Education policies Essay Example
Education policies Essay Example

Education policies Essay Example

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  • Pages: 10 (2601 words)
  • Published: August 26, 2017
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Education holds great significance in all societies and is a crucial aspect of any government's programs. The policies implemented by governments with respect to education are determined by existing policies, which are influenced by various factors. This essay is divided into three chapters, namely the introduction, main body, and conclusion. The introduction offers definitions of key terms and a conceptual framework for the essay. The main body outlines and discusses the major factors that impacted education policies in African countries after their attainment of independence, while the conclusion provides a summary of the essay. The purpose of this essay is to examine and discuss the factors that influenced education policies in African states after they achieved independence. To achieve this, definitions of crucial terms such as education, policy, and independence are provided. These definitions are vital for a comprehensive discu


ssion of the topic in question. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (1975) describes education as an essential tool for societal development and progress.Instruction is an organized and sustained way of communicating to convey about learning. It involves a lifelong process of incorporation into society's expectations for age, gender, and position. Education can occur formally, non-formally, and informally. In this discussion, the emphasis is on formal education. A policy is a deliberate program of action designed to guide decisions and achieve intended outcomes. Unlike rules or laws that oblige or forbid certain behaviors, policies guide actions toward desired ends. In the context of education, an education policy comprises laws and initiatives that determine the structure and operation of educational systems at national and local levels. Therefore, education policies direct the functioning of an educatio

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system. Independence is the state of being free from governance or rule by another nation. African countries attained independence from colonial masters. According to Blackmore (1999), there are three models of policy making: popular engagement, edict, and delegation models.This text describes three theoretical models that explain the factors influencing education policies in African countries after gaining independence. The following models are discussed in detail: (a) the Popular Engagement Policy model, where everyone is given a chance to contribute to policy preparation, as was the case in Zambia's educational reforms of 1977; (b) the Decree Policy Making Model, where the head of state mandates the direction of a given educational system; and (c) the Deputation Policy Making Model, which involves appointing a committee to review a country's education system and make policies based on its findings, as exemplified by Kenya's Onide Commission in 1963. Chapter 2 discusses the major factors that influenced African education policies after independence, including the consideration of education as an important vehicle for economic development.A crucial prerequisite for economic growth was considered to be investing in formal education. African countries learned from developed countries that a solid foundation of education was a catalyst for rapid economic development. Developing countries believed that the modernization, industrialization, and wealth of developed countries resulted directly from their educational systems. Coombs (1970) argued that during the 1960s, education in developing countries was seen as a rational balm that would transform pre-industrial societies by promoting knowledge, skills, and attitudes beneficial to economic and social development. Thus, education policies in African countries after achieving independence aimed at promoting education provision and expansion to achieve meaningful development. Anderson (1965) even

suggested that analysis of evidence from major developed countries such as Britain, France, the United States of America, and Russia revealed that a minimum male literacy rate of 40 percent was necessary before significant economic development could occur. Therefore, after achieving independence in the 1950s and 1960s, African countries directed their education policies towards increasing access to education to attain the required literacy threshold.The demand for and emphasis on formal education investment in African states increased, as education was seen as vital in achieving economic growth. As a result, rapid quantitative expansion of the education system became a priority for newly independent African nations. However, these nations faced shortages of workers in various sectors of the economy post-independence, leading to economic stagnation. The shortages were particularly pronounced in technical and managerial fields. To address this, many African countries directed their education policies towards resolving the manpower deficits. For instance, Kenya formed a committee to advise the government on the development and implementation of national education policies after independence due to a high shortage of skilled workers. Thus, manpower planning in newly independent African states influenced the formulation of education policies. Consequently, adult education policies were established to address this issue.The authorities of newly-independent African states deemed it essential to expand their education systems so that they could produce more graduates to fill workforce gaps in various economic sectors. Many technical and managerial jobs in African countries were occupied by foreign nationals at independence. Thus, African governments aimed to decolonize their education systems and increase output from secondary and higher education to create a manpower pool for national development. Fafunwa (1974) argues that education development in

Nigeria and other African nations was treated as a national emergency to address workforce shortages in key economic areas. To meet the needs of the workforce in various sectors, post-independence policies prioritized increasing school enrolment, particularly at the primary level, and rapid expansion of secondary and higher education was seen as a necessity for sustained economic growth. Providing every child with their basic, fundamental right to education was seen as crucial to enhancing education as a basic human right in newly-independent African states.The directive for appropriate sorting instruction in African scenes was intended for children. Many newly independent African countries allocated significant capital and recurring budgets towards primary education for all citizens. The impetus for providing education, particularly at the elementary level, was inspired by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which established education as a basic human right. As Bishop (1989:1) asserts, "Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available, and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit." In light of this, newly independent African countries felt compelled to provide primary education in line with human justice and equity. Primary education was considered a birthright for each child since it was seen as an effective means to provide equal opportunities for all children regardless of gender or family background.The leaders of newly independent African states believed that education was the key to reducing the broad disparities evident in life conditions between rural and urban communities. Prior to independence, education was only accessible to

the elite. To address this, African leaders made significant changes to their education systems to make them more accessible to everyone. Education was viewed as a powerful vehicle for social transformation, with many leaders considering it a basic human right that everyone should enjoy. In pursuit of this goal, newly independent African states set benchmarks for themselves, such as eliminating racial segregation in schools and expanding education provision by abolishing tuition and boarding fees. Mass expansion of education provision was seen as the best way to root out old biases and socioeconomic inequalities, and instruction was regarded as the great equalizer that could help close these gaps. As Carmody (1994:23) argues, instruction was often viewed as the most powerful means of achieving social transformation in Africa, a belief that was shared by many leaders in the 1950s and 1960s. Bishop (1989) also made the point that universal primary education was a key priority for newly independent African states in their quest for social justice.In 1961, the Addis Ababa conference on the development of instruction in Africa suggested that primary education should be universal, compulsory, and free by 1980. Additionally, the conference recommended that 30% of children who completed primary school should receive secondary education. Similarly, the conference of Arab provinces in Tripoli in 1966 also set 1980 as the target date for achieving universal primary education. It can be argued that the consideration of education as a basic human right for every citizen influenced the formulation of education policies in African countries post-independence. Therefore, African countries invested heavily in providing education to promote the achievement of universal primary education. As stated by Court and Kinyanjui

(1978:14), there was an expansion in the number of classes offered in Tanzania to ensure that children entering primary education received seven years of schooling instead of four, highlighting the focus on providing education for all.The previous statement suggests that investing in a child's education for seven years can help them become a valuable member of society. African countries have made efforts to improve access to education by expanding existing schools and building new ones, with the goal of achieving modernization. This investment in education was based on the belief that it would promote modern ideas and attitudes. Studies have shown that schooling influenced modern development, resulting in higher levels of modernity among urban people and lower levels among rural people. African leaders saw modernization as a necessary prerequisite for their countries' development, and believed that education should socialize the population into modern values, attitudes, and personalities. According to Carmody (1994), this is the role of education.The focus was on the expansion of educational systems in newly independent African countries to improve accessibility. This would lead to increased levels of modernization within a country. According to studies by Inkeles and Smith (1974), education was the most significant variable for modernization. The studies found that each year of schooling improved a person's modernity score by about 2 points and was effective in developing positive attitudes and values. Education policies in newly independent African countries were influenced by the idea of achieving modernization through education for every citizen. Political participation of citizens was a major factor that influenced education policies after independence, as it was linked to the concept of modernization, where knowledge was considered power. Therefore,

many African political leaders created educational policies that promoted citizens' involvement in politics.The significance of education for African citizens was clear through the widespread instruction offered in African states, which leaders aimed to expand. Cowan (1965) emphasized that education policy, governed by any political rule in independent African states, should prioritize providing education that establishes self-government and independence. Therefore, enlarging the education system to more people would make them politically and socially aware and active in building their country. To enjoy equal political rights, everyone should have at least equal primary school education to participate fully in the political process. Consequently, after achieving independence, the attainment of social equality was a significant factor that influenced education policies in African states. Education was viewed as a means of attaining societal equality critical to fostering social responsibility. Therefore, education policies directed towards promoting societal equality were put in place by African states after achieving independence.African states have created more school topographic points to promote equality in the provision of education services, ensuring that every child has access to varied and challenging opportunities for collective activities and social services. Eshiwani (1993) noted that after achieving independence, the promotion of social equality in education policies helped young people develop positive attitudes of mutual respect, leading to peaceful coexistence and positive contributions to national life. The promotion of respect and development of cultural heritage also influenced education policies in African states, with a focus on fostering and developing rich cultures. This was addressed in the content of education provided to the people of African states.The instruction content was customized to suit the society of various African nations, with importance placed

on respecting cultural traditions as expressed in social establishments and relationships, according to Eshiwani (1993) and Damachi et al (1978). Post-independence, African states aimed to enhance all aspects of human development, including cultural heritage promotion, by clearly stating their language of instruction at all levels. This objective was aimed at promoting the preservation of cultural heritage and national unity. Therefore, education policies drafted by African nations after independence were designed to enable students to understand current and past cultural values and their place in contemporary society. Additionally, education for self-reliance was also a priority, with the curriculum designed to encourage learners to engage in self-employment activities.The focus of the education system in African states was on practical subjects to ensure that scholars acquired ego trust. However, it was noted that the type of learning offered in some African states was too academic, which resulted in the separation of theory from practice and young people becoming further disconnected from their societies. Hence, education reforms were necessary to counteract this trend. Bishop (1989:116) argued that by the mid-1950s, there was a call for curriculum reform to include more vocational studies. Similarly, Carmody (1994) noted that Zambia's First National Development Plan recognized the importance of linking secondary education to the needs of the country by diversifying the curriculum and giving more emphasis to agriculture. Therefore, it can be observed that education policies in African states aimed to promote self-trust by balancing academic education with technical and vocational training.After gaining independence, most African states aimed to improve the efficiency of their education systems by implementing instructional policies. However, it was observed that the inputs did not correlate with the

outputs or costs with returns. Therefore, education policies were centered on making the education systems more efficient, achieving their goals at a lower cost and with greater returns. According to Bishop (1989), most education systems in African countries were inefficient, particularly at the secondary and higher levels, as the inputs such as per-pupil spending or teacher training did not have the expected impact on test scores. Consequently, newly independent African countries designed education policies to improve their education systems' efficiency. Additionally, education in many African countries relied heavily on rote learning and resulted in an undue emphasis on paper qualifications. Moreover, most curricula in African countries did not adequately prepare students for their future lives and left many school leavers unemployed, creating an imbalance.African countries developed educational policies to address challenges within their education systems. The aim of education policies was to promote international awareness among scholars. The content of instruction provided supported this goal, aiming to instill positive attitudes towards other nations and the international community. It was believed that to ensure prosperity, nations must cooperate with one another. Therefore, education policies aimed to instill international consciousness for the purpose of promoting cooperation between countries. Factors influencing African education policies after independence included workforce deficits, recognizing education as a basic human right, utilizing education for development and modernization, improving education efficiency, promoting citizens’ political engagement, and fostering international awareness among scholars and self-confidence. Changes in education policies were inevitable due to changes in government within African countries.Changes in government often lead to an ideological shift, causing continuous reform within a country's education system. This results in alterations to various aspects of education, including content,

learning methods, assessment, and structure. References for further reading include Anderson.C. A's "Education and Development Re-considered," Bartlett.S and Burton.D's "Introduction to Education Studies," Bishop.G's "Alternate Strategies for Education," Carmody.B's "The Development of Education in Zambia," Coombs.P. H's "The Need for a New Strategy of Education Development," Court.D and Kinyanjui.K. K's "Development Policy and Education Opportunity: The Experience of Tanzania and Kenya," Cowan.J. O's "Education and National Building in Africa," Damachi.U. G. Routh.G and Abdel.R. A's "Development Paths in Africa and China," Eshiwani.G. S's "Education in Kenya since Independence," Fafunwa.A. B's "History of Education in Nigeria," and Inkeles.A and Smith.D's "Becoming Modern."

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