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EFFECT OF NIGERIAN POLITICAL DISPENSATION ON CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL

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Education has been considered the key to effective development strategies. As such Nigeria like most countries has adopted education as the instrument par excellence for achieving national objectives. Education realizes this goal through a well
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  Essays and Researches in Education, Arts and Social Sciences: A Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Rose Ebenebe April, 2017   pp. 254 –  271 1 EFFECT OF NIGERIAN POLITICAL DISPENSATION ON CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL By  Anthony Osinachi Okorafor, Ph. D. Department of Vocational Education Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka ao.okorafor@unizik.edu.ng  +2348037408381 Philomena Nnennaya. Okorafor, Ph. D   School of Education  Abia state College of Education (Technical) Arochukwu  pn.okorafor@gmail.com; +2348067767686 &  Sunday Nwabueze Wogu School of Technical Education  Abia State College of Education (Technical) Arochukwu Sundaywogu1@gmail.com +2348030986946  Abstract Education has been considered the key to effective development strategies. As such Nigeria like most countries has adopted education as the instrument par excellence for achieving national objectives. Education realizes this goal through a well designed and implemented curriculum and instruction. Owing to the critical position of curriculum and instruction in driving national objectives, the political interest and commitment in curriculum and instruction determine the success or failure of the curriculum objectives. Therefore, the paper examines the Nigerian political dispensation as it affects its curriculum and instruction at the tertiary level. Introduction Politics permeates every human activity and education is not an exception. It is practically impossible for large group of people with diversified ideology, culture, background and belief to coexist as a polity or nation without the machinery of politics. It is succinct then to claim that politics determines and shapes all matters that borders any polity. It is no news that education is fundamental to the building and sustenance of any polity. Affirming this fact Ominyi and Odoemenam (2011) opined that any nation that decides to gamble with her educational programs stands the risk to under development, poverty and socio-economic destitution. Besides, as rightly claimed by Cookey (1972) citizens are made, not born and citizenship can be taught. Thus the understanding and practice of citizenship among any nation is a true measure  Essays and Researches in Education, Arts and Social Sciences: A Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Rose Ebenebe April, 2017   pp. 254 –  271 2 of such nation’s educational system. From the global perspective, economic and social developments are increasingly driven by the advancement and application of knowledge. No doubt Nigerian government regards education as instrument par excellence for effecting national development. Her philosophy on education is based on development of individuals into a sound and effective citizen and the provision of equal educational opportunities for all citizens (U.S. Department of States, 2011; Federal Republic of Nigeria-FRN, 2004). The educational programs to achieve the National desired goals is usually transformed and driven through curriculum and instruction. Therefore, the focus of this paper is on how politics in Nigeria has affected curriculum and instruction. To critically drive its focus, the paper examines; Nigerian Political dispensation, the concept of curriculum and instruction, why politics should affect curriculum and instruction, how politics in Nigeria has affected curriculum and instruction and then suggested way forward and draw conclusion. Political Dispensation in Nigeria Politics borders on the processes, procedures and strategies developed and applied in a polity, to entrust the power and authority of control of the state machineries in; allocating resources, making and enforcing laws, and taking decisions that shapes the life of every member of the state. Politics evolve out of group life and social conflict, and it is machinery for management and resolution of social and group conflict and tension. The system, processes and procedures of politics and political activities (practices) in a polity within a certain period of time is described as its political dispensation. Political instability has characterized the Nigerian political dispensation. As such the political dispensations have not recorded much success. One way of measuring the success or failure of a political system in modern societies is to assess how successful it is in developing the conditions for satisfying the basic needs of the people it governs. One of these basic needs is helping to create an efficient and productive economy through its ability to mobilize or generate  Essays and Researches in Education, Arts and Social Sciences: A Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Rose Ebenebe April, 2017   pp. 254 –  271 3 adequate resources (financial, human and material), and to optimally utilize these resources to meet basic needs. Taylor (1992) noted the presupposition that the capacity of the political system to achieve these goals depends on the style or approach adopted in pursuing them. Several scholars have argued that the crisis Nigeria is facing stems from the structurally –  defective pattern of governance characterized mostly by centralization. This has manifested itself not only in the political and administrative realms, but also in the allocation and distribution of human, financial and material resources (Ayo, 2000). Rather than serve as institutions pursuing and meeting public interest, Nigeria public administrators have been accused of beings a “parasitic class” exploiting the wealth of the nation and the labor of   its disposed masses in alliance with foreign capitalistic interests (Anise cited in Ayo, 2000). This poor political dispensation has adversely affected the curriculum and instruction. As rightly observed by Olowu (1996), the country’s public utilities ha ve virtually collapse. It will be charitable to describe the education system as epileptic. It is difficult to say whether the public schools are open or closed. Curriculum and Instruction Okorafor (2003) has regarded curriculum as the life wire and the heart of every educational program. Curriculum is an embodiment of all the knowledge, skills and attitudes which a nation, through her schools, imparts to her citizens. Mkpa (1987) viewed curriculum as the vehicle through which the school strives to achieve educational ends, be they, those of the nation, state, local government or even community. Extending the definition Ogunyenmi (2010) portrayed curriculum as the planned and unplanned experiences which learners receive in the process of their formal or semi-formal education for the purpose of becoming rounded persons who can make meaningful contributions to the betterment of their society and the world. Curriculum may therefore seem to include all the learner experiences in the school and outside the school that are included in a program which has been devised or prepared to help  Essays and Researches in Education, Arts and Social Sciences: A Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Rose Ebenebe April, 2017   pp. 254 –  271 4 the child develop mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and morally to meet the demand/taste of the society or nation. These experiences may include those gained through subject matter or interaction with others or direct experiences and that which is secured through utilization of textbooks and other learning materials. Instruction on the other hand relates to the techniques and procedures, materials and processes undertaking to convey or drive the curriculum. Thus the curriculum and instruction include the content, the materials of instruction, the techniques and procedures of instruction, personal influences and evaluation procedure. Should Political Dispensation Affect Curriculum and Instruction at the Tertiary Level? Political dispensation is concerned with the exercise of power and authority in determining and achieving a nation’s philosophies and goals, through the allocation of public resources, formulating and implementing policies, laws and strategies that lead to national development. Education on its part has been adopted as the instrument par excellence (FRN, 2004) for achieving National Objectives through human capacity building. Curriculum and instruction is the interpretation, breakdown, and execution of the national policy on education into implementable skills, knowledge, attitudes and strategies for national capacity building and development. It means that curricula and instruction are the vehicles that drive the educational philosophies and objectives of a nation, which in turn determines national development. No nation striving for development can afford to neglect its educational system. This is because the interest and commitment a nation accords to her educational system, greatly affects its curriculum and instruction. Politic can greatly affect and even change educational philosophies, and consequently the curriculum and instruction. For instance, the “Race to the Top” bill for educational funding and development from the United States Government has lead her states to rewriting their educational philosophies to earn funding to implement the new strategies based on the program’s requirement (New Jersey Board of Education, 2010).  Essays and Researches in Education, Arts and Social Sciences: A Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Rose Ebenebe April, 2017   pp. 254 –  271 5 Again in 1945, the Elliot Commission submitted two reports on the future of higher education to the secretary of states of the British colonies in West Africa. The majority report was supported by nine members of the commission, who were members of the ruling party –  British Conservative Party. The minority report was supported by five members led by Creech Jones of the Labour Party. In barely a month, after the submission and adoption of the majority report, the Labour Party won the general election and Creech Jones became the secretary of states for the colonies. Jones unceremoniously reversed his predecessor’s decision by rejecting the majority report and accepting the minority report (Fafunwa, 1974). Curriculum issues either in an explicit or an implicit manner are inextricably linked to current thinking and action on educational concerns and reforms around the world. Experiences of educational reform almost all over the world have shown that curriculum is at the same time a policy and a technical issue, a process and a product, involving a wide range of institutions and actors (Ajibola, 2008). Curriculum conception, formulation, review and implementation are all human activities that take place within a polity (Ogunyemi, 2010). The ultimate goal of curriculum is the production of the type of citizens desired by the society (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004; Kahne & Middangh, 2008) and this makes the curriculum and instructional process vulnerable to manipulation of political actors. Now that Nigeria is in a democratic dispensation, curriculum and instruction should produce citizens who are active and informed voters with tolerance and respect for diversity. Lewis and Schnupp – Harris (2006) noted as the society becomes ever more divers and complex, it is increasingly essential that the youths are educated to be active and informed citizens who understand that tolerance and respect for diversity are key to a successful democracy. Dee (2004) had opined that increased cognitive ability makes it easier to process complex political information, to make decisions and circumvent the various bureaucratic and technological impediments to civic participation.
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