The Need for Curriculum Reform in the Nigerian Education System

Recently I published a Publish where it was revealed that Kenya has included coding in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools in their country, which prompted me to write this article.

The world as we know it in this 21st century has changed dramatically, with so many technological advancements everywhere. According to a analysis by McKinsey Global Institute, it revealed that around 51% of business activities are highly susceptible to automation.

This indicates that automation is going to require the redefinition of most jobs. Seeing all of this predictions, research and analysis from different institutions about possible change in the structure of the workplace, one question that came to mind is this. Why are Nigerian schools still using an outdated curriculum lacking relevant subjects and skills to teach students?

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As the rest of the world moves forward into the 21st century and capitalizes on technological advancements, as well as the inclusion of relevant skills and subjects in their curricula, where Nigeria, the “Giant of Africa” fits in- in this equation?

Most of the elements embedded in these school curricula in Nigeria have little or no relevance in this 21st century. In most schools at all levels of the country, you see teachers teaching the same subject that was taught in 1960, knowing full well that these subjects have no relevance in this current generation.

I don’t mean in any way to say that the whole program should be abandoned because I still believe that certain subjects are still relevant. What I am trying to say is that there should be the inclusion of several subjects and skills relevant in today’s world to be integrated into these school curricula.

Problem solving, creative thinking, digital skills, etc. are no longer needed, but they are lacking in these programs. I remember when I was in high school where we were taught shorthand, only to graduate and find out that shorthand was never needed at any time to solve a problem. After seeing how irrelevant the subject was, I started asking why it is still being taught in schools.

The truth is that some of the subjects taught in schools today will no longer be relevant in the near future. The government, together with education officials across the country, should unite to remove irrelevant subjects from the school curriculum to make room for relevant subjects for the future.

Already, many schools in advanced countries have begun to include relevant skills and subjects in school curricula. In the United States, 44 states have changed their policies to recognize computing as part of the academic core.

Today we have a lot of careers that have been created which was not the case in the previous generation. Growing up, we had a conventional career path, where everyone wanted to be a doctor, engineer, lawyer, banker, etc. Currently, the career option is now vast with so many inclusions. We now have children who aspire to become coders, programmers, software engineers, data analysts, etc.

Considering the fact that there has been no inclusion of relevant skills and subjects in the Nigerian curriculum, this will no doubt pose a serious challenge to students. A negative impact this will have is that these students will be limited in many areas, in terms of careers and skills, which will leave some struggling to catch up with the already advanced world.

It is quite discouraging that after completing their schooling in the country, they will have to return to learn relevant basic skills that could have been included in school curricula. Imagine a future where relevant skills are included, upon graduation many students will already be armed with relevant soft and technical skills to undertake future work and create useful innovations that will greatly benefit the country.

Therefore, there must be a reform of the Nigerian curriculum used to teach students in all educational institutions in the country. The curriculum requires review that needs to be supported, implemented, and evaluated so that it remains relevant and responsive to 21st century trends.

The role of education in any nation is very important for nation building, which is why students must be exposed to quality education that will be relevant to the global world.

Janice G. Ball