National Policy on Education
AN OVERVIEW OF PUBLIC POLICY
According to Abbuloalami (998:1) public policy “refers to hard patterns of resource allocation represented by or resource allocation represented by projects and programs designed to respond to perceived public problem or challenges requiring governmental action for their solution” Implicitly in the above definition is that public policy is what governments actually do and not what they intend doing. in other words, mere declaration of intention wishes, principles or expression of desire cannot be regarded as public policy. Dror (1967:14) Defines public policy as a major guideline for action.
According to him “public policy in most cases, lay, down detailed instructions on the main lines of action to be followed.
implicit in Dror’s definition is the distinction between policy and decision. A policy usually has wider ramification and longer time perspective than a decision. polices provide the guiding framework for day to day deacons required in the application of resources (men/materials) towards the attainment of organizational goals.
Public policy is seen as proposed course of action, which the government intends to implement in response to a given problem or situation confronting it. it is a statement of what government want to do or what it will not do.
The struggle for self-awareness started at the time public administration moved to stand alone from political science. the secession of public administration is traced to the concern shared by political scientists that their field is more of a science than polities writhing the same era, public policy emerged to focus on process which informed the essence of public policy, since, public policy in relatively unknown.
Austin Ranney and his colleague, who shared similar intellectual disposition, therefore championed the course of popularizing the field.
Given this public policy therefore emerged as effort to apply political science to public affairs. The emergence of public policy however placed scholars in twilight 3one of political science and public administration.
By 1965, public policy was formally given recognition as important subfield of political science and public administration. The recognition took place in a meeting held under the auspices of the committee on government and legal process of social science research council, within 1966 and 1967, the American political science association annual conference featured the first panel on public policy. in 1970, public policy was first granted section at the annual conference of political scientists
As at 1980, about 150 papers were delivered on public policy and it became a regular feature in political science conference.
As the status of public policy became popular, association of public policy scholars started to emerge.
In 19th policy studies organization was founded with over 200 members. Similarly, other associations continued to spring up until 1975 when a book on topic, public policy received a major award from the American political science association.
The award marked the establishment of public policy as a sub-field. Those public policy researchers who identify primarily with political science seem to be those who, by and large work in the sub field substantial branch, (the politics of something while those who identify with public Administration seem to be found more frequently in it’s theoretical branch and are more concerned with problem of research design public choice strategic planning, implementation organization. programme evaluation, efficiency, effectiveness productivity and those kind of public policy question.
So public policy analysis has over the years moved from proposition to reality from a “fringe” idea to a central place in official public administration thinking. since at this point I will like to focus on the elite theory
The elite theory contends that public policies are creations of the governing elite.
The theory views public policy as the preference and values of the governing or political elite in the words of Thomas Dye (1975:24) Elite theory posits that people are apathetic and ill informed about public policy that elite actually shapes masses opinion on policy questions more than masses shape elite opinion.
In this perspective, public policy is elite oriented which accounts for the down flow of policies from the elite to the masses. The exponents of this theory such as Gaotona, mosca, wolfed, pareto and Robert Michel’s hinge their ideas on Aristocratic idea.
the idea that uphold the hegemony of noble few in governance. As identified by Gaotona, mosca, two class of people exist a class that rules and a class that is ruled where as the first class is in minority and dominates the later that is in majority. in the elite process of public policy making, the executives in political leadership such as the president or the governors and the members of their carbinet.
they make public policy while the bureaucrats and public officials carry out the elite policies decisions of which from the numerous basic assumptions of the elite theory two states that
(a) The society is divided into two classes the few who have power to decide and allocate resources, and the masses who do not have power to decide public policy.
(b) The elite are drown from upper socioeconomic strata of society.
They have higher income, higher education and states.
I will like focus on national policy on Education as it relate to the elite theory.
National Policy On Education
The new national policy on education in Nigeria is associated with a numerical formula 6-3-3-4 which represents the number of years that a child is expected to spend at various levels of education.
The first 6 stands for six years in the primary followed by three years at the junior secondary, three four years at the tertiary levels.
The new system is in conception and design, a radical departure from the former British unplanted educational system in Nigeria.
A striking feature of colonial education in Nigeria was that it was guided by the imperial utilitarian considerations. After political independence, Nigerian educationists greatly criticized greatly criticized the system which they claimed did not provide for the acquisition of technological development. The critics of the format system lamented that the system was not relevant to the political economic, social and cultural needs of the Nigerian people. They therefore concluded that such system could not meet the national need for self-agricultural state. Thus a new system that aimed at acquisition of skills appreciation of the dignity of labour, solving the country problems of illiteracy, manpower shortage and promotion of scientific and technological advancement was devised. No doubt, the new educational policy in Nigeria aimed at giving the nation a sense of direction by establishing a system that will embody the nation’s aspirations.
The national curriculum conference the policy were agreed upon was attended by practical all known leaders in education in Nigeria, whilst international organizations like UNESCO also participated. From a wide range of internist, experts were draw including representatives of Christian and Islamic religious organizations, the universities interested external agencies, ministries private and public sector interest groups, women organization et.
The final conference at which a national policy document was drafted in 1973 under the chairmanship of Chief S.O Adebo was also attended by education practitioner.
Note: Two Factors are significant in the production of the national policy on education. The first is that all known experts of education were involved and the second is that an exercise which started in 1969 did not produce a final white paper until 1977. The long interval gave enough time to examine and reexamine the document that it could not be said that the policy was produced on the spur of the mom out.
It was a document that had the benefit of mature judgment and consideration. More importantly, it is the combined work of the whole country.
The 49 page document which was revised in 1981 by the federal government is presented in thirteen sections apart from the introduction.
The document begins with general and specific statements of the orientation and philosophy of Nigerians educational system. it therefore examined the various sectors of the formal education system starting from the pre-primary, primary secondary, higher education including professional education, technical education, adult and non-formal education, special education, teacher education, educational services, administration and planning and financing of education. it can thus be seen that the policy was indeed a very comprehensive one touching on nearly every faced of our national education system.
After affirming the federal government’s recognition of education as “an instrument par excellence for effecting national development” as well as a dynamic instrument of chance” the document reiterated the five main national objectives as stated in the second national development plan.
THESE OBJECTIVES ARE THE BUILDING OF:
- A free and democratic society
- A just and egalitarian society
- A united, strong and self reliant nation
- A great and dynamic economy
- A land of bright and fully opportunities for all citizens.
Note: it further spelt out the value it believes Nigeria education should inculcate in its recipients they include:
- Respect for the worth and dignity of the individuals.
- Faith in man’s ability to make rational decisions.
- Moral and spiritual values in interpersonal and human relationship
- Shared responsibility for the common good of society
- Respect for the dignity of labour and
- Promotion of the emotional, physical and psychological heath of all children.
The federal Government in the policy hopes that these values can be better inculcated through a well designed national system of education whose broad objectives were stated as:
- The inculcation of national consciousness and national unity
- The inculcation of the right type of value and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society
- The training of the mind in the understanding of the world around and
- The acquisition of appropriate skills abilities and competences both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of this society,
In pursuance 92 there objectives the documents came up with a number of plans and proposals which included the following.
(a) Pre-primary education will continue to be provided by private efforts as regulated and controlled by the various state and federal ministries of education
(b) Primary education will be organized for children between the ages of 6 and 11 as to inculcate firmament literacy and Ming racy, the ability to communicant effectively and to lay a sound basis for scientific thinking.
(c) Secondary education will last for six years altogether, three years for the junior secondary and three for senior secondary. The broad aims of secondary education were two namely.