A BIANNUAL COLLECTION OF RECENT NIGERIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP
VOLUME 1 No. 1
EDITED BY: E. AYOTUNDE YOLOYE & AKIN OSIYALE
THE FAFUNWA PHENOMENON IN NIGERIAN EDUCATION
Introduction: Education in Nigeria
There are a number of options open to a speaker on a topic like this. Three of such options are these. One could decide to go scientific, in which case you become empirical, sticking rigidly to the demands of precision, examination and re-examination of data and basing conclusions on precise, hard data. Or, one could go psychological, reading behavioural meanings and interpretations, personality traits/dimensions and motivational factors into every bit of evidence adduced. One could also go historical, using oral evidence, documents and various other sources to generate the facts and then presenting them in a narrative form as they are. Most people in educational circles know Professor Fafunwa as an educational historian. I have therefore decided to take the historical approach. I shall state the facts as I found them, leaving other scholars to do the interpretations and in-depth analysis. Where any analysis is done here therefore, it shall be superficial and peripheral.
Today is September 23, 1996. Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa is 73 years old today. By tomorrow, September 24, the second, and surviving attempt by the West to introduce formal, school-type education into Nigeria, i.e. Western formal education in Nigeria, shall be 154 years old, having started in a humble manner in 1842. It should be recalled that around 1472, the Portuguese had visited Benin and Lagos and that around 1515, some Portuguese Catholic missionaries had set up a school in the palace of the Oba of Benin. It should also be remembered that apart from the name, "Lagos", derived from the Portuguese word, Lago, for lagoon and Port Lago in Portugal, which looked alike with our present day Lagos, and whose name Lagos had to take, virtually all the other seemingly important influences of this early Portuguese contact with Nigeria was wiped off by the slave trade which lasted for almost three hundred years. According to Taiwo, (1985), "the Federal and State governments, (and one must add, the Local Governments,) of the Federation place a high premium on education. They recognise it as a weapon against ignorance, disease, squalor, and poverty and as a means of raising an enlightened, lively, and industrious citizenry and of producing a prosperous nation" (p2). Western education is based on education received in the school and within a national educational system. The first church/school was built in 1842, and since then, quantitatively, the development had been much on the increase. Table 1 below shows the number of educational institutions in each State of the Federation as of 1994.
Table 1: Number of educational institutions in Nigeria on the basis of States as of 1994
State Pry. Schl. Sec. Schl. Poly COE Univ.
Abia 865 229 1 2 1
Adamawa 1044 97 1 2 1
Akwa Ibom 1126 192 1 1
Anambra 979 259 1 2 1
Bauchi 1676 121 2 2 1
Benue 1814 198 1 3 1
Borno 1171 69 1 4 1
Cross River 596 96 1 2 1
Delta 1022 314 3 1
Edo 1070 207 1 1 2
Enugu 1292 239 1 3 2
Imo 1236 321 1 1 2
Jigawa 937 70
Kaduna 1614 187 2 2 2
Kano 2020 197 1 4 2
Katsina 1831 106 1 3
Kebbi 831 58 1
Kogi 1287 222 1 2
Kwara 1017 230 3 2 1
Lagos 883 350 2 4 2
Niger 1338 169 1 2 1
Ogun 1369 241 2 2 2
Ondo 1680 415 2 2 2
Osun 1176 330 1 1
Oyo 1705 313 1 3 2
Plateau 2148 316 2 3 1
Rivers 1382 296 1 2 2
Sokoto 1819 93 1 2 1
Taraba 722 63 1
Yobe 725 39 1
F.C.T. 273 37 1
Total 38649 6074 32 62 35
Source: Compiled from available tables from the Statistics Dept. FME
In the area of tertiary institutions, we have as of today, the following:
Colleges of Education: a total of 62
State : 40
Total : 62
Polytechnic: a total of 39
State : 23
Total : 39
Universities: a total of 38
State : 13
Total : 38
(The data above is as of 1996)
There are also hundreds of post primary and post secondary professional institutions preparing people for specific callings in the world of work. (Technical Schools, Schools of Nursing, Schools of Aviation, School of Marine Technology, War College etc.)
The Nigerian "educational system" is shaped by a tripodal force: traditional, Islamic, and western. Western education was the last of the trio. From the very beginning, as a people, we had our indigenous, traditional education. This is education, the type that goes on in the home, on the street, in the clan, at the shrine, on the farm, at night and in the day, in the rain and in the sun, during health and at times of sickness, when you are awake and when you are asleep. Our traditional education cared about the way you look, the way you laugh even about the way you cry. The second to come in the trio is Islamic education. It came through the North and had done much in shaping the lifestyle, the thinking and behaviour of most Nigerians. These three put together today form and shape, regulate and modulate our education, even if not our educational system.
It is the impact of Professor Fafunwa on the system as shaped by the three that we are focusing upon in this lecture. How has he helped to shape the various aspects of the system? what influences had he brought to play on the growth, development and stabilisation of the system? Had he introduced any new concepts, methods, practices etc, which had gone on to stick onto the system and had become part and parcel of the system making it more robust and more beneficial to individuals and the nation? Our answer to these and similar questions is what we describe as the "Fafunwa phenomenon".
A number of Nigerians had long seen education as the surest way of making Nigeria both free and great. They had long seen education as the catalyst to political and economic growth and development in Nigeria. One of such Nigerians is Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa. He wants Nigeria to become both free and great; for many years, he had seen education as our first line of defence and had noted since then that "the answer for all our
national problems comes down to one word: education" (Lyndon Johnson, quoted in Parkinson. 1968): he had exclaimed, just as Andrew Carnegie did a long time ago in these words: "Just see wherever we peer into the first tiny springs of the national life
how this true panacea for all the ills of the body politic bubbles forth - education, education, education." (Andrew Carnegie; quoted in Parkinson, 1968) The message which Fafunwa is giving us as a nation, if we would stop and listen is that in the 21st century, nothing will be as important as the educated mind, the properly and well technologically trained mind; what he is emphasizing to us is not just the desirability of, but the utmost necessity of the highest quality and expanded dimensions of the educational effort, cast, right from the beginning, in the language in which the child grows and develops. Fafunwa believes that any of the major Nigerian languages can become a language of science, of mathematics and even of technology if we take pains to develop it and get the child to laugh and cry; learn and think and dream, and in fact, pray, in that language. A discussion and analysis of the totality of this and other similar contributions of Fafunwa to the development and growth of education, is one major motivation for this lecture. In effect, we intend in this
o document some of the contributions of Professor Fafunwa to education in Nigeria
o analyse briefly his impact on the development, and growth of education in Nigeria
o discuss and highlight his approaches to the application of education as both a cure and a therapy to our national problems and for the resolution and redressing of some of our "psychic" aches as a nation
o review his philosophy of education
o and do all these during his life time so that he can correct any misconceptions, exaggerations, misinformation and add any omissions or call attention to any gaps we may have left, if he so wishes to do. Before going into these, let us consider the issue: educational development.
"Factors of educational development:
The factors influencing the development of education, the goals of education , its approach and methods as well as the rate of development and growth are not the same and cannot be the same across board globally; rather, they differ from place to place, from nation to nation, and from society to society, and from people to people." (Fafunwa, 1970). The following factors, some of them as noted by Taiwo (1985) have influenced and impacted upon the development of education in Nigeria:
- historical factor: The history of the educational system forms a major factor in its growth. We need to know how the system began, we need to know trends of its growth and development. Its history also shows the various ways, areas and phases in which it has attained success or failure. History would also give indication of certain problems of the system. How and when the problem started and the resolution of the problem and its effects on the system.
- political factor: According to Taiwo (1985), determines the place of education in the priorities of a nation, the national goals of education, the process of decision making and the patterns of administration. Further, an insight into the role of Politics in education, the role of politics of education, are also provided by the Political factor. To a great extent, the Political factor affects the extent of education. It could either enhance its growth or it could limit same. To some extent also, politics determines what goes into the curriculum of the school
- cultural factor: Culture had been seen as a combination of beliefs and values and practices. The cultural factor relates to the way of life and living of a people, their attitude and religions, their family life, the type of work they do, how long they work, their preferences for leisure and the type of interest the community shows, for example in particular socio-religious and political issue, e.g. the school. Culture and education affect each other in an intertwining manner; the culture of a people can affect the pace and rate of the development of education amongst the people, just like education can in turn influence and affect the culture of the people.
- religious factor: Religion, particularly in Nigeria, is a major factor in the development of the educational system. We noted above the trio in the educational system of the country, i.e. the indigenous, traditional education, which used to be predominantly under the influence of traditional religion and beliefs. The Islamic education, which came into the country via the Muslim religion, and the western, school- type education which came predominantly through the Christian influence. These three religions interplay in the country to shape and moderate both the influence and the growth of education. While it is true that education in Nigeria is majorly secular in nature, there is no individual that could deny either the influence or impact of religion on education in the country.
- economic factor: The economy determines the number of schools to be built, the number of pupils to admit, the number of teachers to recruit, the quantity of equipment to be procured, the type and quality of such equipment and the frequency and intensity of use of such equipment. In fact, the pupil teacher ratio, the physical size of the classroom, the furniture by type and size and quantity, etc. are determined by the economic factor. The case of going to-and-fro to school is also an economic factor. The national economy determines the stability or otherwise of the school; while the economy of the individual determines the type, quantity etc. of books and other educational materials that the child can or will buy.
- social factor: Relates to the people who patronise the school, the interaction of the people, their willingness or otherwise to develop the school and their individual and joint efforts to support the school.
- environmental factor: Plays equally an important role in the development of education, the physical structure, the terrain, the roads etc. All these play an important role in shaping the development of education. Also, we have the invisible, non-physical environment, made up of the mass media, the climate, public opinion and other social events. All have their influences on the development of education
- government interest and participation: The education ordinance No. 3 of 1887, the education proclamation No. 19 of 1903 the letter of Patent of 28th February 1906, the education ordinance of 1916, and the code of education 1916 were all significant indices of government interest in education, its control and its development. And they all provided a framework for the development of the educational system. (See Taiwo 1985).
- individual entrepreneurship: Formal education in Nigeria started with the Christian missions. In the social parlance, the missions were referred to as voluntary agencies. Later on, government started to take interest in the support of education and gradually in the establishment and running of schools. Government thus becomes the second tier in educational provision. The third tier is through individual entrepreneurship. Individuals for various reasons, like their attempt to develop their community, attempt to perpetuate their names, attempt to further their influence or even sheer attempt to make a name, established and started to run schools particularly at the secondary level. This entrepreneurial activity is the most well known contribution of entrepreneurship to education.
- Intangible, invisible entrepreneurship activities:
There is however another side to the coin. There are individuals who contributed ideas, individuals who motivate the system through their contributions, in terms of policy formulation and policy suggestion, advice to policy makers, practical demonstration of a certain faith in education, or who through research reports and findings, as well as through public lectures on education, whereby they postulate their philosophies, and stand on matters educational, had tried to make the nation imbibe such philosophies or adopt/adapt such a stand. All these individual contributions, are equally as important as the latter one, and they are referred to here as intangible, invisible contributions. This is where Professor Fafunwa comes in. He did not build schools, but he built ideas; he did not recruit teachers but he supplied concepts, procedures etc, in getting the best teachers. His research findings, public lectures, seminar presentations, etc. contributed significantly to the development of education in various areas. We shall now discuss some of these areas.
Funding of Education
Funding of education had been an age-long discourse. Education is a welfare issue; education is a service matter; education is a right of the individual; education is an obligatory function of government etc. Is there free education? Can education be free? Should education be free? Should it be Non-fee paying? Or fee-paying only?. Each of these view points has its own implications for funding of education. But we are not here to debate any of these neither are we going to draw Professor Fafunwa into the argument here. However, Professor Fafunwa had long shown interest in the issue of funding of education. The following illustrate his contributions in this area:
The Fafunwa Study Group on funding of education at all levels
There had been a nationwide concern on the funding of education generally. The case of the primary school however seemed to be most well known. In 1980, there was a drastic review of the Revenue Allocation Formula. The Federal Government's share was reduced while the shares of the States and Local Governments were increased. With this development, the Federal Government passed the burden of funding primary education to the States and Local Governments. Shortly after this, we started to witness a serious default in the payment of primary school teachers' salaries and allowances. Between 1980 and 1984 the Federal Government had not shown much interest, if any at all, in the financing of primary education. Rather, both the State Governments and the Local Governments had been responsible for funding primary education. In 1984, the Federal Government became sufficiently concerned about the issue of funding of education at all levels. It thus set up a Study Group.
The study Group was set up under the chairmanship of Professor Fafunwa with the following terms of reference:
Having regard to the Federal Military Government's Policy on education which provides that Education should be the responsibility of the Federal Government, State and Local Governments and Parents, each contributing its share and conscious of the prevailing economic situation, the Study Group is required:
(a) to review the existing arrangements for funding Education at all levels.
(b) to ascertain the extent of the financial involvement of the Federal, State and Local Governments in education at all levels.
(c) in the light of the prevailing economic realities, to propose an arrangement for funding education which takes cognizance of the possible role of voluntary organisations, communities, individuals and parents.
(d) to make any other recommendations as deemed necessary.
(Report of the Study Group on Funding Education, 1984).
The Group which held its inaugural meeting on 17th September 1984, submitted its report on 7th November 1984 after visiting 19 states and considering 68 memoranda. The study Group recommended, among other things, that:
(1) Primary education should be within the reach of every Nigerian child irrespective of whether or not the parents can pay fees or levy.
(2) An amount covering the payment of teachers' salaries, allowances, and salaries of non-teaching staff should be taken from the Federation Account and set aside for that purpose. This amount should be put into an Education Account or an Education Development Fund and should only be spent on Primary Education.
(3) A "Compensatory" sum should be taken from the Federal Account to be made available for educationally disadvantaged states, the exact amount to be decided by the Federal Government.
(4) State Governments should provide teachers' instructional materials.
(5) Local Governments should provide furniture and see to the maintenance of the school buildings. They should also provide housing accommodation for teachers in the rural areas, mobilizing community effort for this purpose.
(6) Parents should provide their children with text-books, exercise books, writing materials, school uniform and mid-day meals. In educationally disadvantaged states where parents may be reluctant to provide these materials, State Government may come to their aid.
(Fafunwa, 1995, pp 283-284)
This report formed the bedrock on which subsequent decisions on funding, especially of Primary education was based. (We shall come back to this under NPEC). It is however important to note that the study group provided Professor Fafunwa the opportunity
to articulate most of his views and opinions on the funding of education and most of these views and opinions significantly influenced Government decision thereafter. The improvement in the payment of teachers salaries and allowances at the primary
school, the establishment of the National Commission on Primary Education and other developments were directly traceable to the reports of this study group.
In addition, two other important government parastatals were established on the basis of the recommendations of this Study Group. The two are discussed below.
(i) The Establishment of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE:
The Study Group recommended on page 121 item 31 of its report as follows:
to correct the various anomalies among the Colleges of Education, we strongly recommend the establishment of National Council for Teacher Education that will perform for the large number of Colleges of Education such functions that the National Board for Technical Education and the National Universities Commission perform for the Polytechnics and the Universities respectively. There is no doubt that a vacuum exists for such a monitoring accreditation and professional body for the Colleges of Education.
On the basis of this recommendation the National Commission for Colleges of Education was established in 1986, two years after the recommendation was made to Government. It should be recalled that the NCE programme was introduced by the University of Nigeria Nsukka where Professor Fafunwa worked, by the then Head of Department of Education, Professor Hansen, at the 11th Plenary of the JCCE in June 1961. Professor Fafunwa (then Dr.) attended the JCCE for the first time in June 1962, having taken over from Prof. Hansen as the Head of Department of Education at Nsukka. At the 14th Plenary in December 1962, the JCCE felt that:
admitting higher elementary teachers into two-year course, the two years were not long enough and so the JCCE decided that holders of the grade II teachers certificate should spend three years on the course while those with Grade I Teachers Certificate or GCE Advanced Level Passes in two approved subjects should spend two years in order to obtain the Nigeria Certificate in Education, (NCE) Professor Fafunwa having got the NCE programme approved by the JCCE in 1962, also recommended the establishment of a monitoring, accreditation and professional body for the, programme in 1982. The NCCE is now actively functioning as the "third tripod of tertiary education in Nigeria". ( see Lassa, 1995).
(ii) The Establishment of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology: The study Group also recommended the excision of the Science and Technology unit of the then Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The Federal Government had since excised this unit and had converted it into a full Ministry of Science and Technology. The Ministry is now actively pursuing Science and Technology related developments in the nation.
The Education Bank:
In 1982, the Federal Government set up a Panel to investigate "Alternative Sources for Financing Education". The Panel recommended, "among other things, (i) the establishment of educational development banks at both the Federal and State levels to provide a credit market for the envisaged capital projects arising from the introduction of the Junior Secondary Schools in 1982, (ii) the expansion of the Senior Secondary Schools in 1985, and (iii) the expansion of tertiary education in 1988" (Chuta, 1995, p5.).
Before Professor Fafunwa became the Hon. Minister of Education, there was the students' Loans Board. The Board however had problems and difficulties recovering the loans given out to students. Professor Fafunwa as the Minister wanted to know why people were not paying back. Some of the reasons given convinced him that there was need for a statutory body which has the legal backing at recovering debts and loans. This was how the idea of Education bank, first mooted in 1982, evolved. In 1992, two survey studies were commissioned to "assess among other things, the viability of the concept of an Education Bank with a view to identifying areas and products which may be suitable for policy intervention through the Bank". (Chuta, 1995, p.6) .
Professor Fafunwa's argument was that banks know how best to recover debts. He however suggested that the interest should be kept very low and the repayment terms be much liberalised. The enabling decree establishing the Bank was promulgated in June 1993 after Professor Fafunwa had left office as Hon. Minister. The Federal Government had established the Education Bank at Abuja and it had started functioning. The bank is planned to cater for the needs of students generally by means of loans, grants and subsidies. The bank is also supposed to serve some welfare purposes for school teachers, and funding housing schemes for teachers, according to Dr. Liman, the present Honourable Minister of Education.
Professor Fafunwa was one of those who institutionalised the idea of Education tax. As the Honourable Minister of Education he always believed in sourcing additional funds for Financing education - additional to what the government has provided. One of the areas that came to his mind was the Luxury tax. Corporate bodies, companies etc. could be made to contribute to the funding of education, hence the idea of education tax of 2% by companies. When the Longe Commission visited him to interview him, Fafunwa emphasised this idea of education tax. He also suggested that funds raised from the tax should be distributed across board, i.e. across the various hierarchy of the educational system. He, in fact also suggested the percentage to be used in sharing and those percentages today are adopted by government.
Professor Fafunwa and the ASUU issue
One of the most controversial issues in the land since 1995 is the ASUU/Government agreement of 3rd September, 1992. This comes up for mention in this lecture because Professor Fafunwa was the Honourable Minister for Education as of the time the agreement was signed. In fact, and I quote "on 13 February, 1992, the Honourable Minister for Education Youth and developments, Professor A.B. Fafunwa in a meeting with acknowledged representatives of ASUU, agreed that government would set up a team to negotiate with ASUU in view of the Minister's conviction that ASUU had made a case for the necessity of negotiation, even though the White Paper on the Report of the Commission on the
Review of Higher Education in Nigeria was yet to be released". (paragraph 1.2 of the ASUU/Government Agreement).
Before Prof Fafunwa became Hon. Minister of Education in 1990 the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had been banned for more than four years. He saw his first task as that of unbanning the union and according to him, "Mr. President listened
to and gave me his total co-operation". Within four months of becoming Hon. Minister, he succeeded in getting the approval of the President and Commander in Chief to unban the Union. The first conference of the newly unbanned union was declared open by him and the members came up with two basic issues:
(a) That Nigerian University Teachers were the worst paid in the world.
(b) That Nigeria was not meeting the requirements of Unesco that at least 10% of the GNP should be devoted to Education.
The ASUU thus wanted to negotiate with the Government on these and related issues.
He disagreed with the union on the two issues, not believing the `information', but because they insisted, he set up a two man panel to investigate . The report of the Panel confirmed the two points. He then felt there was some sense in the idea of negotiation but before this could start, ASUU had again been banned. The negotiation however had to go on since it had been given the nod by the President. Government, however, could not
negotiate with a Union already banned.
The saga of the first day of the negotiation meeting:
There was a meeting on the first day. The Hon. Minister decided that though ASUU was banned, the University Lecturers were there. Each University was thus to send some two - three representatives. All such representatives were to meet and decide who would be in the team to negotiate with Government while others could attend as observers. Inadvertently, this arrangement left out the then National Chairman of ASUU. Hence when most others were already around for the meeting, he was absent. He later got in touch with the HME by phone. Prof. Fafunwa, according to him, made it clear that the man could not come as
Chairman of ASUU since the meeting was with University Teachers and not ASUU. An understanding was thus reached and he promised to come.
The meeting of the first day thus went on smoothly though without Dr. Jega. The meeting planned the agenda, the logistics etc. for the subsequent days.
The negotiation went off and on until eventually the agreement of 3rd September 1992 was signed. The President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria approved the agreement, and, the Federal Government immediately started the implementation, starting with improvement of salaries while the improvement of facilities and infrastructures were to await the new Budget in January 1993 - a few months from then.
Decentralisation of external examination bodies:
Up to the time Professor Fafunwa became the Hon. Minister for Education, external examinations particularly at the end of secondary school were conducted solely by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). It had the total monopoly of external examinations of the country. It handled both the General Certificate Education, which is mainly for external candidates and the West African School Certificate Examination, later on
called the Senior School Certificate Examination. In February, 1975 during the 34th Plenary session of the JCCE, the body agreed that "other examining bodies (in addition to WAEC) be set up, because with the gigantic expansion now taking place in education
in Nigeria, the WAEC was unlikely to be able to cope with the task of handling all major examinations". In matters relating to examination, Fafunwa had always believed in decentralisation.
When he had the opportunity, therefore, he created two other parastatals for the Ministry of Education to share the conduct of Post Primary external examinations. The first is the National Board for Educational Measurement (NBEM). This board is charged
with the responsibility of conducting junior secondary examination for the Federal Government Colleges. It is also charged with the responsibility of conducting selection
examinations into the Federal Government Colleges, through the National Common Entrance Examination. The latter examination was also previously handled by WAEC and in fact, it probably would have been handling the Junior Secondary School examination, but for the decentralisation.
The second Board is the National Technical Examination Board, (NTEB), which is charged with the responsibility of examining candidates at the end of their technical programmes in the Post Primary Schools. In addition, the new board now handles the RSA, the City and Guilds and other technical examinations hither to handled by WAEC. The two boards were created in 1992. These were some of the loads shed from WAEC, This leaves WAEC more time to handle, and in shorter periods, the remaining examinations, and in fact the effect of this on the period between WAEC- conducted examinations and the results had been tremendous.
Government/Students consultations /dialogue
Before Professor Fafunwa became the Minister of Education, students crisis had in most cases been left completely to the universities to handle. It is only when the universities had reached a breaking point that government reluctantly came in. When he became Minister, Professor Fafunwa introduced a new dimension to students crisis resolution through Government/Student dialogue. This was a sort of traditional council of elders' approach to crisis resolution. (see Ipaye, 1995, chap.2).
He invited the executives of NANS regularly for discussions and dialogue on matters educational especially as they concern or relate to the students. Students are brought into confidence from time to time, this way any violent reaction by students are pre-emptied and averted. It was hoped that this way too, there would be less of students crisis in our campuses. It is left for history to document and later judge whether this approach and method is abused by the parties involved, what effects it has on the tertiary institutions etc. it is rather too early now to comment on, praise or condemn the approach. No matter how we look at it however, it will leave its own impact on the educational system. It may be seized and used for the good of the system, it may be abused and used to introduce further complications into crisis resolution within the system.
The Brain Drain/Brain Gain issue
The Brain drain issue received prominent attention during the tenure of Professor Fafunwa as Hon. Minister of Education. Before he became Hon. Minister, the government took keen interest in addressing the issue and set up a committee to look into it and make recommendations to government to arrest it. As he was joining the Executive, the committee submitted its reports and he together with the Hon. Minister of Health, another very notable academician on the cabinet, were asked to study the report and advise the cabinet. However, the area in which Professor Fafunwa made some contributions was in introducing some counter force to the brain drain issue by introducing the brain gain programme.
The Brain-Gain (TOKTEN) Programme:
The brain drain issue was the most well know within our institutions. The Brain Drain is a situation whereby notable giants in the various professions, most especially the Medical Sciences, Engineering and to a less extent the Sciences and the Humanities, migrate away from the academic institutions into the industries etc. or leave the country to take up jobs in foreign nations where they are reasonably well paid. At a stage, government became concerned and started to find out what could be done to (i) Stop the trend (ii) Reverse the trend.
Prof. Fafunwa, in answer to the question what could be done to reverse the trend, stumbled on the idea of Brain Gain. This was called TOKTEN - Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals. This is a programme whereby Nationals (i.e. Nigerians) abroad could come to work in Nigerian Universities for short periods. The practice was not new it had been effectively and advantageously used by countries like Egypt, Turkey and a few others under the auspices of the UNDP. Prof. Fafunwa approached the UNDP Director in Nigeria who was quite receptive to the idea and they both worked out the modalities. A group was reported to have come under this programme before Prof. Fafunwa left as
Education for All: the each one teach one concept:
Fafunwa's newest, if not latest, educational concept is that of "Each one, teach one" (or pay for the education of one). At the Jomtien conference in 1991, the world declared a war against ignorance and aimed at providing education for all by the year 2000. The various governments that signed the EFA document and subscribed to its tenets returned home to map out strategies for its attainment. It looked an uphill task especially in Africa where we have to contend with:
* a rather high illiteracy rate
* lack of funds in the face of global dwindling economic resources
* lack of resources for educational provision (classrooms, furniture, books etc.)
* the intimidating cost of providing education for all
* shortage of teachers
Professor Fafunwa came up with a concept; each one teach one or pay for the education of one. This concept, if applied, he believed will help accelerate the pace of reducing illiteracy in the country. He had also sold the concept to the world and educators in other parts of the world are known to be exploring ways and means of applying the concept in their countries. Those familiar with Fafunwa's work at the ICET do know how internationally accepted this new concept of his and the spate and speed with which it is spreading across the entire world especially after the Jomtien declaration. That concept has been both identified and recognised as one of the strongest, widest and quickest avenues towards achieving the goals of education for all in any continent of the world. Here in Nigeria, a government parastatal had adopted it as its motto, and acronym.
Again, it is too soon to assess the impact of this concept especially its relevance and contribution to the attainment of the global push towards education for all, irrespective of the time frame. Of use to us in terms of contributions to educational ideas in the country and in fact in the entire world, is the fact that this concept or idea originated from Professor Fafunwa He had also defended it in various national and international conferences, seminars and public speeches. (More about this in a later section)
Fafunwa, early in his career as a University teacher, had recognised the fact and appreciated the situation that "the goals of modem education in Nigeria are unclear" and, according to him, this is "largely owing to the conflict between the metropolitan idea of education and the indigenous concept of education". He therefore argued that "Nigeria, like other African countries, has reached a stage in development when it must wrestle with the problem of defining its educational goals in terms of its own concepts, needs and temperaments" (Fafunwa, 1970, p3) According to him, "Any self-respecting nation must fashion its educational system according to its own thinking, needs, temperament and limitations". These issues laid at the back of his mind and propelled him to start the crusade on ensuring that the country develops a worthwhile national policy on education which will stand the test of time and move the nation forward towards technological development and advancement. He knew that he could not sit within the four walls of the university and make any substantial impact on policy formulations. He has to be close to the corridors of policy making. The opportunity soon came. He attended the meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE) for the first time during the 13th Plenary session of JCCE on 26th to 27th June 1962. The meeting was held in Ibadan. According to the records, "the meeting was attended by ...Dr. A. B. Fafunwa and others who were attending for the first time in December 13 - 14, 1960. Right from then (1962), Professor Fafunwa started making some impact in various directions, especially in relation to getting Nigeria to formulate a National Policy of Education. For example, in the second meeting of the JCCE he attended at Enugu on 25th to 26th June, 1963, he presented a brief titled "Developing a functional Curriculum for
Schools in Nigeria". After an exhaustive discussion of the paper, the JCCE "agreed that a conference should be convened to define the objectives of Education in Nigeria and that Universities should be asked to prepare basic documentation" (FME, Vol. 1, 1992, p67). The decision at this meeting culminated in the 1969 Curriculum Conference and the June 1973 seminar on National Policy on Education. "The report of that seminar, after a further four years of incubation in Government systems, was published in March 1977 as the White Paper entitled the New National Policy on Education" (Aminu, 1986, p299). (already
reviewed in 1981, 1992.)
There is a pertinent question that we laymen outside government cannot answer. The civil war apart, why did it take government so long to implement its own decisions or effect its own plans? A decision was taken in 1963 to hold a national conference on curriculum development; it did not hold until 1969.
Then, the conference on the National Policy did not hold until another four years, thus taking ten years for the JCCE to achieve the objective of holding just a conference and, of course, fourteen years to get out a Policy on education!
Democracy, the democratic process and Education
In 1971, (25 years ago), Fafunwa argued that Democracy is more than political jingoism, it is more than a slogan to be proclaimed every four years at the rooftop. Rather, it is a way of life to be practised every day and in every conceivable aspect of our private and public life. (Fafunwa, 1971, p 29). To him, Democracy and Reconstruction are identical twins, they share the same umbilical cord. Democracy should therefore not be viewed only as a political expression but should also be a product of the combined economic, social, moral and aesthetic forces operating within cultural heritage. Fafunwa believes that it is "only in a society of equals can democracy develop and flourish" (p.30). What has to be reconstructed by Education therefore is the apparent in-equality of opportunity caused by various factors. Since in-equality of opportunities is subversive to the democratic ethic, the school has to find a way to tackle and redress the issue, thereby reconstructing our personal and individual attitudes to life, to each other, to education, to living and to the self and thus eventually reconstructing the society. Here, he sees education as an instrument for social reconstruction to correct the ills of society, teach the basic tenets of, and to instill the ideas of democracy. If democracy fails in the body politic, the cause could be traced to the fact that democracy does not subsist in the school classroom. He thus felt that it was necessary to start introducing children to politics and the political culture that supports democracy very early in their school life. This led to his insisting on a re-introduction of Civics to the primary school syllabus to get children, in practical ways, to learn and understand the concepts of sharing, give and take, imbibe the correct attitude to winning and losing, imbibe the principles of tolerance etc.
Professor Fafunwa caused a number of "innovations" to be introduced into Teacher Education programmes in the country. These include matters relating to admission, programme development, curriculum, teachers' welfare etc.
Before 1962, Grade II teachers could only qualify for admission into Grade I teachers programme. However, at the 14th plenary session of the JCCE in December 1962, the JCCE approved the proposed two - year NCE course at the Department of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. It should be remembered that Dr. Fafunwa as of then, attended the JCCE meeting for the first time during the 13th plenary session held in June 1962, though his university had presented this proposal at the 11th plenary of the
JCCE in June 1961. The first major contribution to Teacher Education in Nigeria therefore could be traced to his, (and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka) uplifting the status of the Grade II teacher beyond the Grade I pegging. More importantly, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka which he represented at the JCCE played an important role in the introduction of the NCE course in Nigeria. This was to be a two-year course for holders of Teachers
Grade I certificate and three - year course for holders of Grade II certificate. We all know the important position and the crucial role played-by the NCE in our educational system today. In fact, as from 1998, the NCE is expected to be the lowest teaching qualification in Nigeria.
Again, in the same 12th plenary session of JCCE, Professor Hansen of the Department of Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka under whom Professor Fafunwa worked, presented a brief to the JCCE on the relationship between the Advanced Teachers Colleges and the universities. This was the foundation of what later became affiliation of NCE (Colleges of Education) to universities. a trend that lasted till December 1989. Professor Fafunwa also experimented with the admission of Grade II Teachers Certificate holders into the University for the B.Ed programme. This experiment succeeded and later became accepted by all the universities in Nigeria. These two issues about the Grade II teachers are raised here because as of the time they were introduced by Prof. Fafunwa they looked like an educational sacrilege.( Aladejana and Alao, 1994)
New programmes in Teacher Education:
We had mentioned the introduction of the NCE programme. One of the revolutionary innovations in teacher education and teacher production was the introduction of the `unconventional' (as of then) Bachelor of Education programme. Before the Nsukka days, "degree programmes in education were not offered in most Commonwealth universities." (Aladejana & Ajao, 1994). Rather, people obtained their first degrees in any disciplines and if they wanted to go into teaching as graduate teachers, they would have to, go back to the University for a one academic year Post Graduate Diploma and in Aladejana and Alao's words, thus receiving "a thin layer of training in education in form of a nine month post graduate diploma in education (Aladejana & Alao, 1994). Under the leadership of Hansen and Fafunwa, Nsukka pioneered the production of first degree holders in education. As of then, the programme was "a - no- go area" for other Nigerian Universities who would not even touch it with the longest spoon. Today, the programme had become the most patronised in teacher education programme at the university level all over the nation. Aladejana and Alao (1994) described it as "a landmark in the history of Nigerian education". In fact, Britain too, the head of the Commonwealth, now runs B.Ed programmes in her universities.
Fafunwa believes strongly in adequate training and education of the teacher. He emphasised this from time to time in most of his presentations. He believes that:
Teaching, more than any other profession, touches the life of practically every citizen, either as students, parents, guardians or administrators and planners. To treat the teaching profession with levity and careless abandon is to damn our own future. A poorly trained and unsure teacher will likely produce a poor doctor, engineer, architect, fellow teacher, and the like. The services of the teachers are indispensable to the nation for they more than any other professional group, influence the lives of the Nigerian youth and therefore the nation's future.
Language and Education: The mother tongue issue
One of the things for which Professor Fafunwa is well known in education is the issue of mother tongue in education. Let us take a little look back into the history on this matter. Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo languages are the three most well known Nigerian languages though they are not the only ones for which orthography had been developed. We shall however for the purpose of this lecture dwell on only these three.
The orthography for Yoruba was developed mainly by the missionaries in Sierra Leone who had contacts with and had been working with Yoruba slaves who settled in Sierra Leone after the emancipation. Some notable individual Christians, scholars, administrators and authors also contributed to the development of the Yoruba orthography and all these happened between 1819 and 1875 though some further revisions and fine-tuning had been on since then. (See Awoniyi, 1978; Arohunmolase 1987; Akinjogbin, 1996). The early missionaries believed that they could only win the souls of Africans if they were taught in their mother tongue. Hannah Kilham, a Quaker educationist, Rev. John Raban, Norris, Schon and our own Ajayi Crowther, to name a few, all worked together to develop the orthography. Samuel Ajayi Crowther was one of such Yoruba slaves who helped to develop the Yoruba orthography, he himself having schooled briefly in Sierta Leone, went over to Britain for further studies and was sent back to Sierra Leone as a teacher. According to Ologunde (1982:p280), during the missionary era of education, Yoruba language dominated educational policy, it was during this period, not only a medium of instruction but also a main subject in the school. The colonial government did not interfere with the use and teaching of the mother tongues in mission schools between 1842 and 1881. (Awoniyi, 1978; Ologunde, 1982). However, with the beginning of government participation in and control of education, the indigenous languages began to suffer some set back. Clause 10, section 5 of the 1882 Education ordinance specifically provided that grants would only be paid for the teaching and learning of English language and not for the teaching and learning of vernaculars. Then came Metcalf Saunter, the first European Inspector of schools of the West African Settlements. The man just hated and abhorred the vernaculars. He saw the agitation by the missionaries for the teaching of the mother tongues as a `misplaced patriotism' and he was of the opinion that languages such as Yoruba are only of interest to the comparative philologist and that such a language as Yoruba is never likely to be of any practical use to civilisation. However, through the efforts and influence of Carr, the subsequent Codes (1899) and Ordinance (1908) raised the status of the Yoruba language within the statutes, recognising the need for teaching in all schools to be in the vernacular where possible, and boards were set up to examine the issue of text books and orthography. When Lugard, in 1916, turned his attention to education, he noted that the first difficulty to be faced was the issue of diversity of languages in Nigeria. He thus suggested that the European officials should make efforts to acquire these vernaculars. This was a very major development in the recognition of vernaculars in schools and even within government circles. The 1926 Education Ordinance further consolidated this gain, and, between 1926 and 1952, efforts were made to standardise the Yoruba orthography. With the new constitutional arrangements in 1952, the then Western Region started vigorously to pursue the issue of developing Yoruba language further, and constituted the committee on Grammatical and Scientific Terminologies in Yoruba. In 1955 September, the JCCE held its inaugural meeting and became a potent force on matters relating to educational policy and development in the country. One of the issues discussed in the 9th plenary session in June, 1960 was that of the teaching of indigenous languages.
The stage was now set for Professor Fafunwa to come in. Interestingly and probably, co-incidentally too, the meeting of the JCCE which the University of Nigeria, Nsukka attended for the first time in 1960 December also discussed extensively the teaching of Indigenous Languages (the teaching of mother tongue); and decided that "each school should concentrate on teaching the dominant language of the locality in which the school is
situated" and that "the West African Examinations Council should be requested to set up a panel to cover indigenous languages" (FME, 1992 Vol. I, p41). It should be noted however that what Fafunwa was interested in was not the teaching of mother tongue but teaching in the mother tongue. This was also the focus of some of the christian missionaries as far back as in the 1840s, a focus which was befogged by government intervention in, and
control of education. If the christian missions had succeeded in the 1800s, Fafunwa would not have had any war to fight in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Hausa Language is today also a language of instruction in most schools in the North. Education as noted earlier came into Northern Nigeria through North Africa. The mode of literacy was Arabic and Islamic education was and is still prosecuted in Arabic. As of then, any writing in the Hausa language was done through Ajami, a system by which Hausa words and writing was conducted using arabic alphabets to write Hausa words. The use of Hausa language in education however started in 1960 when the first primary school was established by the christian missionaries in Lokoja. In 1990, the first primary school was established in Kano and with it came the first attempts at developing the Hausa orthography. In the same year, a London publisher came up with the first text book for use in the primary school, - the Karatu Hausa; the Litaffin Lissafi, an arithmetic text came out in 1914. Other texts quickly followed - Labarin KaLFashen Afirka in 1918; and Littafi Na Koyon Karatu in 1923. It should be noted that when western education, got into the North, the use of the mother tongue was more emphasised in the school than it was in the South and this had a lot of advantage on educational development as well as on the performance of children in the schools. The parents easily understood the language in which the children were educated and this, helped to put in check any subtle attempt at forceful conversion. Further, interested parents could also provide the needed support at home after school. In 1929, the Translation Bureau was established for purposes of translating books into Hausa for use in the Teachers Training Colleges, and Secondary Schools, as well as for standardising the Hausa orthography.
As was the case with the study of the Yoruba language, the study of Igbo language too started with the interaction of the Europeans with the freed slaves of Igbo origin. The missionaries in particular the Anglican mission, did a lot of work on the development of Igbo orthography beginning from 1857 when Ajayi Crowther and Taylor landed in Onitsha. However, in 1880, the Adam-Ward orthography came up and the Roman Catholic Mission quickly adopted it for use in their schools. This started the orthography controversy, between the CMS developed orthography embraced by the mission for use in its schools and the Adam-Ward orthography embraced for use in the RCM schools. This controversy went on until 1961 when the CMS- developed orthography was slightly expanded from 34 to 36 alphabets, and that is what has remained in use since then. The important point however is that the Igbo mother tongue too got introduced into schools as early as schools started springing up.
Left to the missionaries therefore, education would have been conducted in the mother tongue without much controversy. The colonial government however, believed that the mother tongue or the vernaculars were not languages of civilisation and should therefore not be introduced into schools at all let alone being used for instruction in education. (see the view of Saunter as stated above).
Professor Fafunwa fought a spirited battle to get the mother tongue back into focus. It was through this struggle that the National Policy on Education also recommended that each secondary school child should learn at least one other major Nigerian Language other than his or her own. Again, those efforts also influenced the decision of the constitutional conference in its recommendations in relations to the major languages plus English.
Let us now take a brief look at the Research that made Professor Fafunwa so much well known in the mother tongue debate.
The Ife Six-Year Primary Project:
Fafunwa believes that any of the major Nigerian languages can become a language of science, of mathematics and even of technology if we take pains to develop it and use it in
instruction. He also believes that a child will perform significantly better if he or she is instructed in the mother tongue than when the instruction is in a foreign language. The experiment which Professor Fafunwa used to prove his argument was the Ife six-year primary project. The project was based in the primary school, it covered learning and teaching in the six years of primary education and the emphasis was on the use of the mother tongue for purposes of instruction. Primary school children were taught all the school subjects from Primary One to Six, in Yoruba. English was taught as a normal school subject and no English was used at all in the school except during English lessons taught by specialist teachers of English. The other schools in the State served as control for the experiment, though a number of control schools were specifically selected for purposes of analysing data.
At the end of their primary six, the children in the experimental classes were subjected to the same external examinations by all primary six children in the State. It was found that children in the experimental classes performed significantly better than those in the control in all school subjects including even English.
Children operate best within their linguistic cultural milieu and there is the high probability that they will attain higher and achieve significantly higher if they are taught in their mother tongue. This was the major thesis of the Ife Six Year Primary Project. The thesis was adequately proved and supported. Today, the products of the project are all over the place, occupying important positions in the various sectors of the economy, politics and religion in this country. They received their primary education, from primary one to six, in the mother tongue yet they are not worse off in any aspect than those who were taught in English. The Fafunwa experiment showed this clearly. Unfortunately after the experiment, one would have expected the governments of the Federation to adopt this policy,
Professor Fafunwa did not originate the idea of the Private University. In fact, according to him, he was opposed to the idea of private universities because he believed that private universities will lead to a number of abuses most important of which is commercialisation, bastardization of the concept of `the universities' and mushrooming of universities. However, as the idea evolved and particularly as he became Honourable Minister of Education, he saw that the issue was becoming un-escapable. It was however obvious that there were no laid down guidelines for die establishment of private universities. He therefore had to spell out conditions under which such institutions could be established. Such conditions included a lump deposit of =N=200,000,000.00 (two hundred million Naira) which was not touchable at all by the proprietor(s), availability of at least a land area of a minimum of 100 hectares etc. These and other conditions put forward by Professor Fafunwa eventually found their way into the edict approving the establishment of private universities.
Research, Documentation and Publication
In Nigeria, many people after becoming professors, bid their books, researches and laboratories `good night', thus not bothering any longer about research, publications and even conference attendance. One of the legacies which Professor Fafunwa will be leaving behind in the education scene in Nigeria is that of research and publications. Professor Fafunwa is an ardent researcher and a prolific writer. To date, his curriculum vitae shows, up to 1990, twenty-two books, and 43 papers and articles in learned journals. There are numerous public speeches, public lectures and presentations. He led by research examples and left no academic in doubt as to the pre-eminent emphasis he placed on research. Professor Fafunwa does not believe in "going to sleep" after becoming a Professor.
The Nigeria Academy of Education
An academy of education is the highest body of professional educators and educationists in the land concerned with the promotion of essential researches in education and its various branches. Professor Fafunwa was one of the moving forces behind the formation of the Nigeria Academy of Education. In fact, three of them, Professor C. Taiwo, Professor B. O. Ukeje and Professor A. B. Fafunwa initiated the idea, but Professor Fafunwa eventually christened it, giving it the present name. Professor Taiwo was elected the first president of the Academy. This body consists of Professors in the various disciplines of education; eminent persons in the education Ministries who had served as Permanent Secretaries, Directors-General, Chief Inspectors etc. in the past and are now retired and whose experience in the field continues to guide the younger ones and to help in sharing education generally. The Academy holds annual conferences and publishes a Journal and a Year Book.
The Longe Commission
One of the areas in which Fafunwa had contributed to educational development in Nigeria relates to the Longe Commission most of whose reports Government had enthusiastically implemented.
Background to the Commission
The last nation-wide commission on education was the Ashby Report. This came out on the eve of Nigeria's Independence in 1960 and had guided thinking, planning and overall development in the general areas of educational provisions in the country. It is however open knowledge that even before the Ashby Report was out, most of the data and recommendations had been overtaken by events and had thus become outdated. Thirty years after Ashby, there was a need for another Commission on Education. Hence in 1991 Prof. Fafunwa suggested to the Government the need for another Commission to serve as follow-up to Ashby. He succeeded in persuading Government to accept, and, the Longe Commission was set up. Today, the recommendations of that Commission accepted by Government are greatly influencing various aspects of our education.
The National Primary Education Commission, (NPEC) 1988.
Part of the recommendations of the 1984 Fafunwa Study Group on funding of Education dealt extensively with Primary Education.The major emphasis was on payment of teachers' salaries and provision of materials. After this report, Prof. Fafunwa also presented papers at various conferences and seminars on the issue. The Report spelt out how to stabilize education at the base - i.e. at the Primary school level. The roles of each tier of government as well as the role of parents were spelt out. This report was of much interest to Prof Jubril Aminu, the then Hon. Minister of Education. Putting ideas from there together with ideas in A. Y. Eke's reports, he floated a seminar in Badagry in 1987. Prof Fafunwa was there. After the conference, Prof. Aminu, the Hon. Minister for Education established the NPEC and made Prof. Fafunwa the Chairman. The Commission was empowered, among other things, to:
(a) prescribe the minimum standards of primary education throughout Nigeria.
(b) receive the National Primary Education Fund as established by this Decree from the Federal Military Government and allocate the funds to the appropriate body designated by each State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and to any agency responsible for special Federal Government - sponsored primary school projects in accordance with the formula as the National Council of Ministers may, from time to time prescribe. (Fafunwa, 1995).
When he became Hon. Minister of Education, Fafunwa further strengthened the commission. The Commission had succeeded in putting back to shape the sagging Primary school system. Prof. Aminu and Prof. Fafunwa had tremendously improved the Primary School situation with the establishment of the NPEC. Dr. Liman is continuing to build on that solid foundation.
The National Mathematics Centre:- Mathematical Science Education
Programme Incentive Schemes.
In 1989, by Decree No. 40, the National Mathematics Center was established. The functions of the center include, among others:
o To encourage and support activities leading to the improvement of the teaching and learning of Mathematical Sciences at all levels.
o To tackle national set goals in the development of Mathematical Sciences.
When Prof Fafunwa became Hon. Minister and the Director of the center visited him, he challenged the Director to include other things in addition to Research by "injecting Mathematical Education to the rarefied area of theoretical mathematics with a view to increasing the number of mathematicians", (Fafunwa, 1996). They both discussed the modalities of a programme to encourage people to develop interest in Mathematics a programme to cover from the Primary School to the University. This was eventually introduced as a Department in the center with Prof. B. O. Ukeje as the co-ordinator of the programme.
The programme was launched during the 1991/92 academic year, especially the one covering higher education level. In all, the incentive and claims then suggested by Prof. Fafunwa with the FME, providing some financial backing now covers Primary Six, JSS III and higher education levels. Volume 1 of the statistical compilation of the incentive schemes was released recently. The compiler, Prof. B. O. Ukeje, in a letter to Prof Fafunwa, dated
17th July 1996, said,
Report reaching us from all the States of the Federation indicate that this has thus far proved to be a worthy venture. Teachers are now competing among each other as to who will produce two of the Scholarship Winners which attracts Certificate and cash prizes for the teachers. More students we are informed are getting interested in Mathematics. The schools are also showing more interest because they too get certificates of merit. This is yet another feather on your cap of innumerable contributions to Education in Nigeria.
The Third World Academy of Sciences
This is an international academy. Some Nigerians were individual members and it did not seem that Nigeria was a corporate member.In 1993 Prof. Ezeilo came in to see Prof Fafunwa, (the then HME) to discuss the Academy's meeting in Kuwait. He wanted at least one Minister from Nigeria to attend the meeting thus assuring that third world body of Nigeria's support and especially to make a case for our Mathematical Center. But then there were no funds.Prof. Fafunwa got the fund to sponsor ten members, and he as the HME led the delegation. He spoke for Nigeria at the meeting in Kuwait and later officially invited the Third World Academy of Sciences to Nigeria. The invitation, unexpected, was received with loud ovation. The Academy could not hold its meeting in Nigeria before Prof. Fafunwa completed his service as HME, it however eventually held the meeting in Abuja in January 1995.Prof. Fafunwa was not invited, but according to him, he felt a sense of accomplishment for making it happen.
Finally, let us take a look at the educational philosophy of Professor Fafunwa. Not to understand Professor Fafunwa is not to understand some basic tenets of the philosophy of Nigerian education. His higher education, and thus the very crucible that made his intellectual mind was from the American system, a system that is, in terms of political values, anti-monarchical; in terms of qualities, is a historical; in terms of organisation is decentralisation and in terms of push, is noted for its assertive individualism. The last two, - decentralisation and assertive individualism - seem to have shaped his philosophy of education more than any other factor. Aladejana and Alao (1994) had identified Reconstructionism as the educational philosophy of Professor Fafunwa. Let us examine that philosophy.
Reconstructionism: A systematic analysis of Professor Fafunwa's writings, speeches and presentations in books, conferences, seminars,lectures etc. shows that he is, more than anything else,concerned with education as an instrument for reordering society,building and re-building society and the individual and using education as a means of establishing a just and better organized society. The society and the individual are their priorities wrong; the youth are losing those things that matter in the culture into which they were born; the family is losing its traditional focus and the traditional functions for which it was noted; the extended family is losing its grips on the individual, the group and the clan; religion no longer matters even to the church, the mosque and the traditionalist; we seem as a people, not in a position to catch up with the rest of the world because of obvious truncations in our educational path; yet we used to have one of the best educational systems in the world and we are created as one of the most intelligent peoples in the world. There is therefore the need to use our education to revive us, re-build us and reconstruct the ailing sectors in us. This is the meaning of reconstructionism in education. Fafunwa's main educational philosophy is Reconstructionism. Though in the classical sense, reconstructionism is not exactly a philosophy but, since Fafunwa was so much convinced that there lies the success of education within his own society, that approach to me,merits being described as his own philosophy. There are various reasons to establish the fact that reconstructionism, within the educational literature, merits graduating to a philosophy on its own, though, it may not have been so classified. The reconstructionist point of view has its roots in the works and thoughts of Plato, Karl Marx, Thomas Acquinas and others. If an idea started that long ago and it persists and could be effected in a way that makes it beneficial to a larger percentage of the populace, then that idea merits being considered important enough to stand as a class of its own.
What is reconstructionism: The reconstructionist view looks at education as a means of making vital and necessary re-organisation, and re-ordering of the society. As noted above, to this view, education could be an instrument in helping both individuals and the society to re-orientate the self toward a more positive, more beneficial and more productive stance. To reconstruct means "to construct again"; to "build up a complete structure..." By implication,this philosophy looks at education within the society as being in a dilapidated form and thus needs to be constructed again in a wholesome manner. It looks at such efforts as a way of getting the holistic man through education. Where education is mainly theoretical, the reconstructionist wants to see it add on a practical dimension, where it emphasizes the meal tickets, the constructionist wants to add on the production of the food to which the ticket qualifies people; where it weighs heavily on rote, the reconstructionist wants to add on `a-do-it yourself component; where it has looked outside, the reconstructionist wants education to add on an in-ward look. In other words, the philosophy emphasizes to a large extent, self reliance, a"hands-on" approach, productive and generative education. These compare very much and are akin to pragmatism and Dewey's instrumentalism. The message is that in education, we should be pragmatic, we should let the individual's education make him or her acquire the ability to mentally construct and practically do things for himself; education should enable the nation to re-focus national goals and aspirations to attainable ends. An examination of Fafunwa's writings will show his clear stand for these ideas and concepts.
The salvation of this nation will not come from the East nor will it come from the West but it will come from what we make of our schools and of our education in the land. To me this is the big lesson of Fafunwa's Reconstructionism. What will become of this nation in another few decades from now when those who are now half-baked start faking up leadership position in various sectors of the economy, politics, education, and even religion etc.? Educators and particularly educationists charged with responsibilities for policy formulation and execution should look carefully at Fafunwa's Reconstructionism as an educational philosophy vis-a-vis our current educational turmoil. The crisis in our educational sector pre-dated our current political crisis though the latter is worsening the former. There are a lot of things and issues calling today as ever for reconstruction,revival, rebuilding, re-orientation, re-tilting , re-norming and re-configuring- in our education. What one could hear reconstructionism saying is that we have a schooling system,where we teach our subjects and not our children. Further, we do not have an educating educational system. If we had had a truly educating educational system, we probably would not have run into the type of political cul-de-sac in which we now find ourselves.Democracy as a political ethic starts from the classroom, and as noted above, democracy and reconstructionism are two sides of the
Another aspect of Fafunwa's philosophy of education which needs emphasis, is the concern with reality as a process. Fafunwa sees"reality as ever changing so that it has no substantiality or permanence". The question is, "What is the reality of the Nigerian educational scene today? We have no time to go into this.
Fafunwa, Nigerian Education and the World
In most areas of development, the developing nations, including Nigeria, are seen as consumers only. In Education however, Nigeria has become a producer of ideas, practices and innovations exportable to other parts of the World Europe and America inclusive. The following stand out clearly for mention.
(a) Each one teach one (or pay for the education of one)
The idea was introduced globally by Prof Fafunwa at an international forum immediately following the Jomtien Declaration of Education for All (EFA).
The reasoning behind it was as simple as it is innovative. No nation, especially in the third world can effectively make its citizens literate at a relatively short period envisaged by EFA if she relies only on government efforts:
- the teachers are not there
- the fund is not there
- the logistics could be rather burdensome and protracted
- the attitude of the recipients could be negative towards a corporate or institutional arrangement
- there could be a lot of psycho-social blocks to learning if pursued through institutions of the structure of a school.
One of the ways therefore, to achieve this global objective around the world is to make each literate relation, friend,coworkers, spouse, partner, business colleague etc. teach one or pay for the education of one. The idea was warmly and enthusiastically received by the world body and many nations are working on its application.
At the ICET world Congress in Amman recently, the EFA was reviewed. It was discovered that some gains had been made in the acquisition of Literacy. It was also emphasized that the 'Each-one- Teach -one' approach is the most appropriate method of making bigger gains in Literacy. This concept is thus becoming a major contribution from Nigeria in the area of educational ideas.
After EFA, what next? Prof Fafunwa had not stopped thinking ahead of his time. He is already thinking of the post-EFA period. After we achieve education for all, what will happen to the literacy acquired if not exercised, practised and utilized. Ipaye (1985) for example had found ample evidence of reversion to illiteracy as a result of continued non-usage and improper anchorage of literacy skills.Prof Fafunwa is now on another trail. When adults become literate, one certainty in helping to maintain the literacy is by means of religion. The Fatiat is recited at least 30 times a day by all the Muslims, including even illiterates. The Lord's Prayer is recited at least once a-day by praying Christians. If the two are reduced to the respective mother tongues and into writing for the new literates to read and copy constantly, it will help to further anchor their literacy. He is working on the Fatiat first. It is believed that this too will be of tremendous use to other African countries or even European countries where Islam is practised.
(b) The Mother Tongue
The advantageous use of the mother tongue in instruction is another area. To countries whose language of education is their mother tongue, or which had never been colonized and thus do not have to adopt the "master's language" the issue of giving instructions in the mother tongue may be trivial. Not so with a colonized people. Fafunwa's experiment in the Ife, Six - Year Primary Project proved clearly the advantages of receiving instructions in the mother tongue. This idea has gained some international application. At least, five African countries, under the auspices of Unesco, had invited Prof. Fafunwa as consultant on the mother tongue programme. These are Benin, Lesotho, Liberia (before' the war) Senegal and Togo. In fact, after the initial contacts in 1978, the then Foreign Minister of one of the countries announced that he would henceforth deliver his policy statements and pronouncements in the mother tongue and it will be translated to his hearers in English. Nigeria has thus contributed these major concepts to the practice of education in the world. In fact, a number of African authors are now writing Science books in the mother tongue. (see Olarewju, 1996).
Recommendations and Suggestions:
We conclude this lecture by making just one suggestion in two parts.
Deregulate Tertiary Education: It had been said over and over that education is the biggest industry in this country. It is high time we allow the educational industry to begin functioning as an industry that it is. It is common" knowledge that managers of industries do not and may never pay the same salaries across board. Company "A" for example does not have the same salary scale with company "B", rather they compete with each other to catch the best employees in the market and do all possible to attract such best employees.Let education start that. What is happening to education in Nigeria is a confirmation of the belief in economics that government cannot successfully manage industries. Let government therefore hands-off particularly tertiary education since it seems that education is becoming strangulated by the very source from which it expects a life line. Government should however set standards and put in place a quality control mechanism.
Accreditation of programmes even down to the primary school level should be under government, but funding and other aspects should become privatised. In privatising, government should also set minimum standards of attainment in the Libraries, laboratories, workshops and in other infrastructural provisions. Though government cannot provide these for the tertiary institutions as of now, it will not be difficult for same government to set the minimum standard as to what to put in place before an individual, organisation, community or voluntary agency could be allowed to go into the education business. Government should ensure regular accreditation and re-accreditation visitation every five years and set a minimum salary below which no employer in the education industry should fall.
If we are deregulating the economy, we have also to de-regulate education; provide a free enterprise in education,bring in competition. We have tried government control of education for years now since education came under government control in the 19th century and a further centralised control of tertiary education since the late 1970s. We have seen the results. It does not work. Nigeria is the only country in the modern world where the educational apex is put on its head. Nigeria is the only country in the modern world where in matters educational, the adult is fed while the child/baby is left to fend for itself. In other parts of the world, emphasis is on the primary and secondary education, government supporting and making education at these levels openly available sometimes at heavy government financial support while tertiary education is left to the able and capable individual. Government should also widen the industrial base of the nation, provide more job and employment opportunities at the junior and middle-manpower levels. If at the end of secondary education, more than 85% of the school leavers could get gainful employments, the stress on tertiary education will drastically reduce. Further, an individual interested in tertiary education will first go into employment, save enough funds to see him or her through tertiary education before applying. The mentally able and financially capable then goes on to tertiary education; most often, the most brilliant in the land get government scholarship and bursaries, the others go on according to the size of their parents' purses.
Responsibility of the Education Bank:
The deductions from the Education Tax should be paid into the education bank. The education bank should compulsorily loan out funds to every student admitted into our tertiary institutions.Each beneficiary should be followed up right from the NYSC year to start making a refund, no matter how little in the first year. Parents and their children may be more favourably inclined to the idea of fee-paying if they know that there are ways in which the Government can still help to ensure that the fees are paid with little difficulties on the ways of the parents. The money seems to be there. For example, in a paid Advertorials by the Federal Minister of Finance in September 1996, we have the following, according to Anthony Ani, the Hon. Minister of Finance, The Education Tax came into effect from 1994 assessment year.The amounts assessed and collected in respect of the 1994, 1995 and 1996 assessment years are as shown below. It must be stated that the 1996 assessment is incomplete.
Period Assessment Collection
1994 3,192,595,551 1,061,852,805
1995 2,338,007,708 904,098,989
1996 590,904,872 300,691,339
(The News, Vol.7, No. 11, 23 Sept., 1996)
In Nigeria, while some primary school children even in public schools still pay as much as N1000.00 to see them through a school year, the highest a University student pays is the official N90.00 per year accommodation fee, perhaps another N200.00 for examination fees and that is all.. True enough education is the panacea to most national problems and issues of development, but it is so when and if we talk of high quality and sound education; education that develops the intellect to the highest and cultivates good morals, good behaviour and respect for the person, for property and for life. We are having more and more social, political and economic problems because our education is getting more and more half- baked. The things that matter in education no longer count with us; individually and corporately, we find loopholes in education rather than allow education to fill the loopholes in us; we twist and pervert the truths in education, we truncate the path to true education,thinking that getting there is the thing that matters anyway, not how you get there; simply put, we as a nation, individually and corporately, no longer have any respect for the essence of education.
Government had emphasised it times without number that tertiary institutions especially our universities should increase their revenue generation base. Yet, the same government had blocked the major revenue source of the universities. I am referring to the government's abolition of fees and the pegging of boarding and lodging fees to as low as N90.00 (ninety Naira) per year per student. Yet, without the permission of government, no head of any tertiary institution can increase this amount by even one kobo without incurring the wrath of both students and government alike. Through tact, awareness campaigns and proper explanations. government can help the tertiary institutions regain these sources of revenue which had been lost to them for more than two decades now. Apart from the value of education, it seems that education had lost its meaning to most parents and their children because the educational system had "lost the participatory spirit of the student and his own people in his (the student's) education": (Aminu, 1986. p297).
Further, Government should allow all universities,particularly Federal Universities, to become non-boarding.Universities and other tertiary institutions should be allowed to charge economic rents on all their buildings, including in fact staff residential quarters.
Mr. Chairman, permit me to thank the organisers of this lecture,especially the Academic Committee of the Fafunwa Education Foundation for selecting me to give the very first in the series.Though I was afraid of the topic when I was told, yet, I have to thank them for giving me a difficult job to do. This is because,I am not even qualified to mention the name of Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa let alone doing a treatise on him and reading it in the public where he is seated. According to Aina, (1996) "Here is a man whose profile is so tall that he has become a subject to be researched, a successful educationist, author and patriot. As Minister of Education, he gave birth to NABTEB and NBEM".
Papa, Happy Birthday,
I thank you all for listening.
Adaralegbe. A,(ed) (1969): A philosophy for Nigerian Education.Ibadan: Heinnemann Educational Books Nig. Ltd.
Aina, Olu: (1996) Address by the Conference Chairman in Badmus, G. A. and Odor. P. L: (Eds) Challenges of managing educational assessment in Nigeria. Kaduna: Altman Limited.
Akinjogbin. I. A (1996) Odunjo Memorial Lectures
Aladejana. T. I and Kayode Alao (1994) Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa:His educational Philosophy and contributions to Nigerian Education. Lagos: Academy Press.
Aminu, Jibril, (1986): Quality and stress in Nigerian education; Maiduguri: Northern Nigerian Publishing Company.
Arohunmolase. 0: (1987) Agbeyewo Idagbasoke Ede ati Akoto Yoruba, 1800 si 1985. Ibadan: Onibonoje Press and Book Industries
------ "Politics and the role of Government in the study of Yoruba, in the formal school System" in Ipaye, Babatunde (ed) (1995) Research on schooling in Nigeria. Lagos: Chayoobi Printers and Publishers.
Awoniyi, T. A. (1978): Yoruba Language in Education. Ibadan: OUP.
Bamgbose. A.(1977) Language in Education in Nigeria Vol. I & II; Lagos: National Language Centre.
Chuta, E. J. (1995) The Nigerian Education Bank: A viable Alternative Education Bank Papers Series 005
Fafunwa, A. B.; (1970): A history of Nigerian higher Education Nigeria (1827-1969) Lagos: Macmillan
------(1967) New Perspectives in African Education. Ibadan: Macmillan & Co, Nig. Ltd.
------(1995) History of Education in Nigeria. (Revised Edition) Ibadan: NPS Educational Publishers Limited.
Fafunwa, A.B; Macauley, J. I.; And Sokoya, J. A. F.:( 1989)Education in mother tongue: The Ife Primary Education Research Project, 1970-1978 Ibadan: University Press.
------(1991) Up and On: A Nigerian Teacher's Odyssey. Lagos: West African Books Publishers
Fafunwa A.B. and Ipaye, B: (1996) Personal Interview, Lagos: September 11 1996
Federal Ministry of Education, (1992): JCCE Summary of Recommendation. 1955 - 1965. Volume 1.: Lagos: Macmillan Nigeria Publishers Ltd.
-------(1992) Views and comments of the Federal Government on the report of the Commission on the review of higher educationing Nigeria (Longe Commission) Lagos: Federal Director of Printing.
FME: (1984) Report of the Study group on funding education Vol.1.
Ipaye, Babatunde; (1995): Guidance and Counselling in Nigerian Schools; Lagos: Chayoobi Printers and Publishers
Ipaye, Tunde: (1983): Guidance and Counselling Practices; Ile-Ife: Ife University Press
Ipaye, Babatunde. (1993) "Excuse me Sir, Can I speak to the Computer in the mother tongue?". Paper presented at the World Congress of ICET, Paris, France.
-------(1995)(Ed); Research on Schooling in Nigeria Introductory Readings. Lagos: Chayoobi Printers & Publishers
Ipaye, T; (1985) Socio-Cultural Premises, Guidance systems and Counselling Practices. Inaugural Lecture, University of Ilorin.
John N. Paden, (1986) Ahmadu Bello, Sadauna of Sokoto; Zaria; Hudahuda Publishing Company Olarewaju A. 0. (1996) Sayensi Dara; Ibadan: Alafas Nigeria Company.
Perkinson, Henly; 1968: The imperfect panacea: American faith in education, 1865-1965; New York: Random House.
Taiwo. C.O., (1985) The Nigerian Education System, Past, present and future. Lagos: Thomas Nelson Nig. Ltd. Publishers
Yoloye E. A. (1996) Vision and Mission of Education in Nigeria: Matters Arising and the Challenges of the 21st Century. A keynote Address delivered at NCCE 1996 National Conference held at NTI Conference Hall, Kaduna.