Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) has lamented the decline in the quality of entrants into the Nigerian university system, declaring that urgent intervention is needed to stem this worrying tide.
The President of NAL, Professor Sola Akinrinade, stated this yesterday at a policy review workshop on ‘Strengthening the Educational System in Nigeria Through STEAM’, organised by the Nigerian Academy of Science, Nigerian Academy of Letter, and the Nigerian Young Academy (NYA), which was sponsored by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Abuja.
Contrary to popular belief that the decline is a result of lowered prescribed educational standards, Professor Akinrinade argued that the standards at the basic and senior secondary levels have increased, adding that the root of the problem lies in the implementation of these standards, which have become suspect over the years.
He said the poor performance of Nigerian university entrants spans across disciplinary groups, making it evident that a holistic approach is required to address this multifaceted issue.
Professor Akinrinade stressed the importance of comprehensive interventions in overcoming these challenges.
According to him, “Our problem has to do with the implementation of the standards and capacity for which have become suspect over the years. The poor performance transcends the boundaries of disciplinary groups, hence, interventions such as ours must be holistic.
“The importance of STEAM education as a critical factor in the sustainable and inclusive development of a country such as ours cannot be overemphasised. Properly implemented, STEAM education encourages innovation, reduces poverty, and provides beneficiaries with the appropriate tools to improve their lives and those of others. If, through this intervention, we succeed in building alliances for the proper implementation of STEAM education at the basic and senior secondary levels in the country, we will have made a great investment in the lives of future generations of Nigerian youths.”
This workshop aimed to bring together stakeholders from academia, government agencies, industry leaders, and educational practitioners to brainstorm and develop effective solutions. By incorporating STEAM, it is hoped that a more innovative and integrated approach can be adopted to nurture well-rounded and capable individuals.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters emphasised the need for urgent and concerted efforts from all stakeholders to reverse the decline in the quality of entrants, adding: “This alarming trend must be addressed promptly to ensure a prosperous future for Nigeria’s education system.”
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the registrar of JAMB, expressed delight over the event, and emphasised the merits of adopting a holistic educational approach that combines scientific knowledge with artistic expression, and ensuring a well-rounded education for the nation’s future leaders.
Represented by Prof. Olutayo Adesina, the visiting Professor of History, Oloyede, said a key motivation behind this initiative is the global shift towards the fourth industrial revolution, characterised by rapid technological advancements.
He added that by fostering a strong foundation in STEAM subjects, Nigeria aims to equip its citizens with the skills required to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven world.