Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Causes of Inequalities in Educational Development among Nationalities in Nigeria

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Causes of Inequalities in Educational Development among Nationalities in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Inequality in educational development in pluralist societies has often been attributed to the differences in political interests and will. It is the view of this paper that political factor alone may not be responsible for the levels of disparities in educational developments in various nationalities in Nigeria. It concludes that it is the combination of the forces of culture, ethnicity, history of development of education and political factor that are responsible for the levels of disparities in educational development of nations.

Inequality in educational development in any pluralist country is often a major factor militating against the emergence of a united and strong nation from ethnic nationalities that are commonly present within the state. These ethnic groups or regions grow differently in educational attainment. Thus, some ethnic groups are at either a great advantage or disadvantage in the distribution of public offices. This happens because education plays a major role in the power sharing or allocation process. The resultant effect of this education-based power sharing process in many nations has been accusations of discrimination by the disadvantaged ethnic groups or regions. Eke (in Adesina 1977: 10) identified the undesirable inequality in educational development in Nigeria on North and South basis:

The educational gap between the North and the South was too wide. The gap was so much that for every child in a primary school in the Northern States, there were four in the Southern States. And for every girl in the secondary school in the North, there were five girls in the South, and for every student in the post-secondary school in the North there were six in the South.

This problem is further compounded by the identified inequality in educational development within regions. That is, within the Northern States of Nigeria on the one hand and the Southern States on the other, there is no parity in educational development. A careful study of educational development in the Northern States of Nigeria will show a level of inequality between educational development in the Middle Belt and in the core North (Kosemani, 1995; Nwokidu, 1995). A further analysis of the problem of inequality in educational development will leave no one in doubt as to the appropriateness of Beckett and O'Connel's (1977) reference to the problem. They placed the problem of inequality in educational development in regions in perspective and described it to be of "serious magnitude". The problem of educational inequality is fundamental in the history of the development of education, not only in Nigeria, but also in other countries with similar or even different geographical, historical, economic and socio-political background. The seriousness of the problem was further amplified by Abemethy (1969) when he observed that the inequality in educational development of expansion between the South and the North in Nigeria (which is also correct of the Whites and Blacks in the United States of America, the Aborigines and the immigrants in Canada and Australia) has contributed greatly in causing tension in the areas mentioned above. In discussing the causes of educational disparities, attention has been unduly focused on the political factor whereas, it is the view of the authors that many other factors are joining forces to cause educational disparity. It is in view of this, that this paper examines the causes of educational disparity or inequality in Nigeria. In doing this, it draws examples from United States of America, Britain, Australia, and Canada, where similar problems exist.

CAUSES OF EDUCATIONAL DISPARITY

Cultural factor

Cultural factors cause inequality in educational development. The level of development of material culture, technological advancement that has brought about the production of goods, has to a great extent affected the level of educational development. The advanced cultural groups have produced better learning facilities to further the gap of inequality within nations. …

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