Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Title

A Profile of the Nigerian Educational System and Policy Options for Improved Educational Development for Rapid Economic Growth and Development


Attempts is made in this paper to situate Nigeria's educational system within the context of her overall economic development in view of the universal acceptance of the ultimate importance of human resources in determining the level and manner of economic progress. The various ways in which education contributes to the process of economic development are explored. A statistical review and appraisal of the Nigerian Educational system show that given its current level, the system is under-developed as reflected by an overall adult literacy ratio of 49.5% and primary school enrollment level of 63.5% of the primary school-age cohort as at 1994, and hence, the exclusion of a significant proportion of the population from making their effective contributions to economic progress. The scenario is substantially accounted for by by the inability to address educational development within a macro-economic framework whereby literacy level and sectoral manpower requirements of the economy, based on her factor-endowment and development aspirations, are planned for and implemented strictly.

Other factors include inadequate funding arising from lack of political will to implement policies as intended which has led to low quality of the system's products. In view of the fact that education is central to economic development in particular and nation-building in general, the sub-sector requires across the board expansion in terms of both quantity and quality. There is, therefore, an urgent need to extend basic education education (primary and secondary), through mainly state funding, to all Nigerian children irrespective of economic, geographical and gender circumstances, whilst girls' education in particular should be accorded greater priority owing to its higher multiplier effects on the society in general. Education investment should be deepened through higher investments in teaching materials, personnel and curricula development to make it technically functional to produce the requisite labour for the Nigerian Economy. This calls for deployment of greater resources to the education sub-sector backed with an alloyed sense of duty to educate all Nigerian children in order to put all hands on deck in the development process.

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