Development of primary education in nigeria


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ogbaji, udochukwu

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Development of primary education in nigeria

  1. 1. DEVELOPMENT OF PRIMARY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: THE MILITARY AND CIVILIAN REGIMES COMPARED (1966-1983) Udochukwu Ogbaji Lecturer , Department of Political Science, Nwafor Orizu College of Education,Nsugbe, Anambra State. E-mail: Tel: +234(0) 8033486531, +234(0) 7082729455ABSTRACTEducation has been a means of transmitting one’s culture from one generation toanother. It is a process of bringing about a relatively permanent change in humanbehavior. As the oldest industry, it is the main instrument used by society to preserve,maintain and upgrade its social equilibrium. This paper draws a comparative analysis ofthe military and civilian regimes in Nigeria as regards to primary education developmentduring the period 1966-1983. The study is based on the political economy frameworkwhich provides us the use of holistic approach and permits us to look at primaryeducation development in both the military and the civilian regimes in Nigeria in itsentirety. It was found that the multi-variant approach of the military which requires andinvolves the contribution of force plus persuasions, pressure plus consultation anddiplomacy enabled the military to record the achievement of the period. Another lessonfrom the period under study has to do with leadership style provided by the military atthat time. The military demonstrated that hard work and commitment to a cause theybelieved in was bound to yield positive results. They did not waiver in their policy thatNigeria was capable of development up to the same level as non-Africans. The Nigerianleadership and political experience under the military-civilian eras taught the countrythat multi-variant strategies are crucial to rapid educational development. The paperfinally stated that responsible leadership facilitates educational process while badleadership ruins education. In conclusion therefore, for sustainable and substantialeducational growth in Nigeria, only the right leadership can save the system fromretrogression and absolute dwindling. 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION In all human societies, education is meant to pass on to the new generations theexisting knowledge of their physical environment, to introduce individuals to theorganization of society, give them skills for performing their daily jobs and enjoying theirleisure, as well as inculcate sound morals in them for their own benefit and that of thesociety. In other words, education is a process by which the society assists the youngergeneration to understand the heritage of their past, participate productively in thesociety of the present as well as contribute to the future (Esu and Junaid, 2010). Basedon these reasons, education draws inspiration and nourishment from a society but inturn, it contributes to the growth, renewal and development of that society. The period, 1966-1969 were initially years of crisis in Nigeria, followed from 1970by years of reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation. In these years, the military,in seeking a way out of the complexities of interethnic rivalries and geopoliticaldisequilibrium, set its eyes firmly on educational diffusion throughout Nigeria (Jorre,1972). The immediate post-independence period was marked by the problem of fear.The South was afraid of political domination by the North, the North was afraid ofeducational and economic domination by the South. The military came into solvingthese problems by breaking up the country into small units which no one entity was in aposition to threaten the corporate existence of the nation. The military therefore, withinthis period, placed education at the forefront as a major tool in bringing aboutreconciliation in the nation (International Labor Office, 1980). However, the period preceding the era under study was the traditional educationsystem. Educational systems existed in African Societies prior to the coming of theEuropeans. Such education was for the induction of members of the society intoactivities and mode of thoughts that were considered worthwhile. African societies werenoted for their rich culture heritage which was preserved and transmitted fromgeneration to generation through a system of traditional education (Esu and Junaid,2010). 2
  3. 3. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM From history we infer that development, economic growth, youth empowermentand stability of Nigeria have been largely determined by two pre-dominant factors.These are the military and the civilian regimes which incessantly influenced the politicsof Nigeria especially as it relates to education and educational development. Both themilitary and the civilian regimes have made far-reaching attempts at revolutionalizingeducational system in Nigeria. Several educational policies and reforms have beenintroduced by different administrations and regimes; all aimed at properly structuring theeducational sector and place it at a balance. This paper therefore seeks to look into the various activities of both regimes(military and civilian) towards the development of education in Nigeria from 1966-1983,in comparative perspective. From the foregoing, the following research questions areadvanced to guide the discussions of this study. 1. To what extent have the military and the civilian regimes gone towards the development of education in Nigeria? 2. Is there any relationship between the pattern of leadership or policy formulation between the military and the civilian regime that accounts for the success or failure of the educational sector? THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE This study is based on the political economy framework. This is because ananalytical and comparative approach to social problem is often seen as a solution to thestudy of the phenomenon. As a theory, political economy focuses attention on not onlythe production and management of society’s material wealth but also its distributionamong the various segments or classes and conflict which arises from these processes.As Ake (1981) has observed, “When we understand what the material assets and constraints of a society are, how the society produces goods and meet its 3