The Importance of Education to National Development – A Case Study of Nigeria

The Importance of Education to National Development – A Case Study of Nigeria


 The Importance of Education to National Development – Education is the best legacy a country can give to her citizens. Igbuzor (2006) in stressing the importance of education stated that education is a human right that should be accorded to all human beings solely by reason of being human.

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Furthermore, education improves the development of any society hence, the need for the educated one’s to occupy significant positions in order to improve the society.

Therefore, schools at various levels are expected to educate future leaders and develop the high level technical capacities needed for economic growth and development (Osokoya, 2008).

Undoubtedly, Nigeria had witnessed a series of educational system since its birth in 1914. Immediately after independence in Nigeria, there was a lot of ills and shortcomings in Nigeria educational system as it was based on the British educational system which did not pave way for yearning needs, interests and aspirations of Nigerian society. This gave birth to the 1969 Curriculum Conference that focused on Nigerian children in Nigerian society with National Policies on Education in 1977, 1981, 1998 and 2004 respectively (FRN, 1977; 1981; 1998; 2004), all with the prime purpose of improving the quality of Nigerian education (Adeyemi B. A. et al, 2012).

The utmost importance attached to education in Nigeria was clearly underscored in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004). The Federal Republic of Nigeria, in this policy, adopted education as an instrument “par excellence” for effecting national development.

In the face of government commitment to education, the quality of education in our schools has been declining tremendously. However, in this paper, emphasis is made on the implication of the poor implementation of educational policies in both our private and public secondary schools through the Secondary Education Board.

The Importance of Education to National Development –  Theoretical Framework

The Formal Organization Theory is adopted in this paper. The proponents of this theory include Luther Gulick, Henri Fayol, Lindel Uriwick, J.D. Money, A.C. Reiley and others. Henri Fayol is regarded as the most prominent enunciator of this theory.

This theory is of the view that an organization is goal oriented and in order for it to accomplish its goal or set of goals, certain tasks must be undertaken. These tasks can be so organised as to accomplish efficiently the organization goals (Onwe A.I., 2012). The main elements for this theory are objectives, tasks, rational behaviour, co-ordination and authority. The theory is of the view that employee’s behaviour is rational. Rational here means that human behaviour falls within the same system of rationality which permeates the setting up of an organization (Onwe A.I, 2012).

According to Henri Fayol, administration comprises of five elements, which include: forecasting and planning, organizing, commanding, co-ordinating and controlling. Onwe A.I, in his book, buttressed that to administer is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and control. He further explained that to foresee means to provide means, examining the future and drawing up the plan of action. To organize means building up the dual structure, material and human, of the undertaking. To command means binding together, unifying and harmonizing all activity and effort. To control means seeing that everything occurs in conformity with established rules and expressed command.

Administration thus understood, is neither an exclusive privilege nor a particular responsibility of the head or senior members of the organization. It is an activity spread, like all other activities between head and members of the corporate body (Onwe A.I, 2012).

The most comprehensive enunciation of the Formal Organization Theory contained in Papers on the Science of Administration (1937) was edited by Luther Gulick and Lindel Urwick. Luther Gulick summed up the principles of organization in the word POSDCORB (Onwe A.I). To quote Gulick, POSDCORB is made up of initials and stands for the following activities:

Planning: It means working out in broad out-line the things that need to be done and the methods for doing them to accomplish the purpose set for the enterprise.

Organizing: That is establishment of the formal structure of authority through which work sub-divisions are arranged, defined and co-ordinated for the defined objectives.

Staffing: It involves the whole personnel function of bringing in and training the staff and maintaining favorable condition of work.

Directing: It is the continuous task of making decision and embodying them in specific and general orders, instructions and serving as the leader of the organization.

Co-ordinating: It is the all important duty of inter-relating the various parts of the work.

Reporting: It means keeping those to whom the executive is responsible informed as to what is going on, which this include keeping himself and his subordinates informed through records, research and inspection.

Budgeting: This includes all that goes with budgeting in the form of fiscal planning, accounting and control.

This theory reveals the reason for the poor implementation of educational policies in our private and public secondary schools through the Secondary Education Board, which is as a result of the ineffectiveness of the formal organization theory as summarized by Luther Gulick in an acronym POSCDCORB.

The Importance of Education to National DevelopmentBody of the Paper

With view to the importance of education for national development, Nigeria, having realized the effectiveness of education as a powerful instrument for national progress and development adjusted her educational philosophy and methodology to march the ideals and challenges of changing economic and social structure of modern society. Consequently, in 1982, Nigeria adjusted her secondary educational system to encompass diversified curriculum that integrates academic with technical and vocational subject intended to empower the individual for self-employment (Igwe, 2000). According to the National Policy on Education 1981; 2004, the main aims of secondary education in Nigeria educational system are preparation for useful living within the society (self-employment) and preparation for higher education.

However, after the adoption of the laudable initiative, majority of Nigerian youth are idle and some are involved in various vices due to unemployment. They do not have the required skills to either fit into many types of jobs that are available or create jobs. It is no longer news that there is an annual increase of unemployed youths in Nigeria. To worsen the situation, the former Minister for Education, Dr. Sam Egwu noted that the poor quality of graduates is worrisome. The major policy speeches of Late President Musa Yar Adua revolved around his aspiration of transforming Nigeria into one of the first 20 largest global economic by the year 2020. This vision cannot be achieved without youth empowerment for job creation and wealth generation. Adekoya (1999) claimed that for the Nigerian youth to be empowered economically, they should be given the necessary skill acquisition and in order to achieve this, the curriculum should be implemented effectively.

Curriculum is a vehicle through which education is attained. The secondary school curriculum as presently implemented is far from achieving the goals of secondary educational system. The curriculum was well structured and the contents were adequately defined but the implementation calls for question (Uchegbu C. N. et al, 2009). In the curriculum is enshrined government’s policy on education. In order for government’s policies on education to be fully implemented in our private and public secondary schools, the curriculum should be fully and effectively implemented.

 The Importance of Education to National Development – Objectives of  Curriculum

Following the political independence of Nigeria, there was a realization that the type of education our colonial masters left with us needed a critical re-examination of the worth: of content, objectives, relevance, methods, administration, evaluation, and so forth. This was said to have led the then National Educational Research Council (NERC) to convey a historic curriculum conference at Lagos in 1969 (Uchegbu C.N. et al, 2009). Ngozi and her colleagues noted that the conference recommended new set of goals and provided directions for major curriculum revision upon which the National Policy on Education of 1997 and the revised policy in 1981 and 2004 were based. Against this background of national aspirations, a new education system commonly referred to as the 6-3-3-4 system of education emerged. The system, which consisted of six years of primary school education, three years of junior secondary school education, three years of senior secondary school education and four years of post-secondary education was implemented in 1982 (Uchegbu C. al., 2009). The 6-3-3-4 system brought about many innovations among which are the vocationalization of the secondary school curriculum in Nigeria. At the junior secondary level, pre-vocational subjects were introduced into the curriculum while vocational subjects were introduced into the senior secondary level.  The focus of the pre-vocational subjects was to expose students at the junior level to the world of work through exploration. Such exposure would help junior secondary school students make intelligent career choice and also intelligent consumption patterns. Among the pre-vocational subjects are practical Agriculture, Home Economics, and Business Studies. Introductory Technology is an integration of components of woodwork, metal work, basic electronic, applied electricity, water flow technology, airflow technology, food preservatives, automobile, technical drawing, physics, rubber technology, chemistry, plastics, basic building technology and ceramics. Business Studies have typewriting, shorthand, bookkeeping, office practice, commercial and computer science as component (Uchegbu C. N. et al, 2009). At the senior secondary level, recommended vocational and technical subjects include: Agricultural Science, Clothing and Textile, Home Management, Food and Nutrition, Typewriting and Shorthand, Principle of Accounts, Commerce Woodwork, Technical Drawing, Basic Electronics, Building Construction, Applied Electricity and Auto Mechanics.

According to Ajala (2002), the new National Policy on Education has all necessary ingredients for landing Nigeria into the future technologically, politically, and socially, adding that the policy if well implemented is a solid basis for the nation to launch itself among the great nation.

 The Importance of Education to National Development – The Secondary Education Board

The Secondary Education Board is a parastatal or organization under the Ministry of Education. The board is known with different names in different states. The Board is a viable instrument for the implementation of educational policies in our secondary schools, both in the junior secondary schools and in the senior secondary schools. The Board was established in recognition of the importance and distinctive role of the second tier of secondary education for effective transition into tertiary education and wider society upon successful completion of basic education.

In order to fulfill its statutory functions which is aimed at providing secondary education in all the state in Nigeria, the Board has as its mission to:

Develop, adopt and implement education curricula for secondary school leading to the acquisition of school leaving qualification and support the acquisition of life skills.

Build well equipped school facilities which provide clean safe and stimulating learning environments for young people.

Deliver a rounded educational curriculum that broadens the scope of learning experiences for teenagers.

Raise young people’s understanding and awareness of life options and the steps to take in making choices as adequate preparation for work and family life.

Continually develop the skills of staff in schools to help to achieve the Board’s mission.

 The Importance of Education to National Development – Summary of Findings

The study revealed remarkable findings. After a critical investigation was carried out in some of the private and public secondary schools within the state capital, it was discovered that students in the junior secondary level officer at most five pre-vocational subjects which are: Agriculture, Home Economics, Business Studies, Office Practice, and Computer Science. Subjects like Introductory Technology and Technical Drawing are left for the students in technical schools to offer.

At the senior secondary category, subjects like: Agricultural Science, Commerce, principles of Accounts, Home management are offered, while the technical schools include: Food and Nutrition, Typewriting and Shorthand, Technical Drawing, Applied Electricity, Automobiles and Fine Art.

Also, subject like Art and Craft, Clothing and Textile, Metalwork, Woodwork, Building Construction, Airflow Technology, Waterflow Technology, Food Preservatives, and so forth did not receive attention.

Also, it was discovered that the students do not engage in practical due to lack of facilities, thereby, the teaching method used in implementing the curriculum was mainly theoretical.

Noted among the findings also include that the State Secondary Education Board seldom visit schools for inspection.

The Importance of Education to National Development – Conclusion

As a result of the poor implementation of the curriculum, the implications are as follows:

1. The national economy will be affected: Education, as stated earlier in the introduction, improves the development of any society. Nigerian youths who are the future leaders need to be educated for them to be efficient leaders. Unfortunately, the poor implementation of the curriculum, which is designed to prepare them to be productive in the society for a positive turn around of the national economy, is adversely affecting the national economy.

Today, secondary schools graduates who are not opportuned to afford a post-secondary education are indolent, thereby, contributing nothing to the positive turn around of the national economy, which is an impediment to the objectives of the curriculum.

2. Nigerian youths, owing to unemployment, are involved in various vices which is as a result of inadequate skillful training while in school to enable them become self-employed if no white collar job is available.

3. This is one of the major reasons why the developed countries view us as undeveloped. Technology has speedily advanced countries and countries technologically advanced, develop speedily. The curriculum provides an avenue for the students be prepared technically but it’s poor implementation poses danger to the country’s overall development.

In a nutshell, the poor implementation of educational policies as enshrined in the curriculum is affecting the individuals and the society at large.


In order for the curriculum to be implemented effectively, the following recommendations are profered.

The Board should emphasize on the need for teachers to transmit the curriculum into their syllabus and always visit schools to inspect and to know the degree to which it is enforced.

After inspection, the Board should expedite their findings in various schools inspected to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry will in turn issue out directives to the Board for necessary actions.

During planning and budgeting, provision for facilities which will build up the skills of the students technically and in their vocational subjects, different from the theoretical method of teaching, should be planned and budgeted for.

As it is one of the functions of the Board to recruit teachers into secondary schools, teachers qualified both on theory base and practical should be employed and posted to various public secondary schools to handle these vocational subjects and urge the principals of the private secondary schools to do same. If the Board gains no or low compliance from the principals of the private secondary schools, then the Board should impose sanctions on them.

In conclusion, through seminars and workshops in various schools, students should be sensitized on the need for them to be trained in various vocational subjects so as to avoid dependency on white collar jobs which is always scarce, rather, be self-employed.

If the acronym POSDCORB as summarized by Luther Gulick in the Formal Organization Theory is adopted and effectively carried out, the Board, being a viable instrument for the implementation of the curriculum, will discharge their functions with efficiency.

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  2013 copyright The Importance of Education to National Development – A Case Study of Nigeria


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  1. obisanya omotola
    Posted July 27, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

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      Posted April 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

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  20. Shade Ajumah Olaomopo
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

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  31. Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Importance of primary school in Nigeria Education

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  34. Hussaini Ahmad
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  37. Abubakar sadiq
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks you pls what is the contribution of our education system to the development Nigeria society

  38. Posted October 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

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  42. Ishaku kwanda
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

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    Posted February 6, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    What is the history of traditional education in nigeria?

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  45. kehinde damilola Kikelomo
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  47. Melechier Jimmy
    Posted April 9, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Iam Melechier Jimmy frm Liberia, i really appreciate ur article n i hope the government n the people of Nigeria will take it into consideration. Thanks alot

  48. Imran s. Bunu Garga kanam L G C Plateau State Nigeria.
    Posted April 19, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I thanks to God

One Trackback

  • […] Nigeria, since its birth has witnessed the system going through several changes with an intention to provide more effective education. And from 1969, the birth of Curriculum Conference; National Policies on Education have kept evolving to improve the quality.  A major initiative taken in 2004 to adopt education as an instrument ‘par excellence’ for endorsing national development has stimulated the growth to a great deal. Recently, the learning institutions are going for tie-ups with international groups with a purpose to launch a relevant, affordable, and flexible learning style to enlighten the citizens of Nigeria. The administrative leaders are supporting online mode of study for better learning experience. […]

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