Academic journal article Journal of Business and Educational Leadership

Formal Education and Quality Leadership in Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Educational Leadership

Formal Education and Quality Leadership in Nigeria

Article excerpt


It has been observed that every society has an educational system, theoretically best suitable for it. Invariably, education is a functional prerequisite of societies necessary for their survival through pattern maintenance. It has formal and informal aspects. Informal education is pejoratively described to fit traditional societies, while formal education is literally obtainable in modem societies.

Ordinarily, education refers to socialization, which is the process by which the culture of a society is internalized or interiorized into an individual. Ralph Linton (Haralambos, 1980) had defined culture as the resume of the customs and traditions, arts, values, mores, folkways, dances and technology as well as other capabilities of a society that are learnt, shared and transmitted from generation to posterity. For this, formal education is expected to make for an adequately socialized person: quite conversant with his socio-cultural milieu and also capable to appropriate wisdom from observations and scholarly findings even from other culture areas to enhance his personal advancement and societal development. Has education in modem Nigeria resulted to quality leadership? This is the focus of this paper, which was discussed under education in traditional societies; education in modem societies; highlights on qualities of a leader and manifest functions of formal education & prospects for quality leadership in Nigeria.


Earlier societies had no separate social institution called education. They had no special buildings called schools and no people who earned their living as teachers. Rather, as an integral part of growing up, children learned what was necessary to get along in life (Henslin, 2008).

In traditional societies, education is said to be informal principally due to the paucity of well established institutions called schools; dearth of teachers and no specific group of people known as pupils. Individuals were pupils at a very short period after which they took to any of the agrarian occupations (farmers, hunters, fishermen etc) in the prevalent agrarian economy. Often times, a pupil at one level might be a teacher at the other level. There were no academic books to read, learn or teach as it was assumed that nature provides the books. Explicitly, individuals learnt about nature, to understand the weather and climatic conditions that enable them to know planting and harvest periods; to understand the types of leaves for curative purposes against certain ailments and illnesses among others.

Girigiri (2006) had pointed that in pre-colonial Nigeria individuals had good understanding of the medicinal efficacy of the roots, herbs and leaves of the plants in their environments; there was adequate knowledge of herbs to enhance fertility and potency; awareness on how to use roots and leaves to treat bites of poisonous snakes and stings of harmful insects; good post-partum management of a woman after child-delivery among others.

Education is also informal as individuals learn through observation. Girls follow their mothers (for instance, to learn how to prepare and cook foods; to learn feminine behaviour and habits; to do needle works etc) while boys follow their fathers (for instance, to imbibe masculine prowess; to hunt, farm, to do carpentry works etc). The socialization is into the tradition of the society only.

In traditional societies, deviant behaviour is scarcely accommodated. For this, the socialization gears towards conformity. Thus, an adequately socialized person in traditional societies is an ardent conformist. The psychology of individuals in traditional societies is immersed into a world-view that compels them to think alike; to please the elders and ancestors. There is restriction in the acquisition of knowledge as there is knowledge for every stage in life (adolescent stage, adulthood). At adolescent stage, individuals are taught the things required at that stage and later on at adult stage they learn to acquire knowledge suitable at that stage. …

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