Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Julius Nyerere's Philosophy of Education: Implication for Nigeria's Educational System Reforms

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Julius Nyerere's Philosophy of Education: Implication for Nigeria's Educational System Reforms

Article excerpt


Education has been defined in two broad ways. On the one hand, education has been defined as the process by which a society, through certain formal and informal institutions, deliberately transmits its cultural heritage from one generation to another. George Kneller and Julius Nyerere belong to this school of thought. On the other hand, education has been defined as the process of constant reconstruction of experience, rather than transmission of past values, in order to make it more meaningful and capable of solving present problems. John Dewey and Aristotle belong to this school of thought. These two definitions have their merits and limitations. For instance, as a method of "transmission" education often lead to indoctrination with past mistakes; and as a method of "reconstruction" education often lead to unhealthy materialism.

From time immemorial, education has remained a vital tool used by the State to perpetrate its values and develop itself. This is to say, that by employing the instrumentality of education the State has been able to achieve its national development objectives, which traditionally include poverty reduction, disease control and prevention, transmission of national values, literation of the citizenry, and general socio-economic progress. Despite these lofty mandates entrusted on educational system generally, some States have remained backward and stagnated. The blames of the backwardness is often heap on education. For there is a saying, that a State is only as developed as its education.

The role of education in national development cannot be overstated. The stage of development attained by a country is analogous to its state of education. National development is appraised in terms of mental and physical indices. It is education that bequeaths the psychological attitudes and physical skills which enable the citizenry to bring about national transformation. A poorly developed and/or maintained educational system cannot bring about the needed transformation. The development and maintenance of any educational system is a policy issue. It is philosophy of education that provides us with deep and wide-ranged approach to understanding educational issues and problems (Oshita, 2011). The interplay of education and philosophy can, and do, have positive influence on development. While education exposes us to array of information regarding the posture development should take, it is philosophy that teaches us to maintain open and critical mind in the midst of diverse ideas (Oshita, 2011).

In Nigeria, the capacity of the country's educational system to bring about the desired development has been hampered by problems and issues. A lot of studies have been embarked upon to determine these issues and problems. One of the key issues identified by scholars is education financing. Funding is a critical aspect for educational development to occur. It is funds that are used to develop the human and physical infrastructure of the educational system. The criticality of education financing can be abstracted from the recommendation of UNESCO that 26% of annual budget of developing countries should be devoted to educational development. Cordelia Nwagwu (2011) reports that due to dwindling revenues, Nigerian government has continued to spend less than 3% of the country's GDP on education. Godwin Azenabor (2005) notes that:

Owing to inadequate funding, education in Nigeria has undergone tremendous changes for the worst. The astronomical expansion coupled with dwindling resources and under-funding have led to deterioration in institutional facilities and services. Poor funding militates against effective curriculum development (p.15).

Funding of educational institutions in Nigeria seems to be pegged against the colonial system. Ukeje and Aisiku (1982) notes, that during the colonial administration, colonial government usually gave stipends to schools. This grant was usually meagre due to the fact that those schools were run by missionaries. …

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