Out of all regions of the world, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of education exclusion. In Sub-Saharan Africa, over one-fifth of children between ages 6 and 11 are out of school, and the entire populace have literacy rates far-below the global average of 86% -- according to the 2018 UIS education data. While almost 60% of youths in the region between the ages of about 15 and 17 are not in school, recent research shows that those in schools may not even be learning well!
A recent research conducted by three researchers at the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) suggest that Nigeria like most developing countries today might be experiencing what United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) refers to as a Learning Crisis. How? The massive expansion in schooling across these regions in recent years has not been fully successful in improving the quality of education received by children. Using Nigeria as a case study, this research provides proof to support this claim, by critically analyzing existing learning indicators regularly used to track the quality of education in the country.
Below are some important value addition and findings from the study:
1. Existing education indicators in Nigeria does not fully assess the quality of education in the country. However, through the use of existing surveys, these researchers have developed a new learning indicator that seem to provide a more accurate assessment of the quality of education received by students.
With the new education indicator carefully streamlined to assess students' literacy (ability to read and write) and numeracy (ability to comprehend simple numerical concepts) competencies in reference to their curriculum, these researchers provide a clearer picture of the quality of education in the country.
2. Results from this new education indicator shows that students perform better at numeracy than literacy, as only 17% of pupils in the sample met the literacy competency, while an improved performance was seen in numeracy with 31% pass rate.
3. Based on the outcomes from the new indicator, there seems to be an ongoing learning crisis within Nigeria’s educational system, as majority of students do not possess the necessary proficiency required for them to thrive at their respective grade levels. As these students progress to higher levels, the learning gap expands further, which only compounds the learning crisis.
With this research providing evidence to show the presence of learning crisis in the country’s educational system, there is a need for the Nigerian government to reassess the quality of education provided in the country, and map out a comprehensive intervention scheme which would not just address this growing problem, but also ensure full sustainability of quality education for future generation. Particularly, efforts to improve school infrastructure, teacher training, and ensure more parental involvement is critical to the resolving the learning crisis.
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[Researchers: Adedeji Adeniran, Joseph Ishaku, Lateef Olawale Akannia]
Author Credit: Ima-Abasi Joseph Pius