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1.1 Background of the study
Education has been at the top of the priority lists of some previous Nigerian governments yet the education system is still far from being ready for the challenges of the new century. Nigeria is not the only country whose education system is unprepared. A closer examination of many systems, especially in a developing context, indicate that most of the educational systems in developing countries are not yet ready to prepare students for the contemporary global world. The education needs of an emergent Nigeria are well articulated by Pai Obanya when he suggests that Nigerian education should be marked by a continuous search for excellence supported by the political will for good governance and transparency. Nigeria’s “National Policy on Education,” published in 1977 was revised in 1981 and 1990. The policy document has been revised to ensure that the policies address the perceived needs of the government in power and to try to ensure that the education sector is supportive of government development goals. Following recent political changes, which saw the reintroduction of democracy in the country, the government acknowledged the need to revise and update the National Policy on Education once more to ensure that the education system meets the needs of a new democracy. The entire education system would benefit from coherent national policy development rather than piecemeal reforms. The revision of educational policies is being considered as a long-term goal, due to other pressing needs. The discussion of new policies would benefit from careful attention to the recommendations made and adopted at international meetings hosted by UNESCO and other donors for the various sectors of education. New policies have to address the needs of a new democracy, its role in the new global order, while reflecting the realities of Nigeria’s economy. The new democratic government has already demonstrated its political will in working to rebuild the Nigerian economy. Education is once more a priority in its broad national development strategy. The work done thus far would benefit greatly from internal and external support by foundations, business, NGOs and international development agencies to ensure that the goals set are realistic, meet the needs of a new democracy and are economically sound. It is quite clear that the challenges the country will face if it is to reform the education system will include financial constraints, the need for new expertise, and a broad range of technical assistance. In addition it must be recognized that funding needs for education compete with a range of other critical needs in health, public safety, and social welfare. This presents enormous challenges for the new government and to the donor community. The Nigerian HEIs comprise at present 122 universities (36 Federal, 36 State, 50 Private), 71 polytechnics, 47 monotechnics and 79 colleges of education with geographical distribution as shown in Fig. 1. The uneven spread of these institutions over the country is obvious with the southern part of the country having the highest concentration of these institutions. The uneven distribution of the federal universities probably informed the establishment in one fell swoop of 9 universities by the Federal government in 2011 towards ensuring a federal university in each of the 36 states in the federation. The higher education (HE) sector in Nigeria can be described, to a large extent, as a sector locked in an iron triangle defined broadly by the vectors of Access, Quality and Cost as depicted below. But why has it been referred to as an ‘iron triangle’? This is be due to the following factors: one, most, if not all, of the identified initiatives by government in the sector can be grouped under the three vectors; and two, the observed outcome of the interplay of the various vector-driven initiatives as illustrated below. Suppose, in response to the increasing demand for higher education, the access is increased by admitting more students through establishing new institutions and/or expanding the existing ones as being done in Nigeria at present; with the growing number, the recruitment, training and payment of lecturers have not been able to keep pace in Nigeria as will be shown later based on available data. The cost, in terms of funding and financing of the system, goes up; class sizes increase and, as to be expected, quality of learning goes down. If quality is to be improved through provision of more books and learning materials in support of lectures, coupled with excellent teaching and learning environment, as being done in some of the private universities in the country, the cost of teaching goes up leading to higher fees as demonstrated by private universities charging the highest tuition fees in the country and admitting only a few that can afford such fees (less access). Thus, any attempt to improve one side of the triangle leads to undesirable changes in the other two sides; hence the description as an ‘iron triangle’. Thus, the situation calls for a holistic approach to handling these key vectors in planning interventions in the sector. However, of interest in this study are not only the issues of access, quality, cost, but also, standardization and governance of the tertiary education system at both national and international levels. In education as in other fi elds of human endeavour, every offi cial action of an organisation must have a backing or a basis. It is this purpose that a policy serves. A policy defi nes the area in which decisions are to be made, but it does not make the decision. It usually provides a general guide that facilitates decision-making. Educational policies provide the direction for educational activities. The formulation of an educational policy sets the stage for implementation which, according to Ukeje (1986), is perhaps the most important aspect of planning. Planning is usually an action which succeeds policy formulation but precedes implementation. Unfortunately, educational policies and goal attainment have been irreconcilable due to implementation constraints. Perhaps this accounts for the observation made by Governor Oyakhilome of Rivers State in an address sent to the Convention of the Nigerian Association for Educational Administration and Planning in 1986. He expressed concern about the problem of policy implementation thus: We know it is difficult to realize planned objectives one hundred percent. But our experience in planning education in this country shows a disturbing gap between planned objectives and attained results. As professionals in the field of education, it may be pertinent to identify whether those critical gaps are results of faulty planning or faulty implementation (Oyakhilome 1986:2). Policy implementation in education is a conspicuous national problem that has taken center stage in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The poor performance of the education sector in Nigeria has become very worrisome. What is the problem? Is the educational policy faulty or is it the implementation that is faulty? What are the implications for national development? These are the issues explored in this paper, based on a literature review approach. The fi ndings blame the distortions in the educational system on the ineffective implementation engendered primarily by lack of political will, lack of continuity of programs, and corruption. The situation has hindered national development and, until urgent action is taken to review Nigeria’s educational system, its national aspirations will continue to be compromised. Over the years, the gap between educational policies and goal attainment due to inadequate implementation of these policies has become of great concern to many observers. The study is interested in identifying the challenges of meeting global standard in education, following a clarification of the causes and effects of the problem of poor policy implementation, and it implications for Nigerian universities
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to ascertain the challenges of meeting global standard in education and its implications for Nigerian universities. To aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;
i) To examine the role of educational policies in standardizing Nigeria educational system in line with the global world
ii) To examine the relationship between Nigeria educational policy and standard of education in the country
iii) To examine the effect of poor educational standard on national development
iv) To examine the role of government in standardizing Nigeria educational policy
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To successfully complete the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there is no significant relationship between education policies and educational standard in Nigerian universities
H1: there is a significant relationship between education policies and educational standard in Nigerian universities
H02: poor educational standard does not have any significant effect on national development
H2: poor educational standard does have a significant effect on national development.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the ministry of education, as the study will remind them of the need to scrutinize the educational policy to meet global standard. The study will also be useful to the management of Nigeria higher institutions, as the study seek to enumerate the role of the management in implementing the national policy on education in Nigeria. The study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point for further research, finally, the study will be useful to researcher, academia’s, students, lecturers and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers challenges of meeting global standard in education and its implications for Nigerian universities. In the cause of the study, there were some factors which militate against the scope of the studies;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research
Learning standards describe educational objectives i.e., what students should have learned by the end of a course, grade level, or grade span but they do not describe any particular teaching practice, curriculum, or assessment method
A university an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education.
Education policy consists of the principles and government policies in the educational sphere as well as the collection of laws and rules that govern the operation of education systems.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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