The Factors Responsible for Poor Primary Education in Nigeria

When discussing education in Nigeria, some areas are not importantly untouchable as they are essential parts, if not the crux of the matter, especially considering their impact on the origin of the subject or on the party who are at the receiving end of it. Such area as what is called the primary education is more than a part of the journey of education as it forms the foundation of the excellence of national progress. It is in fact the future. However, there are factors responsible for poor primary education in Nigeria and why it seems unredeemable.

History of Primary Education in the World

There is no way these factors can be identified without first digging deeply into the history of this core. So, the historical foundations of primary education and its attending effects on the learning trajectory of a child or individual can be understood by examining its evolution and impact over time. First it can be traced to Mesopotamia and Egypt where early forms of education focused on teaching writing, mathematics, and religious texts to elite children. Then, formal education systems began to develop, with Greece emphasizing philosophy, arts, and sciences, and Rome focusing on rhetoric, law, and citizenship.

During the medieval period, monastic and cathedral schools in Europe, education was often provided by the Church where schools taught basic literacy and religious studies. For instance, the Islamic world saw the establishment of madrasas, which taught a range of subjects, including the Quran, sciences, and mathematics. Down to the renaissance and enlightenment, this period also saw a revival of classical learning and the establishment of humanist schools, while the Enlightenment, on the other hand, emphasized reason, scientific or technological inquiry, and education for broader societal participation.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the need for a literate and numerate workforce grew and public schooling systems began to develop, with many countries instituting compulsory primary education laws in the 19th century and then in the 20th Century to this present time, universal primary education became a global goal, with organizations like UNESCO advocating for education as a fundamental human right for everyone across any geographical boundaries without discrimination. Thus, innovations in pedagogical methods and educational technology have continued to evolve the primary education landscape.

Coming to Africa, Methodist missionaries launched the first primary school in Nigeria in 1843. Fortunately, they implemented formal schooling in Nigeria. A few years later, in 1854, several Christian missionaries established CMS Grammar School in Lagos, which became Nigeria’s first secondary school.

Possible Effects of Primary Education on a Child’s Learning Trajectory

The historical development of primary education has laid the groundwork for its crucial role in shaping the learning trajectories of individuals. By providing the essential skills and knowledge needed for further education and personal development, primary education significantly influences a person’s lifelong learning and socio-economic outcomes.

  • Foundation for Future Learning

Early education establishes the fundamental skills necessary for all subsequent learning. Children who receive quality primary education are better prepared for secondary education and beyond.

  • Cognitive and Intellectual Development

Primary education stimulates intellectual growth by exposing children to a variety of subjects and teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This early cognitive development is crucial for academic success.

  • Behavioral and Social Skills

Structured schooling helps children develop essential social and behavioral skills, such as discipline, cooperation, and communication. These skills are important for personal and professional success later in life.

  • Economic and Social Mobility

Access to primary education can significantly impact a child’s socio-economic future. Educated individuals are more likely to secure better employment opportunities and contribute positively to the economy.

  • Health and Well-being

Education is linked to better health outcomes. Educated individuals are more likely to make informed health choices and access healthcare services.

  • Lifelong Learning and Adaptability

Early education instills a love for learning and the ability to adapt to new information and skills throughout life. This adaptability is crucial in a rapidly changing world.

  • Civic Engagement and Citizenship

Education fosters a sense of civic responsibility and encourages active participation in society. Educated individuals are more likely to engage in civic activities and contribute to democratic processes.

What To Understand About Primary Education

Primary education, also known as elementary education, is the initial stage of formal education that occurs during childhood. It typically covers the first six to eight years of a child’s schooling and is designed to provide foundational knowledge and skills, which are enhanced through its efforts to:

  • Teach children to read, write, and perform basic arithmetic operations.
  • Provide a broad understanding of various subjects, including science, social studies, and arts.
  • Develop social interaction skills, including communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution.
  • Encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative thinking.
  • Generally serve children aged 5 to 12 years, though the specific age range can vary by country, usually consisting of grades 1 through 6 or 8, depending on the educational system.

Respectively speaking of curriculum and the several academic methods employed in this stage or phase of development, it is said that the core subjects often taken include language arts which are basically reading, writing, other arts of language, mathematics, science, social studies, and sometimes additional subjects like arts, physical education, and moral education. While a mix of direct instruction, hands-on activities, group work, and individual study comprise the common activities in its learning methods.

The Importance of Primary Education

The reality is that primary education is a critical and important phase in the development of any child from any part of the world. This means the provision of it is like laying the groundwork for lifelong learning and personal growth to the innocent child. There is no argument against the fact that primary education plays a crucial role in shaping future educational opportunities and outcomes.

  • It is preparation for a child’s future learning while it establishes the essential skills and knowledge needed for higher levels of education and other corporations thus making them socially responsible.
  • It also promotes equity and inclusion, in that it aims to provide equal educational opportunities for all children, regardless of background or socio-economic status.
  • Another very good story about primary education is that it molds personal and social development by helping children develop a sense of self, build relationships, and understand societal norms and values.

In a global context, there is no doubt that it fosters these couple of benefits as highlighted below:

  • It establishes the universal right of a child to education, that is, it explains why that is recognized as a fundamental human right under international agreements such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • It also strengthens the sustainable development goal which is included as a target in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4) to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

Reasons for Primary Education

As said and emphasized earlier in this context and content, the empowerment of the primary education is essential for the holistic development of children, even as it plays a pivotal role in shaping the futures of children, the young ones that are probably wasting in the street or in other corners of the world. It also shapes the future of their various societies. The primary school education is critical for children for many motives:

The Solidification of the Foundation for Learning: It establishes the basic literacy and numeracy skills necessary for future learning. Without a strong foundation in reading, writing, and arithmetic, students may struggle in more advanced studies.

The Facilitation of the Child’s Cognitive Development: Primary education supports the cognitive development of children, enhancing their ability to think critically, solve problems, and understand complex concepts as they grow.

The Act of Equipping Children with Social Skills: Schools provide a structured environment where children learn to interact with peers and adults, helping them develop important social skills such as cooperation, communication, and empathy.

The Development of Their Emotional Growth: It fosters emotional maturity by teaching children how to manage their emotions, build self-esteem, and develop resilience through various activities and interactions.

Instilling Moral and Ethical Education into Children: Primary education often includes lessons on ethics, values, and social responsibilities, helping children develop a sense of right and wrong and encouraging good citizenship.

The Inculcation of Knowledge About Personal Health, Hygiene, and Nutrition: Schools often provide health education and nutritious meals, which are crucial for the physical development of children and can improve their overall well-being and academic performance.

The Provision of Adequate Economic Benefits: A well-educated population contributes to the economic growth of a society. Educated individuals are more likely to secure better jobs, contribute to economic productivity, and break the cycle of poverty.

The Creation of Equality and Inclusive Education: Primary education promotes social equity by providing all children, regardless of background, with the opportunity to learn and succeed. This can help reduce social disparities and promote inclusive development.

The Extension of a Lifelong Learning: It instills a love for learning and curiosity, encouraging children to pursue further education and lifelong learning opportunities.

The Promotion of Excellent Competitive Environment or Platform: In an increasingly interconnected world, primary education equips children with the basic skills needed to compete in a global economy, fostering innovation and technological advancement.

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