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ERIC Number: ED517695
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 48
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISBN: ISBN-0-901881-63-5
Politics and the Dilemma of Meaningful Access to Education: The Nigerian Story. CREATE Pathways to Access. Research Monograph No. 56
Obanya, Pai
Online Submission
This paper makes a case for "good politics for good education", with special reference to Nigeria. It surveys the impact of good and bad politics on the attainment of Meaningful Access to education with special focus on Nigeria's Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme. Good politics is to be likened to what the French call "la politique au sense noble du terme" (politics in the noble sense of the term--or statesmanship) while bad politics is to be likened to a "politique politicienne" (mere divisive politicking, or politics in its raw form). Politics in its raw form is concerned with seeking power for self-aggrandisement while politics in its noble form is concerned with seeking power for public good. In situations where good politics prevails, educational policies, programmes and delivery processes tend to produce the desirable outcome of "children passing through school and the school also passing through them". By combining the seven exclusion zones used in the work of CREATE (Lewin, 2007) with the five dimensions of access identified in the author's earlier work, the paper defines meaningful access as: full and unfettered educational opportunity devoid of all manners of Exclusion; that which is crowned by successful learning and improved life chances for all classes of beneficiaries whose improved knowledge and skills, positive values and attitudes should contribute to reducing socio-economic inequities and poverty in the wider society. The sum total of the politics of Nigeria is one in which democracy is yet to take firm roots. Nigeria has also remained an imperfect and lop-sided federation in which decentralisation is yet to translate into de-concentration and devolution of powers. This political situation has not helped the cause of education. The UBE programme, introduced in 1999, anticipated the Dakar EFA goals and its objectives are close to the ideal of meaningful access. Such a programme requires rigorous planning, extensive resource mobilisation and judicious use of available resources, and most importantly, transformational management. All this did not happen for reasons that were not unconnected with "bad politics". According to UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), in 2007 (seven years into the operation of the programme) GER and NER have remained below the regional (African) average. Transition to the secondary cycle is low, while pre-primary education is available only to 16% of children. UBE would therefore require serious re-positioning for it to be able to move Nigeria towards the EFA goals. This should be predicated on a paradigm turnaround from bad to good politics. The marginal increases in enrolment have not tackled the problem of exclusion, as a large proportion of school-age children are still un-enrolled. To achieve the EFA goals efforts should go beyond "getting the children to school" to really "getting them successfully through school". (Contains 2 footnotes, 7 tables, 4 figures, and 2 boxes.)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE)
Identifiers - Location: Nigeria