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Discuss the Etymology of Government in Education

THE ETYMOLOGY OF GOVERNMENT IN EDUCATION

Introduction

Formal schooling is today paid for and almost entirely administered by government bodies or non-profit institutions. This situation has developed gradually and is now taken so much for granted that little explicit attention is any longer directed to the reasons for the special treatment of schooling even in countries that are predominantly free enterprise in organization and philosophy. The result has been an indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility.

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Governmental intervention into education can be rationalized on two grounds: The first is the existence of substantial “neighborhood effects,” i.e., circumstances under which the action of one individual imposes significant costs on other individuals for which it is not feasible to make him compensate them, or yields significant gains to other individuals for which it is not feasible to make them compensate him — circumstances that make voluntary exchange impossible. The second is the paternalistic concern for children and other irresponsible individuals. Neighborhood effects and paternalism have very different implications for (1) general education for citizenship, and (2) specialized vocational education. The grounds for governmental intervention are widely different in these two areas and justify very different types of action.

Moreover, Formal education has always been a tool for governing bodies to teach their people the skills that they need to perform work for them. Education has never been accessible to all people within a society until the 19th century. The rise of industry has led to a demand in an educated workforce, thus raising the general level of education in countries. Governments started setting up a compulsory education systems, thus raising the general level of education as well.

Defining education

Etymologically, education derived its meaning from two Latin words ‘educare’ and ‘educere’ respectively. The word ‘educare’ is interpreted to mean; to train or to form or to mould. Education here seems to be sociologically biased. In other words, educare implies that the society trains, forms or moulds the individual to achieve the societal needs and aspirations. This perspective of education has little to consider on the natural potentialities of the individual child.

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. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators and also learners may also educate themselves.  Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

What is government?

The group of people with the authority to govern a country or state; a particular ministry in office. A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.

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In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy.

The Etymology of Government in Education

For a clearer understanding the topic, it is pertinent to first consider what etymology is all about. Etymology has to do with the origin something and the historical development of its meaning. According to Wikipedia Etymology is the study of the history of words. By extension, the term “the etymology” means the origin of the particular word and for place names, there is a specific term, toponymy

The general trend in our times toward increasing intervention by the state in economic affairs has led to a concentration of attention and dispute on the areas where new intervention is proposed and to an acceptance of whatever intervention has so far occurred as natural and unchangeable. The current pause, perhaps reversal, in the trend toward collectivism offers an opportunity to re-examine the existing activities of government and to make a fresh assessment of the activities that are and those that are not justified.

Education is today largely paid for and almost entirely administered by governmental bodies or non-profit institutions. This situation has developed gradually and is now taken so much for granted that little explicit attention is any longer directed to the reasons for the special treatment of education even in countries that are predominantly free enterprise in organization and philosophy. The result has been an indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility.

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Western or formal education was started in Nigeria in 1842 — only at the primary level — by the Christian missionaries who managed the educational system according to their respective philosophies.

The missionary organizations available then were the Chord missionary society, the Wesleyan Methodist, and the Catholic.

Secondary education was established in 1859 and the first secondary school was CMS Grammar school, Lagos. The reason behind the delay of secondary schools was not well known. Though, there are insinuations that it was because the missionaries thought that secondary education can induce some critical thinking in people, which may not be helpful for their policies.

During this period, the British colonial government couldn’t interfere in the education system due to some political and financial factors. But in 1872, they started to intervene in the education system by giving donations to the missionary societies to support education.

In 1882, the colonial government brought a document- Education ordinance, with the aim of having total control on education. This was their first formal pronouncement in education in Nigeria. Schools were classified then into Government and private school. The government school were financed entirely through public funds but the private only receive little aid from public fund

The 1882 education ordinance was cumbersome to implement in Nigeria because the curriculum, the method, and the medium of communication was too foreign for a Nigerian child. All these led to the failure of the ordinance and another ordinance was provided in 1887. The new ordinance was seen as the first effective effort made by the colonial government to aid education. Though, only some metropolises in Lagos were covered then.

More foreign teachers were employed, more schools were established and financial encouragements were given to the missions, voluntary agencies and private individuals to establish more schools.

After amalgamation, Lord Fredrick Lugard – then the Governor General of Nigeria, set up some new ideas. These ideas formed major part of 1916 ordinance. The ordinance came into existence exactly on 21st of December, 1916. Since the ordinance took place after amalgamation, it was able to take care of the country as a whole.

The northerners had for long been resisting the intrusion of western education either from the colonial government or the missionaries. Lugard met with leaders from the north to convince them that the education will not affect the Islamic tradition which is more paramount to the northerners.

After 73 years from the date of establishment of the first secondary school, the first higher education institution was established in 1932. The first institution was the Yaba Higher College. The college was established in 1932, but commenced studies in1934.

In 1948, The University College Ibadan was created, starting with just 104 students. The number of universities rose from one to five in 1962. And in the 1970s and 1980s, an appreciable number of higher institutions was established. Statistics show that, in 1980, the number of students that gained admission into primary school was about 12 million, 1.2 million for secondary school, and 240,000 at the university level.

Today, western education has suffered many damages. The standard of education that the schools were known for is no more. Nigerian university graduates lack the proper knowledge and skills to acquire employment. Measures must be put in place for Nigerian education to attain its past glory.

History of Nigerian Educational System

The Nigerian educational system has been through stages from the colonial to the post-independence era. The amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914 brought people of different ethnic groups and faith together, as one nation thereby creating a society that necessitated the adoption of a federal structure.

Also, the activities of the missionaries in the predominately Muslim north were restricted by the British policy of indirect rule.

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This curtailed the spread of western education and the Christian religion, leading to a sizeable educational gap between eras.

The system of education in use today in Nigeria is the Universal Basic Education (UBE)  also known as the 9-3-4 system which was introduced to replace the 6-3-3-4 system.

This newly adopted system took of in 2006 and it is expected to be reshaped to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target.

The system mandates that a child will have a compulsory 9 years of basic education up to JSS 3. He/she then moves on to spend 3 years in senior secondary school. The next stage is the tertiary stage where degrees are handed out after 4 years.

Education System pre-Independence

The clamor for self government and educational relevance by Nigerian nationalists which gained momentum in 1944 started the educational expansion in Nigeria.

The development drove the promulgation of the 1948 Education Ordinance, responsible for decentralizing educational administration in the country.

Features: In the Southern part of Nigeria, the educational system at that time comprised of a 4 year junior primary education, then a four year senior primary education and a six year secondary education.

In the northern part however, it was 4 years of junior primary schooling, 3 year middle school and 6 year secondary classes.

The clamor for self government by Nigerians resulted in two constitutional conferences that brought political leaders and the colonial government together between 1951 and 1954.

The resolutions involved drafting a new federal constitution. The Education Law of 1955 in the Western Region, The Education laws of the Eastern and Northern Regions of 1956, and the Lagos Education Ordinance in 1957 were the resulting outcomes.

The different regions had administrative features and statutory systems of education that were alike, comprising of primary, post primary and further education.

The education gap that was existing because of the insistence of the Muslim north to reject Western form of education was widened further with the introduction of the Universal Primary education in the  Western and Eastern regions of the country in the 1950s. Qur’anic and traditional method thrived in the Muslim north.

First 20 Years Of Independence

The National Curriculum Conference was convened in 1969 to review the educational system. It came up with new national goals for Nigeria that would determine the future and direction of education in the country.

This period also coincided with the takeover of mission schools by the federal government as education was now largely seen as a huge government venture and not a private enterprise.

By the year 1976, the oil boom gave the federal government an improved revenue position, which motivated it to embark on the ambitious Universal free Primary Education (UPE) programme.

The objective of the UPE was to give all children between ages 6-12 years, free primary education to bridge the educational gap and reduce the plummeting illiteracy levels. The program took off with high expectations but failed in its goal of eliminating illiteracy due to lack of proper planning.

Features: The system of education at this time was the 7-5-2-3 educational policy: 7 years primary education, 5 years secondary education, 2 years in higher certificate levels and 3 years tertiary education.

The intent of government to develop an educational policy that factored in the will of Nigerians brought about the 1977 National Policy on Education which was Nigeria’s first indigenous policy on education.

The 6-3-3-4 System Of Education

The National Policy on Education of 1977 was towards addressing the relevance of education in the heart and minds of Nigerians.

The policy placed the responsibility for centralized control and funding of the education sector on the shoulders of the federal government. The 6-3-3-4 system which was modeled after the American system was introduced by the policy.

Features: The 6-3-3-4 system mandates that a child will spend 6 years of primary school education, 3 years of junior secondary school education, 3 years of senior secondary school education, and 4 years of tertiary education. This policy sought to make universal free primary education (UPE) mandatory for all children.

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In the northern part of the country, the Qur’anic system with its many problems continued to be the preferred form and it was on course with the national system because there was no attempt to make it compulsory even though the UPE mandated free and universal primary education.

The 9-3-4 System Of Education

The National policy on education was revised again in 2004 to meet the developmental needs of Nigeria. The revised version prescribed a Universal Basic Education (UBE) program.

The policy proposed that admissions into tertiary institutions will be based on 60 percent of science programs and 40 percent based on humanities.

Features: The 9-3-4 system of education mandates 9 years continued education made up of 6 years primary education and 3 years junior secondary education, 3 years of senior secondary education and 4 years of tertiary education.

However, the policy is failing to achieve its vision for higher education as tertiary institutions are not capable of meeting the prescribed 60:40 science and humanities ratio because candidates prefer the humanities due to social demands.

Summary

Since the colonial era, the Nigerian government has been expressing commitment to education, believing there will be accelerated national development once illiteracy and ignorance has been tackled.

That notwithstanding, Nigeria has many problems such as unequal access to education, the educational gap between the southern and the northern part of the country, and inadequate finance and infrastructure.

These bottlenecks continue to hamper the effectiveness of the educational system. In order to minimize these issues, it will be wise to involve people in the policy making process and attention must be given to reviewing all the good parts of previous policies whether in the colonial or post-independence era.

As we have witnessed so far, a stable democracy will provide a suitable environment for implementing the National education policy effectively.

This re-examination of the role of government in education suggests that the growth of governmental responsibility in this area has been unbalanced. Government has appropriately financed general education for citizenship, but in the process it has been led also to administer most of the schools that provide such education. Yet, as we have seen, the administration of schools is neither required by the financing of education, nor justifiable in its own right in a predominantly free enterprise society. Government has appropriately been concerned with widening the opportunity of young men and women to get professional and technical training, but it has sought to further this objective by the inappropriate means of subsidizing such education, largely in the form of making it available free or at a low price at governmentally operated schools.

References

Abiri, O. O. (Ed) (2005) Perspectives on History of Education in Nigeria. Ibadan: Emola-Jay Communications Inc.

Amaele, S. (2003) A Study Guide on History and Policy of Education in Nigeria. Ilorin: INDEMAC (Nigeria Publishers) Ltd.

Osokoya, I. O. (1995) History and Policy of Nigeria Education in World Perspective. Ibadan: AMD Publishers.

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