Whilst Nigeria is presently stumbling and grappling with the weight and burden of rot and inefficiency in almost every sector of the country, most especially in the Educational sector, there is need for relevant recommendation and solution to savage these important sectors of Nigerian’s national life. Experts have continue to opine that if the Educational Sector of the country is placed on track, other sector would experience a bust of life. The Educational system has been left to hang free, with the tide of neglect, under funding, corruption and lack of planning, sweeping the system into an abyss of Ineffectiveness, shambles and failure.
While the Country has over 44% of it over 170, million population as under fifteen, the World Global Report of 2014 has it that Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children; an estimated 15 million Children do not attend school. Worst still, Nigerian Primary Education is ranked 146 in the world. The Educational infrastructures are basically inadequate, leaving, in most cases, 100 pupil and above to share a single classroom. The problem of inefficiency in learning in Nigerian school is obviously proven by the fact that half of the student who graduate from grade 6 cannot read. The Nigerian tertiary Institutions are found wanting: most Graduates they produce are not employable because they lack the skills needed to compete favourably in the labour market. These facts attest to the deficits and deficiencies in the Nigerian Education System.
However, one country that has been doing things differently and getting result in her education sector is Finland. Finland with her robust Economy has her Education System as its basis.The present Finnish Educational Policy, since it implementation years ago, have taken the world unaware, showcasingthe magic of how simplicity and equity, efficiency and practical learning, can make a landmark different.The Finland Educational System,which have consistently be rated among the best in the world, By OECD(Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) PISA survey (Programme for International Student Assessment), is tuition free, and it offers equal opportunities for all in the area of education, without the consideration of racial, cultural, economic situation, cognitive differences or background.
Finland Educational system is particularly known for its non-conformity to the evaluative and centralized standard of imparting knowledge employed my most countries. According to the Finnish National Board of Education website, “The focus in education is on learning rather than testing, There are no national tests for Pupils in Basic Education… teachers are responsible for assessment…” Children are not forced into starting school immediately until they are age seven, when they are enrolled into grade school. The majority continuing on to academic or vocational high school at the age of 17 or 18, Primary and secondary schooling is combined, to avoid a disruption in transition. Finland Educational System is basically breaking the burden of status quo on effective education.
The secret for the successes of the Finnish Education System is an open one, it is not conceal to those who wish to learn. Nigeria would benefit a great deal if this system examined, tested run and blended with the system on ground, if not adopted. There is no doubt that the Nigerian Educational system would experience an unprecedented turn around if this system is looked into and imbibed adequately; there is a lot Nigerians can learn from Finland.
Nigeria can learn from the fact that Finland are particular about the quality of the teachers and professionals that handle their Children. Finnish authorities have it has a strict policy to engage Masters degree holder to supervise and teach their children. Contrary to what we have in Nigeria, the teaching profession is esteemed and therefore, the standard for those in that profession is high. According to the project director Riikka Vuorela of FCG Finnish Consulting Group, when interviewed by Leena Koskenlaakso “All Finnish teachers have a Master’s degree. They work very independently, and are seen as strong professionals, which is not always the case elsewhere in the world,” The priority placed on qualified manpower, who are trusted enough without the burden of supervision, but given the freedom to make decision as regards the progress of their children as they deem fit; this, coupled with the low Student to Teacher ratio is helping kids grow, learn and acquire skills needed for life. Nigerians situation is antithetical to this, since, most teachers in Nigerian school are far from being qualified and also not adequately remunerated.
Far from what we have in Nigeria, where pupils start school at age one, In most cases, Finnish Kids are not mandated to start school until age 6 or 7. Education is not forced down their throat, learning is not rushed, children are given the luxury of play, because, playing neurologically has its advantage. Different studies acknowledge that student learn more when they are physically active. According To OECD, Finnish Student are not overloaded with assignment, but made to participate and interact more, thereby building a strong cord of social relationship in the students. Since evaluation is not the basis of education, students in Finland are not placed under the pressure of examination, This make learning easier, as the learning process is not tested by the result sheet. If this orientation is adopted in Nigeria, student would not be under pressure to pass exams, neither would they have to indulge in Examination Malpractices to ensure that they do; this overall, prevent the perversion of social values in the Nigerian society.
Nigeria Education system would have a lot to gain if it imbibes the principle of equity as portrayed by the Finnish social and educational system. The concept of equity in education posit that every child have the right not only to basic education but also an education without limitation, irrespective of the child’s social status, race, religion, cognitive ability, gender and economic standing: every child must be carried along. Equity in education helps surmount the problem of lopsided spread of educational dividend. One peculiar feature of Finnish Educational system is that there is no tuition fee at all level. Although there are private schools in the countries, they are not to accept fee, but instead, they are granted the resources needed to run the school by the Government. This arrangement is a social leveler, no child is exposed to substandard education or discriminated as a result of his/her social status.
Social and Educational Equality in Nigeria is a mirage, some set of disadvantaged children do not have assess qualitative education. The female child, children from poor homes and the physically and mentally challenged children are mostly deprived of education. It is reported that 34% of girls in Nigeria are out of school. Children of poor families have no choose but to attend dilapidated, roted public schools while kids of rich parents have their wards in Private school, with most of them paying as much as $2000 per section. This is the height of inequality in Nigerian Schools.
Vocational Education is an essential features in the Finnish educational journey, it is a three year upper secondary education program that that trains student skills outside formal academics. This gives students the opportunity to undergo vocational competence and/or to prepare them for polytechnic institution or the university. Nigerian Education needs to also embrace this feature in order to grow a skill based economy. Unconfirmed fact says that 40 percent of school leavers in Nigeria do not proceed to institution of higher learning; the question now is, how would these secondary school leavers contribute to the economy of the country, since they have no vocational skill or training to work with? The importance of Vocational training cannot be emphasized, school leaver must be given the opportunity to learn skills, even if they might not proceed further. In the light of this insight, Vocational Training schools should be established in every local government of the country.
Nigerian university education has for a long time being defective, unproductive, and has been in moribund as regards its facilities and curriculum. Universities in the country do no give adequate attention to research and practical learning. Student also have to live with the realities of strikes and other disruption in academic calendar, as a result of industrial disagreement. This problems in the Institutions of Higher Learning, have truncated the quality of Nigerian education. This Finnish University system “focus on more on responding to the needs of the world work and they engage in industrial development project”. It is therefore, important to see a Finnish Higher Education model and principles as the solution to these problem.
It is important to note that Finland’s Success story in the area of education is not without an ample strategic planning, which took place years ago. The problem with the Nigerian Education system is the lack of planning. The Nigerian Authority in charge of running the educational sector needs to embrace the idea of planning for a future assured of a vibrate educational system. The Finnish system has shown us how fulfilling strategic planning can be. It is important to see our educational system as a work in progress that requires essential blueprints. Innovation should be encourage by the Ministry of Education to an effective. Also the education of the future of the country should be seen as a priority. Adequate funding should be accorded the sector to ensure that facilities are upgraded, and qualified professionals employed to render professional services. Finland’s educational sector should be a model for the reposition the Nigerian Education for more effectiveness and to place the sector as one to reckon with in Africa.