that the girl child exists solely for marriage, giving birth, and serving a husband.

It is not only a heinous belief but also an inhumane one.

This is also an indirect problem of women education in Nigeria.

Extremism towards education has led to the rise of insurgency and terrorism in the country, with certain groups making ridiculous demands like the scraping of formal education in Nigeria.

Extremism is also one of the problems of non-formal education in Nigeria. 

Ironically, the lack of education in Nigeria is the reason why religious and cultural extremism is threatening the system. 

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Some Other Problems of Nigerian Education are:

  1. Neglect of special education
  2. Zero plans and encouragement for low-achievers in class
  3. Using conventional education as the standard for measuring intelligence
  4. Excessive numbers of students in classrooms
  5. Poor policy implementation in Nigeria

These are only a few of the factors affecting education in Nigeria. There could be more. 

Solutions to Problems of Education in Nigeria.

Good Governance

Any government that neglects the educational sector of its society is a bad one and that is what the current government, and many governments before it are.

Good governance will transform the educational sector by allocating enough funds, fighting terrorism against school children, building a standard school environment and laboratories, hiring competent teachers, and so on.

A good government would also tackle the problems of free education in Nigeria, and make education free.

Most of the problems of secondary education in Nigerian originate from bad governance, and if this is taken care of, Nigerian education will begin to transform positively. 

Adequate Training of Teachers

Teachers do the teaching, but sometimes, they also need to be taught certain things for them to be good at what they do.

This will improve the standard of education in Nigeria, as teachers will be learning how best to impart the lives of their students.

This will go a long way in tackling the problems of education in Nigeria too.

Proper and Timely Payment of Wages

Nothing motivates Nigerians to do their jobs optimally more than due payment for services rendered.

Incentives may also be added to further encourage teachers.

This will also attract qualified teachers to many schools and drive a passion to study to become a teacher.

The reason why many students don’t want to become teachers is because of the poor salaries and bonus packages of their teachers.

If this is corrected, the problems of universal primary education in Nigeria will become a thing of the past and the Nigerian educational system is bound to soar high. 

Curriculum Development

Curriculum development in Nigeria is vital at this point.

These ancient curriculums are only dragging Nigerian students into the past, while their mates around the world are already in the future. 

Investing in Special Education

Ability lies in disability.

Special individuals also deserve a shot at quality education, and the government and non-governmental organizations should set up programs to help them.

This will drastically reduce the number of beggars on the streets of Nigeria. 

Enlightenment and Empowerment

It almost feels like a total cultural, religious, and societal format is required to fight the problems of women’s education in Nigeria.

Since that is not possible, the next form of action is to enlighten the populace about the power of women in society.

Spread the word that women are not only vessels for children.

Also enlighten girls and women in the society, especially in the Northern region about the importance of education.

Empower them by sending them to proper schools where they can go through the education process and become better individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Problems of Education in Nigeria

What are the Problems of Education in Nigeria?

The problems of education in Nigeria include;

  • Lack of funding
  • Bad governance
  • Religious and cultural extremism
  • Neglect of special education
  • Terrorism
  • Incompetent teaching staff
  • Poor infrastructure and laboratories
  • Lack of training for teachers
  • Political interference
  • Cost of education
  • Poor parenting and indiscipline
  • Cultism
  • Depleting interest and belief in education
  • Shortage of teaching staff
  • Diminishing standards
  • Lack of proper salaries and compensation packages for teaching staff
  • Outdated curriculums and orientation

What are the Problems of Citizenship Education in Nigeria?

Non-inclusion into the curriculum of Nigerian universities is one of the major problems of citizenship education in Nigeria.

This is as a result of the lack of broad-based education in Nigerian universities. 

What are the Problems of Policy Implementation of Education in Nigeria?

Educational policies set the tone and quality of education in any country.

Think of these policies as practical manuals that highlight how education should be.

They map out the goals, plans, vision, objectives, and actions for the educational system.

Unfortunately, educational policy implementation is nothing to write home about in Nigeria, and it is one of the leading causes of the sad state of education in the country.

Here are some of the reasons for poor educational policy implementation in Nigeria:

  1. Indiscipline
  2. Inadequate policies
  3. Poor leadership
  4. Inadequate supervision
  5. Corruption
  6. Religious and cultural barriers
  7. Narcissism
  8. Inadequate consultation 

If the problems of educational planning in Nigeria can be tackled, we become closer to incorporating quality education into Nigeria. 

How Can We Solve the Problem of Education in Nigeria?

Solving the problem of education in Nigeria will not be a stroll in the park, but it is not impossible.

Some of the ways we can solve the problem of education in Nigeria include:

  1. Allocation of proper funding for education
  2. Proper welfare of teaching staff (increase in salaries, due payment, etc.)
  3. Good governance
  4. Updating of obsolete curriculums
  5. Employment of qualified and professional teachers
  6. Exclusion of politics from the educational sector
  7. Adequate training of teachers
  8. Proper appreciation and celebration of academic excellence

Conclusion on the Problems of Education in Nigeria.

The current problem of education in Nigeria is one of the major project topics on education that needs urgent attention.

The great black revolutionary, Malcolm X said “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

His words describe education as a powerful tool for the future, but sadly, millions of Nigerians suffer and will suffer from lack of it. 

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