Free Education – The Politics of Free Education in Nigeria

The Politics of Free Education in Primary Schools in Nigeria

Free Education  – In Nigeria, education has been used as a cheap political weapon, which politicians employed to gain the support and favour of their people. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the first on record to use the politics of free education in Nigeria to beat his keen opponent National Council of Nigeria and the camerons (NCNC) in 1952 – Anselem (2001); Ocho (1992).

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The political background to the launching of Universal Free Primary Education (UPE) scheme in the in the Western Region needs to be emphasized. There was a strong rivalry between the action group which comprised mainly Yoruba and which was led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon (NCNC) comprising mostly Igbos, and which was led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe. The action group dominated politics of the Western Nigeria while the NCNC controlled the Eastern Region. With national elections to be held just before independence in 1960 education was seen as a major campaign issue (Nwagu, 1992).

The Eastern Region adopted Universal Primary Education scheme in 1957, but the Eastern Region was not blessed as the Western Region. The Eastern Region like her counterpart Western Region witnessed unanticipated huge number of children into schools, which invariably demanded huge amount of money the Government of the then Eastern Region did not have the financial wherewithal nor would she starve other essential social services in the region, to service free universal primary education. So the 1957 UPE venture was a failure since the government of Eastern Region withdrew the scheme.

The military government was not left out in the politics of free education in Nigeria. Immediately after the civil war in 1970, the then military government of General Yakubu Gowon in a process of reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation in 1973 proposed a Universal Primary Education to take off in 1976. The idea of this educational policy came as a result of 1969 curriculum conference which observed that the different regions Northern, Eastern and Western still operate different educational system and programmes.

In Ebonyi State, Free and Compulsory Education was launched by Dr. Sam. Egwu in (1999). The main trust of Universal Free, Compulsory Education programme is to eliminate illiteracy, yet Nigerians are yet to see the impact on the people. Chains of regrettable development, disappointments, as well as frustration abound in the contemporary educational system in Nigeria as reported by Ugwu (2001).

Against this background, it becomes pertinent to investigate the politics of Free and Compulsory Education Programme in Primary Schools in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

 Statement of Problem

Free education has been used by politicians as a cheap political weapon to gain the support and favour of the people. This situation gives rise to a worry about the sincerity of the politician and kind of education they can give to the society. The problem of the study stated as question is: What type of education will be free and compulsory?

 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is particularly in the area of curriculum development. The result of this study will be specifically of benefit to the following:

(1)         The curriculum planner and implementers.

Statement of Objective

          The major objective of this study is to investigate the Politics of Free and Compulsory Education Programme in Primary Schools in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study intends to find out the following:

  1. The resources available for the implementation of free and compulsory education.
  2. Job satisfaction of teachers.
  3. The number of teachers available.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What are the resources available for embarking on free and compulsory education?
  2. What is the extent of primary school teachers job motivation?
  3. What number of teachers are available for the implementation of free primary education?

Research Methodology

          This section of the study discusses the research design, area of the study, population of the study, sample and sampling technique, method of data collection, and method of data analysis.

 Research Design

This study adopted a case study survey research design to investigate the politics of free and compulsory education in primary schools in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

 Area of the Study

The area of the study is Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the primary schools in the council area.

 Population of the Study

The population of the study are all the primary school teachers in Izzi Local Government Area.

 Sample and Sampling Technique

The sample for this study are three hundred and fifty (350) respondents (i.e. teachers selected from all the primary schools in Izzi Local Government. The sampling technique used is stratified random sampling technique.

 Instrument for Data Collection

The instrument used for data collection in this study is structured questionnaire design by the researcher.

 Method of Data Collection

Three hundred and fifty (350) copies of the questionnaire were prepared and distributed to the respondents through hand (directly) at the end of everything, three hundred (300) copies of the questionnaire were correctly filled and returned by hand.

Method of Data Analysis

The data collected were analyzed statistically and arranged in tabular form using percentages. This means that percentages were used in the analysis.

Presentation of Results

The data collected were objectively analyzed and presented as follows:

Research Question 1

What are the resources available for embarking on free and compulsory education?

Table 1: Materials available in percentage

ITEM ITEM DESCRIPTION YES % NO %
1 Classroom blocks/staff room 20 7 280 93
2 Library block with relevant textbooks 30 10 270 90
3 Playground sport facilities 100 200
4 Chalkboard, desks, tables and chairs 20 7 280 93
5 Staff quarters 2 298

The results in table 1 above shows that primary school teachers are of the opinion that resources are not available for the implementation of free and compulsory education in primary schools in Izzi Local Government Area.

 Research Question 2

What is the extent of primary school teachers’ job motivation?

Table 2: Percentage job motivation

ITEM ITEM DESCRIPTION YES % NO %
6 Regular promotion 50 17 250 83
7 Payment of rural or remote area teaching allowance 20 7 280 93
8 Salary increase 40 13 260 87
9 Payment of hazard allowance 25 25 275 75
10 In-service training for primary school teachers 34 11 266 89

The result in table 2 above shows that primary school teachers are rarely motivated in the job in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Eighty three percent (83%) of the respondents disagree that there is regular promotions. Ninety three percent (93%) of the respondents are of the opinion that there is no payment of rural or remote area teaching allowance it can be seen from the opinion of the teachers that there is not motivation of teachers who are to implement the policy.

 Research Question 3

What number o teachers are available for the implementation of free primary education?

Table 3:

ITEM ITEM DESCRIPTION YES % NO %
11 Teachers are adequate 15 5 285 95
12 Primary school teachers are not adequate 290 97 10 3.3
13 Most male teachers opt out of the teaching profession 260 87 40 13

The table 3 above shows that teachers are not adequate. 95% of the respondents said not adequate and 87% are of the opinion tat most male teachers in primary school now leave the teaching profession.

  Summary, Discussion, Conclusion, Recommendations and Suggestions

 Summary of Procedures

The opinion of the respondents regarding the politics of free and compulsory education programme in primary schools in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State was sought by the researcher. Questionnaire drafted by the researcher was used to obtain the response. The instrument was sent to 300 primary school teachers. The instrument was sent to two validators. Percentages were used to answer the research questions of the study.

 Discussion of the Findings

The findings from table 1 reveal that instructional materials are not available with average percentage of 93% of teachers who responded No. This findings is in line with Eya and Neboh (2001) who found that instructional materials upon which all teaching and learning process hinge are not available in most primary schools.

From table 2, it is found that teachers are not motivated in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. 83% of the respondents disagree that there is regular promotion, salary increase and wokshop. This finding is in line with Anselem (2001) who found out that teachers are not satisfied with the job due to poor pay.

Conclusion

Based on the results of this study, the following conclusions were made:

  1. Instructional materials are not available; teachers rely on improvisation of instructional materials.
  2. Teachers are usually not intrinsically motivated.
  3. Teachers’ especially male teachers tend to leave the teaching profession.

Evident from this study are that primary school teachers and materials are usually not enough for the teaming enrolment of pupils as a result of free and compulsory education.

 Recommendations

The following recommendations have been proferred based on the findings of the study:

  1. Government should make instructional materials available.
  2. Enough teachers should be employed and adequate funds should be made available by the Government for the running of schools.
  3. Effort should be made by Government to motivate the teachers and retain them on the job.

 Suggestions for further studies

The following suggestions have been made for further studies:

  1. The need for sufficient trained primary school teachers in our education system.
  2. Strategies for increasing primary school teachers motivation.
  3. The attitude of Government towards the funding of primary schools.

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Comments

  1. EBITEBEKUMA says:

    i would love to get allerts on education and politics

  2. George Nnenna says:

    I need a scholarship Thanks

  3. M NASIR K/MASHI says:

    MOST OF NIGERIAN TEACHERS TODAY IS FEMALE WHY

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