Education in Nigeria is an instrument “par excellence” for effecting national development. It has witnessed active participation by non-governmental agencies, communities, and individuals as well as government intervention. It is therefore desirable for the Nation to spell out in clear and unequivocal terms the philosophy and objectives that underlie its investment in education. The National Policy on Education seeks to fulfill that role.
The government has stated that for the benefit of all citizens, the country’s educational goals shall be clearly set out in terms of their relevance to the needs of the individual and those of the society, in consonance with the realities of our environment and the modem world.
The need for a national policy on education came about because of the 1969 National Curriculum Conference which was attended by a cross-section of Nigerians. The conference was a culmination of expressions of general dissatisfaction with the existing education system which had become irrelevant to national needs, aspirations, and goals.
FINANCING EDUCATION POLICY
- Education is an expensive social service and requires adequate financial provision from all tiers of government for the successful implementation of the educational programs.
- The government’s goal is to make education free at all levels. The financing of education is a joint responsibility of the federal, state, and local governments and the private sector. In this connection, the government welcomes and encourages the participation of local communities, individuals, and other organizations.
- Relevant sectoral bodies such as the Education Tax Fund have been established to respond to the funding needs of education. In addition, other funds from which the burden of financing education can be eased are (i) Industrial Training Fund (ii) National Science and Technology Fund.
- The government recognizes the importance of technical and business education and the need to relate its programs to the requirements of commerce and industry.
The existence of high-quality, accessible, and affordable institutions is a key indicator of a nation’s progress, and developed and developing countries alike are attempting to respond to the growing demand for education. However, this demand comes with a price. Education is capital intensive, it requires more money for capital projects, salaries, facilities, and procurement of teaching and learning materials. Some of the constraints in financing education are as follows:
- Inadequate funding
- The negative influence of a corruptive and valueless political system
- Poor planning and implementation
- Wastage in Education
- Low Priority when allocating funds
- Competing demands on government
- A paucity of reliable data
It is common knowledge today that for education, an instrument of change and National development to succeed presently and beyond, it must be adequately financed for the achievement of its goals. Adequate financial support is crucial as money must be made available for the provision of meaningful leadership for improving educational administration, procurement of facilities, and payment of teaching and non-teaching personnel. This will also make the educational system more responsive to the provision of needs and desires of different segments of the Nigerian populace.
The need to improve management practices. With the present status of finances in higher education, there is the need for revolutionizing the management of educational institutions to make them more efficient and in line with present demand. The chief executive of the institutions should not be appointed on academic excellence alone, but also because of previous managerial effectiveness. In pursuing the ideals of quality, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) should be strongly supported in its efforts at curriculum reform towards greater relevance. Accountability must be enshrined in our socio-economic philosophies and policies. The Universal Basic Education Scheme takes care of the problem of access. The anti-corruption crusade initiated afresh by the Obasanjo-led administration deserves to be widely supported.
Teachers’ low morale should be improved by providing them with good conditions of service and by remunerating them appropriately. Their professional growth and development should be encouraged by the government.
In conclusion, the government must initiate and empower a Nigeria “Education Development Foundation” which will plan, finance, as well as restructure the educational system of Nigeria. The additional functions of this distinguished foundation would include national awards and prizes to first-class educational institutions in Nigeria, first-class scholars and scientists with first-class achievements, first-class principals and professors in educational institutions in Nigeria. Annual scholarship awards should be given on merit to outstanding graduates of secondary schools, colleges, polytechnics, and universities of Nigeria. An independent inspectorate committee should be put in place to monitor activities in schools as the existing inspectorate unit has seized to function effectively
Schools should be properly staffed and equipped. Applicants seeking job placement irrespective of grades obtained and institutions attended should be given fair and equal opportunity, to compete for placement. More modern learning aids such as computers, internet websites facilities, overhead projectors, firms, etc. should be provided in schools.