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Formal Education: A Catalyst to Nation Building

A Case Study of Nigeria

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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 Four: Aims of Educational Acquisition

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Extract

The Western system of education dominated the educational life of Nigerian people. The aim of this education however varies. For the missionaries education was an important agent for evangelisation and for the colonial administrators for the spread of western civilization. For Nigerians however, it was a means of social emancipation and an avenue for economic development. After the First World War the idea developed that education should prepare the child to use the best elements out of his tribal environment and to transform it by bringing into it what he had received from western education. According to Achebe, “Because colonialism was essentially a denial of human worth and dignity, its education program would not be a model of perfection.”219 The implication of this in the actual planning of education, therefore, was a definite shift from the idea of mere assimilation of western ideas to that of the development from within. Therefore education was seen as a potent instrument of social, cultural, political, economic and technological advancement as well as a means of empowering every individual for the effective performance of his roles. It is not only the instrument for human socialization and development; it is also a means of self-actualization. Education is directed towards the development of individuals and the society in general. It nurtures the feelings of national consciousness. In this chapter we shall discuss education as an important tool for individual (self) development, the development of the society in general and as an agent of achieving national...

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