Archive for November, 2009

Human Security

November 28, 2009

Human Security

Introduction

The concept of human security had been a source of heated debates among academic scholars and practitioners in international organizations since after the publication of Human Development Report in 1994 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With the varying definition and conceptualization of human security, many have become incredulous of the authenticity of the concept. Its ambiguity makes it incapable of providing an appropriate framework for creating multilateral and integrated solutions to world problems.  While the idea is broadly appealing, it is nevertheless confusing as it involves a lot of variables that may not necessarily be associated to each other. Some adhered for a more simplified concept of human security which is primarily concerned with conditions involving threat and violence in order to provide more realistic direction and concrete implications to its advocacy programs.  Still others want an expanded idea of human security that goes beyond the conventional notions of security that highlights issues such as human development and human rights for a more preventive and comprehensive approach in tackling the root causes of violence and conflict and provision of sustainable peace-building programs to prevent the same.  This broader perspective to which this author is more inclined to support extends the concept of security to include socio economic policies that affects other facets of human security.

The Evolution of Security

The general concept of security pertains to the safety of a person from crime/ violence, peace and order and even financial stability to sustain ones needs.  In the political arena and international relations, the term security would refer to the protection of a country, its territories, citizens, institutions and values from external threats and attacks. Thus, security in its political sense, often pertain to national or state security.  In the years that past, the notion of security broadens to include regional and international cooperation as nations were required to operate more intensely in the international level. Even the threats to the security of the country had also widened to include pollution, diseases (HIV), and terrorism among others. Issues to security had become more under the domain of the international community than only under the national or state level. In other words, with the increasing interdependence of nations and threats becoming more of transnational issues, the need to broaden the concept of security was necessary to preserve world peace and solidity that focuses on the protection of people, regardless of their racial ethnicity, religious affinity, gender preference and national or political affiliation.  Broadening the concept of security was necessary to make international organizations especially the United Nations to become more effective in addressing and controlling the threats that affects individuals, states and the whole world.  In recognition of this global weaknesses and susceptibilities that derailed the old notion of security and led to the emergence of a new paradigm, which provides a more universal approach to security, human security which places emphasis to human beings or individuals at its core.

UNDP’s Concept of Human Security

While the concept of human security had been fervently discussed in relation to the evaluation of the obsolescence and irrelevance of the traditional concept of security, it was the UNDP’s Human Development Report in 1994 that first attempted to provide a systematic elaboration of human security.  The elaboration on human security in the report was in response to the need to promote human capability and empowerment as raised by Amartya Sen in the previous Human Development Report.  In this report, the concept of human security was formulated within the perspective of human development that placed emphasis to its four attributes namely: Universal concern, interdependent, ensured by early prevention and people-centered. Human security is considered as an essential and complementary component of participative human development.  People can only contribute effectively to their personal development, to their communities and to the world only if they are provided the right opportunities to meet their basic needs, and to earn their own living.  While human development is the process of expanding an individual’s choices, human security is that which allows the individual to safely exercise this freedom to choose without worry and apprehension.

The UNDP’s concept of human security systematically detailed that the span of security should encompass threats in the following areas:

Economic security — Freedom from economic security entails that every person is guaranteed to earn a living so that he/ she can sustain and support his/ her needs.  For one to earn a living, the person can be engaged in a remunerative work, enterprise, or at the very least supported by government.  Under this aspect of human security, only minor portion of the world’s population, which was mostly discernible in the massive and high incidence of unemployment across the globe in both developed and developing countries. Economic security is not purely an economic issue but involves a social dimension.  Ethnic and racial discrimination and conflict contribute to the problem of unemployment.

Food security — This aspect of human security pertains to the freedom from hunger and starvation.  Hunger is the twin of poverty.    Poverty causes the inability to purchase food.  Food security therefore has economic roots. Thus, an assurance of work and income empowers one to secure food.  Moreover, the issue of food security also emphasizes food access as well.  There is no food shortage in the world. The problem of food security also emanates from the inefficient food distribution system.   There exists the irony of some countries dumping their food for economic reasons, i.e. to protect price, while millions of people in some other parts of the world starve to death or die of hunger.

Health security — Health Security aspires to ensure people protection from deadly diseases and unhealthy standard of living. In the last few decades, the problem of health security required close cooperation and integrated efforts of the international community to contain the spread of diseases such as AIDS, SARS and recently AH1N1.  The problem of health security in developing countries are even greater as health security is also attributed to malnutrition due to lack of sufficient food, insufficient supply of water, lack of medicine, improper sanitation, among others making the people vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Environmental security — The issue of environmental security refers to both natural calamities and man made calamities.  The problem of environmental security which can be traced to the continued degradation of the environment, climate change, pollution, global warming among others, requires the individual and collective efforts of people to protect the environment and the business sector to pursue sustainable economic development. Sustainable economic development means designing development in such a way that the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  This aspect of environmental security therefore extends to the future of humanity.

Personal security — Personal security refers to the protection of individuals from violence both internally and externally and acts of criminals and delinquents. The latter is the most common source of anxiety and concern among ordinary people.  Everybody is vulnerable to crime victimization on a daily basis.  Personal security also encompasses domestic abuse especially against the marginalized sector of societies such as women, children elderly people, the disabled and racial minorities, among others.  Personal security is a manifestation of how personalized and individualized the concept of human security compared to state security.

Community security — Unlike personal security, this aspect of human security involves a collective approach to individuals considering that people are social animals and inherently belongs to a social group.  Community security thus focuses on guarding the social relationships that exist within a group including the social values, traditions and beliefs therein.  A typical example of community security applies to ethnic minority group or aboriginal groups whose cultural values are threatened to be extinct due to certain acts.  For instance, the rampant deforestation and urbanization threatens the natural habitat of some indigenous people or causes their displacement which has both direct and indirect detrimental effects to their normal lives. Their dislocation disrupts their regular patterns of life and exposes them to the dangers of hunger, health maladies, and discrimination.

Political security — The inclusion of political security is essential in human security in consideration that people normally live, operate and function within a society, which warrants the inherent human rights. Political security can be viewed to primarily apply towards government or any authoritative body, which has the penchant to abuse their power to repress, torture, and control the people.  Political security recognizes the primacy of the people over the law or over the state. In practically all democratic countries, the fundamental law or constitution of the land usually has a bill of rights which stipulates the inherent rights of people to protect them against abuses by their government.

Theoretical and Historical framework of the UNDP Concept

The concept of human security in the UNDP report has both a historical and theoretical basis. Human security is constituted of two essential components namely “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”. These two freedoms were among the four freedoms that US President Roosevelt forwarded as the objectives to justify the allied force adherence and battle cry in the World War II. These two freedoms also formed part as the core pillars for the establishment of the United Nations.  In accentuating these freedoms, the Economic and Social Councils were established which are one of the distinguishing features of the United Nations from its previous predecessor, the League of Nations. This development reflected the evolution of the concept of security traditionally focused on territorial and military affairs to the inclusion of economic and social security requirements at the global arena which resulted because of “democratization, socialization and internationalization in the twentieth century”.  (Shinoda,  p12)

The Broad vs. Narrow Definition: Freedom from Fear vs. Freedom from Want

Among academicians and policy makers, the varying concept of human security resulted to three groups, namely:  those who consider the concept attractive yet lacking exactitude and accuracy; those suggest on the need for narrowing the term to eliminate its vagueness that ambiguity that undercut its effectiveness; and those who advocate for a broader concept which makes the it more flexible and comprehensive in evaluation current human problems. (Tadjbakhsh, p6)  The first group of critics proposes that focusing on people entails the need for pertinent analysis.  The expansion of items considered only further blurs the connections between them.  This can results to inadvertent treatment of occurrences that do not necessarily endanger human lives.  A broad concept can be subject to the manipulation of some organization to gain approval and recognition for their programs or for impressing their whims and fancies. Establishing causal relations is problematic because the lack of security can be either a cause or a result of violence.

The next two groups both fall under advocates of human security except that the first adheres for the need to narrow down the definition of human security, highlighting only on factors that propagate violence and the next group supports a broad definition including human rights and human development.  While the UNDP originally defined human security to include both freedom from fear and freedom from want, this has become one of the central issues of debate about human security which covers that threat span or protection that human security should cover or what comprises the threats individuals should be protected from.

Those who adhere the “Freedom from Fear” concept  of human security ultimately try to restrict the implementation of Human Security to the protection of people from violent conflicts such as war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc.  Narrowing the focus to violence is more sensible and convenient. This concept of human security focus programs in terms of emergency assistance such as provision of relief and medical help to people caught in the middle; conflict prevention and resolution which involves creating channels for dialogue and providing peaceful settlement agreements; and peace-building, which involves all other efforts for the promotion of peace and order such as banning landmines and advocacy for nuclear free world.  While focusing on violence, advocates of the concept of security as freedom from fear recognize that violence are nevertheless closely connected with problems about poverty, hunger and other forms of issues.

People supporting a narrow definition of human security forward the pragmatic and simple reasons for doing so.  First of, exclusion of certain threats like hunger, poverty and health in the concept of human security do not necessarily mean abandoning these issues. Narrowing the concept of human security allows to provide better focus and domain. Issues about poverty, health and malnutrition and environmental degradation and other threats that the broad concept of human security tries to include are already covered by different commissions and reports.  Including them in the issue of human security would only result to the duplication of efforts. Finally,  a broad concept of human security which combines together diverse and complicated issues as genocide and includes an equally complex and wide issue about poverty, human rights and environmental conservation will only serve a promote advocacy but has limited use for policymaking and analysis.

Those who adhere the “Freedom from want” concept  of human security argue that this concept provides for a more holistic approach in attaining human security.  Supporters of this broader concept suggest that the threat of hunger, health diseases and natural calamities are essential factors that have a direct impact in human security. “There is not connection on all the threats except that they are all perceived as threat to people.  (Collins , p96) This basically extend the concern of human security from mere violence to human development and other related security objectives. The expansion of the coverage of human security highlights the shift to individual well being.  In expanding the scope of protection, human security also  calls for greater involvement and participation of not only the government but NGO’s, communities and individual people thereby providing opportunities to empower people and communities in terms of contributing their fair share in the burden of achieving human security.

People vying for this broad definition argue that instead of whimpering and brawling about the lack of a standard definition, research should be concentrated towards how the different conceptualization evades political, moral and ethical considerations to highlight power relations and structures.  The lack of standard definition should not be seen as a weakness but a strength of the concept to resist to surrender to  a single dominant issue or agenda.  A broad definition is crucial to facilitate continuous learning as it continuously transforms the philosophical framework of security studies.  Moreover, a broader definition allows for a comprehensive measures applicable to different issues that affect the daily lives of ordinary people.   The concept of human security serves a universal a language and explanation for explaining the different concerns of the greater majority.

Representatives of the two groups

With the issue about human security still left undecided, those who support the narrow perspective (freedom from fear) and those who support the broad perspective (freedom from want) both have respectfully been practicing their concepts of human security based on their own understanding.  For comparative purposes, the narrow perspective is represented by the Human Security Report Project, while the broad perspective is represented by the Commission for Human Security.

Human Security Report Project (Narrow)

Based at the School for International Studies in Simon Fraser University in Canada, this research center conducts and produces research on political violence both in the local, regional and global levels.  Funding for this center comes from the government of Norway, UK and Switzerland.  Research focuses on the roots and consequences of violence that are made available to policy makers and the general public. (Human Security Center)

Following the narrow perspective on human security, the research center is premised on the belief that effective policy making entails informed and in depth data analysis on specific issues. With a more focused concept on human security, Human Security Report Project focuses on human security as freedom from the fear of war and fear of crime.  For the former, it claims that the nature of warfare has changed which is currently targeting civilians (i.e. terrorism).  There is a dramatic decrease in armed conflict but while international war is decreasing, the problem of civil wars is rising.    For the latter on the other hand, the issue of criminality touches on gauging human rights violations.  It has also noted the prevalence of human trafficking.  The project also places emphasis on crimes against the marginalized sectors who are most vulnerable to violence especially women on sexual violence and force labor against children.

Commission on Human Security (Broad)

Initiated by the government of Japan, the commission was founded in January 2001 in response for the call to attain human security in terms of both  “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”.  It aims to campaign for public understanding, and participation  on human security initiatives and program, develop the framework of human security as guide for policy making and execution; and   suggest tangible programs of action that deals with crucial and persistent threats to human security.  With a broader perspective on human security, the commission covers not only protection and empowerment for human security, violent conflicts and human trafficking, it also provides policy recommendations on economic security, poverty, better heath,  education, skills and values, among others.  The commission places emphasis on the protection of people instead of territorial borders of nations and accentuates on the close association of poverty, inequality with violence.  With the growing and rapid phase of international migration, it adheres for establishing a multilateral approach to managing the movement of people through a international migration framework . It recognizes the central role of knowledge and technology in health and human security.  In its adherence to eliminate poverty and hunger, it identifies economic issues such as inflation, unemployment and just recently, financial recession.  Finally, it also adheres in promoting education ad information as a key to alleviate poverty, rescue people from economic security and its related consequences

While the UNDP and the Commission on Human security agrees on the broad perspective of human security, the latter intentionally did not make a systematic list of the sources of human insecurity but instead makes it open to flexibility of context. This approach is a more universally applicable approach as threats to humanity are different to different people and to different places.

The Problem of Measuring Human Security

Coming up with a human security index is problematic if not impossible because of  its irregular and complex components and specific variables.  The problem of measuring human security can be attributed to the following areas of concern: First of, the lack of standard definition.  Supporters of the narrow definition (freedom from fear) have a preference to determine ceiling at critical levels on categories such as death, violence, etc while those who prefer the broad definition (freedom from fear and want) prefer the inclusion of underdevelopment, human rights, sustainable development efforts, environment conservation in the index; While data on death is easy to ascertain, the intensity of violence is relative, subjective and not quantifiable; Because the issue of human security is different from nation to nation, it becomes context specific and may require dependence on qualitative reports, which on the other hand can be subjected to manipulation, bias perceptions and will be impossible to aggregate; and standardizing the thresholds would be inconsistent to the universality of human security because of great disparities in the situations of people from developed countries and third world nations. (Tadjbakhsh)

Conclusion

At the moment, there is no single standard definition of human security.  The term human security is taken in different perspectives, as a theory or concept, or a political parameter or agenda.  Amidst this confusion, all human security advocates agrees that  human security involves a shift from a state focus security to a people centered approach. In the words of UNDP, “Human Security is not a concern with weapons – it is a concern with human life and dignity”  (Booth, p231) The UNDP’s concept of human security identified two sets of human insecurity namely the local threats composed of seven security categories to wit, economic, food health, environmental, personal, community and political security. Next are the borderless or transnational threats that can spill in the local level which included diseases, economic/ financial crisis, and climate change, among others.

UNDP’s approach to human security in the perspective of development had become unsuitable and erratic as the two concepts started to move away from each other.  Human Security has transformed more as a political instrument than an approach to human development. Many governments have adopted human security in their political foreign policy objectives specifically in relation to issues like peace keeping, conflict deterrence and settlement and international intercession in local and internal disputes in certain countries.

The conceptual development of human security which challenged the traditional understanding of security involved the protection, empowerment and endowment of individual safety, well-being and personal liberty. The current concept includes the following essential components:

  • People-centeredness, which includes taking into consideration the needs of individuals in relation to their aspirations to empower them to contribute their fair share to society;
  • Comprehensiveness, which extends the approach to security beyond military force and intervention but through the implementation of sound socio-political and socio economic environment and opportunities. Incidentally, this highlights the effectiveness of using economic and social works in putting an end to internal conflicts and insurgencies; mutli-sectoral, which recognizes the active and dynamic participation of different organizations and individual persons in cooperation with the government in combating human security problems;
  • Contextualization and relativity, which highlights that no single approach to human security can effectively address the problems of people all over the world. The subjectivity and uniqueness of human security issues in different people, nations and settings entails customized and specific approaches to resolving each of them;
  • Precautionary, which highlights the preventive approach of addressing the root cause of insecurity to avoid them as much as possible.

Works Cited

Booth, Ken. Theory of world security. Volume 105 of Cambridge studies in international relations. Cambridge University Press, 2007

Collins, Allan. Contemporary security studies. Illustrated Edition. Oxford University Press, 2007

Commission on Human Security. Human Security Now. New York, 2003. Retrieved from: http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/finalreport/index.html

Human Security Center. Human Security Report 2005. War and Peace in the 21st century. Retrieved from:  http://www.humansecurityreport.info/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=63

Shinoda, Hideaki .The Concept of Human Security: Historical and Theoretical Implications IPSHU English Research Report Series No.19 Conflict and Human Security: A Search for New Approaches of Peace-building 2004. Retrieved from: http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/heiwa/Pub/E19/Chap1.pdf

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou. HD Insights. Human Security .Human Development Report Office

United Nations Development Programme . HDR Networks February 2008, Issue 17, 2008. Retrieved from: http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdinsights_feb2008.pdf

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou. Human Security: Concepts and Implications with an Application to Post-Intervention Challenges in Afghanistan. Les Etudes du CERI – n° 117-118 – September 2005. Retrieved from: http://ocha-gwapps1.unog.ch/rw/lib.nsf/db900SID/EVOD-7BJEKZ/$FILE/CERI_Sep2005.pdf?OpenElement

United National Development Program. Human Development Report 1994. New dimensions of human security. Retrieved from: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1994/chapters/

 

 

Humanity Security

Introduction

The concept of human security had been a source of heated debates among academic scholars and practitioners in international organizations since after the publication of the Human Development Report in 1994 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With the varying definition and conceptualization of human security, many have become incredulous of the authenticity of the concept. Its ambiguity makes it incapable of providing an appropriate framework for creating multilateral and integrated solutions to world problems.  While the idea is broadly appealing, it is nevertheless confusing as it involves a lot of variables that may not necessarily be associated to each other. Some adhered for a more simplified concept of human security which is primarily concerned with conditions involving threat and violence in order to provide more realistic direction and concrete implications to its advocacy programs.  Still others want an expanded idea of human security that goes beyond the conventional notions of security that highlights issues such as human development and human rights for a more preventive and comprehensive approach in tackling the root causes of violence and conflict and provision of sustainable peace-building programs to prevent the same.  This broader perspective to which this author is more inclined to support extends the concept of security to include socio economic policies that affects other facets of human security.

The Evolution of Security

The general concept of security pertains to the safety of a person from crime/ violence, peace and order and even financial stability to sustain ones needs.  In the political arena and international relations, the term security would refer to the protection of a country, its territories, citizens, institutions and values from external threats and attacks. Thus, security in its political sense often pertains to national or state security.  In the years that past, the notion of security broadens to include regional and international cooperation as nations were required to operate more intensely in the international level. Even the threats to the security of the country had also widened to include pollution, diseases (HIV), and terrorism among others. Issues to security had become more under the domain of the international community than national or state level. In other words, with the increasing interdependence of nations and threats becoming more of transnational issues, the need to broaden the concept of security was necessary to preserve world peace and solidity that focuses on the protection of people, regardless of their racial ethnicity, religious affinity, gender preference and national or political affiliation.  Broadening the concept of security was necessary to make international organizations especially the United Nations to become more effective in addressing and controlling the threats that affect individuals, states and the whole world.  In recognition of this global weaknesses and susceptibilities that derailed the old notion of security emerged a new paradigm, which provides a more universal approach. This is human security which places emphasis on human beings or individuals at its core instead of state territories, properties or any object.

UNDP’s Concept of Human Security

While the concept of human security had been fervently discussed in relation to the evaluation of the obsolescence and irrelevance of the traditional concept of security, it was the UNDP’s Human Development Report in 1994 that first attempted to provide a systematic elaboration of human security.  The elaboration on human security in the report was in response to the need to promote human capability and empowerment as raised by Amartya Sen in the previous Human Development Report. In this report, the concept of human security was formulated within the perspective of human development that placed emphasis on its four attributes, namely universal concern, interdependent, ensured by early prevention and people-centered. (Shinoda, p9) Human security is considered as an essential and complementary component of participative human development.  People can only contribute effectively to their personal development, to their communities and to the world only if they are provided the right opportunities to meet their basic needs, and to earn their own living.  While human development is the process of expanding an individual’s choices, human security is that which allows the individual to safely exercise this freedom to choose without worry and apprehension.

 

The UNDP’s concept of human security systematically detailed that the span of security should encompass threats in the following areas:

Economic security — Freedom from economic security entails that every person is guaranteed to earn a living so that he/ she can sustain and support his/ her needs.  For one to earn a living, the person can be engaged in a remunerative work, enterprise, or at the very least supported by government.  Under this aspect of human security, only minor portion of the world’s population was mostly discernible in the massive and high incidence of unemployment across the globe in both developed and developing countries. Economic security is not purely an economic issue but involves a social dimension.  Ethnic and racial discrimination and conflict contribute to the problem of unemployment.

Food security — This aspect of human security pertains to the freedom from hunger and starvation.  Hunger is the twin of poverty.    Poverty causes the inability to purchase food.  Food security therefore has economic roots. Thus, an assurance of work and income empowers one to secure food.  Moreover, the issue of food security also emphasizes food access as well.  There is no food shortage in the world. The problem of food security also emanates from the inefficient food distribution system.   There exists the irony of some countries dumping their food for economic reasons, i.e. to protect price, while millions of people in some other parts of the world starve to death or die of hunger.

Health security — Health Security aspires to ensure people protection from deadly diseases and unhealthy standard of living. In the last few decades, the problem of health security required close cooperation and integrated efforts of the international community to contain the spread of diseases such as AIDS, SARS and recently AH1N1.  The problem of health security in developing countries is even greater as health security is also attributed to malnutrition due to lack of sufficient food, insufficient supply of water, lack of medicine, improper sanitation, among others making the people vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Environmental security — The issue of environmental security refers to both natural calamities and man made calamities.  The problem of environmental security which can be traced to the continued degradation of the environment, climate change, pollution, global warming among others requires the individual and collective efforts of people to protect the environment and the business sector to pursue sustainable economic development. Sustainable economic development means designing development in such a way that the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations are met.  This aspect of environmental security therefore extends to the future of humanity.

Personal security — Personal security refers to the protection of individuals from violence both internally and externally and acts of criminals and delinquents. The latter is the most common source of anxiety and concern among ordinary people.  Everybody is vulnerable to crime victimization on a daily basis.  Personal security also encompasses domestic abuse especially against the marginalized sector of societies such as women, children, elderly people, the disabled and racial minorities, among others.  Personal security is a manifestation of how personalized and individualized the concept of human security compared to state security is.

Community security — Unlike personal security, this aspect of human security involves a collective approach to individuals considering that people are social animals and inherently belong to a social group.  Community security thus focuses on guarding the social relationships that exist within a group including the social values, traditions and beliefs therein.  A typical example of community security applies to ethnic minority group or aboriginal groups whose cultural values are threatened to be extinct due to certain acts.  For instance, the rampant deforestation and urbanization threaten the natural habitat of some indigenous people or cause their displacement which has both direct and indirect detrimental effects to their normal lives. Their dislocation disrupts their regular patterns of life and exposes them to the dangers of hunger, health maladies, and discrimination.

Political security — The inclusion of political security is essential in human security in consideration that people normally live, operate and function within a society, which warrants the inherent human rights. Political security can be viewed to primarily apply towards government or any authoritative body, which has the penchant to abuse their power to repress, torture, and control the people.  Political security recognizes the primacy of the people over the law or over the state. In practically all democratic countries, the fundamental law or constitution of the land usually has a bill of rights which stipulates the inherent rights of people to protect them against abuses by their government.

Theoretical and Historical framework of the UNDP Concept

The concept of human security in the UNDP report has both a historical and theoretical basis. Human security is constituted of two essential components namely “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”. These two freedoms were among the four freedoms that US President Roosevelt forwarded as the objectives to justify the allied force adherence and battle cry in the World War II. These two freedoms also formed part as the core pillars for the establishment of the United Nations.  In accentuating these freedoms, the Economic and Social Councils were established which are one of the distinguishing features of the United Nations from its previous predecessor, the League of Nations. This development reflected the evolution of the concept of security traditionally focused on territorial and military affairs to the inclusion of economic and social security requirements at the global arena which resulted because of “democratization, socialization and internationalization in the twentieth century”.  (Shinoda,  p12)

The Broad vs. Narrow Definition: Freedom from Fear vs. Freedom from Want

Among academicians and policy makers, the varying concept of human security resulted in three groups, namely those who consider the concept attractive yet lacking exactitude and accuracy; those suggest on the need for narrowing the term to eliminate its vagueness and ambiguity that undercut its effectiveness; and those who advocate for a broader concept which makes it more flexible and comprehensive in evaluation current human problems. (Tadjbakhsh, p6)  The first group of critics proposes that focusing on people entails the need for pertinent analysis.  The expansion of items considered only further blurs in the connections between them.  This can result in inadvertent treatment of occurrences that do not necessarily endanger human lives.  A broad concept can be subject to the manipulation of some organization to gain approval and recognition for their programs or for impressing their whims and fancies. Establishing causal relations is problematic because the lack of security can be either a cause or a result of violence.

The next two groups both fall under advocates of human security except that the first adheres to the need to narrow down the definition of human security, highlighting only factors that propagate violence and the next group supports a broad definition including human rights and human development.  While the UNDP originally defined human security to include both freedom from fear and freedom from want, this has become one of the central issues of debate about human security which covers that threat span or protection that human security should cover or what comprises the threats individuals should be protected from.

Those who adhere to the “Freedom from Fear” concept of human security ultimately try to restrict the implementation of Human Security to the protection of people from violent conflicts such as war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc.  Narrowing the focus to violence is more sensible and convenient. This concept of human security focus programs in terms of emergency assistance such as provision of relief and medical help to people caught in the middle; conflict prevention and resolution which involve creating channels for dialogue and providing peaceful settlement agreements; and peace-building, which involves all other efforts for the promotion of peace and order such as banning landmines and advocacy for nuclear free world.  While focusing on violence, advocates of the concept of security as freedom from fear recognize that violence is nevertheless closely connected with problems about poverty, hunger and other forms of issues.

People supporting a narrow definition of human security forward the pragmatic and simple reasons for doing so.  First, exclusion of certain threats like hunger, poverty and health in the concept of human security do not necessarily mean abandoning these issues. Narrowing the concept of human security allows providing better focus and domain. Issues about poverty, health and malnutrition and environmental degradation and other threats that the broad concept of human security tries to include are already covered by different commissions and reports.  Including them in the issue of human security would only result in the duplication of efforts. Finally,  a broad concept of human security which combines together diverse and complicated issues as genocide and includes an equally complex and wide issue about poverty, human rights and environmental conservation will only serve a promote advocacy but has limited use for policymaking and analysis.

Those who adhere to the “Freedom from want” concept of human security argue that this concept provides a more holistic approach in attaining human security.  Supporters of this broader concept suggest that the threat of hunger, health diseases and natural calamities are essential factors that have a direct impact in human security. There is not connection on all the threats except that they are all perceived as threat to people.  (Collins , p96) This basically extends the concern of human security from mere violence to human development and other related security objectives. The expansion of the coverage of human security highlights the shift to individual well being.  In expanding the scope of protection, human security also  calls for greater involvement and participation of not only the government but NGO’s, communities and individual people thereby providing opportunities to empower people and communities in terms of contributing their fair share in the burden of achieving human security.

People vying for this broad definition argue that instead of whimpering and brawling about the lack of a standard definition, research should be concentrated towards how the different conceptualization evades political, moral and ethical considerations to highlight power relations and structures.  The lack of standard definition should not be seen as a weakness but a strength of the concept to resists surrendering to a single dominant issue or agenda.  A broad definition is crucial to facilitate continuous learning as it continuously transforms the philosophical framework of security studies.  Moreover, a broader definition allows for comprehensive measures applicable to different issues that affect the daily lives of ordinary people.   The concept of human security serves a universal a language and explanation for explaining the different concerns of the greater majority.

Representatives of the two groups

With the issue about human security still left undecided, those who support the narrow perspective (freedom from fear) and those who support the broad perspective (freedom from want) both have respectfully been practicing their concepts of human security based on their own understanding.  For comparative purposes, the narrow perspective is represented by the Human Security Report Project, while the broad perspective is represented by the Commission for Human Security.

Human Security Report Project (Narrow)

Based at the School for International Studies in Simon Fraser University in Canada, this research center conducts and produces research on political violence both in the local, regional and global levels.  Funding for this center comes from the government of Norway, UK and Switzerland.  Research focuses on the roots and consequences of violence that are made available to policy makers and the general public. (Human Security Center)

Following the narrow perspective on human security, the research center is premised on the belief that effective policy making entails informed and in depth data analysis on specific issues. With a more focused concept on human security, Human Security Report Project focuses on human security as freedom from the fear of war and fear of crime.  For the former, it claims that the nature of warfare has changed which is currently targeting civilians (i.e. terrorism).  There is a dramatic decrease in armed conflict but while international war is decreasing, the problem of civil wars is rising.    For the latter on the other hand, the issue of criminality touches on gauging human rights violations.  It has also noted the prevalence of human trafficking.  The project also places emphasis on crimes against the marginalized sectors who are most vulnerable to violence especially women on sexual violence and force labor against children.

Commission on Human Security (Broad)

Initiated by the government of Japan, the commission was founded in January 2001 in response to the call to attain human security in terms of both “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”.  It aims to campaign for public understanding and participation on human security initiatives and program, develop the framework of human security as guide for policy making and execution and suggest tangible programs of action that deal with crucial and persistent threats to human security.  With a broader perspective of human security, the commission covers not only protection and empowerment for human security, violent conflicts and human trafficking, it also provides policy recommendations on economic security, poverty, better health,  education, skills and values, among others.  The commission places emphasis on the protection of people instead of territorial borders of nations and accentuates on the close association of poverty, inequality with violence.  With the growing and rapid phase of international migration, it adheres to establishing a multilateral approach managing the movement of people through an international migration framework. It recognizes the central role of knowledge and technology in health and human security.  In its adherence to eliminate poverty and hunger, it identifies economic issues such as inflation, unemployment and just recently, financial recession.  Finally, it also adheres in promoting education ad information as a key to alleviate poverty, rescue people from economic security and its related consequences

While the UNDP and the Commission on Human security agrees on the broad perspective of human security, the latter intentionally did not make a systematic list of the sources of human insecurity but instead makes it open to flexibility of context. This approach is a more universally applicable approach as threats to humanity are different to different people and to different places.

The Problem of Measuring Human Security

Coming up with a human security index is problematic if not impossible because of its irregular and complex components and specific variables.  The problem of measuring human security can be attributed to the following areas of concern. First, it is due to the lack of standard definition.  Supporters of the narrow definition (freedom from fear) have a preference to determine ceiling at critical levels on categories such as death, violence, etc while those who prefer the broad definition (freedom from fear and want) prefer the inclusion of underdevelopment, human rights, sustainable development efforts, environment conservation in the index. While data on death is easy to ascertain, the intensity of violence is relative, subjective and not quantifiable. Because the issue of human security is different from nation to nation, it becomes context specific and may require dependence on qualitative reports, which on the other hand can be subjected to manipulation, bias perceptions and will be impossible to aggregate and standardizing the thresholds would be inconsistent to the universality of human security because of great disparities in the situations of people from developed countries and Third World nations. (Tadjbakhsh)

Conclusion

At the moment, there is no single standard definition of human security.  The term human security is taken in different perspectives, as a theory or concept, or a political parameter or agenda.  Amidst this confusion, all human security advocates agree that human security involves a shift from a state focus security to a people centered approach. In the words of UNDP, “Human Security is not a concern with weapons – it is a concern with human life and dignity” (Booth, p231). The UNDP’s concept of human security identified two sets of human insecurity, namely the local threats composed of seven security categories to wit, economics, food health, environmental, personal, community and political security. Next are the borderless or transnational threats that can spill at the local level which included diseases, economic/ financial crisis, and climate change, among others.

UNDP’s approach to human security in the perspective of development had become unsuitable and erratic as the two concepts started to move away from each other.  Human Security has transformed more as a political instrument than an approach to human development. Many governments have adopted human security in their political foreign policy objectives specifically in relation to issues like peace keeping, conflict deterrence and settlement and international intercession in local and internal disputes in certain countries.

The conceptual development of human security which challenged the traditional understanding of security involved the protection, empowerment and endowment of individual safety, well-being and personal liberty. The current concept includes the following essential components:

  • People-centeredness, which includes taking into consideration the needs of individuals in relation to their aspirations to empower them to contribute their fair share to society;
  • Comprehensiveness, which extends the approach to security beyond military force and intervention but through the implementation of sound socio-political and socio economic environment and opportunities. Incidentally, this highlights the effectiveness of using economic and social works in putting an end to internal conflicts and insurgencies; mutli-sectoral, which recognizes the active and dynamic participation of different organizations and individual persons in cooperation with the government in combating human security problems;
  • Contextualization and relativity, which highlight that no single approach to human security can effectively address the problems of people all over the world. The subjectivity and uniqueness of human security issues in different people, nations and settings entail customized and specific approaches to resolving each of them;
  • Precautionary, which highlights the preventive approach of addressing the root cause of insecurity to avoid them as much as possible.

Works Cited

Booth, Ken. Theory of world security. Volume 105 of Cambridge studies in international relations. Cambridge University Press, 2007

Collins, Allan. Contemporary security studies. Illustrated Edition. Oxford University Press, 2007

Commission on Human Security. Human Security Now. New York, 2003. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/finalreport/index.html

Human Security Center. Human Security Report 2005. War and Peace in the 21st century. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://www.humansecurityreport.info/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=63

Shinoda, Hideaki .The Concept of Human Security: Historical and Theoretical Implications IPSHU English Research Report Series No.19 Conflict and Human Security: A Search for New Approaches of Peace-building 2004. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/heiwa/Pub/E19/Chap1.pdf

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou. HD Insights. Human Security .Human Development Report Office

United Nations Development Programme . HDR Networks February 2008, Issue 17, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdinsights_feb2008.pdf

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou. Human Security: Concepts and Implications with an Application to Post-Intervention Challenges in Afghanistan. Les Etudes du CERI – n° 117-118 – September 2005. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://ocha-gwapps1.unog.ch/rw/lib.nsf/db900SID/EVOD-7BJEKZ/$FILE/CERI_Sep2005.pdf?OpenElement

United National Development Program. Human Development Report 1994. New dimensions of human security. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1994/chapters/

 

Human Security

Introduction

The concept of human security had been a source of heated debates among academic scholars and practitioners in international organizations since after the publication of the Human Development Report in 1994 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With the varying definition and conceptualization of human security, many have become incredulous of the authenticity of the concept. Its ambiguity makes it incapable of providing an appropriate framework for creating multilateral and integrated solutions to world problems.  While the idea is broadly appealing, it is nevertheless confusing as it involves a lot of variables that may not necessarily be associated to each other. Some adhered for a more simplified concept of human security which is primarily concerned with conditions involving threat and violence in order to provide more realistic direction and concrete implications to its advocacy programs.  Still others want an expanded idea of human security that goes beyond the conventional notions of security that highlights issues such as human development and human rights for a more preventive and comprehensive approach in tackling the root causes of violence and conflict and provision of sustainable peace-building programs to prevent the same.  This broader perspective to which this author is more inclined to support extends the concept of security to include socio economic policies that affects other facets of human security.

The Evolution of Security

The general concept of security pertains to the safety of a person from crime/ violence, peace and order and even financial stability to sustain ones needs.  In the political arena and international relations, the term security would refer to the protection of a country, its territories, citizens, institutions and values from external threats and attacks. Thus, security in its political sense, often pertain to national or state security.  In the years that past, the notion of security broadens to include regional and international cooperation as nations were required to operate more intensely in the international level. Even the threats to the security of the country had also widened to include pollution, diseases (HIV), and terrorism among others. Issues to security had become more under the domain of the international community than national or state level. In other words, with the increasing interdependence of nations and threats becoming more of transnational issues, the need to broaden the concept of security was necessary to preserve world peace and solidity that focuses on the protection of people, regardless of their racial ethnicity, religious affinity, gender preference and national or political affiliation.  Broadening the concept of security was necessary to make international organizations especially the United Nations to become more effective in addressing and controlling the threats that affects individuals, states and the whole world.  In recognition of this global weaknesses and susceptibilities that derailed the old notion of security emerged a new paradigm, which provides a more universal approach. This is human security which places emphasis to human beings or individuals at its core instead of state territories, properties or any object.

UNDP’s Concept of Human Security

While the concept of human security had been fervently discussed in relation to the evaluation of the obsolescence and irrelevance of the traditional concept of security, it was the UNDP’s Human Development Report in 1994 that first attempted to provide a systematic elaboration of human security.  The elaboration on human security in the report was in response to the need to promote human capability and empowerment as raised by Amartya Sen in the previous Human Development Report. In this report, the concept of human security was formulated within the perspective of human development that placed emphasis to its four attributes namely: Universal concern, interdependent, ensured by early prevention and people-centered. (Shinoda, p9) Human security is considered as an essential and complementary component of participative human development.  People can only contribute effectively to their personal development, to their communities and to the world only if they are provided the right opportunities to meet their basic needs, and to earn their own living.  While human development is the process of expanding an individual’s choices, human security is that which allows the individual to safely exercise this freedom to choose without worry and apprehension.

 

The UNDP’s concept of human security systematically detailed that the span of security should encompass threats in the following areas:

Economic security — Freedom from economic security entails that every person is guaranteed to earn a living so that he/ she can sustain and support his/ her needs.  For one to earn a living, the person can be engaged in a remunerative work, enterprise, or at the very least supported by government.  Under this aspect of human security, only minor portion of the world’s population, which was mostly discernible in the massive and high incidence of unemployment across the globe in both developed and developing countries. Economic security is not purely an economic issue but involves a social dimension.  Ethnic and racial discrimination and conflict contribute to the problem of unemployment.

Food security — This aspect of human security pertains to the freedom from hunger and starvation.  Hunger is the twin of poverty.    Poverty causes the inability to purchase food.  Food security therefore has economic roots. Thus, an assurance of work and income empowers one to secure food.  Moreover, the issue of food security also emphasizes food access as well.  There is no food shortage in the world. The problem of food security also emanates from the inefficient food distribution system.   There exists the irony of some countries dumping their food for economic reasons, i.e. to protect price, while millions of people in some other parts of the world starve to death or die of hunger.

Health security — Health Security aspires to ensure people protection from deadly diseases and unhealthy standard of living. In the last few decades, the problem of health security required close cooperation and integrated efforts of the international community to contain the spread of diseases such as AIDS, SARS and recently AH1N1.  The problem of health security in developing countries are even greater as health security is also attributed to malnutrition due to lack of sufficient food, insufficient supply of water, lack of medicine, improper sanitation, among others making the people vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Environmental security — The issue of environmental security refers to both natural calamities and man made calamities.  The problem of environmental security which can be traced to the continued degradation of the environment, climate change, pollution, global warming among others, requires the individual and collective efforts of people to protect the environment and the business sector to pursue sustainable economic development. Sustainable economic development means designing development in such a way that the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  This aspect of environmental security therefore extends to the future of humanity.

Personal security — Personal security refers to the protection of individuals from violence both internally and externally and acts of criminals and delinquents. The latter is the most common source of anxiety and concern among ordinary people.  Everybody is vulnerable to crime victimization on a daily basis.  Personal security also encompasses domestic abuse especially against the marginalized sector of societies such as women, children elderly people, the disabled and racial minorities, among others.  Personal security is a manifestation of how personalized and individualized the concept of human security compared to state security.

Community security — Unlike personal security, this aspect of human security involves a collective approach to individuals considering that people are social animals and inherently belongs to a social group.  Community security thus focuses on guarding the social relationships that exist within a group including the social values, traditions and beliefs therein.  A typical example of community security applies to ethnic minority group or aboriginal groups whose cultural values are threatened to be extinct due to certain acts.  For instance, the rampant deforestation and urbanization threatens the natural habitat of some indigenous people or causes their displacement which has both direct and indirect detrimental effects to their normal lives. Their dislocation disrupts their regular patterns of life and exposes them to the dangers of hunger, health maladies, and discrimination.

Political security — The inclusion of political security is essential in human security in consideration that people normally live, operate and function within a society, which warrants the inherent human rights. Political security can be viewed to primarily apply towards government or any authoritative body, which has the penchant to abuse their power to repress, torture, and control the people.  Political security recognizes the primacy of the people over the law or over the state. In practically all democratic countries, the fundamental law or constitution of the land usually has a bill of rights which stipulates the inherent rights of people to protect them against abuses by their government.

Theoretical and Historical framework of the UNDP Concept

The concept of human security in the UNDP report has both a historical and theoretical basis. Human security is constituted of two essential components namely “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”. These two freedoms were among the four freedoms that US President Roosevelt forwarded as the objectives to justify the allied force adherence and battle cry in the World War II. These two freedoms also formed part as the core pillars for the establishment of the United Nations.  In accentuating these freedoms, the Economic and Social Councils were established which are one of the distinguishing features of the United Nations from its previous predecessor, the League of Nations. This development reflected the evolution of the concept of security traditionally focused on territorial and military affairs to the inclusion of economic and social security requirements at the global arena which resulted because of “democratization, socialization and internationalization in the twentieth century”.  (Shinoda,  p12)

The Broad vs. Narrow Definition: Freedom from Fear vs. Freedom from Want

Among academicians and policy makers, the varying concept of human security resulted to three groups, namely:  those who consider the concept attractive yet lacking exactitude and accuracy; those suggest on the need for narrowing the term to eliminate its vagueness that ambiguity that undercut its effectiveness; and those who advocate for a broader concept which makes the it more flexible and comprehensive in evaluation current human problems. (Tadjbakhsh, p6)  The first group of critics proposes that focusing on people entails the need for pertinent analysis.  The expansion of items considered only further blurs the connections between them.  This can results to inadvertent treatment of occurrences that do not necessarily endanger human lives.  A broad concept can be subject to the manipulation of some organization to gain approval and recognition for their programs or for impressing their whims and fancies. Establishing causal relations is problematic because the lack of security can be either a cause or a result of violence.

The next two groups both fall under advocates of human security except that the first adheres for the need to narrow down the definition of human security, highlighting only on factors that propagate violence and the next group supports a broad definition including human rights and human development.  While the UNDP originally defined human security to include both freedom from fear and freedom from want, this has become one of the central issues of debate about human security which covers that threat span or protection that human security should cover or what comprises the threats individuals should be protected from.

Those who adhere the “Freedom from Fear” concept  of human security ultimately try to restrict the implementation of Human Security to the protection of people from violent conflicts such as war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc.  Narrowing the focus to violence is more sensible and convenient. This concept of human security focus programs in terms of emergency assistance such as provision of relief and medical help to people caught in the middle; conflict prevention and resolution which involves creating channels for dialogue and providing peaceful settlement agreements; and peace-building, which involves all other efforts for the promotion of peace and order such as banning landmines and advocacy for nuclear free world.  While focusing on violence, advocates of the concept of security as freedom from fear recognize that violence are nevertheless closely connected with problems about poverty, hunger and other forms of issues.

People supporting a narrow definition of human security forward the pragmatic and simple reasons for doing so.  First of, exclusion of certain threats like hunger, poverty and health in the concept of human security do not necessarily mean abandoning these issues. Narrowing the concept of human security allows to provide better focus and domain. Issues about poverty, health and malnutrition and environmental degradation and other threats that the broad concept of human security tries to include are already covered by different commissions and reports.  Including them in the issue of human security would only result to the duplication of efforts. Finally,  a broad concept of human security which combines together diverse and complicated issues as genocide and includes an equally complex and wide issue about poverty, human rights and environmental conservation will only serve a promote advocacy but has limited use for policymaking and analysis.

Those who adhere the “Freedom from want” concept  of human security argue that this concept provides for a more holistic approach in attaining human security.  Supporters of this broader concept suggest that the threat of hunger, health diseases and natural calamities are essential factors that have a direct impact in human security. “There is not connection on all the threats except that they are all perceived as threat to people.  (Collins , p96) This basically extend the concern of human security from mere violence to human development and other related security objectives. The expansion of the coverage of human security highlights the shift to individual well being.  In expanding the scope of protection, human security also  calls for greater involvement and participation of not only the government but NGO’s, communities and individual people thereby providing opportunities to empower people and communities in terms of contributing their fair share in the burden of achieving human security.

People vying for this broad definition argue that instead of whimpering and brawling about the lack of a standard definition, research should be concentrated towards how the different conceptualization evades political, moral and ethical considerations to highlight power relations and structures.  The lack of standard definition should not be seen as a weakness but a strength of the concept to resist to surrender to  a single dominant issue or agenda.  A broad definition is crucial to facilitate continuous learning as it continuously transforms the philosophical framework of security studies.  Moreover, a broader definition allows for a comprehensive measures applicable to different issues that affect the daily lives of ordinary people.   The concept of human security serves a universal a language and explanation for explaining the different concerns of the greater majority.

Representatives of the two groups

With the issue about human security still left undecided, those who support the narrow perspective (freedom from fear) and those who support the broad perspective (freedom from want) both have respectfully been practicing their concepts of human security based on their own understanding.  For comparative purposes, the narrow perspective is represented by the Human Security Report Project, while the broad perspective is represented by the Commission for Human Security.

Human Security Report Project (Narrow)

Based at the School for International Studies in Simon Fraser University in Canada, this research center conducts and produces research on political violence both in the local, regional and global levels.  Funding for this center comes from the government of Norway, UK and Switzerland.  Research focuses on the roots and consequences of violence that are made available to policy makers and the general public. (Human Security Center)

Following the narrow perspective on human security, the research center is premised on the belief that effective policy making entails informed and in depth data analysis on specific issues. With a more focused concept on human security, Human Security Report Project focuses on human security as freedom from the fear of war and fear of crime.  For the former, it claims that the nature of warfare has changed which is currently targeting civilians (i.e. terrorism).  There is a dramatic decrease in armed conflict but while international war is decreasing, the problem of civil wars is rising.    For the latter on the other hand, the issue of criminality touches on gauging human rights violations.  It has also noted the prevalence of human trafficking.  The project also places emphasis on crimes against the marginalized sectors who are most vulnerable to violence especially women on sexual violence and force labor against children.

Commission on Human Security (Broad)

Initiated by the government of Japan, the commission was founded in January 2001 in response for the call to attain human security in terms of both  “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”.  It aims to campaign for public understanding, and participation  on human security initiatives and program, develop the framework of human security as guide for policy making and execution; and   suggest tangible programs of action that deals with crucial and persistent threats to human security.  With a broader perspective on human security, the commission covers not only protection and empowerment for human security, violent conflicts and human trafficking, it also provides policy recommendations on economic security, poverty, better heath,  education, skills and values, among others.  The commission places emphasis on the protection of people instead of territorial borders of nations and accentuates on the close association of poverty, inequality with violence.  With the growing and rapid phase of international migration, it adheres for establishing a multilateral approach to managing the movement of people through a international migration framework . It recognizes the central role of knowledge and technology in health and human security.  In its adherence to eliminate poverty and hunger, it identifies economic issues such as inflation, unemployment and just recently, financial recession.  Finally, it also adheres in promoting education ad information as a key to alleviate poverty, rescue people from economic security and its related consequences

While the UNDP and the Commission on Human security agrees on the broad perspective of human security, the latter intentionally did not make a systematic list of the sources of human insecurity but instead makes it open to flexibility of context. This approach is a more universally applicable approach as threats to humanity are different to different people and to different places.

The Problem of Measuring Human Security

Coming up with a human security index is problematic if not impossible because of  its irregular and complex components and specific variables.  The problem of measuring human security can be attributed to the following areas of concern: First of, the lack of standard definition.  Supporters of the narrow definition (freedom from fear) have a preference to determine ceiling at critical levels on categories such as death, violence, etc while those who prefer the broad definition (freedom from fear and want) prefer the inclusion of underdevelopment, human rights, sustainable development efforts, environment conservation in the index; While data on death is easy to ascertain, the intensity of violence is relative, subjective and not quantifiable; Because the issue of human security is different from nation to nation, it becomes context specific and may require dependence on qualitative reports, which on the other hand can be subjected to manipulation, bias perceptions and will be impossible to aggregate; and standardizing the thresholds would be inconsistent to the universality of human security because of great disparities in the situations of people from developed countries and third world nations. (Tadjbakhsh)

Conclusion

At the moment, there is no single standard definition of human security.  The term human security is taken in different perspectives, as a theory or concept, or a political parameter or agenda.  Amidst this confusion, all human security advocates agrees that  human security involves a shift from a state focus security to a people centered approach. In the words of UNDP, “Human Security is not a concern with weapons – it is a concern with human life and dignity”  (Booth, p231) The UNDP’s concept of human security identified two sets of human insecurity namely the local threats composed of seven security categories to wit, economic, food health, environmental, personal, community and political security. Next are the borderless or transnational threats that can spill in the local level which included diseases, economic/ financial crisis, and climate change, among others.

UNDP’s approach to human security in the perspective of development had become unsuitable and erratic as the two concepts started to move away from each other.  Human Security has transformed more as a political instrument than an approach to human development. Many governments have adopted human security in their political foreign policy objectives specifically in relation to issues like peace keeping, conflict deterrence and settlement and international intercession in local and internal disputes in certain countries.

The conceptual development of human security which challenged the traditional understanding of security involved the protection, empowerment and endowment of individual safety, well-being and personal liberty. The current concept includes the following essential components:

  • People-centeredness, which includes taking into consideration the needs of individuals in relation to their aspirations to empower them to contribute their fair share to society;
  • Comprehensiveness, which extends the approach to security beyond military force and intervention but through the implementation of sound socio-political and socio economic environment and opportunities. Incidentally, this highlights the effectiveness of using economic and social works in putting an end to internal conflicts and insurgencies; mutli-sectoral, which recognizes the active and dynamic participation of different organizations and individual persons in cooperation with the government in combating human security problems;
  • Contextualization and relativity, which highlights that no single approach to human security can effectively address the problems of people all over the world. The subjectivity and uniqueness of human security issues in different people, nations and settings entails customized and specific approaches to resolving each of them;
  • Precautionary, which highlights the preventive approach of addressing the root cause of insecurity to avoid them as much as possible.

Works Cited

Booth, Ken. Theory of world security. Volume 105 of Cambridge studies in international relations. Cambridge University Press, 2007

Collins, Allan. Contemporary security studies. Illustrated Edition. Oxford University Press, 2007

Commission on Human Security. Human Security Now. New York, 2003. Retrieved from: http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/finalreport/index.html

Human Security Center. Human Security Report 2005. War and Peace in the 21st century. Retrieved from:  http://www.humansecurityreport.info/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=63

Shinoda, Hideaki .The Concept of Human Security: Historical and Theoretical Implications IPSHU English Research Report Series No.19 Conflict and Human Security: A Search for New Approaches of Peace-building 2004. Retrieved from: http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/heiwa/Pub/E19/Chap1.pdf

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou. HD Insights. Human Security .Human Development Report Office

United Nations Development Programme . HDR Networks February 2008, Issue 17, 2008. Retrieved from: http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdinsights_feb2008.pdf

Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou. Human Security: Concepts and Implications with an Application to Post-Intervention Challenges in Afghanistan. Les Etudes du CERI – n° 117-118 – September 2005. Retrieved from: http://ocha-gwapps1.unog.ch/rw/lib.nsf/db900SID/EVOD-7BJEKZ/$FILE/CERI_Sep2005.pdf?OpenElement

United National Development Program. Human Development Report 1994. New dimensions of human security. Retrieved from: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1994/chapters/

 

 

 

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November 28, 2009

THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON EDUCATIONAL REFORM IN NIGERIA

 

This write up examines Globalization within the thematic context of necessary changes in the education systems of most countries of the world; with Nigeria being used as a case study.

Globalization has enormous implications for changes in all aspects of education, than most nations and people are prepared to refuse or accept. This write up examines the imperatives for systemic changes in all aspects of Education as dictated by globalization trends and tendencies. The chapter shall put forward further study on how to initiate and sustain necessary changes in the educational systems of Nigeria for other developing nations to meet the demands of globalization.

A globalize world economy and trading system indirectly implies that globalised educational policies and practices must evolve with time.  This evolution seems slow in the developing countries.  Nigeria and other developing countries should reposition and prepare for economic changes in education to meet the dictates of Globalization.

WHAT IT IS GLOBALISATION

Globalization perhaps became a fashionable and widespread concept in the 1990s (Giddens, 1990). This write up agreed with Tikly, et al (2003) that sees globalization as containing both opportunities and threats for national development and as being an inevitable and largely irresistible phenomenon. Globalization was seen to be concerned principally with economic integration into regional and global markets underpinned by new technologies. It was also seen, however, as involving political and cultural aspects.

Globalization embodies and exhibits trends and characteristics, which tend to de-emphasize the primacy of the traditional nation state while simultaneously accentuating the ascendancy of world wide trends and tendencies.  The forces and characteristics of globalization tend to have collapsed traditional boundaries among nations, regions and among ethnic divides.

Suddenly, the whole world had become a global village. Though, globalization within historical context has a longer origin than most people are prepared to acknowledge. Africa is portrayed as marginal in issues related to contemporary discourse on globalization, largely because of Eurocentric notion of Africa as a dark continent which is excluded from mainstream global thinking and activities.  However, a proper view of globalization within historical context will see Africa as playing a central role in the global dispersal of civilization and modernization.  Africa’s central link to the rest of the world spans the whole of man’s life time on mother ‘earth’.  Platonic Egypt and the Islamic caliphates in Africa had for long been centers for learning and inspiration for less developed Europe.

 

Centers of learning and excellence had existed in Africa long before the America’s were opened up.  The slave trade and later colonization should be seen as global dimensions in the exploitation of African labour for the advancement of Western economy. These seem to be the view of King and McGrath (2002).

Thus, if contemporary discourse and processes on globalization fail to accord Africa, a cardinal role in global processes, a fall back into history may correct this deliberate collective neo-colonially imposed amnesia.

NIGERIA’S BOLD ATTEMPTS AT GLOBALISATION

Nigeria made its first attempt to enter into the so-called atomic age in 1955 when the first ever Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme was launched in Western Nigeria. One of the primary aims of the UPE was to catch-up with the developing world. The experience of Nigerians who fought in the Second World War revealed to them that Nigeria was indeed backward and came home to share their experiences with Nigeria’s first group of nationalists. While proposing the UPE programme to the legislature in 1952 the then Minister of Education stated that

Our survival as a race in this atomic age will depend on our ability to initiate and our competence to implement bold schemes of political economic and educational advancement (Nigeria: Western Region Debates 1952, Adelabu 1990.)

In the 1960’s, educational policies along with other aspects of National life were blighted by national conflicts, therefore, setting the country backwards educationally. To salvage this, two important policies were introduced. The first one was the Federal Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme launched in 1976. The scheme succeeded in raising total enrolment from six million in 1975/76; to fifteen million in 1982/83 (Urwick and Aliu 2003).Second policy was the National Policy on Education with a 6-3-3-4 structure of formal education.

Between 1979 and 1999 there was political instability that affected education both  in quantity and in quality, consequent upon this and because of the major world development of Education for All (EFA)  the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme was launched to provide both primary and junior secondary education for all school age children including those underserved. It also aims to provide non-formal education for out-of school children and illiterate adults.

This historical review has pointed to the fact that, even though globalization became a universal concept in the 1990’s but Nigeria had consistently fashioned it’s educational policies to make the country relevant to developed economies and subsequently through education, integrate it into the global economy.

Presently, Nigeria is facing the challenge of EFA by year 2015.  The government is committed to this, since it believes in education as a veritable tool to achieve the millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

 

Nigeria’s Educational Policy and International Influences

Major international development such as wars and world economic crises, patterns of influence with foreign states and multinational organizations assistance and pressures have heavily influenced globalization of education in Nigeria. The 1990 Jomtien declaration and frame work for action and the Dakar Education for All (EFA) Declaration of April 2000, for instance have influenced the orientation of Nigeria’s UBE programme as well as the ongoing EFA planning exercise. Other international conferences held during the 1990 decade such as the Ouagadougou Pan-African Conference on girls’ Education 1993, the world conferences on higher education 1998 and technical/vocational education 1999 have all had their impacts on educational development in the country, and have particularly enabled Nigeria to network with other nations. The same can be said of Nigeria’s involvement in the work of Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) among others.

The impacts, results and implication of the seemingly catholic and widespread effect of globalization are hereby examined and policy responses analyzed for Nigerian context.

In this context, the imperatives for educational changes are examined under the following headings:

  1. Globalization and imperatives for changes in school curriculum in Nigerian educational system.
  2. Globalization and imperatives for changes in teacher education and teacher recruitment and retention policies.
  3. Globalization and imperatives for changes in educational assessment policies and practices in Nigeria.
  4. Globalization and imperatives for changes in educational financing and funding
  5. Globalization and imperatives for constitutional and policy issues in Education in Nigeria.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in School Educational System

Globalization should ideally be seen as a phenomenon demanding for widespread systemic changes in education .Globalization symbolizes a paradigm shift involving the re-thinking of beliefs and structures in traditional consciousness. It symbolizes a shift from monoculture approach to education to multi-cultural approach with attendant implication for changes in school curriculum and attendant practices.

One of the six EFA goals stipulates that learning needs of all young people and adults are to be met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skill programmes hence the emphasis on technical and vocational education. As stated in 1999 Nigerian Constitution (Section 18) Government is committed to the promotion of science and technology, and given the National Policy on Education (NPE) (2003) declaration that ‘a greater proportion of education expenditure shall continue to be devoted to Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) at the federal and state levels and at secondary and tertiary levels.

Apart from equipping the learners with skills, it was also an attempt to achieve the MDGs in the area of poverty reduction. According to Adelabu (2005), with diversified curriculum structure the youth could be adequately equipped for employment particularly in the rural areas. Unfortunately this aspect of education is the least patronized in Nigeria yet TVE is crucial in a globalize era.

The structural imbalance in the TVE is evident in the NPE implementation document on the transition rate of student at the end of the junior secondary School (JSS) and Senior Secondary Schools (SSS). While the document prescribes a transition rate of 60% for secondary schools, the actual rate for TVE is a mere 20%. It is therefore hardly surprising why there are about 5,100 secondary schools with an enrolment figure of 4,448,991 compared to 138 technical colleges with an enrolment figure of 43,354, depicting a ratio of 102:1 (Master plan for TVE in Nigeria 2000)

Nigeria had to meet her commitment to take lots of challenges one of which is enhancing the social prestige of TVE programmes, through creating an enabling psycho-pedagogical environment in the schools as well as enables socio-economic environment in the wider society (Obanya 2002)

The Information Technology revolution (ICT) has enormous implications for school curriculum planning and implementation.  The revolution in knowledge production, distribution and management perhaps implies the death of the traditional curriculum.  School curriculum must now embody the contemporary complexity and vibrancy of ICT.  The paradigm shift which globalization with its attendant post modernist tendencies in education entails in education may necessitate the emergence of curriculum models and education policies which emphasize interdisciplinary courses open ended systems, Socratic dialogue, multidimensional assessment and multiculturalism (Boyer, 1991, 1995; Slattery, 1995).

In an era of globalization, it appears ‘change’ seems to become a permanent future of human civilization.  Thus, the cultivation of a permanent learning attitude and disposition becomes a major mission of schools all over the world.  It implies schools must promote higher order and divergent thinking among school pupils.  Regrettably, most school systems especially those of developing societies currently operate close-ended educational systems which are only good for the attainment of obsolete behavioral objectives that pre-determined outcomes and foster lower-order thinking processes.  Open-ended educational systems however foster divergent thinking, authentic reasoning and self-directed exploration of topics and issues associated with inter disciplinary contents.

The skills and competencies needed for survival in an era of globalization perhaps call for the adoption of more innovative approaches to education.  Embedded in such innovative approaches are features such as effective use of Technology in teaching, reflective intergenerational dialogue, performance-based learning activities and other inter professional interactive and collaborative approaches to delivery of school instruction?  There are vital skills and competencies that schools must teach which existing close-ended educational systems appear ill equipped to handle.

Hence, the advocacy for the adoption of an open-ended educational system which ICT will provide. Most societies perhaps need innovative approaches to animate and support learning activities that will entail deep understanding and adaptation of knowledge in various context and problems situations. This is necessary if schools are to adequately prepare pupils for a life-long reality of problem-solving, knowledge adaptation and constant adjustment to changes.

Innovative curriculum approaches introduced by most developed countries are perhaps part of attempts at ensuring schools do not fail in adequately preparing youths and children for life realities (Boyer, 1995).  The thinking curriculum is example of such innovative curriculum evolving from the realization that effective thinking and problem-solving are essential survival skills in the perennially changing cultural-milieu of globalization.  This is so as the effective citizen of the globalize ‘world’ must always be an effective ‘Thinker’ and Problem

Information technology have the potential to widen access to learning opportunities, and to improve the quality of education, but constraints and obstacles to its use in Nigeria include poverty, low level of access to computer and lack of ICT specialists computer literacy into schools because if ICT programmes expand students will be prepared for a life long reality of problem solving knowledge adaptation and constant adjustment to changes.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Teacher Education and Teacher Recruitment and Retention Policies

In any educational system, the teacher performs a significant function of perpetuating society’s heritage and energizing human resources towards social progress. The level of a nation’s education can not rise far above the quality of the teacher of that nation. This therefore, makes the preparation and selection of teachers a significant social concern. There is a need to review and transform both the professional preparation of teachers and their in-service training in Nigeria. There is little doubt that like all developing countries, Nigeria faces an educational particularly in its quest to achieve education for all by 2015.

Undoubtedly, teachers lie at the heart of this educational crisis because according to Baikie (2002) only the teachers who posses the necessary technical competence and professional skills through a well coordinated teachers education programme that can rise to meet the challenges of the crisis that has bedeviled Nigerian’s educational scene.

The focus of teachers training should depart from the traditional method of professional teacher educational programme in Nigeria which thus far has not produced the desired quality and professionalism. This system exposes the teacher to acquire a body of knowledge in a subject discipline. He/she takes courses in education, which involves methodology of teaching learning. Lastly, he/she goes through a supervised teaching practice which is referred to as apprentenship. This system has not produced the desired result for a Transformative educational system in a globalize world, innovation required for both for teacher pre-service preparation and teacher in-service training. It is for this reason, the school-based teacher professional preparation and development is advocated.

This enables schools and teachers to play a much larger role in teachers’ professional development. This will eventually make the schools be the first to reap the benefits of generation of good new teachers. The cluster school-based teacher in-service teacher development is an innovation being carried out presently in Nigeria. It is a departure from the traditional top down one-side fits all cascade type of training.

It is a system of mentoring whereby teachers’ educators and or professional teachers support teachers directly in their classrooms with intensive period of mentoring and discussion in teachers meetings within the schools and across a cluster of schools to develop reflective practices and reflective practitioners.

The goal of global competitiveness, demands that both the curriculum and the teaching methods to be more focused on developing generic and attitudinal skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving as well as promoting national reconciliation (This is indeed an issue in Nigeria politics). National reconciliation and life skills such as those that can help counter the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The trends and characteristics of globalization perhaps call for a total re-invention or repackaging of the teaching profession in Nigeria. The Teacher in the globalize environment must be prepared to think globally and act locally in matters relating to education.  He must be able to create a learning, friendly and animating environment in the classroom. The Nigerian teachers must be able to participate effectively in the contemporary ICT imposed revolution in knowledge creation, distribution and management.          Schools exist to impart knowledge and skills.  It is therefore imperative for schools to move with time in matters relating to knowledge creation and distribution.  The current state of Nigerian schools on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) should be improved as a priority and national emergency.

Teacher education policies and practices in Nigeria also need a fundamental overhaul in order to ensure that modern teachers are produced from Nigerian Teacher Training Institutions.  Computer training and Information Technology must be central components in Teacher preparation programmes in Nigeria.  The ideal teacher in a globalize world must be an expert in a subject area as well as an expert in the use of Information Technology in teaching learning situations.  Such teachers must be prepared to be active participants in integrated communities of learners.  This is so because in an era of globalization, boundaries between schools and homes, schools and societies, between different disciplines and spheres of knowledge are bound to disappear and be replaced by integrated communities of learners.  Such teachers must be able to use technology to support learning as rightly noted by Costello and McNabb (1996) when they submit that with advances in telecommunication networks, the ‘classroom’ may expand beyond the walls of the school building to cyberspace where telemonitoring relationships among learners and more knowledgeable others can develop and flourish.

There are some practices in Teacher recruitment and retention in Nigeria that are not in support of ensuring quality teaching manpower for Nigerian schools. Teacher recruitment policy until recently in Nigeria never emphasized professionalism. For many years, the teaching profession served as dumping ground for all kinds of professionals who could not secure other employment.  Thus our schools became dumping ground for all kinds of workers who parade themselves as teachers simply because they could not secure other appointments.  The globalize world environment makes it imperative for school system to be centers of dynamism and progress.  A society that is always on the move for progress should not have a school system manned by reluctant and wrongly-trained personnel parading themselves as teachers.

The current practice of promoting teachers using year of graduation is not acceptable in contemporary era of globalization.  Also the reward system in any teaching service should be related exclusively to individual productivity of teachers involved.  Every teacher in any school system must be made to earn his/her promotion.

Motivation and productivity among teachers will disappear in a school system that does not anchor teachers’ promotion on the performance of individual teachers.  Ministry of Education in Nigeria and other developing countries need to radically change their teachers’ promotion policy if they sincerely interested in keeping a teaching manpower with high morale for a globalize society that is perennially on the move for positive changes. Educational system will not be modernized until the whole system of teacher training is drastically overhauled, intellectually richer, and more challenging.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Educational Assessment Policies and Practices in Nigeria

It is important to note here that a preponderant majority of candidates fail external examinations yearly. It is either something is wrong with the curriculum or the assessment procedures in both internal and external examinations.  The proportion of candidates who sit for the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and the Senior Secondary School Examinations and qualify for admission into tertiary institutions is very low.

In 1999, only 8,632 candidates out of 757,222, representing 1.1%obtained a minimum of five credits which is the requirement for admission into universities while an almost equal proportion, which is 1.2%, qualified for admission into polytechnics, with a minimum of only four credits. Performance in year 2000 for instance was poorer with only .9% obtaining a minimum of four or five credits.(Nigeria, Education Sector Analysis 2003).

One can therefore infer that this poor performance could either be as a reason of curriculum overload or unrealistic poor assessment procedures. The adoption of curricula innovations in education must necessarily involve corresponding innovations and changes in educational assessment practices and policies.

Despite huge investment on education as reflected in the budget allocations of many countries, there seems to be widespread dissatisfaction with educational systems among major stakeholders.  Perhaps efforts to reform and reposition education to meet the challenges of globalization era have not been yielding the requisite results, largely because enough attention has not been given to the roles and instrumentality of educational assessment in initiating and sustaining educational reforms.  Perhaps most examination bodies should realize that their societies may not be getting value for the money spent on yearly increases in the quality of formalized testing. One should perhaps begin to ask some fundamental questions about the relevance of education programs and the appropriateness of existing traditional assessment methods.

It must be acknowledged that traditional methods of pencil and paper seem to have failed in most societies to assess significant learning outcomes.  Apart from this failure, adherence to traditional assessment strategies by examination bodies in contemporary era may thereby continue to undermine educational reform and the bid to reposition schools to meet existential challenges of globalize societies.

Perhaps, it should be stated clearly that traditional standard test routed in the purely thematic Tylerian curriculum is no longer adequate in assessing higher, order thinking also been expressed by Corrigan, 1995 and Wiggins, 1992.  The momentum of widespread educational reform is a challenge that educators cannot ignore to too long.  Examination bodies world over should perhaps exhibit more concrete awareness of this momentum for change.

A positive step in this direction perhaps is the need to explore the use of innovative assessment procedures.  The primary goals of authentic assessment which appear congruent with the educational needs of contemporary globalize era are:

1.         To develop the learner’s cognitive strategies for self-monitoring of progress.

2.         To foster the learner’s ability for higher-order thinking skills.

3.         To measure the progress against learner’s own development, not the norm, and

4.         To provide more accurate evidence of a learner’s abilities than traditional tests (Boyer, 1995; Cole et al, in-press; Slattery, 1995; Wiggins, 1992).

However, it must be stated that necessary curriculum changes must precede the adoption of alternative or authentic assessment.  Authentic assessment measures ensure multiple approaches to measuring learning through multiple observations and many different types of observable evidence within a specific context.  Slattery (1995) summarizes features of emerging curricula models, laboratories, interviews, multi-sensory projects, seminars, workshops, play-shops and field experiences involving groups of students, teachers and other community members will become the norms rather the exception.

The emphasis of education in globalize societies is to create a culture that is learning friendly.  Most societies must set up cooperative learning environment wherein all resources in the community are made learning-friendly.

Corresponding innovations in educational assessment should also be learners-friendly and performance focused. The movement away from traditional assessment procedures and the clamor for the adoption of alternative assessments variously called authentic assessment or performance assessments which are in a wide variety of forms – such as computer simulations, open-ended questions, demonstrations, exhibits, writing in many disciplines and portfolios of student work overtime. All these are due to a globalize necessity for more meaningful assessment policies that will more accurately capture the vital learning outcomes that students must achieve in order to survive and achieve success in contemporary societies.

Computer Technology is so prevalent in globalize life that educational assessment must also adopt a prevalent use of computer technology.  It should perhaps be impossible for any citizen of globalize world to acquire basic education without adequate proficiency in the use of computer technology.  It is perhaps the duty of examination bodies, especially in developing countries, Nigerian inclusive, to achieve this goal.

However, most developing societies are far from achieving this globalize necessity. Educational assessment policies and practices must therefore integrate the use of technology in its operations.  Another global trend is to encourage schools to imbibe democratic ideals and practices in their activities.  If schools are encouraged to adopt democratic ideals in teaching-learning activities, it becomes imperative for examination bodies to be similarly democratic in their policies and practices.  The starting point of such democracy is that parents and pupils must always have a choice about what kind of examination they intend to patronize.  Flexibility and choice are essential features in the modern era of globalization.  Nigerian for illustration must have enough examination bodies to reflect the cultural pluralism and diversity of Nigerian societies.  Presently, what Nigeria has on ground in terms of public examination bodies are perhaps far away from the ideal, bearing in mind global imperatives?

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Educational Financing and Funding

The National Policy on Education recognizes education as an expensive social service that requires adequate financial provision for the successful implementation of the educational programmes. Government’s ultimate goal is to make education free at all levels although the financial burden appears overwhelming. Financing education is, therefore, a joint responsibility of the federal, state, local governments, local communities, individuals, the private sector and other organizations. Education share of the budget dropped in 1991 and 1992, remained stable in the range of 12 to 14.5% although no less than 25% of all income accruing to the nation is required.

The limited resource of the government to fund education at all levels has made government to solicit education at private sectors as educat5ion providers. This is based on the belief that private participation in Education is a way of providing variety and allowing for healthy competition, it is also based on government’s belief in cost sharing for the funding of education, but with the proviso that like government private providers should not run private schools essentially for monetary gain but as a social service. Apart from the positive effects of more access, this has led to emergence of highly elitist schools that have excluded the poor.

Other private partners in education include cooperate organizations development partners, multinational cooperation’s. These bodies have contributed in various ways to the national expedition on education. But it appears that the success story ends there because education financing in Nigeria is still poor. This is manifested in dwindling facilities in schools, dilapidated buildings, infrastructural decay and general decline in morale for learning. It is obvious that Nigeria’s economy of today cannot support the educational system.

Obviously, there is acute scarcity of financial resources which is more extreme in the developing countries to provide teachers, pay salaries, infrastures and instructional materials and observation shown that this has negatively affected quality. The of the community, parents teachers association inclusive (PTA) has been encouraged in funding of education. Many communities are involved in self-help project and community partnership in educational funding. The PTA in particular is in the fore-front of this noble development.

All the educational reforms earlier proposed as global imperatives in this paper will cost money and other non-financial resources to implement.  The politics associated with educational financing and funding in Nigeria is such that government pretends to have the capability to fund education at all levels.  In theory, most governments in Nigeria believe that education is tuition-free at all levels in all public schools.  However, in practice, most of Nigerian public schools are hardly well-funded by various levels of government.  Most public schools hardly have running grants.  It appears Nigeria must address squarely, the issues of effective funding and financing of public education at all levels.  Government must exhibit the requisite political will to allow parents and other stakeholders to pay token fees for public education.

A situation where most public schools are deserted by pupils in preference for private schools cannot be allowed to continue unrepressed.  Educational funding for a school system that teaches higher-order thinking and a school system that is ICT-driven should necessarily be cost intensive.  The current trend of poor and epileptic funding in education may not assist in this direction.  It is therefore imperative that Nigeria must spend more money in the running of public education if Nigerian schools are to move the nation ahead like other school systems of developed countries.  Education indeed must be a cost-intensive enterprise as the dictates of globalization appear to have placed additional burden on school systems.

Globalization and Imperatives for Constitutional Issues and Policy Reforms in Education in Nigeria

A major policy reform in Nigeria is National Economic Empowerment Development Strategies (NEEDS). This NEED is Nigeria’s home grown poverty reduction strategy and is a nationally coordinated framework of action in close collaboration with the states and Local Government. It is a major instrument to meet the requirement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which in itself is a global issue.

Although, NEEDS is essentially for poverty reduction, but it cuts across all sectors. NEEDS rests on four key strategies, these are:

  • Reforming government and institutions
  • Growing the private sectors
  • Implementing a social strata and
  • Value-orientation.

 

Under NEEDS, education (especially Basic Education) is considered the key bridge to the future. In this regard, the strategy addresses the following:

v  Faithfully implementation of free and compulsory Universal Education

v  Review of school curricular to incorporate vocational and entrepreneur skills

v  Re-tooling and repositioning of technical schools to address manpower needs of the economic

v  Establishment of more vocational centers

v  Review of school curricular to incorporate the study of ICT among others.

It is important for Nigeria to evolve constitutional provision to protect school system from unnecessary policy fluctuations and instabilities.  Nigeria education has suffered too much in the past due to fluctuations and instability in government policies on education especially in matters relating to educational funding and financing.  Education is so important for national development that perhaps a certain percentage of national budgets should be constitutionally set aside for the funding of education.  A globalize world environment has the tendency of creating free zones, both for trade and for learning all over the world.  The school systems of developing countries will have to operate in the same global environment as the schools systems of developed countries.  Isolation is becoming increasingly difficult in such an environment.  It is therefore important for developing counties to spend more on the function of education.

It is important also to state that the proposals for widespread systemic reforms in educational policy formulation and implementation could only be possible in a political environment that supports experimentation and risk-taking.  The need for deep-rooted community support cannot be over-emphasized in any successful attempt to reform and reposition educational policies and practices.  Politicians and stakeholders in the education industry must be encouraged to develop the requisite political courage and will to initiate and sustain the proposal for educational reforms.  The current trends and characteristics of globalisation call for a radical paradigm shift in educational policies and practices.

Conclusion

Nigeria is positive about its potential for economic and political progress in the 21st century. Like Mbeki of South Africa (Mbeki 1999) declared, the notion of an African Renaissance which is presently spreading through the continent points to a new optimism among African leaders in which Nigeria is taking a lead. Nigeria government has fashioned its own reform along the MDGs through the popular National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).  This has become a National creed.

NEEDS is about Nigeria. It is for the survival of democracy and to enable the populace enjoy the fruit of a free society. It is to bring the economy back on track. NEEDS is about the Nigerian people. Their welfare, health, employment, political power, physical security and empowerment are of paramount importance for realizing this vision of the future.

Nigerian schools therefore must change what they teach and how they teach in line with changes in an increasingly globalize world. This is perhaps the central message of this write –up.

REFERENCES

Adelabu, M. A. (1990):  Politics of Decision Making Process in Education with Reference to South Western Nigeria: Ph.D. (Educational Administration), Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Adelabu, M. A. (2005): Making Education Services work for Rural Dwellers. Paper presented at the 8th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development Learning and Livelihood. 13-15 September 2005 in Oxford UK.

Adelabu, M.A. and Alao, K.A. (2002):  Nigerian Teacher Education and the achievement agenda.  Education Stakeholders verdict, Yearbook of International Council of Education for Teaching (ICET), New Jersey, USA.

Alao, Kayode (2005):  Emerging Perspectives on Educational Assessment in an Era of Postmodernism. Commissioned paper presented at 31st Annual conference on International Association for Educational Assessment, Nicon-Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria, 4-9.

Baikie Adamu (2002): Recurrent Issues in Nigerian Education. Zaria. Tamaza Publishing Company Limited

Boyer, E.L. (1991):  Ready to Learn: A mandate for the nation.  Princeton, N.J.:  Carnegies Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Boyer, E.L. (1995):  The basis of school:  A community for learning.  Princeton, N.J.:  Carnegies Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Corrigan, D. (1995):  Teacher education and interprofessional collaboration:  Creation of family-centred, community-based integrated service systems.  Paper presented at the National Congress on Teacher Education, Dec. 10-12, 1995.  Washington, D.C.

Costello, M.S. and McNabb (1996):  Preservice teachers and elementary student exploring multi avenues of reader-response to literature through electronic dialogue journals.  Paper presented at the National Reading Research Centre Conference on Literacy and Technology for the 21st Century, Oct. 4-5, 1996, Atlanta, G.A.

Giddens, A. (1990):  The consequences of modernity.  Cambridge:  Polity Press.

Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D. and Perraton, J. (1999):  Global Transformations.  Cambridge:  Polity Press.

King Kenneth and McGrath Simon (2002): Globalization, Enterprise and Knowledge Education, Training and Development in Africa. Symposium Books Oxford, United Kingdom.

McIntyre Donald and Rhodes Geoff (1995): School-Based Initial Teacher Training. In Green  Howard (ed). The School Management Handbook, Kogan Publisher Limited, London.

National Policy on Education (2003 Revised) NERC Press. Lagos.

Nigeria: (1952): Hanzard of Proceedings, Western House of Assembly, Ibadan, Ministry of Information.

Master Plan for TVE in Nigeria for 21st Century, Vol.111.2000 as Cited in Makoju Gladys A.E. and Nwangwu Rosemary E.(ed) Pre –Diagnostic Bibliography Collation on Studies Proposed for the Nigerian Education Sector Analysis .

Federal Ministry of Education (2003): Education Sector Analysis

Obanya, P. A. I (2002): Revitalizing Education in Africa, Ibadan Stirling Horden Publishers (Nig.) Ltd.

Slattery, P. (1995):  Curriculum development in the post modern era.  New York:  Garland Publishing.

Tikly, L., Lowe, J., Crossley, M., Dachi, H., Garrett, R., and Mukabarangu, B. (2003): Globalization and Skills for Development in Rwanda and Tanzania. DFID Educational Papers.

Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) (2004): Improving Teaching and Learning through School-Based Teacher Development, Nigeria. Universal Basic Education Commission.

Urwick, James and Aliyu Balaraba (2003): Towards the Re-denomination of Nigeria’s Education System. Council for Education in the Commonwealth, Commonwealth House, UK.

Wiggins, G. (1992):  Creating tests worth taking.  Educational Leadership, 49, 26-33.

 

THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON EDUCATIONAL REFORM IN NIGERIA

 

The paper analyzes the changes that have become mandatory with increasing Globalization.

Globalization has had considerable effects on the education system of any nation some of which were readily accepted by its people while others need to be gradually incorporated. This can only be achieved through adequate reforms in the education system. The write up examines the imperatives for systemic changes in all aspects of Education as dictated by globalization trends and tendencies. The chapter aims to put forward the steps needed to initiate and sustain necessary changes in the educational systems of Nigeria which can serve as the model for the other developing nations.

A globalized interaction among nations through trade, culture, welfare activities, cartel for fighting common problems, etc. indirectly implies that educational policies and practices must evolve with time to integrate with the world economy.  This evolution seems slow in the developing countries.  Nigeria and other developing countries should reposition and prepare for economic changes in education to meet the dictates of Globalization.

WHAT IT IS GLOBALISATION

The concept of Globalization gained particular importance in the 1990s (Giddens, 1990). This write up enhances the study of Tikly, et al (2003) that sees globalization as containing both opportunities and threats for national development; as being an inevitable and largely irresistible phenomenon. Globalization was seen to be concerned principally with economic integration into regional and global markets underpinned by new technologies. However, with time, it has also started involving political and cultural aspects.

Globalization embodies and exhibits trends and characteristics which undermines the importance of values and principles of one and only traditional nation and particularly accentuates the ascendancy of world wide tendencies.  The traditional national boundaries are just seen as geographical and have lost their importance with regards to languages, ethnic divides, trade, education, social customs, culture, etc.

Suddenly, the whole world has become a global village. Though, globalization within historical context has a longer origin than most people are prepared to acknowledge. Africa for modern men largely remains marginal and broken up from the globalized world. It is viewed as a dark continent. However, looking at the pages of history will paint a different picture which sees Africa as playing a central role in the global dispersal of civilization and modernization.  Africa’s central link to the rest of the world spans the whole of man’s life time on mother ‘earth’.  Platonic Egypt and the Islamic caliphates in Africa had for long been centers for learning and inspiration for less developed Europe.

 

The record says that Centers of learning and excellence existed in Africa long before America was even known to the world. According to King and McGrath, the slave trade and later colonization should be seen as global dimensions in the exploitation of African labour for the advancement of Western economy.

Thus, if contemporary discourse and processes on globalization fail to accord Africa, a cardinal role in global processes, a fall back into history may correct this deliberate collective neo-colonially imposed amnesia.

NIGERIA’S BOLD ATTEMPTS AT GLOBALISATION

Nigeria made its first attempt to enter into the so-called atomic age in 1955 when the first ever Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme was launched in Western Nigeria. This program aimed to integrate Nigerian education system with the global one. The army of Nigeria who was exposed to the world with the 2nd world war realized the fact that Nigeria is indeed backward compared to the western world. The nationalists were of the view that education reforms could act as measures for development. While proposing the UPE programme to the legislature in 1952 the then Minister of Education stated that

Our survival as a race in this atomic age will depend on our ability to initiate and our competence to implement bold schemes of political economic and educational advancement (Nigeria: Western Region Debates 1952, Adelabu 1990.)

The national conflicts were common in the 1960s resulting in losing focus from the education, its policies and reforms. This became the primary reason for the backwardness of Nigerian education system. To salvage this, the two important policies were introduced. The first one was the Federal Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme launched in 1976. The scheme succeeded in raising total enrolment from six million in 1975/76; to fifteen million in 1982/83 (Urwick and Aliu 2003). The Second policy was the National Policy on Education with a 6-3-3-4 structure of formal education.

The political instability particularly in the 1980s and 1990s had a terrible impact on the education system both in terms of quality and the number of children taking to education. However, the programs Education for All (EFA) and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) continued to struggle for reforming the system. Also, these programs provided non-formal education for out-of school children and illiterate adults.

Though Globalization was a universal concept around the world in the 1990s, Nigeria has taken to it just recently. The educational policies are being reformed to adjust to the new world and the developed economies. The integration with the world economy has finally picked up in Nigeria.

Presently, Nigeria is striving hard to achieve the challenge of Education for All by 2015. The government is committed to this, since it believes in education as an effective tool to achieve the millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

 

Nigeria’s Educational Policy and International Influences

The major global developments such as wars and world economic crisis, patterns of influence with foreign states and multinational organizations assistance and pressures have conclusively resulted in globalization of education in Nigeria.

The impacts, results and implication of the seemingly catholic and widespread effect of globalization are hereby examined and policy responses analyzed for Nigerian context.

In this context, the imperatives for educational changes are examined under the following headings:

  1. Globalization and imperatives for changes in school curriculum in Nigerian educational system.
  2. Globalization and imperatives for changes in teacher education and teacher recruitment and retention policies.
  3. Globalization and imperatives for changes in educational assessment policies and practices in Nigeria.
  4. Globalization and imperatives for changes in educational financing and funding
  5. Globalization and imperatives for constitutional and policy issues in Education in Nigeria.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in School Educational System

Globalization should ideally be seen as a phenomenon demanding for widespread systemic changes in education .Globalization symbolizes a paradigm shift involving the re-thinking of beliefs and structures in traditional consciousness. It symbolizes a shift from monoculture approach to education to multi-cultural approach with attendant implication for changes in school curriculum and attendant practices.

The program of Education for All (EFA) aims to enhance the learning needs of young people and adult through access to appropriate educational programmes raising the emphasis on technical and vocational education. As stated in 1999 Nigerian Constitution (Section 18) Government is committed to the promotion of science and technology, and given the National Policy on Education (NPE) (2003) declaration that ‘a greater proportion of education expenditure shall continue to be devoted to Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) at the federal and state levels and at secondary and tertiary levels.

Apart from equipping the learners with skills, it was also an attempt to achieve the MDGs in the area of poverty reduction. According to Adelabu (2005), with diversified curriculum structure the youth could be adequately equipped for employment particularly in the rural areas. Unfortunately this aspect of education is the least patronized in Nigeria yet TVE is crucial in a globalize era.

The structural imbalance in the TVE is evident in the NPE implementation document on the transition rate of student at the end of the junior secondary School (JSS) and Senior Secondary Schools (SSS). While the document prescribes a transition rate of 60% for secondary schools, the actual rate for TVE is a mere 20%. It is therefore hardly surprising why there are about 5,100 secondary schools with an enrolment figure of 4,448,991 compared to 138 technical colleges with an enrolment figure of 43,354, depicting a ratio of 102:1 (Master plan for TVE in Nigeria 2000)

Nigeria had to meet her commitment to take lots of challenges one of which is enhancing the social prestige of TVE programmes, through creating an enabling psycho-pedagogical environment in the schools as well as enables socio-economic environment in the wider society (Obanya 2002)

The Information Technology revolution (ICT) has enormous implications for school curriculum planning and implementation.  The revolution in knowledge production, distribution and management perhaps implies the death of the traditional curriculum.  School curriculum must now embody the contemporary complexity and vibrancy of ICT.  The paradigm shift which globalization with its attendant post modernist tendencies in education entails in education may necessitate the emergence of curriculum models and education policies which emphasize interdisciplinary courses open ended systems, Socratic dialogue, multidimensional assessment and multiculturalism (Boyer, 1991, 1995; Slattery, 1995).

In an era of globalization, it appears ‘change’ seems to become a permanent future of human civilization.  Thus, the cultivation of a permanent learning attitude and disposition becomes a major mission of schools all over the world.  It implies schools must promote higher order and divergent thinking among school pupils.  Regrettably, most school systems especially those of developing societies currently operate close-ended educational systems which are only good for the attainment of obsolete behavioral objectives that pre-determined outcomes and foster lower-order thinking processes.  Open-ended educational systems however foster divergent thinking, authentic reasoning and self-directed exploration of topics and issues associated with inter disciplinary contents.

The skills and competencies needed for survival in an era of globalization perhaps call for the adoption of more innovative approaches to education.  Embedded in such innovative approaches are features such as effective use of Technology in teaching, reflective intergenerational dialogue, performance-based learning activities and other inter professional interactive and collaborative approaches to delivery of school instruction?  There are vital skills and competencies that schools must teach which existing close-ended educational systems appear ill equipped to handle.

Hence, the advocacy for the adoption of an open-ended educational system which ICT will provide. Most societies perhaps need innovative approaches to animate and support learning activities that will entail deep understanding and adaptation of knowledge in various context and problems situations. This is necessary if schools are to adequately prepare pupils for a life-long reality of problem-solving, knowledge adaptation and constant adjustment to changes.

Innovative curriculum approaches introduced by most developed countries are perhaps part of attempts at ensuring schools do not fail in adequately preparing youths and children for life realities (Boyer, 1995).  The thinking curriculum is example of such innovative curriculum evolving from the realization that effective thinking and problem-solving are essential survival skills in the perennially changing cultural-milieu of globalization.  This is so as the effective citizen of the globalize ‘world’ must always be an effective ‘Thinker’ and Problem

Information technology have the potential to widen access to learning opportunities, and to improve the quality of education, but constraints and obstacles to its use in Nigeria include poverty, low level of access to computer and lack of ICT specialists computer literacy into schools because if ICT programmes expand students will be prepared for a life long reality of problem solving knowledge adaptation and constant adjustment to changes.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Teacher Education and Teacher Recruitment and Retention Policies

In any educational system, the teacher performs a significant function of perpetuating society’s heritage and energizing human resources towards social progress. The level of a nation’s education can not rise far above the quality of the teacher of that nation. This therefore, makes the preparation and selection of teachers a significant social concern. There is a need to review and transform both the professional preparation of teachers and their in-service training in Nigeria. There is little doubt that like all developing countries, Nigeria faces an educational particularly in its quest to achieve education for all by 2015.

Undoubtedly, teachers lie at the heart of this educational crisis because according to Baikie (2002) only the teachers who posses the necessary technical competence and professional skills through a well coordinated teachers education programme that can rise to meet the challenges of the crisis that has bedeviled Nigerian’s educational scene.

The focus of teachers training should depart from the traditional method of professional teacher educational programme in Nigeria which thus far has not produced the desired quality and professionalism. This system exposes the teacher to acquire a body of knowledge in a subject discipline. He/she takes courses in education, which involves methodology of teaching learning. Lastly, he/she goes through a supervised teaching practice which is referred to as apprentenship. This system has not produced the desired result for a Transformative educational system in a globalize world, innovation required for both for teacher pre-service preparation and teacher in-service training. It is for this reason, the school-based teacher professional preparation and development is advocated.

This enables schools and teachers to play a much larger role in teachers’ professional development. This will eventually make the schools be the first to reap the benefits of generation of good new teachers. The cluster school-based teacher in-service teacher development is an innovation being carried out presently in Nigeria. It is a departure from the traditional top down one-side fits all cascade type of training.

It is a system of mentoring whereby teachers’ educators and or professional teachers support teachers directly in their classrooms with intensive period of mentoring and discussion in teachers meetings within the schools and across a cluster of schools to develop reflective practices and reflective practitioners.

The goal of global competitiveness, demands that both the curriculum and the teaching methods to be more focused on developing generic and attitudinal skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving as well as promoting national reconciliation (This is indeed an issue in Nigeria politics). National reconciliation and life skills such as those that can help counter the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The trends and characteristics of globalization perhaps call for a total re-invention or repackaging of the teaching profession in Nigeria. The Teacher in the globalize environment must be prepared to think globally and act locally in matters relating to education.  He must be able to create a learning, friendly and animating environment in the classroom. The Nigerian teachers must be able to participate effectively in the contemporary ICT imposed revolution in knowledge creation, distribution and management.          Schools exist to impart knowledge and skills.  It is therefore imperative for schools to move with time in matters relating to knowledge creation and distribution.  The current state of Nigerian schools on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) should be improved as a priority and national emergency.

Teacher education policies and practices in Nigeria also need a fundamental overhaul in order to ensure that modern teachers are produced from Nigerian Teacher Training Institutions.  Computer training and Information Technology must be central components in Teacher preparation programmes in Nigeria.  The ideal teacher in a globalize world must be an expert in a subject area as well as an expert in the use of Information Technology in teaching learning situations.  Such teachers must be prepared to be active participants in integrated communities of learners.  This is so because in an era of globalization, boundaries between schools and homes, schools and societies, between different disciplines and spheres of knowledge are bound to disappear and be replaced by integrated communities of learners.  Such teachers must be able to use technology to support learning as rightly noted by Costello and McNabb (1996) when they submit that with advances in telecommunication networks, the ‘classroom’ may expand beyond the walls of the school building to cyberspace where telemonitoring relationships among learners and more knowledgeable others can develop and flourish.

There are some practices in Teacher recruitment and retention in Nigeria that are not in support of ensuring quality teaching manpower for Nigerian schools. Teacher recruitment policy until recently in Nigeria never emphasized professionalism. For many years, the teaching profession served as dumping ground for all kinds of professionals who could not secure other employment.  Thus our schools became dumping ground for all kinds of workers who parade themselves as teachers simply because they could not secure other appointments.  The globalize world environment makes it imperative for school system to be centers of dynamism and progress.  A society that is always on the move for progress should not have a school system manned by reluctant and wrongly-trained personnel parading themselves as teachers.

The current practice of promoting teachers using year of graduation is not acceptable in contemporary era of globalization.  Also the reward system in any teaching service should be related exclusively to individual productivity of teachers involved.  Every teacher in any school system must be made to earn his/her promotion.

Motivation and productivity among teachers will disappear in a school system that does not anchor teachers’ promotion on the performance of individual teachers.  Ministry of Education in Nigeria and other developing countries need to radically change their teachers’ promotion policy if they sincerely interested in keeping a teaching manpower with high morale for a globalize society that is perennially on the move for positive changes. Educational system will not be modernized until the whole system of teacher training is drastically overhauled, intellectually richer, and more challenging.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Educational Assessment Policies and Practices in Nigeria

It is important to note here that a preponderant majority of candidates fail external examinations yearly. It is either something is wrong with the curriculum or the assessment procedures in both internal and external examinations.  The proportion of candidates who sit for the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and the Senior Secondary School Examinations and qualify for admission into tertiary institutions is very low.

In 1999, only 8,632 candidates out of 757,222, representing 1.1%obtained a minimum of five credits which is the requirement for admission into universities while an almost equal proportion, which is 1.2%, qualified for admission into polytechnics, with a minimum of only four credits. Performance in year 2000 for instance was poorer with only .9% obtaining a minimum of four or five credits.(Nigeria, Education Sector Analysis 2003).

One can therefore infer that this poor performance could either be as a reason of curriculum overload or unrealistic poor assessment procedures. The adoption of curricula innovations in education must necessarily involve corresponding innovations and changes in educational assessment practices and policies.

Despite huge investment on education as reflected in the budget allocations of many countries, there seems to be widespread dissatisfaction with educational systems among major stakeholders.  Perhaps efforts to reform and reposition education to meet the challenges of globalization era have not been yielding the requisite results, largely because enough attention has not been given to the roles and instrumentality of educational assessment in initiating and sustaining educational reforms.  Perhaps most examination bodies should realize that their societies may not be getting value for the money spent on yearly increases in the quality of formalized testing. One should perhaps begin to ask some fundamental questions about the relevance of education programs and the appropriateness of existing traditional assessment methods.

It must be acknowledged that traditional methods of pencil and paper seem to have failed in most societies to assess significant learning outcomes.  Apart from this failure, adherence to traditional assessment strategies by examination bodies in contemporary era may thereby continue to undermine educational reform and the bid to reposition schools to meet existential challenges of globalize societies.

Perhaps, it should be stated clearly that traditional standard test routed in the purely thematic Tylerian curriculum is no longer adequate in assessing higher, order thinking also been expressed by Corrigan, 1995 and Wiggins, 1992.  The momentum of widespread educational reform is a challenge that educators cannot ignore to too long.  Examination bodies world over should perhaps exhibit more concrete awareness of this momentum for change.

A positive step in this direction perhaps is the need to explore the use of innovative assessment procedures.  The primary goals of authentic assessment which appear congruent with the educational needs of contemporary globalize era are:

1.         To develop the learner’s cognitive strategies for self-monitoring of progress.

2.         To foster the learner’s ability for higher-order thinking skills.

3.         To measure the progress against learner’s own development, not the norm, and

4.         To provide more accurate evidence of a learner’s abilities than traditional tests (Boyer, 1995; Cole et al, in-press; Slattery, 1995; Wiggins, 1992).

However, it must be stated that necessary curriculum changes must precede the adoption of alternative or authentic assessment.  Authentic assessment measures ensure multiple approaches to measuring learning through multiple observations and many different types of observable evidence within a specific context.  Slattery (1995) summarizes features of emerging curricula models, laboratories, interviews, multi-sensory projects, seminars, workshops, play-shops and field experiences involving groups of students, teachers and other community members will become the norms rather the exception.

The emphasis of education in globalize societies is to create a culture that is learning friendly.  Most societies must set up cooperative learning environment wherein all resources in the community are made learning-friendly.

Corresponding innovations in educational assessment should also be learners-friendly and performance focused. The movement away from traditional assessment procedures and the clamor for the adoption of alternative assessments variously called authentic assessment or performance assessments which are in a wide variety of forms – such as computer simulations, open-ended questions, demonstrations, exhibits, writing in many disciplines and portfolios of student work overtime. All these are due to a globalize necessity for more meaningful assessment policies that will more accurately capture the vital learning outcomes that students must achieve in order to survive and achieve success in contemporary societies.

Computer Technology is so prevalent in globalize life that educational assessment must also adopt a prevalent use of computer technology.  It should perhaps be impossible for any citizen of globalize world to acquire basic education without adequate proficiency in the use of computer technology.  It is perhaps the duty of examination bodies, especially in developing countries, Nigerian inclusive, to achieve this goal.

However, most developing societies are far from achieving this globalize necessity. Educational assessment policies and practices must therefore integrate the use of technology in its operations.  Another global trend is to encourage schools to imbibe democratic ideals and practices in their activities.  If schools are encouraged to adopt democratic ideals in teaching-learning activities, it becomes imperative for examination bodies to be similarly democratic in their policies and practices.  The starting point of such democracy is that parents and pupils must always have a choice about what kind of examination they intend to patronize.  Flexibility and choice are essential features in the modern era of globalization.  Nigerian for illustration must have enough examination bodies to reflect the cultural pluralism and diversity of Nigerian societies.  Presently, what Nigeria has on ground in terms of public examination bodies are perhaps far away from the ideal, bearing in mind global imperatives?

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Educational Financing and Funding

The National Policy on Education recognizes education as an expensive social service that requires adequate financial provision for the successful implementation of the educational programmes. Government’s ultimate goal is to make education free at all levels although the financial burden appears overwhelming. Financing education is, therefore, a joint responsibility of the federal, state, local governments, local communities, individuals, the private sector and other organizations. Education share of the budget dropped in 1991 and 1992, remained stable in the range of 12 to 14.5% although no less than 25% of all income accruing to the nation is required.

The limited resource of the government to fund education at all levels has made government to solicit education at private sectors as educat5ion providers. This is based on the belief that private participation in Education is a way of providing variety and allowing for healthy competition, it is also based on government’s belief in cost sharing for the funding of education, but with the proviso that like government private providers should not run private schools essentially for monetary gain but as a social service. Apart from the positive effects of more access, this has led to emergence of highly elitist schools that have excluded the poor.

Other private partners in education include cooperate organizations development partners, multinational cooperation’s. These bodies have contributed in various ways to the national expedition on education. But it appears that the success story ends there because education financing in Nigeria is still poor. This is manifested in dwindling facilities in schools, dilapidated buildings, infrastructural decay and general decline in morale for learning. It is obvious that Nigeria’s economy of today cannot support the educational system.

Obviously, there is acute scarcity of financial resources which is more extreme in the developing countries to provide teachers, pay salaries, infrastures and instructional materials and observation shown that this has negatively affected quality. The of the community, parents teachers association inclusive (PTA) has been encouraged in funding of education. Many communities are involved in self-help project and community partnership in educational funding. The PTA in particular is in the fore-front of this noble development.

All the educational reforms earlier proposed as global imperatives in this paper will cost money and other non-financial resources to implement.  The politics associated with educational financing and funding in Nigeria is such that government pretends to have the capability to fund education at all levels.  In theory, most governments in Nigeria believe that education is tuition-free at all levels in all public schools.  However, in practice, most of Nigerian public schools are hardly well-funded by various levels of government.  Most public schools hardly have running grants.  It appears Nigeria must address squarely, the issues of effective funding and financing of public education at all levels.  Government must exhibit the requisite political will to allow parents and other stakeholders to pay token fees for public education.

A situation where most public schools are deserted by pupils in preference for private schools cannot be allowed to continue unrepressed.  Educational funding for a school system that teaches higher-order thinking and a school system that is ICT-driven should necessarily be cost intensive.  The current trend of poor and epileptic funding in education may not assist in this direction.  It is therefore imperative that Nigeria must spend more money in the running of public education if Nigerian schools are to move the nation ahead like other school systems of developed countries.  Education indeed must be a cost-intensive enterprise as the dictates of globalization appear to have placed additional burden on school systems.

Globalization and Imperatives for Constitutional Issues and Policy Reforms in Education in Nigeria

A major policy reform in Nigeria is National Economic Empowerment Development Strategies (NEEDS). This NEED is Nigeria’s home grown poverty reduction strategy and is a nationally coordinated framework of action in close collaboration with the states and Local Government. It is a major instrument to meet the requirement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which in itself is a global issue.

Although, NEEDS is essentially for poverty reduction, but it cuts across all sectors. NEEDS rests on four key strategies, these are:

  • Reforming government and institutions
  • Growing the private sectors
  • Implementing a social strata and
  • Value-orientation.

 

Under NEEDS, education (especially Basic Education) is considered the key bridge to the future. In this regard, the strategy addresses the following:

v  Faithfully implementation of free and compulsory Universal Education

v  Review of school curricular to incorporate vocational and entrepreneur skills

v  Re-tooling and repositioning of technical schools to address manpower needs of the economic

v  Establishment of more vocational centers

v  Review of school curricular to incorporate the study of ICT among others.

It is important for Nigeria to evolve constitutional provision to protect school system from unnecessary policy fluctuations and instabilities.  Nigeria education has suffered too much in the past due to fluctuations and instability in government policies on education especially in matters relating to educational funding and financing.  Education is so important for national development that perhaps a certain percentage of national budgets should be constitutionally set aside for the funding of education.  A globalize world environment has the tendency of creating free zones, both for trade and for learning all over the world.  The school systems of developing countries will have to operate in the same global environment as the schools systems of developed countries.  Isolation is becoming increasingly difficult in such an environment.  It is therefore important for developing counties to spend more on the function of education.

It is important also to state that the proposals for widespread systemic reforms in educational policy formulation and implementation could only be possible in a political environment that supports experimentation and risk-taking.  The need for deep-rooted community support cannot be over-emphasized in any successful attempt to reform and reposition educational policies and practices.  Politicians and stakeholders in the education industry must be encouraged to develop the requisite political courage and will to initiate and sustain the proposal for educational reforms.  The current trends and characteristics of globalisation call for a radical paradigm shift in educational policies and practices.

Conclusion

Nigeria is positive about its potential for economic and political progress in the 21st century. Like Mbeki of South Africa (Mbeki 1999) declared, the notion of an African Renaissance which is presently spreading through the continent points to a new optimism among African leaders in which Nigeria is taking a lead. Nigeria government has fashioned its own reform along the MDGs through the popular National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).  This has become a National creed.

NEEDS is about Nigeria. It is for the survival of democracy and to enable the populace enjoy the fruit of a free society. It is to bring the economy back on track. NEEDS is about the Nigerian people. Their welfare, health, employment, political power, physical security and empowerment are of paramount importance for realizing this vision of the future.

Nigerian schools therefore must change what they teach and how they teach in line with changes in an increasingly globalize world. This is perhaps the central message of this write –up.

REFERENCES

Adelabu, M. A. (1990):  Politics of Decision Making Process in Education with Reference to South Western Nigeria: Ph.D. (Educational Administration), Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Adelabu, M. A. (2005): Making Education Services work for Rural Dwellers. Paper presented at the 8th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development Learning and Livelihood. 13-15 September 2005 in Oxford UK.

Adelabu, M.A. and Alao, K.A. (2002):  Nigerian Teacher Education and the achievement agenda.  Education Stakeholders verdict, Yearbook of International Council of Education for Teaching (ICET), New Jersey, USA.

Alao, Kayode (2005):  Emerging Perspectives on Educational Assessment in an Era of Postmodernism. Commissioned paper presented at 31st Annual conference on International Association for Educational Assessment, Nicon-Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria, 4-9.

Baikie Adamu (2002): Recurrent Issues in Nigerian Education. Zaria. Tamaza Publishing Company Limited

Boyer, E.L. (1991):  Ready to Learn: A mandate for the nation.  Princeton, N.J.:  Carnegies Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Boyer, E.L. (1995):  The basis of school:  A community for learning.  Princeton, N.J.:  Carnegies Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Corrigan, D. (1995):  Teacher education and interprofessional collaboration:  Creation of family-centred, community-based integrated service systems.  Paper presented at the National Congress on Teacher Education, Dec. 10-12, 1995.  Washington, D.C.

Costello, M.S. and McNabb (1996):  Preservice teachers and elementary student exploring multi avenues of reader-response to literature through electronic dialogue journals.  Paper presented at the National Reading Research Centre Conference on Literacy and Technology for the 21st Century, Oct. 4-5, 1996, Atlanta, G.A.

Giddens, A. (1990):  The consequences of modernity.  Cambridge:  Polity Press.

Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D. and Perraton, J. (1999):  Global Transformations.  Cambridge:  Polity Press.

King Kenneth and McGrath Simon (2002): Globalization, Enterprise and Knowledge Education, Training and Development in Africa. Symposium Books Oxford, United Kingdom.

McIntyre Donald and Rhodes Geoff (1995): School-Based Initial Teacher Training. In Green  Howard (ed). The School Management Handbook, Kogan Publisher Limited, London.

National Policy on Education (2003 Revised) NERC Press. Lagos.

Nigeria: (1952): Hanzard of Proceedings, Western House of Assembly, Ibadan, Ministry of Information.

Master Plan for TVE in Nigeria for 21st Century, Vol.111.2000 as Cited in Makoju Gladys A.E. and Nwangwu Rosemary E.(ed) Pre –Diagnostic Bibliography Collation on Studies Proposed for the Nigerian Education Sector Analysis .

Federal Ministry of Education (2003): Education Sector Analysis

Obanya, P. A. I (2002): Revitalizing Education in Africa, Ibadan Stirling Horden Publishers (Nig.) Ltd.

Slattery, P. (1995):  Curriculum development in the post modern era.  New York:  Garland Publishing.

Tikly, L., Lowe, J., Crossley, M., Dachi, H., Garrett, R., and Mukabarangu, B. (2003): Globalization and Skills for Development in Rwanda and Tanzania. DFID Educational Papers.

Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) (2004): Improving Teaching and Learning through School-Based Teacher Development, Nigeria. Universal Basic Education Commission.

Urwick, James and Aliyu Balaraba (2003): Towards the Re-denomination of Nigeria’s Education System. Council for Education in the Commonwealth, Commonwealth House, UK.

Wiggins, G. (1992):  Creating tests worth taking.  Educational Leadership, 49, 26-33.

 

THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON EDUCATIONAL REFORM IN NIGERIA

 

The paper analyzes the changes that have become mandatory with increasing Globalization.

Globalization has had considerable effects on the education system of any nation some of which were readily accepted by its people while others need to be gradually incorporated. This can only be achieved through adequate reforms in the education system. The write up examines the imperatives for systemic changes in all aspects of Education as dictated by globalization trends and tendencies. The chapter aims to put forward the steps needed to initiate and sustain necessary changes in the educational systems of Nigeria which can serve as the model for the other developing nations.

A globalized interaction among nations through trade, culture, welfare activities, cartel for fighting common problems, etc. indirectly implies that educational policies and practices must evolve with time to integrate with the world economy.  This evolution seems slow in the developing countries.  Nigeria and other developing countries should reposition and prepare for economic changes in education to meet the dictates of Globalization.

WHAT IT IS GLOBALISATION

The concept of Globalization gained particular importance in the 1990s (Giddens, 1990). This write up enhances the study of Tikly, et al (2003) that sees globalization as containing both opportunities and threats for national development; as being an inevitable and largely irresistible phenomenon. Globalization was seen to be concerned principally with economic integration into regional and global markets underpinned by new technologies. However, with time, it has also started involving political and cultural aspects.

Globalization embodies and exhibits trends and characteristics which undermines the importance of values and principles of one and only traditional nation and particularly accentuates the ascendancy of world wide tendencies.  The traditional national boundaries are just seen as geographical and have lost their importance with regards to languages, ethnic divides, trade, education, social customs, culture, etc.

Suddenly, the whole world has become a global village. Though, globalization within historical context has a longer origin than most people are prepared to acknowledge. Africa for modern men largely remains marginal and broken up from the globalized world. It is viewed as a dark continent. However, looking at the pages of history will paint a different picture which sees Africa as playing a central role in the global dispersal of civilization and modernization.  Africa’s central link to the rest of the world spans the whole of man’s life time on mother ‘earth’.  Platonic Egypt and the Islamic caliphates in Africa had for long been centers for learning and inspiration for less developed Europe.

 

The record says that Centers of learning and excellence existed in Africa long before America was even known to the world. According to King and McGrath, the slave trade and later colonization should be seen as global dimensions in the exploitation of African labour for the advancement of Western economy.

Thus, if contemporary discourse and processes on globalization fail to accord Africa, a cardinal role in global processes, a fall back into history may correct this deliberate collective neo-colonially imposed amnesia.

NIGERIA’S BOLD ATTEMPTS AT GLOBALISATION

Nigeria made its first attempt to enter into the so-called atomic age in 1955 when the first ever Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme was launched in Western Nigeria. This program aimed to integrate Nigerian education system with the global one. The army of Nigeria who was exposed to the world with the 2nd world war realized the fact that Nigeria is indeed backward compared to the western world. The nationalists were of the view that education reforms could act as measures for development. While proposing the UPE programme to the legislature in 1952 the then Minister of Education stated that

Our survival as a race in this atomic age will depend on our ability to initiate and our competence to implement bold schemes of political economic and educational advancement (Nigeria: Western Region Debates 1952, Adelabu 1990.)

The national conflicts were common in the 1960s resulting in losing focus from the education, its policies and reforms. This became the primary reason for the backwardness of Nigerian education system. To salvage this, the two important policies were introduced. The first one was the Federal Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme launched in 1976. The scheme succeeded in raising total enrolment from six million in 1975/76; to fifteen million in 1982/83 (Urwick and Aliu 2003). The Second policy was the National Policy on Education with a 6-3-3-4 structure of formal education.

The political instability particularly in the 1980s and 1990s had a terrible impact on the education system both in terms of quality and the number of children taking to education. However, the programs Education for All (EFA) and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) continued to struggle for reforming the system. Also, these programs provided non-formal education for out-of school children and illiterate adults.

Though Globalization was a universal concept around the world in the 1990s, Nigeria has taken to it just recently. The educational policies are being reformed to adjust to the new world and the developed economies. The integration with the world economy has finally picked up in Nigeria.

Presently, Nigeria is striving hard to achieve the challenge of Education for All by 2015. The government is committed to this, since it believes in education as an effective tool to achieve the millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

 

Nigeria’s Educational Policy and International Influences

The major global developments such as wars and world economic crisis, patterns of influence with foreign states and multinational organizations assistance and pressures have conclusively resulted in globalization of education in Nigeria.

The impacts, results and implication of the seemingly catholic and widespread effect of globalization are hereby examined and policy responses analyzed for Nigerian context.

In this context, the imperatives for educational changes are examined under the following headings:

  1. Globalization and imperatives for changes in school curriculum in Nigerian educational system.
  2. Globalization and imperatives for changes in teacher education and teacher recruitment and retention policies.
  3. Globalization and imperatives for changes in educational assessment policies and practices in Nigeria.
  4. Globalization and imperatives for changes in educational financing and funding
  5. Globalization and imperatives for constitutional and policy issues in Education in Nigeria.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in School Educational System

Globalization should ideally be seen as a phenomenon demanding for widespread systemic changes in education .Globalization symbolizes a paradigm shift involving the re-thinking of beliefs and structures in traditional consciousness. It symbolizes a shift from monoculture approach to education to multi-cultural approach with attendant implication for changes in school curriculum and attendant practices.

The program of Education for All (EFA) aims to enhance the learning needs of young people and adult through access to appropriate educational programmes raising the emphasis on technical and vocational education. As stated in 1999 Nigerian Constitution (Section 18) Government is committed to the promotion of science and technology, and given the National Policy on Education (NPE) (2003) declaration that ‘a greater proportion of education expenditure shall continue to be devoted to Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) at the federal and state levels and at secondary and tertiary levels.

Apart from equipping the learners with skills, it was also an attempt to achieve the MDGs in the area of poverty reduction. According to Adelabu (2005), with diversified curriculum structure the youth could be adequately equipped for employment particularly in the rural areas. Unfortunately this aspect of education is the least patronized in Nigeria yet TVE is crucial in a globalize era.

The structural imbalance in the TVE is evident in the NPE implementation document on the transition rate of student at the end of the junior secondary School (JSS) and Senior Secondary Schools (SSS). While the document prescribes a transition rate of 60% for secondary schools, the actual rate for TVE is a mere 20%. It is therefore hardly surprising why there are about 5,100 secondary schools with an enrolment figure of 4,448,991 compared to 138 technical colleges with an enrolment figure of 43,354, depicting a ratio of 102:1 (Master plan for TVE in Nigeria 2000)

Nigeria had to meet her commitment to take lots of challenges one of which is enhancing the social prestige of TVE programmes, through creating an enabling psycho-pedagogical environment in the schools as well as enables socio-economic environment in the wider society (Obanya 2002)

The Information Technology revolution (ICT) has enormous implications for school curriculum planning and implementation.  The revolution in knowledge production, distribution and management perhaps implies the death of the traditional curriculum.  School curriculum must now embody the contemporary complexity and vibrancy of ICT.  The paradigm shift which globalization with its attendant post modernist tendencies in education entails in education may necessitate the emergence of curriculum models and education policies which emphasize interdisciplinary courses open ended systems, Socratic dialogue, multidimensional assessment and multiculturalism (Boyer, 1991, 1995; Slattery, 1995).

In an era of globalization, it appears ‘change’ seems to become a permanent future of human civilization.  Thus, the cultivation of a permanent learning attitude and disposition becomes a major mission of schools all over the world.  It implies schools must promote higher order and divergent thinking among school pupils.  Regrettably, most school systems especially those of developing societies currently operate close-ended educational systems which are only good for the attainment of obsolete behavioral objectives that pre-determined outcomes and foster lower-order thinking processes.  Open-ended educational systems however foster divergent thinking, authentic reasoning and self-directed exploration of topics and issues associated with inter disciplinary contents.

The skills and competencies needed for survival in an era of globalization perhaps call for the adoption of more innovative approaches to education.  Embedded in such innovative approaches are features such as effective use of Technology in teaching, reflective intergenerational dialogue, performance-based learning activities and other inter professional interactive and collaborative approaches to delivery of school instruction?  There are vital skills and competencies that schools must teach which existing close-ended educational systems appear ill equipped to handle.

Hence, the advocacy for the adoption of an open-ended educational system which ICT will provide. Most societies perhaps need innovative approaches to animate and support learning activities that will entail deep understanding and adaptation of knowledge in various context and problems situations. This is necessary if schools are to adequately prepare pupils for a life-long reality of problem-solving, knowledge adaptation and constant adjustment to changes.

Innovative curriculum approaches introduced by most developed countries are perhaps part of attempts at ensuring schools do not fail in adequately preparing youths and children for life realities (Boyer, 1995).  The thinking curriculum is example of such innovative curriculum evolving from the realization that effective thinking and problem-solving are essential survival skills in the perennially changing cultural-milieu of globalization.  This is so as the effective citizen of the globalize ‘world’ must always be an effective ‘Thinker’ and Problem

Information technology have the potential to widen access to learning opportunities, and to improve the quality of education, but constraints and obstacles to its use in Nigeria include poverty, low level of access to computer and lack of ICT specialists computer literacy into schools because if ICT programmes expand students will be prepared for a life long reality of problem solving knowledge adaptation and constant adjustment to changes.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Teacher Education and Teacher Recruitment and Retention Policies

In any educational system, the teacher performs a significant function of perpetuating society’s heritage and energizing human resources towards social progress. The level of a nation’s education can not rise far above the quality of the teacher of that nation. This therefore, makes the preparation and selection of teachers a significant social concern. There is a need to review and transform both the professional preparation of teachers and their in-service training in Nigeria. There is little doubt that like all developing countries, Nigeria faces an educational particularly in its quest to achieve education for all by 2015.

Undoubtedly, teachers lie at the heart of this educational crisis because according to Baikie (2002) only the teachers who posses the necessary technical competence and professional skills through a well coordinated teachers education programme that can rise to meet the challenges of the crisis that has bedeviled Nigerian’s educational scene.

The focus of teachers training should depart from the traditional method of professional teacher educational programme in Nigeria which thus far has not produced the desired quality and professionalism. This system exposes the teacher to acquire a body of knowledge in a subject discipline. He/she takes courses in education, which involves methodology of teaching learning. Lastly, he/she goes through a supervised teaching practice which is referred to as apprentenship. This system has not produced the desired result for a Transformative educational system in a globalize world, innovation required for both for teacher pre-service preparation and teacher in-service training. It is for this reason, the school-based teacher professional preparation and development is advocated.

This enables schools and teachers to play a much larger role in teachers’ professional development. This will eventually make the schools be the first to reap the benefits of generation of good new teachers. The cluster school-based teacher in-service teacher development is an innovation being carried out presently in Nigeria. It is a departure from the traditional top down one-side fits all cascade type of training.

It is a system of mentoring whereby teachers’ educators and or professional teachers support teachers directly in their classrooms with intensive period of mentoring and discussion in teachers meetings within the schools and across a cluster of schools to develop reflective practices and reflective practitioners.

The goal of global competitiveness, demands that both the curriculum and the teaching methods to be more focused on developing generic and attitudinal skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving as well as promoting national reconciliation (This is indeed an issue in Nigeria politics). National reconciliation and life skills such as those that can help counter the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The trends and characteristics of globalization perhaps call for a total re-invention or repackaging of the teaching profession in Nigeria. The Teacher in the globalize environment must be prepared to think globally and act locally in matters relating to education.  He must be able to create a learning, friendly and animating environment in the classroom. The Nigerian teachers must be able to participate effectively in the contemporary ICT imposed revolution in knowledge creation, distribution and management.          Schools exist to impart knowledge and skills.  It is therefore imperative for schools to move with time in matters relating to knowledge creation and distribution.  The current state of Nigerian schools on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) should be improved as a priority and national emergency.

Teacher education policies and practices in Nigeria also need a fundamental overhaul in order to ensure that modern teachers are produced from Nigerian Teacher Training Institutions.  Computer training and Information Technology must be central components in Teacher preparation programmes in Nigeria.  The ideal teacher in a globalize world must be an expert in a subject area as well as an expert in the use of Information Technology in teaching learning situations.  Such teachers must be prepared to be active participants in integrated communities of learners.  This is so because in an era of globalization, boundaries between schools and homes, schools and societies, between different disciplines and spheres of knowledge are bound to disappear and be replaced by integrated communities of learners.  Such teachers must be able to use technology to support learning as rightly noted by Costello and McNabb (1996) when they submit that with advances in telecommunication networks, the ‘classroom’ may expand beyond the walls of the school building to cyberspace where telemonitoring relationships among learners and more knowledgeable others can develop and flourish.

There are some practices in Teacher recruitment and retention in Nigeria that are not in support of ensuring quality teaching manpower for Nigerian schools. Teacher recruitment policy until recently in Nigeria never emphasized professionalism. For many years, the teaching profession served as dumping ground for all kinds of professionals who could not secure other employment.  Thus our schools became dumping ground for all kinds of workers who parade themselves as teachers simply because they could not secure other appointments.  The globalize world environment makes it imperative for school system to be centers of dynamism and progress.  A society that is always on the move for progress should not have a school system manned by reluctant and wrongly-trained personnel parading themselves as teachers.

The current practice of promoting teachers using year of graduation is not acceptable in contemporary era of globalization.  Also the reward system in any teaching service should be related exclusively to individual productivity of teachers involved.  Every teacher in any school system must be made to earn his/her promotion.

Motivation and productivity among teachers will disappear in a school system that does not anchor teachers’ promotion on the performance of individual teachers.  Ministry of Education in Nigeria and other developing countries need to radically change their teachers’ promotion policy if they sincerely interested in keeping a teaching manpower with high morale for a globalize society that is perennially on the move for positive changes. Educational system will not be modernized until the whole system of teacher training is drastically overhauled, intellectually richer, and more challenging.

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Educational Assessment Policies and Practices in Nigeria

It is important to note here that a preponderant majority of candidates fail external examinations yearly. It is either something is wrong with the curriculum or the assessment procedures in both internal and external examinations.  The proportion of candidates who sit for the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and the Senior Secondary School Examinations and qualify for admission into tertiary institutions is very low.

In 1999, only 8,632 candidates out of 757,222, representing 1.1%obtained a minimum of five credits which is the requirement for admission into universities while an almost equal proportion, which is 1.2%, qualified for admission into polytechnics, with a minimum of only four credits. Performance in year 2000 for instance was poorer with only .9% obtaining a minimum of four or five credits.(Nigeria, Education Sector Analysis 2003).

One can therefore infer that this poor performance could either be as a reason of curriculum overload or unrealistic poor assessment procedures. The adoption of curricula innovations in education must necessarily involve corresponding innovations and changes in educational assessment practices and policies.

Despite huge investment on education as reflected in the budget allocations of many countries, there seems to be widespread dissatisfaction with educational systems among major stakeholders.  Perhaps efforts to reform and reposition education to meet the challenges of globalization era have not been yielding the requisite results, largely because enough attention has not been given to the roles and instrumentality of educational assessment in initiating and sustaining educational reforms.  Perhaps most examination bodies should realize that their societies may not be getting value for the money spent on yearly increases in the quality of formalized testing. One should perhaps begin to ask some fundamental questions about the relevance of education programs and the appropriateness of existing traditional assessment methods.

It must be acknowledged that traditional methods of pencil and paper seem to have failed in most societies to assess significant learning outcomes.  Apart from this failure, adherence to traditional assessment strategies by examination bodies in contemporary era may thereby continue to undermine educational reform and the bid to reposition schools to meet existential challenges of globalize societies.

Perhaps, it should be stated clearly that traditional standard test routed in the purely thematic Tylerian curriculum is no longer adequate in assessing higher, order thinking also been expressed by Corrigan, 1995 and Wiggins, 1992.  The momentum of widespread educational reform is a challenge that educators cannot ignore to too long.  Examination bodies world over should perhaps exhibit more concrete awareness of this momentum for change.

A positive step in this direction perhaps is the need to explore the use of innovative assessment procedures.  The primary goals of authentic assessment which appear congruent with the educational needs of contemporary globalize era are:

1.         To develop the learner’s cognitive strategies for self-monitoring of progress.

2.         To foster the learner’s ability for higher-order thinking skills.

3.         To measure the progress against learner’s own development, not the norm, and

4.         To provide more accurate evidence of a learner’s abilities than traditional tests (Boyer, 1995; Cole et al, in-press; Slattery, 1995; Wiggins, 1992).

However, it must be stated that necessary curriculum changes must precede the adoption of alternative or authentic assessment.  Authentic assessment measures ensure multiple approaches to measuring learning through multiple observations and many different types of observable evidence within a specific context.  Slattery (1995) summarizes features of emerging curricula models, laboratories, interviews, multi-sensory projects, seminars, workshops, play-shops and field experiences involving groups of students, teachers and other community members will become the norms rather the exception.

The emphasis of education in globalize societies is to create a culture that is learning friendly.  Most societies must set up cooperative learning environment wherein all resources in the community are made learning-friendly.

Corresponding innovations in educational assessment should also be learners-friendly and performance focused. The movement away from traditional assessment procedures and the clamor for the adoption of alternative assessments variously called authentic assessment or performance assessments which are in a wide variety of forms – such as computer simulations, open-ended questions, demonstrations, exhibits, writing in many disciplines and portfolios of student work overtime. All these are due to a globalize necessity for more meaningful assessment policies that will more accurately capture the vital learning outcomes that students must achieve in order to survive and achieve success in contemporary societies.

Computer Technology is so prevalent in globalize life that educational assessment must also adopt a prevalent use of computer technology.  It should perhaps be impossible for any citizen of globalize world to acquire basic education without adequate proficiency in the use of computer technology.  It is perhaps the duty of examination bodies, especially in developing countries, Nigerian inclusive, to achieve this goal.

However, most developing societies are far from achieving this globalize necessity. Educational assessment policies and practices must therefore integrate the use of technology in its operations.  Another global trend is to encourage schools to imbibe democratic ideals and practices in their activities.  If schools are encouraged to adopt democratic ideals in teaching-learning activities, it becomes imperative for examination bodies to be similarly democratic in their policies and practices.  The starting point of such democracy is that parents and pupils must always have a choice about what kind of examination they intend to patronize.  Flexibility and choice are essential features in the modern era of globalization.  Nigerian for illustration must have enough examination bodies to reflect the cultural pluralism and diversity of Nigerian societies.  Presently, what Nigeria has on ground in terms of public examination bodies are perhaps far away from the ideal, bearing in mind global imperatives?

Globalization and Imperatives for Changes in Educational Financing and Funding

The National Policy on Education recognizes education as an expensive social service that requires adequate financial provision for the successful implementation of the educational programmes. Government’s ultimate goal is to make education free at all levels although the financial burden appears overwhelming. Financing education is, therefore, a joint responsibility of the federal, state, local governments, local communities, individuals, the private sector and other organizations. Education share of the budget dropped in 1991 and 1992, remained stable in the range of 12 to 14.5% although no less than 25% of all income accruing to the nation is required.

The limited resource of the government to fund education at all levels has made government to solicit education at private sectors as educat5ion providers. This is based on the belief that private participation in Education is a way of providing variety and allowing for healthy competition, it is also based on government’s belief in cost sharing for the funding of education, but with the proviso that like government private providers should not run private schools essentially for monetary gain but as a social service. Apart from the positive effects of more access, this has led to emergence of highly elitist schools that have excluded the poor.

Other private partners in education include cooperate organizations development partners, multinational cooperation’s. These bodies have contributed in various ways to the national expedition on education. But it appears that the success story ends there because education financing in Nigeria is still poor. This is manifested in dwindling facilities in schools, dilapidated buildings, infrastructural decay and general decline in morale for learning. It is obvious that Nigeria’s economy of today cannot support the educational system.

Obviously, there is acute scarcity of financial resources which is more extreme in the developing countries to provide teachers, pay salaries, infrastures and instructional materials and observation shown that this has negatively affected quality. The of the community, parents teachers association inclusive (PTA) has been encouraged in funding of education. Many communities are involved in self-help project and community partnership in educational funding. The PTA in particular is in the fore-front of this noble development.

All the educational reforms earlier proposed as global imperatives in this paper will cost money and other non-financial resources to implement.  The politics associated with educational financing and funding in Nigeria is such that government pretends to have the capability to fund education at all levels.  In theory, most governments in Nigeria believe that education is tuition-free at all levels in all public schools.  However, in practice, most of Nigerian public schools are hardly well-funded by various levels of government.  Most public schools hardly have running grants.  It appears Nigeria must address squarely, the issues of effective funding and financing of public education at all levels.  Government must exhibit the requisite political will to allow parents and other stakeholders to pay token fees for public education.

A situation where most public schools are deserted by pupils in preference for private schools cannot be allowed to continue unrepressed.  Educational funding for a school system that teaches higher-order thinking and a school system that is ICT-driven should necessarily be cost intensive.  The current trend of poor and epileptic funding in education may not assist in this direction.  It is therefore imperative that Nigeria must spend more money in the running of public education if Nigerian schools are to move the nation ahead like other school systems of developed countries.  Education indeed must be a cost-intensive enterprise as the dictates of globalization appear to have placed additional burden on school systems.

Globalization and Imperatives for Constitutional Issues and Policy Reforms in Education in Nigeria

A major policy reform in Nigeria is National Economic Empowerment Development Strategies (NEEDS). This NEED is Nigeria’s home grown poverty reduction strategy and is a nationally coordinated framework of action in close collaboration with the states and Local Government. It is a major instrument to meet the requirement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which in itself is a global issue.

Although, NEEDS is essentially for poverty reduction, but it cuts across all sectors. NEEDS rests on four key strategies, these are:

  • Reforming government and institutions
  • Growing the private sectors
  • Implementing a social strata and
  • Value-orientation.

 

Under NEEDS, education (especially Basic Education) is considered the key bridge to the future. In this regard, the strategy addresses the following:

v  Faithfully implementation of free and compulsory Universal Education

v  Review of school curricular to incorporate vocational and entrepreneur skills

v  Re-tooling and repositioning of technical schools to address manpower needs of the economic

v  Establishment of more vocational centers

v  Review of school curricular to incorporate the study of ICT among others.

It is important for Nigeria to evolve constitutional provision to protect school system from unnecessary policy fluctuations and instabilities.  Nigeria education has suffered too much in the past due to fluctuations and instability in government policies on education especially in matters relating to educational funding and financing.  Education is so important for national development that perhaps a certain percentage of national budgets should be constitutionally set aside for the funding of education.  A globalize world environment has the tendency of creating free zones, both for trade and for learning all over the world.  The school systems of developing countries will have to operate in the same global environment as the schools systems of developed countries.  Isolation is becoming increasingly difficult in such an environment.  It is therefore important for developing counties to spend more on the function of education.

It is important also to state that the proposals for widespread systemic reforms in educational policy formulation and implementation could only be possible in a political environment that supports experimentation and risk-taking.  The need for deep-rooted community support cannot be over-emphasized in any successful attempt to reform and reposition educational policies and practices.  Politicians and stakeholders in the education industry must be encouraged to develop the requisite political courage and will to initiate and sustain the proposal for educational reforms.  The current trends and characteristics of globalisation call for a radical paradigm shift in educational policies and practices.

Conclusion

Nigeria is positive about its potential for economic and political progress in the 21st century. The notion of an African Renaissance which is presently extending to different parts in Africa in which Nigeria is taking a lead. Nigeria government has fashioned its own reform along the MDGs through the popular National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).  This has become a National creed.

NEEDS is about Nigeria. It is for the survival of democracy and to enable the populace enjoy the fruit of a free society. It is to bring the economy back on track. NEEDS is about the Nigerian people. Their welfare, health, employment, political power, physical security and empowerment are of paramount importance for realizing this vision of the future.

Nigerian schools therefore must change what they teach and how they teach in line with changes in an increasingly globalize world. This is perhaps the central message of this write –up.

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