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Saturday, April 13, 2024

An Idle Mind Is a Devil’s Workshop: the Sorry State of Nigerian Public Primary Schools

International agencies are to support Nigeria in re-establishing its school system to curb poverty and crime. After all, with human migration, this will reduce risks on the global scale too.

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Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga is a graduate of Mass Communication and aspiring investigative journalist.

NIGERIA: Secondary and primary schools in virtually every state in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are in disgraceful states as their buildings are in shambles and appear to be in disarray. While proper and professional teachers who can teach and speak properly are one of the problems, the most crucial problem is the lack of infrastructure that can support students and teachers. This is largely reflected in the caliber of graduates and growing poverty.

The continued neglect of Nigeria’s basic education system shows that the country has lost its long-term glory for pursuing student excellence. As all students need an affordable school that is conducive to better learning and development, it is more than sad to see schools as run down and neglected as Suleiman Barau Technical School in Suleja, Niger state.

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Nigerian State Schools

Some Nigerian schools have been the way they are for about half a decade and no authority has taken responsibility for repositioning their status taking into account the importance of education in people’s lives. It is very sad and unfortunate that most are not even suitable for animals, let alone humans.

The careless attitude of government officials contributes to scorching degeneration, perpetual cleansing, and massive looting. Acceptance of failure leads to civic unrest and will eventually end in mass disobedience as under the current state the safety risk is also closing schools.

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Underlying issues

There are many factors that contribute to the overall decay of Nigerian school system such as:

  1. Some schools are now used for internally displaced persons (IDPs), people who are expelled from their ancestral homes for reasons of insecurity.
  2. In some schools, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues that were supposed to be used for renovations are now used to pay for volunteer teachers, as the schools also lack adequate manpower.
  3. Students who indulge in cultism at school have also contributed to the school problem in the country.
  4. Lack of furniture such as chairs and tables, lack of residential facilities to support students in need of bedding, lack of laboratories for scientific and other studies, and all the social amenities of standard best practices.
  5. Students participate in the formation of peer groups to oppress others along with the teachers they target.

Official reports

UNICEF reported that around 10.5 million of the country’s children between the ages of 5 and 14 do not attend school. Only 61 percent of children ages 6 to 11 regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children ages 36 to 59 months receive early childhood education.

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Nigerian police reported that 98 percent of the 200 suspected cultists arrested in Lagos state last year were young people between the ages of 17 and 35. This is a clear manifestation that cult activities are no longer only in our higher institutions, but have also migrated to upper secondary and secondary schools.


School absenteeism fuels social vices and social difficulties. It will also give young people time to form gangs and get into organized crime and land disputes.

To stop this, the government will have to reallocate resources in education and parents must exercise continued support to help rebuild the educational standard that is already in decline.

International agencies are also invited to support Nigeria in re-establishing its school system to curb poverty and crime. After all, with human migration, this will reduce risks on the global scale too.


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