By Blessing Egbagbara JP
Education have been seen in the broad sense as a process by which an individual acquires the many physical and social capabilities.
The society in which he is born into demands to function. It is to a nation, what the brain and the mind is just to the body; just the way a diseased mind is handicapped in the co-ordination and direction of the body activities. Therefore the single most significant complex of social-control tools for National Development is found in the educational system, be it formal or informal.
However, Eduwen (1999) asserts that education is the process of acquisition of knowledge, that is, it involves the teaching and learning process. There are two types of education; formal and informal education.
Formal Education in Nigeria date back to the British Colonialism. In the pre-colonial and colonial era, the colonial masters introduced reading, writing, arithmetic, which was the beginning of formal education system in Nigeria. Before now, education in Nigeria is as informal, Apprenticeship system of acquiring knowledge. But with the advert of British colonialism, there was a shift from the informal to formal system of education. Soon after Nigeria Independence, tertiary institution for man-power training and development was established by the Nigeria states. Consequently this led to the growth of the Nigeria professionalism.
The education in Nigeria has tremendous impact on the Nigeria Nation over the years. This is proven by the growth and the development of the Nigeria political system, technological growth, communication, industrial growth, increase in agricultural production, medicine, engineering, civil services as well as the harnessing of her national endowment.
All the aforementioned development witnessed in Nigeria were brought about by the growth and expansion of tertiary education, were professionally handing these different sectors in the Nigeria economy were trained. Soon after independence, there was need for competent man-power in the Nigeria quest for development. Consequently upon this the federal government embark on the establishment of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Before going in-depth further, I am very grateful and appreciate my wife Mrs. Egbagbara Julie (Original Egbagbara) for always being with me, whenever I have a paper of this nature to be present, Comr. Obominuru Bridget, Christabel Abafe (Erhime), Ovie Kennedy and Oghenemarho Kennedy. My kids Oghenekobiruo Miracle and David Oghenemise Peniel for their patience and tolerance with me during the burning of the mid night candle, whenever I have paper of this nature to present.
IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION
i. It must train the individual for a better appreciation and knowledge of his own cultural traditions, whilst at the same time equipping him with the ability to absorb new ideas, new information and new data for resolving the constantly changing problems of his environment.
ii. It must train the individual to relate to and interact meaningfully with other individuals in the society and to appreciate the importance of effective organization for human progress.
iii. It must develop the creative ability of individuals especially in the cultural and technological realms.
iv. It must foster in the individuals those values which awakes for good citizenship, such as honesty, selflessness, tolerance, dedication hard work, and general integrity, all of which provide the rich soil from which leadership is spawned Obasanjo (2012) as cited by Ugbogbo et al (2013).
However education in Nigeria has brought development gains to the nation especially in the area of self reliance and the perfectly of her ingenuity inequality. Education has equally led to the production of personalities of intellectual endowment in such areas as literature music, creative art sculpture carving among other things. With the global tread of educational advancement among nations. It is hoped that the nearest future Nigerians will be rated among the well developed countries of the world via the light of education (Ugbogbo et al 2013).
B. Tertiary Education in Nigeria: The quest for manpower development led to the establishment of the Yaba Tech in 1932, colleges of education, where teachers were trained, polytechnics were also established, where practices were taught in so many fields especially in the areas of technologies, engineering, all contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria. Universities were also set up to cater for the massive production of professionals.
The Nigeria labor forces increased tremendously as a result of the establishment and sponsorship of education by the federal and state governments. All these enhanced the bilateral relationship with other nations as well as enhanced her domestic and international trace to mention but a few. Education has indeed being the bedrock that led to the transformation of the Nigeria State (Taiwo 1980).
The Nigeria State is characterized by the professional from all works of life, who are trained by virtue of the provision and gains brought about by education. The Nigeria civil service is largely populated by these professional, who contribute immensely towards the growth and development of Nigeria.
The educational system of Nigeria has bought radical transformation to the civil service by virtue of in service training for officials in the civil service, hence there has been increased productivity in all spheres of Nigeria Economy, the Nigeria Educational System has led to the massive production of industrialist from all spheres of life, as well as enhancement of the philosophical frame work of the Nigeria Labour Congress. As a matter of fact, Nigeria is fast becoming an enviable icon in the area of civil service administration. The philosophical ideology and framework of the Nigeria civil service is structured on the rudiments and the facts of the national policy on education. This policy has the following as its cardinal goals Igbuzoro (2006).
i. A free and democratic society.
ii. A just and equalitarian society.
iii. A united, strong and self reliant nation.
iv. A great and dynamic economy.
v. A land full of bright opportunities for all citizens.
From the forgo, the contributions of education to the development of the Nigeria State cannot be over emphasized. Education has brought the drawing of new era of professionalism to all ministries and parastatals across the country. Furthermore, it has strengthened the intellectual requirement associated with the modern labor market.
THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN NATIONAL BUILDING & DEVELOPMENT.
THE NIGERIA EXPERIENCE
A. The role of education in economic growth and development:- Nigeria is indeed a centre for world commerce and industry judging by virtue of her seaports, tourist centers parks, etc. To adequately mastermind the requirement of this natural endowment, the federal government embarked on the training of engineers and environmentalist to harness these natural resources with the establishment of department of engineering in universities and polytechnics. There has been a massive production of engineers, who have contributed their knowledge and skills towards, the growth of Nigeria.
The Nigeria domestic policies have actualized the goals and objectives by virtue of the advantageous position played by education with the use of policies and recommendations by professionals, there have been adequate management of Nigerian Domestic and International Relations with other countries leading to improved leaving standard, social economy growth, stability infrastructural development, provision of basic amenities, social reconstruction etc, with the increased demand for education, there have been a continuous drive for a better condition and this bring about modernization and sophistication to the ordinary man. All these are the inter play of education. Soon after independence, in the advert of formal education, there was a shift from traditional to formal approach of life, education has indeed transformed the traditional setting of Nigeria into a more complete entity. As a matter of fact, education is the basic factor that necessitates all the aforementioned development.
The sub-sahara Africa, in Nigeria in particular education remains the only instrument for the emancipation of the populace from the ravaging effect of the deepened poverty, social injustice, economic meltdown, malnutrition, insecurity and all such social vices that have bedeviled the Nigeria economy. It follows therefore that education remains the most potent indices for transformation of the society as well as the actualization of the yearning and aspirations of the people.
B. Education & Civic Service Administration in Nigeria:- Immediately Nigeria gained her independence, she was faced with the enormous responsibilities of administration and governance, that led to the creation and establishment of departments and ministries in three geographical regions. Ever since it has been a bottleneck and problematic issue to successfully administer the civil service.
There has been series of reformation in the civil service with all aimed at attaining excellence in service delivery. However, with the advert and establishment of tertiary institutions across Nigeria, the enormous challenges that bedeviled the civil service has been drastically reduced as a result of massive production of the university graduates.
This is one of the most strategic areas where education has brought Nigeria to lime light in both domestic and international arena with the professional expertise resulting from educational expansion in Nigeria, the problem hitherto associated with the civil service has been drastically reduced over the year.
Much of the bulk of the recommendation of the 1988, Civil service reformation were educationally inclined and structured by administrative professionals from the tertiary institutions therefore, it is evident that education is a tool for societal emancipations, equity and justice, public sensitization and other development initiative Edigin (2006).
C. Education as a tool for Deepening Democracy. Education should ideally liberate one from the corrupting shackles of greed and graft, from the basal influences of primitive superstition of ethnic and religious bigotry and from the corrosive instincts of selfishness and parochialism. Good wholesome education strives for excellence over mediocrity and promotes the patriotic spirit in place of blind sycophancy, good wholesome education should place high premium on truth, justice, individuals and social morality as well as peace making.
Good whole education should be education in leadership the type that would throw up leaders as servants, mentors, inspirers and visionary. Good wholesome education, should emphasize civic responsibilities; Good wholesome education should compass training in the democratic culture and in popular participation in governance. Good wholesome education today should include training in healthy living, ecological justice and environmental sustainability. Higher education can play a vital role as we work together in common cause to consolidate those gains, to strengthen institution to fight repression, to promote good governance. The power of education is integral to spreading peace and deepening democracy. When people participate in democratic process and become engaged, they build peace, day by day, year by year (Ugbogbo et al 2013).
The recent democratic experience in Nigeria is by and large a byproduct of education in Nigeria. Democratic principles and philosophy governing the Nigeria Democratic System has been sustained and structured on principles of education as shown in public enlightenment, sensitization, workshop, seminars-all being medium through which education have advanced the philosophy and ideology of education. Education has indeed strengthened the democratic stability in Nigeria.
At the grass root level, education have impacted the gains of democracy on local government administration, with the resultant effects of growth and development of local governments, the state and the federal government have equally experienced growth and development arising from democracy with education playing tremendous role. Before now the military dictatorship heightened Nigeria under development however, with the dawn of a new era, democracy, there was a reversal of this trend.
Nigeria is fast growing and becoming one of the most viable economy in the world by the 2020 international speculation and education is the means by which the realization of this dreams can come true UNESCO (2006), UNAIDS (2008) as cited by Ugbogbo et al (2013). The furtherance of the philosophical ideology and framework of education will help foster the continuity of advancement realities.
In Short and in a nutshell education has been the credo of civilization for the African Nation, since their independence with Nigeria inclusive. It is hoped that in the nearest future, education in Nigeria will be embraced by all and this will go along way in bringing Nigeria to the forefront of global development. Education should be a mandatory prerequisite for all youths in Nigeria and timing age groups up to the age of schooling with the attachment of this radical economic, initiatives the Nigeria society will encounter speedy progressive, economy social, political and social transformation. In short education is the key to unlocked the doors of social progress.
Before the advert of education boom in Nigeria, the military dictatorship was galvanized and impoverished with dictatorship and brutality all arising from illiteracy.
However with the illumination of educational advancement, the trend had changed over the years, with the arrival of democratic governance, Nigeria has within a short period witnessed tremendous growth in social progress, freedoms of speech, freedom of association, freedom of movement and other human rights that were hither to bastardised before that era of democracy. Education remains the only tool within which the practice of democracy can be perfected and it remains the only weapon with which such perfection can be sustained.
CHALLENGES OF EDUCATION IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Olekede (2004) opined that the educational sector of the Nigeria economy has been devilled by series of challenges that has hitherto to poses the great imitations to the actualizations of the cardinal goals and objectives for the educational programmes, Obasanjo (2012) opined that at present, our educational environment and the outlook for education in Nigeria are bedeviled with many problems, some of which appears intractable and are like recurring decimals. However below are some of the challenges of education in national development.
1. Inadequate funding. With the continuous increase in population of students both in secondary school and tertiary institution across the nation, it is very obvious that the facilities needed for educational programmes in school have increased over the years, bringing about a drastic increase in the course of providing a befitting education for the Nigeria child.
The funding of education at all level is supposed to be a responsibilities of the three tiers of government and the Nigeria Government have embarked on strategic initiative to actualize the accomplishment of their societal need, but the effort of the government however indeed yielded little or no result in bringing the Nigeria educational system to lime light. There is a gross inadequacy of educational funds required in the provision of educational infrastructure and facilities. Enormous fund is required in the refurbishment of dilapidated institutional infrastructure. With the advent of global and modern educational challenges, the task of funding education in Nigeria is fast becoming unrealistic with insurmountable complexities.
There has been shortage of funds for the implementation of educational policies and programmes this making the Nigeria educational system incapable of meeting the challenges and demand of the 21st century. With the down of the millennia, dispensation and the natural resources with which Nigeria is greatly endowed, it is hoped that in the near future, the aforementioned problem would be a thing of the past Ugbogbo et al (2013).
2. Shortage of Manpower:- The manpower shortage need an expertise in educational institution across the nation has been a major set back in the Nigeria educational system, as there is shortage in the number of professional teachers, due to brain drain. The technical schools and colleges as well as universities brought about inadequate training of professional graduates in the tertiary institution.
3. Lack of Research:- Due to the pauricity of funds, academia no longer find research for new knowledge interesting and motivating.
In taking up Nigerias serious development challenges in education, our leaders must first acknowledge the need to develop a coherent policy that will promote self reliance, a visionary policy that identifies and highlights core national values that becomes standard irreducible courses in our institutions. Our education must go beyond mere literacy to take up the challenges of research and development in the modern world. Our education planners must constantly advocate for adequate budgetary allocations for equipping our schools with man and materials enough to meet the UNESCOs minimum national budgetary level of 25% for education. Our education planners must set up quality standard education.
In conclusion therefore one would be right to say that education is the bedrock and building block for societal transformation and for the sustenance of any meaning development.
Education is the sustaining base of world political and social economy progress. It is hoped that in the near future education will bring greater technological and scientific transformation to the Nigeria Nation. With this optimism, education will gain a wider acceptance to the generality and to the Nigeria people.
The conclusive policy recommendations of this write-up are as follows;
1. That Government schools at all level should enforce the implementation of the policies of the universal basic education programme.
2. That Government should embark on sponsorship of individuals, who may wish to embark on educational programmes.
3. Government should motivate our researcher through release of grants for them to embark in researches.
4. Qualified educators be motivated through better remuneration to avoid brain drain.
5.The Government should shoulder the responsibilities of sponsorship of tertiary education in Nigeria in order to ensure the massive production of skilled labour force in Nigeria.
6. The Government should embark on a strategic reform on the funding of tertiary institution.
This paper focused in the role and challenges of education in national building and development. It dwelt extensively on the factors that aids and foster educational development, Nigeria being the case study in this regards. It further unravels the importance of education in the Nigeria experience stating categorically the dimensions in which education has impacted the Nigeria States with such areas as technological, industrial, health, land, security and agricultural etc. The write up further gave a comprehensive analysis of the importance and development contributions of tertiary education in contemporary Nigeria society.
The importance of education professionalism was also extensively over viewed, that is the contribution of education to man power development and labour force in Nigeria and the policy underlining the educational system. By and large, this write up equally look as the role of education in economic growth and development.
Specifically the role of education in economic transformation, improved living standard, social economic growth, political stability, infrastructural development, provision of basic amenities among other economic developmental variables, societal realities governing the smooth administration of the education, as it affects the civil service administration was also an integral parts of research with a specific reference to the 1988 civil service reform. The dimensions in which education has deepened the Nigeria democratic experience was also inclusive in this write up, that is political and social transformation.
Nigeria has within a short period witness tremendous growth in social progress, freedom of speech, freedom of association and amongst other human rights, all synonymous with the contribution of education finally this write up tries to ascertain the contemporary challenges confronting the educations, development in Nigeria and conclusively proffers solutions and instructive recommendation.
I am grateful to my wife, Mrs. Egbagbara Julie (Original Egbagbara) for always being with me, whenever I have a paper of this nature to be present, Comr. Obominuru Bridget, Christabel Abafe (Erhime), Ovie Kennedy and Oghenemarho Kennedy. My kids Oghenekobiruo Miracle and David Oghenemise Peniel for their patience and tolerance with me during the burning of the midnight candle, whenever I have paper of this nature to present.
COMR. EGBAGBARA OMARAYERUE BLESSING (JP), Principal Partner/Consultant, Mersmars Consults, Ughelli (Educational Management, Guidance & Counseling Consultants)/
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT Ughelli North Branch)