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Formal Education: A Catalyst to Nation Building

A Case Study of Nigeria


Anthony Ikechukwu Chimaka

The smallest and most remote villages in the developing countries are affected by the rapid and seemingly irresistible trend towards globalization. The limitless availability of information however necessitates education to stand out as the key factor for human and national development. But which conditions must be met by societies for education systems to perform this function effectively? Which benefits in turn must education systems provide to ensure social cohesion? These general considerations are exemplified by an analysis of the social situation of Nigeria, where one third of the whole population did not receive an education and thus cannot participate in the opportunities of modern social structures. As an advocate of the social values of freedom, dignity and charity the church stated clearly that education belongs to the inalienable human rights. The study argues that only a holistic development of each and every citizen of Nigeria will lead to the development of Nigeria as a nation. It portrays the areas where lack of formal education has slowed down the implementation and acceptance of modern techniques and as a result has hampered development. It critically analyses the Nigerian educational system and concludes by suggesting strategies towards national development.
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Chapter One: Explication of Terms and Concepts

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The purpose of education is surely for the acquisition of knowledge and technical know-how, in order to change and improve ways of living, full development of peoples, and for the general welfare of the community. This undoubtedly elicits a great concern for education among individuals, groups, government, parents and in fact the general public as a great instrument and means of nation building. In this chapter we shall try to explain the terms and concepts that are very important to the understanding of this work. Terms like “education”: how it is viewed by some scholars of different epoch, its aspects, forms and its importance in the drive to modernity and “nation-building”: its various understandings and its importance in the search for nationhood.

Education is not the name of a particular activity or a process. It is rather a name that applies generally to a number of different activities and processes. It is fully understood in reference to its purpose. For example, the general term “gardening” could be more and easier to understand if it is expressed more specifically with, for example, “planting beans”. While a procedural methodological account could be given of planting beans, (e.g. place them at certain fixed intervals), gardening has to be explained in terms of the objective of cultivating a lot of land and achieving certain kinds of end result.21

Therefore, education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical...

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