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PRIVATIZATION OF EDUCATION AND THE 6-3-3-4 EDUCATIONAL
SYSTEM IN NIGERIA: A CRITICAL (RE)ASSESSMENT

By:
Paul-Sewa Thovoethin,
Department of Political Studies,
University of the Western Cape,
Private Bag X17,
Bellville 7535
Cape Town,
South Africa.
E-Mail:3168726@uwc.ac.za Or paulsewanu@yahoo.com
Phone: +27788580086, Or +2348037258409

Being a Paper Presented at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa Organized
Conference on Globalization, Regionalization and Privatization in and of Education in Africa,
Held at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa, from 12 th-13th October, 2012

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Abstract
With the dire need for technological development occasioned by the need to move with the trend of globalization the Nigerian government in early
1980 introduced what is now popular referred to as the 6-3-3-4 educational system. Under this system a student is expected to spend six years for primary education, three years for junior secondary education, three years for senior secondary education and four years for tertiary education. The focus of this policy is to build technical capacities of students right from their secondary school level which will prepare them for engaging more in engineering and technological related courses in higher institution. To achieve this, the government was expected to equip secondary schools with modern technological equipments, so that the first three years of students in Junior secondary is concentrated in the teachings of technological related subjects. Students are therefore expected to be exposed to practical application of engineering machines and tools at this level. Those students who are seen to have talent in technical areas were expected to be sent to technical colleges established by the government for further practical trainings, while the remaining set of students were expected to continue their three years senior secondary education with adequate focus on technological and engineering related fields based on the knowledge they have acquired at the junior secondary level. The interesting aspect of this change in policy was that it was accompanied with the era of privatization of education in Nigeria. Thus, the aim of the policy experienced failure from its onset. This was due to the fact that private owners of secondary schools were unable to acquire technological machines, tools and expertise required for the achievement of the policy albeit the continuous reduction in government spending on education.
This work attempts an assessment of the 6-3-3-4 education system in
Nigeria by looking at it dialectical relationship with the privatization of secondary school education. By doing this an attempt is made to assess the possibility of achieving the objective of building technological equipped students and graduates within the current reality of government-private partnership in education in Nigeria and other African Countries.

Keywords: Privatization, 6-3-3-4 System of Education, Free Education, Private-forProfit Schools, Funding, Technology, Industrialization, Development
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Introduction
‘There is no free lunch anywhere, not even in Freetown’ (anonymous).
The importance of education to human being and the society at large cannot be overemphasized. Education is one of the current inalienable rights that should be accorded to all human beings. A denial of the right to education is almost a denial of the right of existence of an individual and the condemning of a society to the peril of underdevelopment. Due to the importance of education to an individual and the society at large there are lots of International
Human rights Instruments that provide for education as a fundamental human right. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights
(1981), and the Child Rights Act. However, despite these instruments initiated in order for the provision of basic free and qualitative education to individual, it has become a common experience that there are inequalities in educational access and achievement as well as high levels of absolute deprivation of education in most parts of Africa. In the past three decades, government funding of education has continue to decrease despite the fact there are new reforms on education by the government of different countries across the continent. These reforms are premised on the fact that in the 21st century, countries in Africa continuously realized the fact that they have to model their educational system to meet up with the challenges of globalization, occasioned by the need for industrialization and technological development thrown at the doorsteps of the Countries in the continent. It was in recognition of this that the Nigerian government attempted reforming its educational system by introducing the 6-3-3-4 educational system in the early 1980s. This system intends building technical capacities in students and increased the quality of education, which would in return assist the country in its drive towards technological advancement and industrialization.
There is no gain arguing the fact that this system of education has failed. It is to be seen that almost about three decades of the existence of the system of education it has not moved the
Nigerian state to the league of industrialized countries nor build a technological inclined students in Nigeria. Rather, the standard of education has continued to fall and this has affected the performance of students undergoing the system. The failure of the 6-3-3-2 educational system is not as result of the defects of the provisions of the system but poor implementation which could be linked to poor funding of education by the Nigerian government, which has continuously thrown the provision of education to private individuals, religious organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). These bodies are unable to implement the provisions of the 6-3-3-4 educational system. What this development suggests is that in Nigeria and as it is in other parts of Africa ‘there is no free lunch’ when it
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comes to educational attainment. It is this regard that we assess the 6-3-3-4 education system in Nigeria with a view of making pragmatic suggestions that will take it from its present moribund level to the system that will build technical capacity of the students and help the country advance towards technologically development within the context of global reality of privatization in and of education. To achieve this, the paper is divided into five sections. It begins with an historical overview of the British colonial educational system in Nigeria, and this is followed by an assessment of free education and its effects on the quality of education in
Nigeria, an overview of the 6-3-3-4 educational system, privatization in and of education in
Nigeria and its effects on the 6-3-3-4 educational system, the way forward and lessons for other
African countries. The conclusion follows thereafter.

Historical Overview of British Colonial Educational System in Nigeria
Modern education was brought to Nigeria by the missionaries. It started with the establishment of missionaries schools in the 1840s by the missionary bodies like the Methodist, Anglican
Church mission, the Roman Catholics and so on. These missionaries established these schools with two primary objectives; the conversion of children to Christianity and the training of these converted Christians to assist the missionaries in their work as catechists, lay readers and teachers (Oyebamiji & Omordu, 2011). Thus, from inception education was not introduced in
Nigeria as well as other colonial states in Africa because the Colonial masters intended preparing the students for their future growth and the growth of the colonial states. Kosemani
& Okorosaye (1995) put this argument in a clearer perspective when they posit that ‘the curriculum of the early Christian schools in Nigeria included mostly the 4Rs- reading, writing arithmetic and religion’. What these 4Rs suggest is a clear indication that the earlier curriculum of the colonial education in Nigeria was mainly intended to train the students for usage by the missionaries for their evangelism purpose, because this type of education did not in any way include science and/or technology. Thus, it was not the intention of the colonial education to prepare Nigeria and other Africa Countries for independence and post-independence self reliance. As Nigeria experience the defects of the missionaries education and as those that have gotten this brand of education became more enlightened, criticism of the educational system became intense. It was this criticism that made the colonial masters introduced the 8-6-2-3 educational system, which heralded the establishment of the University College, Ibadan (now University of
Ibadan). Under this system of education, a student was expected to spend 8 years in primary school, 6 years in secondary school, 2 years for higher school certificate and 3 years for university education. The introduction of this system of education was not in any way satisfactory and it faced further criticism, especially by the nationalists agitating for Nigerian
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independence. This agitation led to the introduction of a new system of education in 1954, which was tagged 6-5-2-3 educational system. Under this system a student was expected to spend 6 years in primary school, 5 years in secondary school, 2 years for higher school certificate and 3 years in the university (Omolewa, 2007).
Despite the above mentioned efforts at changing the colonial’s systems of education by the colonial masters in Nigeria, the colonial education did not serve good purposes because from the onset it was not intended to move the country towards post-independence development.
Thus, criticisms of the colonial education in Nigeria centered on relevance, comprehensiveness, and focus of the system. Nigerian leaders and educators were particularly worried that the
British system of education laid emphasis on academic subjects; educational opportunity was restricted to few people and that the British Grammar school system of education was transimposed on Nigeria without due consideration to the culture, environment and the aspirations of Nigeria as a country (Adiele, 2006, quoting Nwangwu). What the colonial education created in Nigeria was an education divorced from productive activities, which marked the removal of manpower from agriculture, the more practical productive sector of the economy and made educated Nigerians to embrace white collar jobs which did not help Nigeria achieve self sustenance immediately after independence. These educated Nigerians immediately served the purpose of comprador-bourgeoisie to the former colonial masters after colonialism. What our position suggests here is that the British colonial education did not in any way create technologically educated Nigerians which could have propelled the country into the comity of industrialized countries immediately after independence. This culminated in the transformation of the Nigerian state to a ‘rentier’ state or to be more simplistic rent-seeking state, in her early years of independence.

Free Education and Its Impacts on the Quality of Education in Nigeria
Article 6 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated categorically that ‘Everyone has a right to education. Education shall be free in the elementary and fundamentally stages.
Elementary education shall be compulsory’. Despite the fact that this declaration was made during the era of British colonial rule in Nigeria the British colonial government did not extend that right to Nigeria as a matter of policy (Nigerian Tribune, October 16, 2007). As noted earlier, the delivery of formal education to Nigerians was haphazard and was left largely in the hands of religious bodies. The British colonial government only contented itself with giving grants to these schools and monitoring their performance. In effect a large percentage of the Nigerian population did not have the advantage of formal education during this era. The introduction of the Macpherson’s Constitution which divided Nigeria into three regions, North, West and East, as well as the provision which placed education on the concurrent list, that is, the regional
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governments can also legislate on education, particularly at the primary and secondary levels provided the opportunity for the launching of the Western Region’s primary education programme (Ibid). The government of the Eastern region also adopted this policy. The purpose of the policy was to guarantee equal education opportunities to every indigene of these regions
(though some critics have posited that this policy was politically motivated). At independence in
1960, the Nigerian government suspended the free education policy, despite the fact that the
1961 Addis Ababa conference for African nations called for the adoption of the Universal
Primary Education (UPE), which should be compulsory and free (Aina et al, 2010).
However, with the creation of 12 states in Nigeria in 1967 Lagos state was able to have full fledged free education. Thereafter, the military administrations of the 1970s embarked on more elaborate educational programmes aimed not only at making primary education free and compulsory but also at creating new orientations for educational development (Chutta, 1986).
Similarly, the rights of all Nigerians to education have always been provided for in Nigerian constitutions. Specifically, the 1999 constitution provides in section 18 that ‘that government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels’. It was in fulfillment of this provision that a former president of
Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo introduced the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme. This policy includes free and compulsory primary, junior secondary and nomadic education. It also includes adult and non-formal programmes. However, the provision of free basic education by the programme is also problematic in the sense that parents still have to pay school levies imposed on pupils, buy textbooks and stationeries, buy school uniforms and in some cases provide their own furniture.
At present what free basic education suggests in Nigeria is that students are not expected to pay school fees in government owned primary and secondary schools. Unfortunately, while the students were not expected to pay school fees they are exposed to half education. This is due to the fact that most government owned primary and secondary schools in the country lack adequate facilities that could enhance qualitative education. It is a common experience that most of these schools hardly have library, laboratories, computers and other facilities necessary for the attainment of basic qualitative education. In fact most buildings in these schools are in dilapidated conditions. The overall effect of the Nigerian brand of free education is that the standard of education is rapidly falling. Thus, majority of the Nigerian citizenry are exposed to half education. This has therefore created the dilemma between quantitative and qualitative education. We agree that there is an increase in the number of enrolment into government owned schools. For instance in as at 1999 when there was restoration of electoral democracy in
Nigeria there were about 48,242 primary schools with 16,796,078 students in public schools and 1,965,517 in private schools in the country. Then, there were 7,104 secondary schools with
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4,448,981 students (The Guardian, May 6 1999; Dike, 2001). Similarly, as provided in the
Federal Ministry of Education report 2001, enrolment in primary and secondary schools increased by 6.2% and 3.9% representing 22.5 and 5.8 million respectively. This report reveals further that while the government with its free education policy increased the number of pupils that will have access to basic education, there is no adequate attention to address the quality of such education. Poor performance of students in public examinations in recent years is an indication of this. For example in an analysis of West African School Certificate Examinations
(WASSCE), the Assistant Registrar of the body responsible for the conduct of the examination announced that the candidates who obtained credit passes in at least five subjects including
English Language and Mathematics within the period of 2005-2009 are as follows:
YEAR
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Source: Uduh, C (2010)

PERCENTAGE (%) PASS
27.53
15.56
25.54
13.76
25.99

The same abysmal performances of students have also being the case in the
November/December, 2010 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination conducted by National
Examination Council (NECO). The statistics of the result for that year reveals that; of the 256,840 registered candidates, 456,827 sat for the examination. No fewer than 51,781 of 435,959 candidates (20.16%) passed English Language; while
87,508 of the 234,959 candidates (34.18%) who sat for Mathematics had credit pass’ (Famade, 2012; quoting Okpala)
Addressing the dilemma of quantitative instead of qualitative education therefore requires pragmatic approach in Nigeria. Qualitative education which involves adequate financial provision with increased budgetary allocation, minimum academic standard in the form of entry requirements and selection process, in-depth learning which brings imagination to play, adequate learning conditions including facilities and infrastructures and, sustaining academic staff morale and motivations (Zuofa, 2008). This approach shall be addressed in subsequent sections of this paper.

The 6-3-3-4 Educational System in Nigeria: An Overview
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The search for the system of education best suited to Nigeria’s development, threw up the ‘6-33-4 system of education’, which was midwife by a conference inaugurated by the then Federal
Commissioner for Education, Mr Wenike Briggs on September 8 1969, during the International
Literacy Day (Tribune, June 21, 2012; Awanbor, 2012). The 6-3-3-4 system of education which was introduced to replace the 6-5-4 system was designed to inject functionality into the
Nigerian school system, by producing graduates who would be able to make use of their 3HsHands, Head and the Heart. Before it was officially introduced in 1982, there were inputs by various sectors of Nigerian professional community. It marked a radical departure from the
British system of education which Nigeria inherited at independence in 1960. Basically it adopted the American system of 6 years of primary education, 3 years of junior secondary school, 3 years of senior secondary school, and 4 years of university education (Nwagwu, 1997).
The curriculum according to Gusau (2008) is a hybrid of prevocational and academic subjects.
The essence is to impart knowledge in Science, Arts, and Technology. The idea of the system is to discover the potential of students at the junior Secondary School level and make those endowed in technical abilities proceed to technical colleges or teachers colleges, as the case may be, for training that would prepare them for further education in the polytechnics and college of education respectively. For those who are more academically inclined they are to proceed for the three years of senior secondary school and move ahead for another four years in the university. Therefore, for this type of education the government is expected to provide adequate workshops, laboratories, Fine Art studio, and other necessary facilities, as well as quality teachers for effective learning and teaching in good classes. It could then be argued that the 6-3-3-4 system of education is a functional system which could invigorate the nation economically, morally, intellectually and politically. It is job oriented as it places premium on manual activities, technical proficiency and respect for dignity of labour and economic efficiency. It is aimed at providing the stakeholders with the basic tools for local craft. The system emphasizes the acquisition of vocational skills used as foundation for both technology and engineering at the secondary school level while tertiary stage is professionally oriented with the aim of development and thus minimizing unemployment and producing skilled manpower and technocrats in science and technology which are ingredients for the practice of engineering (Awanbor, 2012).
The 6-3-3-4 system of education from inception was seen as a system in the right direction which could move the nation towards technological development and industrialization.
However, because of the lack of commitment in the part of the government, the system have failed to catapult Nigeria into the realm of educationally and technologically advanced countries. Dearth of fund and infrastructure to run the 6-3-3-4 system had led to the jettisoning of vital components of the system. For instance, the subject Introduction to Technology popularly called ‘Introtech’ which was supposed to be compulsorily taught at the JSS level
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where students are supposed to familiarize with what technology is all about is no longer taught at that level; at the Senior Secondary level, it is either that the Science students do not have teachers or laboratories for practical sessions, and when there is laboratory, there is no equipments. Most Science students now pass through secondary school without seeing a test tube, which is one of the commonest of the tools for practical, except for few who attend some highbrow private secondary schools. This constitutes one of the major reasons for the dwindling in the performance of students and candidates in public examinations as shown in the preceding section of this paper.
Due to the failure of the 6-3-3-4 system of education, the Nigerian President, Goodluck
Jonathan in October 2010 while speaking at a national stakeholders’ meeting on the education sector, said that the 6-3-3-4 system of education had failed and that its proponents should apologize to Nigerians. However, taking a second look at the system, the Minister of Education,
Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai’I proposed to the National Assembly, the need to revert to the 6-3-3-4 system of education, but with a modification that would include Early Childhood
Education (ECE). The system she christened 1-6-3-3-4. The proposed system signifies that the first one year of education would be for child from 1-5 years, the 6-year component would be for primary education, 3 for Junior Secondary School, 3 for Senior Secondary School and 4 years for tertiary education. Attempts to re-embrace the 6-3-3-4 system of education shows that the system was not a bad idea, rather it was a failure due to the problem of bad implementation.
Thus, instead for the proponents of the system to apologize to Nigerian it is the Nigerian government that should apologize to Nigerians for poor implementation of the system. As we shall argue in the next section of the paper, the failure of the 6-3-3-4 system is highly linked to poor funding of the system which was occasioned by decline in the government allocation to the education sector, which resulted in private individuals, Non-Governmental Organizations and religious organization filling the gap.

Privatization of Education in Nigeria and its Effects on the 6-3-3-4 Education
System
Government welcomes contributions of voluntary agencies, communities and private individuals in the establishment and management of primary schools along side, those provided by states and local Governments as long as they meet the minimum standards laid down by the Federal Government’ (National Policy on Education, 1998)

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The above provision in the National Policy on Education shows clearly that the Nigerian central government has pushed the management and funding of primary and secondary schools into the hands of lower governments and private individuals. This position could be further established when we examine the fact that the national government’s investment in education in the last three decades has been abysmally low when and if compared with UNESCO’s mandate to all governments of developing countries to invest as much as 26% of their annual budgetary allocation to education sector. See the table below for the budgetary allocation to education for some selected years in Nigeria:

Year

Total Budget

1994
N110.5 billion
1995
N98.2 billion
1996
N 124.2 billion
1997
N 186 billion
1998
N 260 billion
1999
N 249 billion
2000
N 277.5 billion
2001
N 984.2 billion
2002
N 844 billion
2003
N 765.1 billion
Source: Ikharena, 2007

Nigerian
Government
Allocation to
Education
8.66 billion
12.73 billion
15.30 billion
21.8 billion
27.7 billion
27.7 billion
50.67 billion
62.6 billion
17.7 billion
13.9 billion

Allocation to
Education as % of
Total Budget
7.83
12.96
12.32
11.59
10.27
11.12
8.36
6.75
6.8
1.83

From the above table it is evident that the Nigerian government allocation to education has continued to decrease in respect of the percentage allocation to education from the total budget. Going by the budgetary allocations during these years we can see increases in the amount allocated to the education sector however, the percentage allocation in relation to the
Gross National Product (GNP) of the country have been very low. Instead of progressing towards the 26% allocation, the Nigerian government has continue to reduce percentage allocation to education until it attained a record 1.83% in 2003. In the literature this decline in the percentage allocation has been linked to the economic depression of the 1980s which had devastating effects on developing countries (Nwangwu, 1997; Famade, 1999; Bonat, 2003;
Igbuzor; 2006). As Bonat (2003) aptly points out, the economic crisis of the 1980s led to the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) with the prescription from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank for reduction in public investment on education. The policy prescription according to him clearly state that:

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The Bank did not suggest that public spending on education should be boosted at the expense of servicing external debts. The World Bank prescribed adjustment, revitalization and selective expansion policies in order to address the education problems… The purpose of adjustment was to ‘alleviate the burden of education and training on public budgets’, because the Bank expected continuing structural adjustment to further erode public spending on education, it recommended adjustment to diversify sources of educational finance ‘through increased cost sharing in public education’, and the ‘encouragement of nongovernmental supplies of educational services’. The Bank recommended ‘increased user charges’ in public education, especially for tertiary education. The Bank also recommended ‘containment of unit costs’ especially in utilization of teachers’ (low pay policy for teachers), lowering construction standards for education infrastructure, and benefitting from ‘the tendency of students to repeat grades or drop out of school.
Through the embracement of these prescriptions by the Nigerian government what followed were decrease in public spending in education (as showed in the above table), increased participation of the private sector, and commercialization of education, leading to decline in the quality of education. Basically, the shifting of funding responsibilities from the centre to the periphery and private concerns have witnessed the expansion of private-for-profit schools in
Nigeria, which are now attended by children of wealthy parents. Under these conditions, private-for-profit schools exist both at a very expensive type for the rich communities and an affordable low-cost alternative for poor households (Geo-Jaja, 2004). The predictable consequence of this development is the familiar problem of equity and increasing differentiation in the quality of education which children of the rich and the poor are exposed to. The question that arises at this point is that; how does the privatization of education in
Nigeria impacted negatively on the realization of the objectives of the 6-3-3-4 education system? We shall turn to the next paragraph for answers to this.
Our first answer here is that the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 system of education requires intensive capital, which was not made available by the government. Going by this, the reduction in government spending on education while still operating the 6-3-3-4 education system remains an aberration. As we have severally pointed out, in order to achieve the curriculum of the system the government requires equipping the secondary schools with
Introductory technology workshops and machines, Fine Art laboratories, Science laboratories and equipments, as well as infrastructural development in these schools. With the reduction in government spending on education it became practically impossible for the 6-3-3-4 system to
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achieve the purposes for which it was introduced. What the government is doing in this respect is just like a ‘father sending his kid to school without buying books and other things the child requires for schooling and yet expected the kid to perform well in his examination’. We hold strongly that government failure in adequately funding the 6-3-3-4 system of education has greatly affected the success of the system. More so, the private sector which is also saddled with the responsibility of providing primary and secondary education lacks the ability and the motivation to subsidize the cost of education. Since owner of private primary and secondary schools are in the educational sector to make profit, they try to reduce cost in order to maximize profit. The resultant effect of this is the ‘mushrooming of private schools’. As Adelabu and Rose (2004) observe, ‘in Nigeria unapproved (private) schools are providing schooling opportunities to a significant number of children, particularly in urban and sub-urban areas’.
And according to them, these private unapproved schools are a low quality substitute for public education. In fact, in most of these schools the teachers there are those that are not in any way qualified to teach the students. In order to maximize profit these private schools employ
Secondary Schools’ certificate holders to teach in primary schools and undergraduates to teach at the secondary school level. Majority of these teachers are paid salaries of amount ranging from #10,000- #20,000, per month (that is, between less than $100 to about $120). A research undertaken by James Tooley and Pauline Dixon between April 2003 and December 2005 on private schools in Nigeria reveals that the average salaries in government schools are more than three and half times higher than in the unregistered, and more than three times those in the registered private schools (Tooley & Dixon, 2007). Some of the upper class category of the private-for-profit schools who are able to employ graduates give little consideration to professionalism. In view of this, teachers in the neglected public schools are even better than those in most private schools. Under this situation it is an understatement to say that the private-for profit schools can never achieve a capital intensive 6-3-3-4 system of education.
More so, general experience shows that private schools undermine government schooling system, because they are found to mostly operate against government’s vision in the development of a particular educational policy. Thus, the combination of government failure and those of the private concerns which provide education in Nigeria have contributed to the failure of the system, and not the proponents of the system as suggested by President
Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

The Way Forward and Lessons for other African Countries
There have been lots of debates on the quality of education in Nigeria. There is however a consensus of opinion that the quality of education is falling, not only in Nigeria but in most
African countries. The quality of students produced in Africa is low when compared with those
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of other continents and that recent further decline in supplies of the key inputs at the pretertiary levels, such as infrastructures, equipments, books and other learning materials has had deleterious consequences on different system of education existing across Africa. There is a reason to believe that there is a potential for substantial improvement in the achievements of various education systems in Africa, especially in the 6-3-3-4 system of education operated in
Nigeria. The 6-3-3-4 system of education is one of the best systems that have the potential of increasing the quality of students, which will in return move an entire nation into technological advancement and industrialization. America and Japan adopted the system of education and it has impacted greatly on the quality of education and technological advancement in these two countries. There is potential for the improvement of the achievements of the 6-3-3-4 educational system if there is a reasonable increase in investment in education in Nigeria, and if the system is given a slight modification. Increase investment in education which will bring about the availability of adequate school buildings, classrooms, chairs, desks, laboratories and other facilities necessary for the achievement of the objectives of the 6-3-3-4 system of education. A slight adjustment in the system, which will make it less expensive, and not the 1-63-3-4 presently proposed by the Nigerian government, which in our view will make funding of education more challenging.
There is the need to raise the fact that in order to achieve the objectives of the 6-3-3-4 educational system in Nigeria and increase the quality of students produced, increased overall allocation to education sector is compulsory. The present situation where the Nigerian government allocates less than 5% of its Gross National Product (GNP) is unaccepted. If the
Nigerian government is desirous of achieving development, there is the need to look for ways of increasing percentage budgetary allocation for the education sector. In fact, this is where our analogy of ‘no free lunch in anywhere, not even in Freetown’ becomes invaluable. The analogy becomes relevant within the logical acceptance of our understanding of elementary economics principle of alternative foregone. According to this principle, the amount a person pays for a product or service is not the cost of that product but the alternative products or services that one has to forego in order to get that particular product. So, whatever you have must have cost you something. It is with this simple economics principle that we would be suggesting that the
Nigerian government should look at the sectors in the economy where budgetary allocations could be cut down in order to increase budgetary allocation to education. Another way through which government can increase allocation to education is by increasing the percentage payment of companies into the pool of the Education Trust Fund (ETF). The Education Tax Fund
(ETF) was established as an intervention agency under the Education Tax Act No. 7 of 1993 and amended by Education Tax (amendment) Act No. 40 of 1998; with project management to improve the quality of Education in Nigeria. To enable the ETF achieve these objectives, the Act imposes a 2 percent (2%) Education Tax on the assessable profits of all registered companies in
Nigeria. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is empowered by the Act to assess and
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collect the Education Tax (ETF Resourcedat, 2011). Since the introduction of ETF much has not be achieved in the development of education in Nigeria through the intervention of the fund.
Our suggestion is that the percentage payment on assessable profits of registered companies in
Nigeria should be slightly increased from its present 2% according to current economic realities.
More so, companies producing products consumed by those in the upper class in the Nigeria society should pay a higher percentage than those producing essential goods mostly for the lower class citizens. We shall however point out with emphasis that machinery should be put in place to ensure proper management of the ETF proceeds. More so, in order to increase funding of the 6-3-3-4 system of education, there is the need for international development partners’ assistance to Nigeria. It has been documented that in order to make adequate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Nigeria requires additional external financing averaging about US $6.4 billion annually between 2005 and 2008 (Country
Partnership Strategy, 2005). Even if the resources in Nigeria are used effectively there will still be challenges of meeting the MDGs. At present Nigeria is seriously under-aided. Nigeria despite being the most populous country in Africa receives only US $2 per capita in ODA compared to the average for Africa of US $28 per capita. Therefore, in order to achieve qualitative education in Nigeria international development partners need to increase their aids to the country.
Another way through which the 6-3-3-4 educational system could be well implemented in order to achieve its objective is by shifting resources from other levels within the education sector. In the first two decades of Nigeria’s independence the primary and secondary schools were allocated more funds than those for tertiary schools. According to Hinchliffe (2002), in 1962 the distribution of funds among the levels of education in Nigeria was 50% for primary education,
31% for secondary and 19% for tertiary education. In contrast, recent estimates show a very different priority of 36%, 29% and 35% respectively. The share for primary and secondary schools has fallen appreciably, while that for tertiary education has increased. In order to achieve proper implementation of the 6-3-3-4 system of education we suggest that the share for the secondary level should be increased. We shall justify this suggestion. In Nigeria today the caliber of graduates the university system is producing are either ‘half baked’ or ‘unbaked’.
Graduates that are mostly unemployable and those that are employable spend years looking for jobs, which are hardly available. Nigeria is producing these categories of graduates not remotely due to poor university system but rather due to faulty backgrounds of students admitted by Nigerian tertiary institutions. As it is a known fact that the foundation of the building matters most to the survival of a building, in the same way, the type of graduates that a university will produce depends on the type of students that secondary schools passed out.
Another argument in support of increase allocation to the secondary schools is the argument of social and private benefits. It is assumed that for a parent spending on the education of his children a secondary school certificate holder has lesser private benefits to the parent than the
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benefit that the parent will get in spending money sponsoring his child for tertiary education.
Thus, a parent is ready to spend as much as three times the money spent on per-tertiary education on university education. In this regard, when government allocation to tertiary education is decreased in favour of efficient secondary education, parents could be able to bear increase cost of tertiary education because of the immediate private benefits of such investment. In order to assist indigent students in view of the fact that the cost of tertiary education might increase as result of decrease allocation, scholarships and bursaries should be made available to such students by state and local governments and banks should also try to give out education soft loans, especially to those that have prospect of repayment. Allocation for secondary school should be increased because of the capital intensive nature of that level of education if the goals of the 6-3-3-4 education system must be achieved.
In order to achieve standard education in Nigeria we would like to further suggest a more radical approach which will slightly affect the nomenclature of the 6-3-3-4 system without necessarily affecting the curriculum of the system. By doing this we shall be subscribing to the suggestions of Lewin and Caillods (2001) on the reduction of unit costs of education at secondary school level and or produce more secondary school graduates with existing resources. According to them there are several ways of doing this. We shall however assess some of these recommendations that are relevant to the Nigerian, as well most African countries’ situation. The first of such is the reduction in the length of secondary schooling.
There is no evidence or research that suggests that those that spend more years in school are better off. What available evidences suggest however is that, the longer the primary education cycle and the shorter secondary school the better. This follows from the fact that costs of primary education are almost everywhere lower than those of secondary education. Primary school teachers are paid less than secondary school teachers. It is also true that non-salary costs are lower, since the equipment and the facilities required in primary schools are relatively simple. When these factors are taken into consideration we would suggest that instead of increasing the schooling years through the introduction of the 1-6-3-3-4 that the Nigerian government is proposing, the number of years spent in secondary school should be reduced to five years. Thus, we suggest the retention of six years for Primary education, three years for
Junior Secondary School and two years for Senior Secondary School. The outcome of this recommendation is a new system that will be tagged 6-3-2-4 system of education. Aside the slight change in nomenclature, the entire curriculum of the 6-3-3-4 system should be maintained. The maintenance of the curriculum to include the revival of ‘dead’ technical schools as provided for by the system of education. Another relevant suggestion is increasing the size of secondary schools (Ibid). School size is an important determinant of cost per student.
Small secondary schools are likely to suffer diseconomies of scale (leading to a low pupil/teacher ratio, and high administration costs) and are often associated with lower performance on achievement tests. However, they may be necessary as result of population
15

distribution, and ethno-religious or other segmentation, but it is a simple economics logic that secondary schools which enrolment is below 1,000 students are associated with rising costs.
The Nigerian government should therefore cut cost of running secondary schools by merging schools with less than 1,000 students with a closer and larger secondary school. In doing this, the effect that the such merging of schools and increasing the distance from home to school may have on rural pupils’ enrolment and on girls’ enrolment in particular, has to be assessed and balanced with the possible savings that can be made on teachers and building.

Conclusion
The curriculum of the 6-3-3-4 system of education is about the best for Nigeria and other
African Countries thinking of technological development and Industrialization. The system if properly implemented will build into individual graduate technical capacity which will assist the society at large. The major challenge facing the achievement of this system of education in
Nigeria is the failure of the government to properly fund the system. Instead of adequate funding of the system the government has so far shifted more of the responsibilities of funding education viz-a-viz the funding of the system to private concerns which has more compounded the problems of the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 educational system. Apart from the slight adjustment of reducing the present number of years spent for pre-tertiary education from 12 years to 11 years, we suggest that the system of education remains the best which should be properly implemented by the Nigerian government. Proper implementation of the system in the way of increased funding of the educational sector. The funding that will increase the allocation for secondary schooling, due to the fact that, that level of education requires more funding in respect of the capital intensive nature of the implementation of the curriculum of the 6-3-3-4 system of education. We have suggested several options through which the government can increase funding to the educational sector under its present economic challenges. Among other things we suggest sectoral prioritization of government spending which would involve reduced spending on some sectors in favour of the educational sector, increased means of generating more funds into the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and increased assistance from international developmental donors.
Our believe is that if the educational sector is well funded to increase the quality of education at the primary and secondary levels, the quality of education will increase in public schools and the quest for attending private schools will become less attractive. In view of this, the responsibility of providing basic education will majorly become that of the government and education will then take its proper place in the development of the country. Suggestions in this work are therefore useful for other countries in Africa facing decline in their system of
16

education occasioned by decline funding of the sector and who at the same time desirous of technological advancement and industrialization.

References
Adelabu, M. & Rose, P. (2004), ‘Non-State Provision of Basic Education in Nigeria’ In Larbi, G. et al (Eds) Nigeria: Study of Non-State Providers of Basic Services, Birmingham, DFID
Adiele, E. (2006), ‘Reflections on the Philosophical Base of Nigerian Education and the
Attainment of Equality of Access to Primary Education’, International journal of African &
African American Study V (1)
Aina, S. et al (2010), ‘Managing Free Education Programme in a Partially Deregulated Economy:
Nigeria in View’, International Business management 4 (1)
Awanbor, D. (2012), ‘The 6-3-3-4 System of Education in Nigeria and the Prospects of Future
Engineering in Nigeria’, Sunday Observer, September 20
Bonald, Z. (2003), ‘Resource Distribution and Quest for Gender Equality in Nigeria: A Gender
Analysis of Federal, State and Local Government Education Budgets 1992- 2002, A research
Report, Abuja, Centre for Democracy and Development & Centre for Population and
Development
Chutta, E. (1986), ‘Free Education in Nigeria: Socioeconomic Implications and Emerging Issues’,
Comparative Education Review 30 (4)
Country Partnership Strategy (2005), World bank Group and Department for International
Development, (UK)
Dike, V. (2001), Democracy and Political Life in Nigeria, Zaria, Ahmadu Bello University Press

17

Famade, O. (1999), ‘Funding Education in a Depressed Economy: The Policy Options, In Fadipe,
J. & Oluchukwu, E. (Eds) Education Planning & Administration in Nigeria in the 21 st Century,
Ondo, NIEPA
Famade, O. (2012), ‘Re-Inventing the Nigerian Education System for Productivity
Improvements’, Academic Research International 2 (3)
Federal Republic of Nigeria (1998), National Policy on Education, 3Rd Edition, Lagos, NERDC
Press
Geo-Jaja, M. (2004), ‘Decentralization and Privatization of Education in Africa: Which Option for
Nigeria?’, Review of Education 50 (3/4)
Gusau, B. (2008), ‘Educational Reforms in Nigeria: Successive Years of Inconsistencies and
Confusions’, Gusau Educational Development Association (GEDA) Interactive Session, January
2008
Hinchliffe, K. (2002), Nigeria: Public Expenditures on Education: Issues, Estimates and Some
Implications, Washington DC, The World Bank
Igbuzor, O. (2006), ‘Financing Quality Basic Education in Nigeria’ A Keynote Address Delivered at the Roundtable Organized by the Commonwealth Education Forum (CEF), at Rockview Hotel,
Abuja, on 5th September
Ikhareha, J. (2007), ‘Capacity Building for National Sustainable Development: The Nigerian
Experience’, Journal of Social Sciences 15 (1)
Kosemani, J. & Okorosaye, D. (1995), ‘History of Nigerian Education: A Contemporary Analysis’,
Port Harcout, University of Port Harcourt Press
Lewin, K. & Callods, F. (2011), Financing Secondary Education in Developing Countries:
Strategies for sustainable Growth, UNESCO Publishing, France, SAGIM
Nwangwu, C. (1997), ‘The Environment of Crises in the Nigerian Education System’,
Comparative Education 33 (1)
Oyebamiji, M. & Omordi, C. (2011), ‘The Nigerian System of Education and the Need for
Pragmatic Approach’, World Journal of Education 1 (2)
Tooley, J. & Dixon, P. (2007), ‘De Facto’ Privatization of Education and the Poor: Implications of a Study from Sub-Saharan Africa and India’, A Journal of Comparative and International
Education 36 (4)

18

Tribune (2012), Rot in Education: Is Moving From 6-3-3-4 to 1-6-3-3-4 the Solution?, June 21
Uduh, C. (2010), Report Released at a Seminar on Overcoming Candidates Poor Performance at
West African Senior School Certificate Examination
Zuofa (2008), ‘Moving Bayalsa State forward Through Qualitative Education: An Imperative’,
Niger Delta Journal of Education (1)

Newspapers and Reports
The Guardian, May 6, 1999
Nigerian Tribune, October 16, 2007
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
ETF Resourcedat 2011, Available at http:// resourcedat.com/2011/07/history-of-educationtrust-fund

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