RESOURCES MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC POLICY ON NIGERIA EDUCATIONAL SECTOR: AN ISSUE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

ILIYA BAWA1, GARBA IBRAHIM2 AND HUSSAINI MOHAMMED NDAKWESU3

ABSTRACT

Within the first two decades of Independence in Nigeria Public Policies concerning education were made and there was rapid growth in educational sector in nearly every direction and at almost every level. As the sector operates in a changing environment it faces challenges such as: delays in disbursing funds, in effective management of education system. And shortages of learning resources resulted to poor quality of graduates. The data used for this study is based on secondary data, information from these sources are weighed and it was recommended that it is not possible to deliver effective education without some level of relevant resources and the resources must be drawn upon and put to judicious use to enable them increase wealth and public organizations including educational institutions should develop strategic plans as a means of enhancing results based management and efficiency in their operations.

 

Keywords: Education, public policy, resource, management, funds, sector.

  1. Introduction

Primary schools are the basic foundation of the educational pyramid in Nigeria (Fafunwa, 2001), meaning any serious endeavour for sustainable development in the educational sector as well as manpower training must start with the primary education. After the primary school, one is expected to pass through the secondary school. Efficient and well motivated teachers must be trained via colleges of education. Polytechnics produce technicians and technologist needed for direct employment in industries (FGN, 2000). They are to produce high and middle manpower, necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development. Universities on the other hand, are established to advance learning in diverse disciplines; promote the development of high level manpower to meet the needs of the Nigerian economy. They are also to generate information through research and disseminate such knowledge. Universities are also established to maintain and transform cultural heritage of the country (FGN, 2000).

When policies concerning education are defined or formulated, they are supposed to be rational, strategic, backed by state resources, and action, and pursued in the best interest of the country as a whole and not that of a small group of elites in the metropolis. Education, in this context, means not just the acquisition of literacy, and numerical skills, but also the ability to pass down knowledge from one generation to another. It is a process by which values are transmitted inter-and-intra generationally. It encompasses creative thinking and action that stimulates cultural change (Theodorson and Theodorson, 1969).

In Nigeria, within the first two decades of independence, there was rapid growth of educational sector in nearly every direction and at almost every level: primary, secondary, tertiary, science; technical; vocational; planning, administration and supervision; finance, infrastructure and educational aids; enrollment, reward and prestige. But the problem of imbalance between north and south, boys and girls, rural and urban access to education-remain persistent. The geographical imbalance in education produced its most intense competition of enrollment at all levels – primary, secondary and tertiary. This led to the rapid construction of schools and higher educational establishments. This vote for education in the first National Development Plan period (1962-1968) stood at 10.3 percent. It was among the top five targets of the plan (Ayo, 1988). But as physical structures increased, along with enrollment figures, the work force to deliver instruction and manage the institutions lagged behind. This lack of capacity made reliance on expatriate hands inevitable. This was more so for the northern Region than the rest of the country which could also not escape the temptation to hire the expatriate. The second National Development Plan (1970-1974) was to reflect the country’s growing economic confidence. It made bold declarations about building a strong and united country: a just and egalitarian society; a free and dynamic economy; a land of opportunity for all citizens; and a free and democratic society, these philosophical aspirations were declared under military rule. And education was made the numero uno on the social scale of the planned and actual public capital expenditure attracted 11.4 percent (Ayo, 1988).

By the time the Third National Development Plan (1975-1980) was launched, series of second generation universities were established. In addition, Polytechnic and Monotechnics also grew in number and spread. In just ten years Nigeria had introduced the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree which led to the establishmefnt of seven new universities (at Calabar, Jos, Benin, Ife, Ibadan, Lagos and Nsukka; and become one of the biggest recruiting countries of expatriate manpower in the world. The general manpower needs of the nation were so severe that…… anyone produced by the educational system at virtually any level of learning competence is immediately employed. Scholarship of all kinds and at all levels overseas are automatically taken up (Arnold, 1977).

The National Policy on Education, published for the first time a document in 1977, this document is currently in its fourth edition. Despite series of modification, the five main goals of the national policy on education remain intact. It declared Nigeria’s philosophy of education as one that believes that:-

  • Education is an instrument for national development
  • Education fosters the worth and development of the individual…
  • Every Nigeria child shall have a right to equal educational opportunities irrespective of any real or imagined disabilities…
  • There is need for functional education for the promotion of a progressive, united Nigeria…

These goals are amplified with the declaration that “…education is the most important instrument of change” and is therefore fundamental to any revolutionary “change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society”.

Though these policy statement suggest some key points of agreement on public policy on education in Nigeria. But the economic recession of the early 1980s and the SAP that was to follow in 1986, impacted negatively on the educational sector. The state, as part of its adjustment policy, withdrew subsidy from the social sector. And education took a direct hit. The recurrent financing per student in the University declined by more than 30% while student enrollment increased by 88%, revealing a wide gap between NUC budgetary expectation and federal government allocation to the University system. Moreover, 80% (i.e 320,000) of candidates seeking JAMB admission, out of about 400,000 applicants are unable to gain a place in the University system (Moja, 2000, as cited by Abdulkarim 2013) Abdulkarim (2013) noted that the number of public universities has grown from 6 in the 1960s to 73 as at 2000 and is rapidly increasing. In addition, new universities are being established by federal, state governments, private capital and voluntary agencies. There is also expansion in number of institutions, programmes and enrollment at the technical, vocational, college of education and polytechnic levels of education. Yet the demand for post-secondary education is not relenting-even as funding has failed to corresponding improve in real terms. It is not possible to deliver effective education without some level of relevant resources. The importance of resources in the management of education cannot be over emphasized.

  1. Statement of the Problem

The education sector in Nigeria operates in a changing environment and it faces challenges such as: delays in disbursing funds, lack of teachers’ motivation, ineffective management of education system, the decline of staff quality is a consequence of obsolete research facilities. Laboratories are not well-equipped or are practically non-existent. Most primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions offer computer science courses without computer laboratories, let alone internet connectivity. Libraries have become achieves of stale, archaic and irrelevant materials. They hold out-of-date collections. These shortage of learning resources resulted to poor quality of graduates.

The researchers of this study are of the view that curriculum planning and physical expansion in these schools without adequate and sustainable management of human and material resources would definitely fail to produce the desired results.

  • Research Methodology

The data used for this research work is based on secondary data. It examines educational sector in Nigeria. The study employed exploratory research design and explored published and electronic materials, journals, seminars papers and other materials related to the study. Information from these sources are weighed in relation to the topic from which Conclusion and Recommendation are made.

  1. Literature Review

The Concept of Resources

While resources have been defined in various ways to suit various purposes, almost all definitions accept that resources are necessary tools for the creation of wealth. According to Williams (2010), the word, “resource” developed out of the Latin phrase “re surgere” literarily interpreted as: again (re) to rise (surgere), or “to rise again.” “Re surgere” developed into the French word “resource” meaning “relief or recovery” which, in turn, developed into  the English word, “resource” defined as something that can be turned to for support or help; an available supply that can be drawn upon when needed; and/or means that can be used to an advantage. Hornby (2000:999) defines resource as something that a country, an organization or an individual has and can use, especially to increase wealth; a thing that gives help, support or comfort when needed. Lynch (2004) provides a more comprehensive and detailed approach to the word by defining it to include: Useful land or minerals such as coal, or oil that exists in a country and can be used to increase its wealth; All the money, property, skills, etc. that are available and can be used when needed; Personal qualities such as courage and determination that are necessary in dealing with a difficult situation; and Books, films, pictures, etc., use by teachers and students to provide information.

According to Ochuba (2001), Resources are the basic tools necessary in the effective performance of tasks and for the growth and development of human organizations. The constitution of a resource is determined by the uses to which it can be put.  Generally, a resource  is identified  by  its  ability  to  solve  problems,  and  yield  more  wealth  when  applied  to  economic  situations.

Martin (2005), resources are classified as visible when they exist and can be quantified in the form of human beings, land, money, property, books, pictures, and so on.  Resources  are invisible  when  they  exist  in  the  form  of  skills  and  physical dexterity and can only be measured in terms of productivity levels and quality of work. It is difficult to determine who has what skill and what level of physical dexterity if tasks are not assigned to human beings. The human beings who possess the skills and the physical dexterity constitute the class of resources known as human resources. The other types  of  visible  resources  that  can  be  applied  by  human  resources  in  the  production  process  constitute material resources.

Black (2003:213) separates human capital from other human and physical resources, by describing it as: The  present  discounted  value  of  the  additional  productivity,  over  and  above  the  product  of  unskilled labor, of people with skills and qualifications. Human capital may be acquired through explicit training or on-the-job experience. Like physical capital, it is liable to obsolescence through changes in technology or tastes. Unlike physical capital, it cannot be used as collateral for loans.

Human capital is therefore consciously created through education and training. While accepting the general economic definition of land as the factor of production supplied by nature, Begg et al. (2004) believe that the quality of land can be improved by the application of human expertise. Thus a farmer is able to produce better land by applying labour to extract weeds or fertilizer to improve soil balance. Similarly, in the field of education, professionals are required in the effective manipulation of educational resources to achieve the desired balance in the production of educated labor.

According  to  Black  (2003),  the  cost  of  creating  human  capital  falls  mostly  on  individuals  or  their  families, philanthropic institutions or the state. Financial capital is a significant resource often assumed to be a part of physical capital. It is actually the basis for the procurement, utilization and maintenance of all other types of resources. Without a strong financial base, it will be  difficult  to  produce  the  right  types  of  goods  and  services  in  desirable  quantity  and  quality.  Since the  human economy is a monetary economy, the availability of  funds in any organization or institution is vital to its productive process  and  the  quality  of  its  product  and  service. Defining  finance  as  the  science  of  controlling  money,  Ogbonna (2001)  expands  his  approach  by  citing  Reich (2002)  who  saw  finance  as  a  body  of  facts,  principles  and theories dealing with the raising and using of funds by individuals, business firms, educational institutions and governments.

Ogbonna (2001) rightly deduced from Pandit’s definition that finance is the process of raising, allocating, controlling and prudently managing funds for the purpose of achieving institutional objectives. The  foregoing  analysis  clearly  shows  that  resources are  assets  only  to  those  who  can  identify  them  and effectively  employ  them  for  the  purpose  of  achieving  clearly  defined  objectives.  This is because resources alone cannot yield additional wealth. They must be drawn upon and put to judicious use to enable them to increase wealth or productivity. Thus, the prudent management of education funds involves decisions on how to procure, expand, utilize and properly account for funds directed at the achievement of education objectives in general or institutional goals in particular.

Types of Educational Resources

According to Hadar and Ziderman (2010), that which constitutes a resource in education is determined by the level of education and the type of education to be provided. The standard resources for all education types and levels are prescribed by the federal government. These include  professionally  trained  teachers  and  qualified  teaching  staff  in  all  subject  areas,  government  approved curriculum,  teaching  aids,  school  buildings  and  furniture  and  the  right  caliber  of  administrators  to  ensure  effective school  management.  The  resources  necessary  for  the  provision  of  primary  and  secondary  education  in  Nigeria  are prescribed by the national policy on education (FME, 2004). At the tertiary level, the federal government works in collaboration  with  the  Nigerian  Universities  Commission,  the  National  Board  for  Technical  Education  and  the National Commission for Colleges of Education in ensuring the provision and maintenance of standard recommended resources.

Hadar and Ziderman (2010) opined that, educational resources have been classified into four groups and include (a) physical resources such as school plants,  classrooms,  offices,  recreational  facilities  and  the  entire  school  ground;  (b)  material  resources  including instructional aids, stationeries, education plans,  objectives and prescribed methodologies; (c) human  resources (both teaching and non-teaching staff); and (d) financial resources made up of all monetary input into the education system directed towards the achievement of specified educational objectives.

Time is a resource that is highly limited in supply and critical to education, but often taken for granted by the providers of educational resources.  Time  is  a  vital complementary  resource  that  is  indispensable  in  the  effective harnessing  and  utilization  of  the  physical,  material,  financial  and  human  resources  in  the  school  system.  Ebong (2007:13) defines time as “the continuum in which events succeed one another from the past through the present, to the future.” All school system activities are carried out within a time frame which may be limited to minutes, hours, days, months or even years.  Time  mismanagement  constrains the  effective  achievement  of  the  objective  for  which  a particular educational resource is required. Effective resource management will be difficult to achieve in any school where time is disregarded.

Information,  another  vital  resource  that  complements  the  use  of  other  resources  identified  in  this  work,  is critical  in  the  effective  management  of  any  organization. Information  is  defined  as  “facts  or  details  that  tell  you something  about  a  situation,  person  or  event”  (Lynch, 2004).  Specifically, information is a service facility for applying facts or news, and law; it is a numerical measure of uncertainty of an experimental outcome (William 2010). Adequate  information  and  its  proper  management  are  central  to  effective  decision  making  (Opeke  2004).  The relevance of information as an educational resource cannot be over-emphasized. It is believed that most educational management  problems  in  Nigeria  are  traceable  to  inadequate  information  and  a  general  lack  of  proper  information management techniques (Okorosaye-Orubite, 2008; Akinwumiju and Agabi, 2008).

In  light of  the  above  analysis,  two  classes  of  resources  can  be  identified.  The  first  consists  of  concrete resources  that  can  be  physically  quantified  and  their  effect  on  education  achievement  measured  in  terms  of  their quantity  and  quality.  In  this  class  of  resources  belong  human  resources,  school  plant  facilities,  funding  (financial resources), and instructional materials. The second class of resources (of equal importance), which consists of abstract resources  such  as  time  and  information,  can  only  be measured  in  terms  of  their  effect  on  job  performance.  Good knowledge  and  the  appropriate  utilization  of  these  major  classes  of  resources  are  vital  in  the  achievement  of effectiveness in resource management in the school system, especially in the present context of global economic crises and a consistent decrease in federal monetary allocation to education. The school manager must be well informed of the existence of education resources and know when to collect and use such resources. He/she should also be able to adopt a classificatory method that is suitable to the level of education at which he/she is operating.

The Role of Resources in Educational Management

The importance of resources in the management of education cannot be over emphasized. It is not possible to deliver effective education without some level of relevant resources. This has been highlighted by various education analysts and professionals. As observed by Nchor (2008), instructional resources provide a solid basis for conceptual thinking; increase the propensity of the brain to retain information; make learning more interesting; and take care of differences that may exist among learners. Finance, as a resource, plays a crucial role in the development of education (Kosemani, 2005).  This  supports  Fadipe’s  (2000)  opinion  that  proper  funding  and  a  good  supply  of  qualified  teachers  can greatly improve the facility index of a school.

Ochuba (2001) has a view that, in addition to all these benefits, it is important to note that the quality and quantity of resources available to any education system provides a basis for the assessment of the managerial abilities of an education manager. This is because  even  the  most  resourceful  manager  requires  a  resource  base  upon  which  to  exhibit  resourcefulness.  For instance,  a  school  principal  in  a  rural  school  with unfurnished  classrooms,  a  large  enrolment,  poor  supply  of instructional materials and a grossly inadequate number of trained teachers cannot be said to have a good resource base. His counter- part in a sub-urban area, who is managing a school with a similar teacher-pupil ratio, well- furnished classrooms,  and  a  regular  and  good  supply  of  instructional  materials,  has  a  better  resource  base.  Efforts at resourcefulness may yield better results for the latter because of an improved resource base.

 

Human Capital Theory

In the 1960s, social scientists became interested in the studies related to the economic value of investment in education. To have right doctors, engineers, good lecturers, teachers etc. government needs to invest more than its expenditure. This view was generated by the human capital theorists’ notion that the most productive course to national development of any society lies in the advancement of its population, which is its human capital (Scott, 2000).

From this view of Human Capital theory, an educated population is a productive population; education contributes directly to the growth of the national income of the society by enhancing the skills and productive ability of employees. Human capital theorists argue that economic growth and development should only take place when technology becomes more efficient and when societies utilize human resources in the use of technology. Human capital theorists assume that improved technology leads to greater production and that employees acquire the skills for the use of technology through formal education. Thus, when societies invest in education, they invest to increase the productivity of the population.

Hence, for the purpose of this research, the Human Capital theory is used. This is because if budget is being allocated and executed well on training students and staff, it will lead to greater productivity on employees, increased the skills in their areas of specialization and also lead to efficiency at work. This had consequently drastically reduced the quest for our Human and Intellectual capital to go abroad in search of better operational environment and its adverse consequences on the economy. This can only be achieved if the learning environment is good, with good infrastructures like good classrooms, good laboratories for practical purposes and research grants are given for further trainings.

  1. Conclusion and Recommendation

Education cannot operate in a vacuum. Its success depends on its context. A friendlier context is likely to impact positively on management of the sector, which in turn will return back to the society in the form of better products of a more efficiently managed educational system. It is not possible to deliver effective education without some level of relevant resources, because the most resourceful manager requires a resource base upon which to exhibit resourcefulness. And policy problems are products of felt needs. Such needs don’t necessarily have to be everyone’s desire. But they reflect competing demands and interest. Public policy and education in Nigeria produced its own dynamics of competing demands and interests. Resources alone cannot yields additional wealth, they must be drawn upon and put to judicious use to enable them to increase wealth or productivity. Thus, the product management of education funds involves decisions on how to procure, expand, utilize and properly account for funds directed at the achievement of education objectives.

Therefore, government, both federal and state, should as a matter of national urgency, provide adequate funds for the rehabilitation of student’s hostels, classrooms, laboratories, studies, engineering workshops, water and electricity supply, teaching facilities, and funds for building of new classrooms, teaching and research facilities in the schools.

Public organizations including all educational institutions should develop strategic plans as a means of enhancing results based management and efficiency in their operations. Resource are the basic tools necessary in the effective performance of tasks and for the growth and development of human organisation, measurement of performance in a school set-up should therefore include academic excellence, land infrastructure development, discipline and school culture, stakeholder satisfaction, financial stability and excellence in non-academic activities.


 

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