QUALITATIVE PRIMARY EDUCATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN EASTERN OBOLO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In realization of the important role which education plays as an agent of national development and globalization, there has been agitation for more functional and qualitative education all over the world. This agitation and concern for quality education is reflected in the inauguration of Education for All (EFA) in Jomtien (Thailand) in 1995 and Sakar in 2000. This was followed by a meeting called by the 56th General Assembly of the United Nations to discuss the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS). The effort at ensuring quality was not left to these bodies alone, other societies like society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE), Association for the advancement of computing in Education (AACE) organized international conferences and workshops aimed at ensuring quality and access to education. However, at the global level the United Nations came up with a target that all member states should achieve. They include:
- Ensuring that by the year 2015 all children particular girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to the ethnic minorities have access to a complete free compulsory and quality primary education.
- Ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults are in line with the MDGs.
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
- Achieve universal primary education by 2015 (UNESCO, 2001)
Nigeria as one of the signatory countries was compelled to implement this UNESCO mandate to provide high standard and good quality primary education for every child. In 1999, President Obasango Launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) as Strategy to bring quality education to every child. Omefaye, Edem and Okon (2008) identify poor implementation strategy, management and lack of quality assurance as responsible factors for the failure to realize the goals of UBE.
Qualitative education is a relative term. What constitute quality education vary between different countries according to their economic resources, value system, educational goals and philosophies (Bamsaiye 2015).
The democratic philosophy of education is based on the concept of free and equal access and opportunity for quality education. Depending upon a nation’s human and material resources, an egalitarian society ought to provide quality education for all its citizens.
The definition of quality is often avoided by inviting prospective vendors, to match a sample submitted by the purchaser. Many descriptions of quality are always predicated on some unit of measurement understood by the purchaser and vendor.
Thus, quality may be defined as the composite of the properties inherent in a material or product (Camloli, Haek, Ray and Stoller 1973). The performance or guaranteed output may be the basic measure of quality. This, of course, is one of the indices of quality education.
In Nigeria, a number of variables are generally considered as indices of quality education. The indices are divided into two broad categories.
The first type includes “what can be called indices of productivity of the educational system (Camloli et al; 1973). Educational activities can be divided into inputs and outputs. The inputs into education consist of the use of the buildings and equipment that are contained in them, the time of the teachers, social workers, assistants, secretaries, administrators, inspectors, and voluntary workers of all kinds and the time of the students (Don Adams, 1971). Educational outputs are the results of what the inputs have produced. In one sense, the output in any one year is everybody who leaves school in that year. In another sense, it is the thing that everybody has learnt in that year. In another sense, it may be everybody who has passed examination in that year (Don Adams, 1971).
The second type of variables or indices are called the factors – input indices. This group includes indices of the factors that on the intuitive basis can be measured to determine the quality of education (Correa, 1969). Some of the variables in this category can be quantified and others cannot. Those that cannot easily be quantified include the school climate, the general tone of the school, discipline, moral and spiritual training, just to mention a few.
Below are those indices of quality education that can be quantified.
- Quality administration and efficiency of supervision
- Quality teachers
- Availability of counseling services
- Quality equipment
- School community relationship
- Availability of quality infrastructure
- Conducive school learning environment
- Quality teaching and learning
- Appropriate teaching methods and quality of teaching aids,
- Student- teacher ratio,
- Continuous assessment of learning activities and experiences,
- Nursery and kindergarten schools
- Availability of suitable text books,
- Student – classroom ratio,
- Good system of record keeping, etc
From the forgoing analysis, the researcher therefore views quality education as the type of education in which all or most of the variables that improve standard are taken into consideration. It is a type of education that enables the achievement of stated educational objectives. When the indices are present in a school, such school is said to offer quality education. It is the influence of some of the variables of qualitative primary education on economic development that this study sought to investigate.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Problems facing primary education are numerous. Some of them include wide disparity between the expected school enrolment and the actual enrolment, poor management of information leading to conflicting statistics about the number of primary schools, inability of the country to achieve the target set, financial problem, incompetent teachers, over – crowded classrooms, narrow curriculum content, high rate of dropout and lack of quality control. These problems then led to the decline in standard at all levels of education. The clear reason is that Nigeria still operates the old model of inspection practices that were inherited from the colonial government. Evidence today has shown that this old model is ineffective, weak and outdated.
The situation is bad. The universal Primary Education deteriorated even further as the federal government diffused UPE responsibility to local governments. Serious negative consequences emerged as states began to review policies and handed some schools back to their original owners. Funding is also a problem and what articulated as free education slowly began to charge fees of various kinds. The social demand basis of educational provision at the primary level was thus sacrificed at the altar of cost benefit consideration. The outcome of primary education has failed. The majority of its pupils can hardly express themselves in written or spoken English.
In view of the above, the study is designed to examine the effects of qualitative primary education on development in Eastern Oblo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.