Education in Nigeria is like 50years behind that developed countries, especially the USA. In Nigeria, education comes with a lot of struggles. Struggles with the teachers struggle with the students as some do not have the right resources to go to school, food inclusive. Another big struggle from the government that also fails to provide the right environment, resources, amenities, and funding.
For education to be right, some basic resources must be in place. One of these is the building in which people will be thought. There will have to be teachers to teach and they too must be in the right state of mind. That is, they must be made comfortable, paid as due and there must be tools for them to be able to teach appropriately. Aside from that, they must possess the right education themselves. Most of them might even need to acquire some certifications to be allowed to be teaching.
Weighing the two countries in terms of the people and their willingness to get an education, Nigeria will rate higher. The willingness to study is high in Nigeria than the US, but the weight of discouragement as a result of poverty and bad government happens to be higher than people’s willingness. This is evident in the success rate of Nigerians in the diaspora with education compared to citizens of those countries. If the strive and struggle to go to school in Nigeria paved on the resources and support of the western world governments, the result would be enormous.
In the US, every school building is right on point. Electricity, just like everywhere, is constant. There must be potable water. Internet connection is a must. Books and other technical devices like computers are all there. Teachers are paid duly; food is made available for students (not free in all cases). There are resources to assist students and parents to manage affordability. There is a basic comfortability for all students. Cleanliness is well monitored and supervised.
Growing up in Nigerian and having gone through the education system right from the elementary (primary) to college/ University, it is not an overstatement to say that education in Nigeria is about 100 years behind that of the US, especially when viewed from where the US was in their education system 100 years back and where Nigeria is now.
Education is not cheap anywhere. It is the base for any country’s growth and no country will want to joke with that, except maybe Nigeria. In the US, the government makes basic education accessible to all by being involved actively. There are regulations to be followed and met. The government, knowing how important and expensive education is, subsidize a lot of the cost. One could say that to go to school in the United States, all it takes is your willingness. You are not educated only if you choose not to and no one, not even the government, can force you.
Education is basically free up till high school and there a thousand and one programs that can make even your college degrees come as easy as possible. In most cases, like said earlier, your will and some hard work might just be all you need to walk your way through the entire education system. Little wonder you see young people getting their doctorate at tender ages. Of course, young people graduate schools early in Nigeria too, but at what rate?
There are almost no schools in Nigeria in Nigeria, even tertiary institutions, that can guarantee 100% no electric power interruption. If there is any that even does about 30%, you will have to pay through your nose to attend such school. In a country where about 60% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, how many people can afford such expensive schools?
There was a lady who came to the US from Nigeria to study about 20 years ago. She was amazed at how everything she was required to do to register for her courses was all done online and that she had to do all by herself. This was a time in Nigeria that you would have to line up in the sun to get to register for classes. I could still remember going through that hurdle back then at the University. In fact, you could spend up to a week on your registration alone. The time that would have been used for something more productive is wasted queuing behind some walls for registration.
The unfortunate thing is that the process twenty years ago was already obsolete is still the same way things are still running now. Class registration still follows the same trend even in the 21st century. In 1994 internet access had already reached 35% of US public schools and by 2001, 99% of schools all had access to the internet. In the year 2000, only 0.1% of the Nigerian population had access to the internet and even in 2020, even though people now have access to the internet, its usage in education is still crawling.
Students officially start to use the computer for education as early as pre-kindergarten, and that is like from age 4. Not that they use some devices to play games, they are really thought how to use these devices and operate them for kids-related course works. It became even louder during the pandemic where students are made to now study indoors from their homes.
On average, a kindergarten student, after being guided a little can use his Chromebook conveniently to access his classes. I have some firsthand experience of this, especially during the study-from-home lockdown period. This does not happen often in Nigeria. Of course, some expensive schools do that, especially during the lockdown in Nigeria, but then the same question, “what is the percentage?”.
Some of us only had to see the computer for the first time in the early 2000s in our final year at the university. Quite pathetic, the day of the dream -about the excursion, the department of computer science where the computers are stationed did not electricity and the problem was already there months before our visit. All we did was to do sightseeing and that was it. While in the US, all schools had been fully and conveniently migrated to the internet face. Can we feel that?
There is a willingness to study in Nigeria, but the resources to do it are lacking. That is not only affecting accessibility, it even has a bigger effect on the quality of education received. After experiencing education in Nigeria and the US, I can categorically tell you that the quality of education received in Nigeria is below standard. A teacher that is not well paid, not timely paid will not deliver as another that is duly and timely paid. In this century, good quality of education cannot be received where there is no electricity, no internet, and maybe no food.