Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) has lamented the decline in the quality of entrants into the Nigerian university system, saying urgent intervention was needed to stem the worrying tide.
President of NAL, Prof. 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 Letters and the Nigerian Young Academy (NYA), which wws sponsored by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board in Abuja.
Contrary to popular belief that the decline was a result of lowered educational standards, Akinrinade argued that the standards at the Basic and Senior Secondary Levels had increased, adding that the root of the problem lied in the implementation of these standards, which had 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.
Akinrinade, stressed the importance of comprehensive interventions in overcoming these challenges.
“Our problem has to do with the implementation of the standards, capacity for which has 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.”
The 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 was expected that a more innovative and integrated approach could 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.
“This alarming trend must be addressed promptly to ensure a prosperous future for Nigeria’s education system.”
Also, speaking at the opening ceremony, the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, expressed delight over the event and emphasised the merits of adopting a holistic educational approach that combines scientific knowledge with artistic expression, ensuring a well-rounded education for the nation’s future leaders.
Represented by Prof. Olutayo Adesina, visiting Professor of History, Oloyede said a key motivation behind the initiative was 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.
He said: “In June 2022, my office received a well-crafted application from the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) to the effect that JAMB should help in advancing the frontiers of knowledge through STEM Education.
“However, when the proposal went to management, it was vigorously debated and the ultimate decision was that at this stage of our development, it is better to advance towards STEAM education.”