This article by Pauline Rose highlights the crisis situation of Nigerian education with regards to EFA goals. In it, we see that with 10.5 million children out of school, Nigeria has more children out of school than any country in the world. Within a decade (2000-2010), Nigeria has 3.6 million more children out of school. The crisis is not only one of access, but also quality. This situation lists Nigeria among countries that are furthest from achieving EFA goals.
On its own part, Nigeria places part of the blame for this situation on a traditional system of Qur’anic instruction that Muslim children are exposed to particularly in the Muslim North of the country as part of their socialization process. According to official estimates, 9.5 million Muslim children are kept ‘out of school’ because they attend mandatory informal religious education that is conducted by independent Muslim clerics, the like of which is seen here:
Nigeria has since recognised that its progress towards EFA will continue to be undermined so long as the contradiction between the developmental demands of a secular state and needs of ordinary Muslims for a culturally reproductive education remained unresolved.
What appears to have eluded the country is how to create the synergy that will convince sceptical Muslim populations that programmes of public education like the Universal Basic Education (UBE) are valid platforms that can guarantee economic and civic participation for their children without compromising their Muslim identities.
during the global education conference will explore the complex interactions of Nigeria’s public education with a loose network of private schools of religious education within the context of EFA. Specifically, the presentation will seek to investigate the potentials and constraints of using religious institutions to achieve the developmental goals of a secular state.