Problems of 9-3-4 system of education in Nigeria

Problems of 9-3-4 system of education in Nigeria

Nigerian education system problems have been talked about for decades. Despite the constant transformation of the curriculum, the quality doesn’t seem to be improving. The most recent change to the 9-3-4 format did not make any difference. It created a lot of confusion and arguments, but the schools themselves were mostly left untouched. If you want to learn more about the education system in Nigeria, continue reading below!

Nigerian education system problem

Top problems of 9-3-4 system of education

The last significant changes in the Nigerian education system happened in 2006 and 2009 when the country switched from the 6-3-3-4 to the 9-3-4 format. The new system dictated that every kid should sit through nine consecutive years of primary school. Next, he would spend the next three years in a secondary educational establishment and the last four years receiving higher education. The “3” and “4” parts of the 9-3-4 are not mandatory.

The primary reason for this change was the new inclusion of basic, technical and vocational aspects of study that were added to the first nine years of school. In theory, these should have given the students a more solid foundation, before they start studying towards a career in the next three years. The 9-3-4 system was also meant to make the primary education level more streamlined, removing some subjects that only cluttered the curriculum.

Lesson at Nigerian public school

However, to the admission of hundreds of teachers and parents, whose children became the test subjects of this new system, not much has changed. One of the biggest criticisms that the government received was the gaping inconsistency in the implementation of the newly-transformed curriculum. Add to that the insufficient funding, which is always was a painful aspect of the Nigerian education, and the result doesn’t look too optimistic.

While there are a lot of primary schools that are doing just fine, there’s no shortage of schools that are in very poor condition. Young Nigerians still can’t rely on the knowledge they receive in schools. Educational establishments continue to lack essential components, such as books or professional teaching staff.

Poor classroom in Nigeria

How can a pupil be prepared for the junior WAEC if he didn’t have an English teacher? What hope does he have for the future? Depending on the school, the same goes for other subjects. Sadly, we have students that don’t know the basics of the English language or struggle with the easiest arithmetic tasks.

After finishing the first nine years, students move on to secondary schools. Here, they are being prepared to take tests such as WAEC, NECO, UME and numerous others. However, the same trend continues here, as the understaffed, underprepared establishments can’t provide the necessary information for students. What we have discovered instead is that some people are forced to cheat, while others simply fail without ever receiving a fair chance of getting into a university.

Students of Nigerian secondary school

The students that actually make it to higher institutions fair a bit better. However, if you speak to people that graduated from a university and made a successful career, you’ll rarely hear them sounding grateful to their Alma maters. Most of the time, they gain the knowledge they need on their own.

In conclusion, we can state the following – a simple change of numbers in a system will not solve any problems. If anything, it will only create more.

Problems of education in Nigeria and their solutions

Tablet and apple in school

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Despite the efforts of dozens of politicians, hundreds of teachers and thousands of parents, Nigerian schools continue to produce under-qualified students. People who studied Health education for years don’t know the importance of a clean environment, others who were taught Business classes never think about starting their own company in the future.

A large number of pupils continue to see their school and the world outside of it as completely different realities. They struggle while trying to use the knowledge gained at their desk in everyday situations.

Pupils during lesson

The government needs to stop focusing on making changes that are doomed to remain on paper only. There’s no point in making promises like “Every school will teach modern-day computer technology,” knowing full well that most schools can’t afford to supply computers to their students.

Nigeria, as a country, needs to invest deeply into education. The saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if we keep adding only one brick per year, it won’t be built in a hundred years either. Here are the aspects that need the most funding:

  • Books
Books in school

It doesn’t matter whether pupils study for three years or twenty if they don’t have anything to study from. Books are one of the most efficient ways to keep a student interested in a subject.

  • More teachers

Old teachers are retiring, but not enough of new ones are hired. And with how poor the job conditions are in some public schools, you can’t really blame them.

  • Better teachers

In order to provide high-quality education, Nigeria has to have high-quality teaching staff. The government has to make the profession of teaching as important as that of a company executive. To achieve this, the salary and work environment have to be on a similar level.

Teacher in Nigerian class

Our pupils need to be taught practical knowledge and technological skills. They need to know how to take leadership role both in life and on the job. If they have to survive in the outside world, we need to prepare them accordingly.

It would serve our country well to look into the achievements that countries like Singapore and Finland gained when they transformed their educational systems. Nigeria shouldn’t try to copy them, but not to learn from their best practices would be foolish.

Now you know all of the problems that Nigerian education system suffers from. But it’s not all that bad. There are a lot of good establishments in our country. However, until we can claim that the majority of our schools are on a high level, we still have a lot of work to do.

READ ALSO: Education in Nigeria: old and new curriculum


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