The President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Professor Sola Akinrinade, has lamented the decline in the quality of entrants into the Nigerian University System.
Akinrinade stressed the need for urgent intervention to address this issue in the country’s educational sector.
He made these remarks on Tuesday at a policy review workshop on “Strengthening the Educational System in Nigeria Through STEAM.” The workshop, sponsored by JAMB, was organized by the Nigerian Academy of Science, Nigerian Academy of Letters, and the Nigerian Young Academy (NYA) in Abuja.
Contrary to the 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.
He identified the root of the problem as the implementation of these standards, which has become suspect over the years.
The professor noted that the poor performance of Nigerian university entrants cuts across disciplinary groups, highlighting the need for a holistic approach to address this multifaceted issue. He stressed the importance of comprehensive interventions in overcoming these challenges.
According to Akinrinade, “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.”
He stressed the importance of STEAM education in the sustainable and inclusive development of a country. 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 ultimate beneficiary is our dear country. I cannot overemphasize the importance of what we are doing here this week.”
Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), also spoke at the workshop, emphasizing the merits of adopting a holistic educational approach that combines scientific knowledge with artistic expression.
Represented by Prof. Olutayo Adesina, a visiting professor of history, Oloyede expressed his satisfaction with the opportune timing of this educational revolution.
He stated, “In June 2022, my office received a well-crafted application from the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) proposing that JAMB should contribute to advancing knowledge through STEM education.
“However, after thorough deliberation within the management, it was decided that, at this stage of our development, it is more prudent to progress towards STEAM education.
“This alternative proposal was sent back to NAS and was warmly accepted by both the Nigerian Academy of Science and the NAL.
“We encourage all those involved in planning educational projects and curricula to consistently engage students and youth to enhance the program and align it with current realities.”