Nigeria’s absence from the Trend in Mathematics and Science Studies’ (TIMSS) list of countries surveyed for educational attainment hides it from global scrutiny as World Bank’s recent global development report warns of impending ‘learning crisis.’
TIMSS provides valuable information that helps countries monitor and evaluate the success of their mathematics and science education across time and across grades. It also provides comprehensive and internationally comparable data about what mathematics and science concepts, processes, and attitudes students have learned by the fourth and eighth grades (in Nigeria, basic 5 and J S S 2). In Africa, only Botswana and Egypt participated in 2015.
Nigeria’s non-participation means it is failing to take advantage of global tools which evaluate progress in educational achievement over time from both international and national perspectives. This is because when achievement results are low compared to other countries or lower than expected, countries can initiate new educational goals and policies to encourage improvement. Countries implementing educational changes typically look to future TIMSS assessment cycles to monitor improvement.
This is all the more critical given the World Bank’s recent warning about an impending ‘learning crisis’ in its recent Global Development Report.
Millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.
“Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math. This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills” the report stated.
Schooling without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.
The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what does not to guide education decision-making; and mobilising a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all.’