Education Takes a Hit From the Covid Crisis
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s labour market had been plagued with precarity and informality. With over 30 million youths (people aged between 15 and 29 years of age) projected to enter the labour market in 2021 (which accounts for over 53% of that age group), the COVID crisis couldn’t have hit at a worse time.
The impact of COVID-19 felt on the labour market is not without precedent for Nigeria’s young workers. At the onset of the oil recession in 2016, young people entering the labour market in Nigeria faced similar hardships.
In consequence, a significant number of young Nigeria opted – or were compelled – to abandon their schooling in favour of work. At the onset of the oil recession – much like what happened at the onset of the COVID crisis – the percentage of young people in Nigeria who entered the labour market jumped by over 12%.
While working certainly can provide short-term relief during a crisis, unfortunately, this comes to the detriment of Nigeria’s already low human capital. The human capital index (or HCI), as defined by the World Bank, aims to quantify the effects that education and health have on the productivity of the next generation of workers.
Over the last four years, Nigeria’s human capital index has remained at a steady and concerning 0.35%. To offer a comparison, this score ranks Nigeria slightly below Afghanistan which comes in at 0.4 and significantly lower than leading countries such as Singapore and Australia whose scores reach above 0.9%.
With so many young Nigerians being forced – for all intents and purposes – to forego their education in exchange for immediate economic relief in precarious low-paying jobs, the country is facing an uphill battle in terms of improving working conditions, seeing a rise in salaries and a decrease in long-term unemployment. All trends point to the fact that technology is a good career path. But entering this field – much less excelling in it – requires a certain level of education that young Nigerians are being deprived of.
This causal chain can snowball quickly as the country continues to produce a relatively underqualified workforce, the better-paying jobs will continue to go elsewhere. And while the oil and gas production career path certainly has its benefits, as the oil recession of 2016 showed us, the field is vulnerable to rapid and wild fluctuations.
Whereas receiving a quality secondary education will broaden one’s scope of work options, raise their standard of living and those around them, and give them the arms to combat against potential recessions and crises, without an education, the chances of these crises having lingering effects is increased dramatically – if not outright guaranteed.
Due, in part, to the COVID-19 crisis, economists are predicting that Nigeria is headed for its worst recession in 40 years. A staggering 20 million Nigerians are expected to fall below the poverty line in 2022.
The GDP is projected to dip, as well, which would mean a significant loss in government revenue. This, in turn, would likely lead to cuts in both education and the health care system. And the snowball gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
Despite the pessimistic projections, government officials such as Shubham Chauduri, the World Bank’s County Director for Nigeria, is quick to point out that initiatives have been put in place, and we are already seeing positive results.
In 2021, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initiated a weakening of the official exchange rate for the naira. This was done in a concerted effort to try to converge the official rate with that of the NAFEX (the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate).
“We acknowledge the steps to reform exchange rates,” said Shubham Chaudhuri. “But that’s one part of it.”
Other measures that have already been implemented include the introduction of a market-based pricing policy for petrol; the reduction and potential elimination of subsidies for electricity; and the adjustment of tariffs.
The projected savings these measures would mean for the government are meant to allow Nigeria to redirect its resources toward COVID-19 response and relief. The sooner we get through the crisis, the sooner those resources can be reallocated. To where, and to what end remains to be decided.
If ever we can look at this crisis and see a silver lining it would be that the dire circumstances and woeful projections are forcing officials to take practical actions – many of which have been a long time coming.
Nigeria’s farmers are a high priority in the current wave of economic reforms. Some notable examples of initiatives that have begun to be rolled out include:
- Additional funds allocated to the research of improved crop and livestock varieties
- Additional funds released to help support the infrastructure associated with farming – this includes storage, transport, and market access.
While these initiatives are likely to yield long-term benefits, there is potentially no greater long-term return on investment than that which comes from investing in education. For the time being, however – much like in prior crises – education is being made to take a back seat.
200 Undergraduates to Enjoy Stanbic IBTC N80m University Scholarship Scheme
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
No fewer than 200 undergraduates who performed well in the University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) will enjoy N80 million worth of educational support from Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.
The funds would be disbursed to the beneficiaries under the Stanbic IBTC 2023 University Scholarship Award Scheme.
The selection process for the scholarships was rigorous and fair, with beneficiaries chosen from each of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The candidates were carefully evaluated based on merit, taking into account their exceptional academic performance, the organisation said.
The 200 scholarship recipients will be able to pursue their dreams with financial confidence, knowing that Stanbic IBTC will stand firmly by their side.
The company disclosed that the money would be given to the students in annual instalments over the course of four academic years. It would provide recipients with the essential financial assistance required to meet their educational expenses.
Subsequent disbursements will be contingent upon the beneficiaries fulfilling certain criteria. These criteria include maintaining their enrolment in the universities and degree programs to which they were admitted, as well as adhering to the academic and administrative policies set forth by their respective institutions, the firm stated.
By ensuring compliance with these requirements, the recipients can continue to receive the scholarship throughout their academic journey, facilitating their uninterrupted pursuit of higher education, it added.
“At Stanbic IBTC, we recognize the importance of education and its role in shaping the future of our great nation, Nigeria.
“Our principal objective for this scholarship is to provide unlimited opportunities for bright, young Nigerians who have demonstrated academic merit,” the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC, Mr Demola Sogunle, said.
He noted that the number of annual scholarship recipients was increased from 100 to 200, as education should not be a luxury reserved for a select few but accessible to all.
By investing in the academic journeys of these exceptional students, the leading end-to-end financial institution will not only make a difference in their lives but also contribute to the development and prosperity of the nation as a whole.
Wema Bank Employees Donate Items to Isale Eko Grammar School
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
It was an exciting moment for students of Isalẹ Eko Grammar School, Lagos and a fulfilling time for employees of Wema Bank Plc when they delivered some tables and chairs to the institution last Friday.
The items were donated to the school as part of the financial institution’s corporate social investment (CSI) initiative aimed to contribute to the development of education in the country, especially in its host communities.
It was gathered that Wema Bank employees purchased the items for the school by contributing the salaries under the Salary for Love campaign of the lender.
The bank expressed optimism that the items would undoubtedly transform the learning environment, creating a haven of comfort and inspiration for the students as they embark on their academic journeys.
Apart from the furniture donation, Wema Bank extended its support even further by bestowing scholarships upon two students of Isalẹ Eko Grammar School.
These scholarships, provides invaluable financial assistance and will serve as stepping stones for these exceptional students as they unlock their full potential and courageously chase their dreams.
At the presentation of the items to the school, the Head of Credit Risk Management at Wema Bank, Mr Uchenna Obazeh, emphasized the bank’s firm belief in the transformative power of education.
He commended the unwavering dedication of Wema Bank’s staff members and their resolute commitment to supporting education within the community.
“Through the ‘Salary for Love’ initiative, our employees have showcased their exceptional devotion to shaping a brighter future through education. We are humbled to contribute to the growth and development of Isale Eko Grammar School, as we remain steadfast in our mission of corporate citizenship,” he said.
In his remarks, the Principal of Isalẹ Eko Grammar School, Mr Mukaila Olatoye, expressed deep gratitude on behalf of the institution, recognizing the profound influence this generous donation will have on the students’ educational pursuits.
Also, the students thanked Wema Bank for the donation.
Business School Netherlands Retains Tier One Global Rating
The Business School Netherlands has been ranked again among the TIER ONE Global MBA Business Schools in the latest edition of the CEO Magazine Global MBA Rankings.
The Action Learning Business School has received ranking and recognition for over 10 years in a row.
Excellence has become timeless at BSN as Venture capitalists, Global CEOs, and Directors of International Corporations and Multinationals continue to rate the quality of Action Learning MBA graduates from the Business School among the best in the world, using a system entirely geared and weighted towards fact-based criteria.
CEO Magazine has been showcasing top business schools from around the globe since its first launch in 2008.
In 2012 the publication launched its annual Global MBA Rankings, profiling MBA, Executive MBA and Online MBA programmes.
Over the last 35 years, Business School Netherlands has trained over 7000 Action Learning MBA graduates who are now top business transformation leaders who are result and growth driven in different sectors of today’s disruptive, volatile, unpredictable, ambiguous, risky and diverse business world.
Business School Netherlands is present in The Royal Kingdom of Netherlands and has study centres in different locations across the globe, including Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt in Nigeria.
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