Neglecting the public and focusing on the private: "The situation of education in Nigeria"

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Author: Meshiack Uche Akuaka; [2012-05-10]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: This research looks into the problem of public education funding in Nigeria. Immediatelyafter independence, great strides were made in the area of mass education. Thegovernment’s efforts towards education recorded huge successes across the country. Thisperiod witnessed the establishment of great number of educational institutions, tocomplement what the country inherited from the pre - independent (colonial)administration. The major universities within the country today were established duringthat period, which introduced academic programmes that were relevant in preparing thefoundation for growth and development of a newly independent nation.The attention towards education lasted for a period of time, before reversal of fortunes setin.The downturn could be traced firstly to the civil war that engulfed the newlyindependent nation just seven years after self rule, which created distrust among thevarious ethnic groups. The incursion of the military into government could be anotherreason for the neglect of the public educational institutions. The military at that momentwas preoccupied with keeping the country together, rather than focusing on the provisionof education and other social services. The lack of proper attention towards the educationsector cuts across the different levels - from primary to tertiary. These two factors coupledwith the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) led to the collapse ofthe education sector of the country. With the collapse of public schools, the need forprivate schools became necessary and agitation for the approval of private schools startedin earnest. Selection process into private schools are centered firstly on financial abilitybefore other factors like academic ability are considered (a common practice in most partsof the globe), because they are first and foremost commercial ventures. With the level ofpoverty in Nigeria astronomically high, approximately 80% of the population relied onpublic schools for their educational needs as a result of the subsidized cost. The trendseems to have changed greatly, with a near total collapse of standard in public schools as a3result of government neglect over time. While at the same time, the private educationalinstitutions have continued to spring up at every nooks and crannies in the country.This thesis is going look into how the above scenario is going to affect the achievement ofthe MDG goal 2, and also how the deterioration of public education in Nigeria is going toaffect the quality of life of the majority of the populace that depends on it for theirintellectual needs.

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