Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Fiction in the Era of Globalization: Challenges and Implications for Educational Reform in Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Fiction in the Era of Globalization: Challenges and Implications for Educational Reform in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Development thinking in the global world at the close of the 20th century has shifted from the traditional and comfortable sweeping beliefs in the fixed roles of states markets and the search for a "single, overarching policy prescription" (World Development Report 1999/2000) toward broad pragmatism. Thereby, progress in the 21st century depends on a constellation of factors and shifts in their configuration that take place over time. This overview on the prevailing conditions of post modern economic theories in a globalized world points to the need to step beyond holistic adherence to a system, or policy as driving force of developments. It rather gives intellectual strength to recognizing that systems or policies needed to complement each other; instead of trumpeting a particular policy as the formula that will inspire development in all times and places. Such focus on the "frontiers of development thinking" (World Bank Development Report) has a lot of implications for African governments' desire at the cutting edge of governance for sustainable development. The seething conditions of globalization in sharp contrasts to (Africa) Nigeria represent "a dole story of retardation and backwardness" (Obikeze 2003:9).

One may begin to imagine of what concern is the theory of development to a literary scholar? In response to this is the fact that the phenomenon, globalization and its challenges required that disciplines must cross borders (Obafemi, 2001). In crossing borders, ideas are however, harvested, recast and reintegrated to further reinstate and reinforce the plot structure of the moral agency of man at the fleeting dawn of creation. It becomes therefore imperative to explore this space of cross border interdisciplinary and its challenges in the field of humanities (literary art) that is being greatly discounted in the postmodern economy. Obafemi (2001) in appropriating this view claims thus, "literature must cross borders into other disciplines, in order to meaningfully apprehend the totality of human culture" (p. 7). The challenges which the new economic order labeled as post-modernity suggests for literature are though enormous and revolutionary but not unusual. The new economic order considers knowledge as an "important resource" (Obikeze 2003:8). To the extent that it institutes a significant redirection in occupational structure and drive towards scientific, technical and professional forms of employment, engendering a "growing requirement for professional workers with relevant education and training to provide the kinds of services which are increasingly demanded" (Smart 1992, as quoted in Obikeze 2003:8).

In tackling this enormous task and challenges "literature needs to interface disciplines in order to distil a more humane notion of the human condition" (Obafemi 2001: 2). We will further this argument later in this paper (and in forthcoming publication). But before then what does the current education reforms oriented around?

Current Education Reforms: Motivations, Objectives, Structures and Visions

There is no gainsaying the current education reforms are the aftermath of the larger economic reform agenda of the Federal Government. To advance this view further, Obasanjo's administration's discovering of the "cesspool of corruption and misapplication of natural resources" (Afemikhe 2005; 2) as the fetters that held Nigeria down on her kneels since independence, thereby formulated a new economic package, termed National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), hence the corresponding reforms in the education industry. Just as reforms in the education sector is interdependent on the broader and larger economic goals of the government; it is equally motivated and fashioned after some other events both within and outside the country. The first of such outside influences was the proclamation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) eight point's agenda, which include affirmation to achieve Universal Primary Education. …

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