Allocation and Management of Resources for the Sustenance of Free Qualitative Secondary Education in Ondo State

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Background to the Study

Education constitutes the most formidable industry in Ondo State. Since the creation of the State on February 3, 1976, education has been attracting the largest proportion of the total money earmarked for social services. Of all the levels of education in Ondo State, secondary education has been consuming a sizeable proportion of the total money earmarked for education. The State Government has been bearing a heavy financial burden of secondary education with minimum contribution from individuals. This heavy financial burden borne by the State government had its genesis in the abolition of tuition fees in Nigerian public schools in September, 1976, all over the country as a result of the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (Adesina 1980) and complete take-over of all schools from various voluntary agencies by the Government.

Between 1979 and 1983 investment in secondary education in Ondo State took another dimension, when Governor Michael Adekunle Ajasin, under the now defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) embarked on free secondary education program. During this period tuition fees, textbook fees, development fees and all special levies were abolished. The financial burden of the program was shouldered by the State Government, with little contribution from the household. Also, on 2nd January 1992, Governor Bamidele Olumilua, under the now defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) inherited the heavy financial burden of secondary education as a result of free secondary education introduced by the party in Ondo State. Moreover, on 29th May 1999, the Civilian Administration in Ondo State led by Chief Adebayo Adefarati, under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) introduced a free qualitative education at all levels in the State. In Ondo State today, there is keen awareness that education is the greatest instrument that could be utilized for the solution of socio-economic problems and for the fullest realization of the potentialities and aspirations of the people. The present civilian administration in Ondo State perceives education as an investment in human capital, with the sole aim of wiping out ills such as ignorance, disease, malnutrition, unemployment, superstitious beliefs and practices, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, parochialism, political instability and economic stagnation that usually plague an illiterate society. Hence the commitment of the State Government to the provision of free, qualitative secondary education in the State.

It is not superfluous to remark that to make secondary education free is a question of money, to make it universal and compulsory is a question of public support and law. But what we want today is secondary education that is relevant to the needs of the economy and society. Quality in education can be seen from various perspectives. For instance, the economists of education are always interested in assessing quality in education, by establishing the relationship between "input" and "output" in the education system, that is, the Rate of Returns or Cost-Benefit analysis of quality in education. Also, one may look at quality in education in terms of enrichment of the school curriculum, quality of teaching personnel, quality of school inspectors, quality of school equipment and facilities. However, quality in education may also be measured in term of relevance to the needs of the society. Igwe (1989) describes relevance as: "a question of functionality, fitness and appropriateness to the needs of daily life, the hopes and expectations for tomorrow and preparations for the uncertainties and challenges of the unknown future". Based on this premise, qualitative secondary education in the context of this paper could be described as the extent to which the secondary education system is relevant to the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian society.

Of all the multifarious problems facing secondary school administration in Ondo State today, none is as persistent and as agonizing as the one relating to the allocation and management of the available resources in the schools. …