Corruption and Education Development in Nigeria: An assessment of the role of political science as an academic discipline

Corruption and Education Development in Nigeria: An assessment of the role of political science as an academic discipline

Background to the study

When people talk about corruption, usually they refer to public fund siphoned or misappropriated by civil servant, contractor, politician etc. Hardly do they think of the type of corruption that destroys the minds of our children and siphons the moral values of our society. This refers to the monumental corruption that is taking place in our educational circle. This type of corruption is more dangerous and more serious threat to the future of the young Nigerians in primary, post-primary school and higher institutions of the higher learning. There is no doubt that educational institutions in any country are the industry in which future leaders, thinkers, politicians, teachers, and workers are produced. In Nigeria, this industry has deteriorated to the extent that in place of being an agent of purifying the minds of our children to become useful members of our society, the industry is now diverting the mind of the children away from what education is all about to examination malpractice. Therefore, if urgent care is not taken the future of the country is bleak as far as any meaningful development is concerned (Balarabe, n.d.).

            It has long been observed that our graduates are no more measure up to the standards of both internal and external evaluators. What has not been very clear in this discourse are among others: 1) the actual level of the deterioration at various levels of our educational systems 2) the rate at which the attitude of our students is changing negatively towards education 3) the rate at which parents are struggling hard – willingly and knowingly to help their children get grades and certificates devoid of the requisite knowledge 4) the level of deterioration of the moral values of  the custodians of knowledge (teachers and lecturers) to the extent that they are now certifying that someone is knowledgeable while they know he is not, and 5) the level of government negligence to education and the role of that in the deterioration of the system. These are areas that need thorough investigation (Balarabe, n.d.).

            The Nigerian educational circle has become an open field harboring corrupt practices that rankles among players such as policy makers, bureaucrats in various educational ministries and school officials responsible for the school management, parents and students. The sector is marked by infrastructural decays, inefficient and poorly skilled teachers, and dilapidated school structures etc., fueled by general apathy by government to education (Auwal, 2013). However, corruption is the social problem that has interested many research scholars. To Ruzindana (1999), it is an asset in Africa which has created a problem of routine decorator from established standards, norms by public officials and parties with whom they interact. According to Wike (2014) it is a serious damage in education circle because it endangers a country’s social economic and political future.Also, the quality of education students received under this dreadful atmosphere is highly appalling. The standard dropped to the extent that the minimal score for Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has drastically dropped to 180 as against 200 out of 400 total score in the years back. It is an open secret that students hire machineries to pass standard examinations in secondary schools. Invigilators are also not left out in this gruesome cesspool of corruption; as they are rumored to be paid to enable machineries write exams for students, (Olugbenga, 2012) of which if the government is not been careful, the nation would produce corrupt Professors in the future (Onu, 2014).

            Also, some schools’ principals and teachers engage machineries improve their schools’ academic performance in the examinations. Affluent students go to the examination council/board to buy high grades. Some unscrupulous lecturers force students to buy hand-outs as criteria for passing their continuous assessment. Administrative staff also compound issues for students by withholding students’ results to force their hands to bride or show appreciation to them before their results can be released. Unethical behavior in the school has forced female students into prostitution, as they use their bodies to lure lecturers for favours; while male students resort to cultism as a means of protection. Students pay bribe to be given admission into universities. This begs the question of the quality of Nigeria future leaders (Auwal, 2013). The upsurge of corruption in Nigeria in recent times is disturbing. It seems the menace has defied all treatment and the damages it has done to the national life cannot be quantified. Corruption is a global phenomenon, it is practiced everywhere, the Christians and all religious adherences are not left behind in it (Osoba, 1996).

            The menace of corruption has leads to slow movement of files in offices, police extortion at checkpoint and slow traffics on the highways, port congestion, queues at passport offices and gas stations, ghost workers syndrome, election irregularities and inconclusive, among others. Even the mad people on the street recognize the havoc caused by corruption – the funds allocated for their welfare disappear into the thin air (Dike, 2011). This observation by Dike portrays the true picture of what is happening in every establishment in Nigeria be it private or public schools. The situation becomes worse with the politicians who because of the quest for power manipulated votes and rigged elections. The judges are not left out. As a result of corruption, justice is perverted and judgment is delivered in favor of the election riggers who are able to pay their way through. Recently, some Judges of the appeal court were sanctioned by the National Judicial Commission for corrupt practices (See the Punch of 8th February, 2011). It is a common belief that corruption is endemic in all facets of Nigerian educational circle or institution. It affects both the government and non-government organizations and it seems nothing can be done about it. Aluko (2002) rightly observed that, Corruption is a social malaise that has holistically permeates all the nerves of any polity. It is contagious and malignant to the physiology of any political system. Once it sets into any part; it automatically contaminates all the strata of the systems socio-political structures in ways symmetrical to the spread of a bush fire. (Aluko, 2002)

            Corruption indeed is the bane of any nation. Its malady cut across every religious denomination and political system and it affects both young and old, man and woman alike. It is like cancer that contaminates all strata of the socio-political and economic structure of any society and its malignant nature is difficult to treat. Corruption is not a contemporary affair it has been on for so long in Nigeria, even in Africa. Akindele (1996) noted that no regime in Nigeria can be exonerated from corruption. The menace has reached an unprecedented level most especially during Babangida and Abacha Regimes which saw the institutionalization of the statement syndrome. The era of Obasanjo witnessed a crusade against corrupt politicians and government official. During his eight year reigned, the country witnessed the establishment of EFCC and ICPC two bodies that was saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting corrupt officials, in their effort to sanitize the polity. The then Inspector General of Police Tafa Balogun and some bank officials were prosecuted but the efforts of these two bodies was short lived when the regime of Obasanjo ended in 2007(Olugbenga, 2012).

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