Top education articles on Stears Business

Have you ever argued with Nigerians about what the real problems facing the country are?

A common answer is the poor quality of education.

Economists (and many Nigerians) believe that a well-educated population is a productive one. The reasoning makes sense. Education unlocks people politically so they can demand better from their government.

We also have our favourite multiplier effect argument. When the government embarks on spending in the education sector, it creates jobs in the economy and encourages spending in other sectors.

Then there's the crucial point that the jobs market is evolving at a rapid pace. The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this through the combined effects of remote work and online-based learning.

Education in Nigeria took a big hit in 2020; schools never returned to February 2020 levels. The October National Longitudinal Phone Survey 2020 (NLPS) report shows that only 58% of the respondents aged 5-18 attended school in October, compared to January/February when it was about 71%. The twin effect of schools’ shutdowns motivated by the pandemic and nationwide strikes by teachers compounded this.

So given these challenges, how do we equip people with the skills needed to succeed at preparing for the future of work while holding their government accountable? The Stears Business newsroom has the answers in today’s collection of top education articles.

1. ASUU strikes in universities: Any end in sight?

To kick us off, we begin with some key insight into why strike actions are one of the reasons Nigerian’s prefer to study abroad. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has spent 35% of their existence since 1978 in one strike action or the other. If they aren’t fighting the government for payment of their salaries, they’re fighting for a better learning environment or the welfare of students. So how can we resolve these recurring issues of salary payments or funding for equipment and school rehabilitation that ultimately end up robbing millions of youths of their prime years?
Read the article here


2. Class Dismissed: Nigeria’s education challenge

This throwback piece underscores many of the arguments you will encounter as you make your way through this list, and it is still worth a read. Here, we learn about the foundational case for why education should yield high economic benefits for both the recipients (students) and the economy at large. However, once you read this, you will understand why this link might not be so straightforward in Nigeria’s context and what we need to do to fix it.

Read the article here

3. Strengthening Nigeria’s alternatives to a university education

A follow-up read to the previous piece should be this article that dares to tackle what the real returns to education are. After all, education is an investment, which means people incur a cost today in the hopes that the benefits from the future pay off. But how much of a reality is this for many Nigerians who undergo expensive education? In this sequel, Gbemisola provides an extensive view of this vital conversation. With evidence and insights from other countries and their people, she shows how it is possible to thrive by embracing university alternatives. 

Read the article here

4. Going to university is good but quality education matters more

This is not to say that the Stears Business Newsroom does not value education. We do. However, we prefer to advocate for quality education because we believe this is truly how education’s primary customers—students—actually realise the gains from education. Read this article to see why improving the quality of education delivered in Nigeria begins with improving the quality of the teachers.

Read the article here

5. The possibility of online learning at Nigerian universities

Now for a slight detour into the world of remote learning. The Covid-19 pandemic introduced several critical shocks into the global economy. An important one was and still is the way we learn. However, as we argue in this piece, this new approach to education could present new opportunities for the Nigerian education sector. With issues like overdrawn strikes by teachers, Nigerian schools are constantly running at overcapacity because students take longer to complete their degrees. This means multiple cohorts of students have to share classroom space. But before new school buildings can be built, could online learning fix this supply constraint?

Read the article here

6. Attracting private investment in Nigeria's Universities

Now we get into the business of supplying education to students. Public universities in Nigeria are not quite free, the Nigerian government heavily subsidises them. An undergraduate economics course costs just ₦55,000 annually in a typical public university, compared to ₦937,500 in some private universities. But the thing about subsidies is, somebody somewhere foots the bill. With this in mind, it’s important to seek alternatives to public university funding. Read our take on this here

7. Human vs physical capital: Where should Nigeria spend money?


Keeping with the theme of decisions around spending, this article makes a strong case for why education deserves to be funded. Economists largely agree that upgrading capital expenditure is a guaranteed way to improve an economy’s productive potential. There is less agreement on whether this should focus on physical capital (think: railway lines for transport) or human capital (think: skilled labour). Both are crucial for long-term growth, but what is the point of having new infrastructure if there aren’t enough trained workers or educated citizens to take advantage of them?

Read the article here

8. How universities create unemployable graduates

But how can we make sure this investment pays off? The current skills mismatch that plagues the Nigerian jobs market is a challenge fuelling the country’s unemployment crisis. Just like finding your life partner, getting a job is a match. Both parties have to be satisfied with the coupling. So even with 3 million unemployed local graduates in Nigeria, employers prefer foreign-trained graduates because they are a better match for available jobs. This article shows us why unemployment isn’t so one dimensional and what a more holistic analysis looks like.

Read the article here: here


9. Nine new universities—a drop in the bucket?

Coming in at number 9, is another throwback to 2015 when nine new universities became licenced in Nigeria. Many believed this announcement would address the supply constraints to education we discussed earlier in this list. This free-to-read piece gives insight into how capable these new universities are of achieving their set objectives. It’s been six years since this has been published. ​​​​​​

Read to find out if our predictions were correct here

10. From Yaba to Silicon Valley: How Universities change their host cities


To prove the previous article’s point, this entry clearly shows how universities are gifts that never stop giving. The University of Oxford has provided over 50,000 jobs and contributed £5.8 billion to the UK’s economy. Boston—home to Harvard and Boston Universities boast of similar impacts. Bringing it closer to home, schools like YabaTech and the University of Lagos have made their communities attractive for technology companies like CcHub. Tertiary institutions can transform lives outside their four walls. Our final instalment on this list shows us how.

Read the article here


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