Research Article: 2018 Vol: 21 Issue: 1S
Chinaza Uleanya, University of Zululand
Yasmin Rugbeer, University of Zululand
Duma Martin AN, University of the Free State
Every society is unique in terms of opportunities, challenges and aspirations of citizens among others. This paper investigates the importance of curriculum restructuring to the benefit socio-economic development in developing societies. The main argument of this paper expresses the need to localize the educational curriculum to address specific needs and challenges facing a society, beginning from the local communities where educational institutions are situated, to the state before moving towards realizing global goals. The study also explored other factors that are essential for enhancing teaching and learning activities to achieve the overall educational goals and objectives. The review of concepts of curriculum and sustainable development were made with a special focus on the interrelationships of the two in realizing significant socio-economic development. The paper recommends that the curriculum of developing societies should be designed to ensure globalization: Meeting local needs before global needs.
Curriculum, Developing Societies, Localizing, Sustainable Development, Glocalization.
The level of education of a nation determines the level of development that is experienced (Mitra, 2011). Statistics released by Basic Education Coalition (2014) asserts that education is essential for poverty reduction and economic growth. Education, especially the formal form of education is always predicated on the curriculum developed by curriculum planners. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the roles of curriculum planners and monitoring teams who ensure that the designed curriculum is implemented. Moreover, curriculum planners are easily disregarded and their assignments overlooked. On the contrary, many times when nations experience underdevelopment, political leaders such as presidents, prime ministers and governors are blamed. Educators, curriculum planners and others functioning alongside them are usually considered innocent of the experienced underdevelopment. Research has shown that for any society to grow to meet its desired development, quality must be added to the educational sector (Akoojee & Nkomo, 2008). Education Indicators in Focus (2013), states that: “Education can bring significant benefits to the society”. Psacharopoulos & Woodhall (1985) and Schultz & Hanushek (2012) posit that education should be aimed at providing development. The submission of Emerge Poverty Free (2011) holds a similar opinion that countries with low quality education are prone to less development, compared to countries with high quality education. To show the importance of quality education to poverty stricken societies, the group took to rendering support to Haiti in 2009 in order to enhance development. The extract below shows the form of support provided by the group and why:
55% of Haiti's population lives below the international poverty lie and less than half of the adult population are able to read. Emerge poverty free is investing in education so as to give the most vulnerable children opportunities for the future (Emerge Poverty Free, 2009).
The word “future” in the expression above, suggests that the present generation or present condition may not be sufficiently helped, probably because education is not automatic. It is a gradual procedure that takes time to yield result. Hence, by implication, they have to start with a given generation and watch the programme help savage poverty from the environment. “Households headed by a more educated person have an average higher wealth and lower poverty incidence” Basic Education Coalition Report (2014). Ndaruhutse (2016) opines that for Syria (another third world country suffering from the aftermath of war) to enjoy economic freedom and long lasting support, education is a key tool that must be introduced. This implies that liberating a nation from underdevelopment demands quality to be introduced to the education system. Furthermore, findings of the research conducted by American Institute for Research (AIR) (2016) suggests the reason for the high poverty rate experienced in Syria is due to the fact that one third of 6.4m school aged children are not in school. West (2014) is of the opinion that for a country in the condition of Syria, something more than food is needed. She stated that:
"…but for young people, education puts a future without violence or exclusion within reach".
By extension, it means the moment young people are educated; they are automatically empowered to face challenges ravaging their society. Little wonder, Nelson Mandella (2004) considers education as a tool for change. Therefore, for any nation of the world (African nations inclusive) to experience the most desirable change to any extent, it must be ready to pay close attention to its educational sector. However, the reverse seems to be the case in Africa where leaders are busy building empires for their children and failing to educate them. Tracing back to history, report has it that the early Christian missionaries knew the importance of education that was why they eventually penetrated Africa through this route.
“Those who hold the school, hold the country, its religion and its future (Jordan 1949: 94)”.
Father Wauter, a Catholic missionary in Western Nigeria pointedly stated:
“We knew the best way to make conversion in pagan countries was to open school. Practically all pagan boys ask to be baptized. …so, when the district of Ekiti-Ondo was opened in 1916, we started schools even before there was any church (Jordan 1949: 94)”.
Findings have shown that, today, in Nigeria, it is quite obvious that the western part seem to be more developed than the eastern or northern part. This is probably, owing to the fact that the western part got academically more exposed initially, than the other parts. Men like: Late chief Obafemi Awolowo, S.L. Akintola, Professor Wole Soyinka and a host of others remain memorable names in the history of Nigeria, owing to their display of academic prowess, which is evident within and outside our society. Meanwhile, northern Nigeria seems less developed and many have attributed this to their level of education. In fact, it is quite appalling that northern Nigeria which has produced the highest number of presidents still remains the least developed, possibly because, the level of education of these leaders and the northern people themselves is quite on the low side. Similarly, most rural areas of Nigerian communities are backward in development. The reason is not far-fetched, as several of them lack good schools. This makes few who are interested in education to travel far, sometimes to other continents where good schools are situated, thereby, making it difficult for any form of development to be introduced, as they sometimes get to settle in those places and further add to the existing development in those areas. This is also applicable to the Igbos in eastern Nigeria, who as a result of greener pastures, end-up most times in developed places, get settled there and raise their children there. These children most times, remain in those places, without making attempt to go back to their places of origin. In fact, some of them end-up claiming the citizenship of the society in which they find themselves, leaving their place of origin underdeveloped. They remain there and contribute to the development in such societies because of the level of education received by them, whereas their places of origin remain underdeveloped due to lack of good educational system. This is applicable to many African students in diaspora.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that education and development are like Siamese twins which are difficult to separate. To further buttress this, a close look at the list of leading universities across the globe released by Times Higher Education (2016) shows that countries with good, functional educational systems, ranking top seem more developed than their counterparts. For instance, universities in the United States of America (USA) dominate the top position and their level of development is obvious to the world. The same is visible in the United Kingdom (UK) which has several universities ranking at the top of the list. Suffice therefore to state that countries with good education system void of corruption are prone to experience high level of continuous development (Corruption Perception Index report, 2015). The report shows countries like: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherland, to state but a few, as being less corrupt in their education system and experiencing high level of development. Thus, there is a correlation among education, development and corruption. This implies that the higher the level of corruption in a nation, the less developed the nation, vis-a-vis the higher the level of education in a nation, the greater the level of development. In other terms, the more the educated people in a society, the higher the chances of development. Having seen the importance of education to a society that desires development, there is need to consider the phrase “education and development” as described by scholars from different walks of life. Thus, the reason for this study which aims at exploring the nexus between educations: Its types, pillars and importance, curriculum and development. The study is sectionalized into: Problem statement, research questions, methodology, results based on the stated research questions, conclusions and submissions.
Education is considered as a desired tool responsible for enhancing positive sustainable changes and developments in a society (Yesufu, 1973). He further states that in the early 1960s when many African nations recently gained independence, education was used to proffer changes and developments in various sectors of the economy and society. Thus, ever since then, the desire for education has been on the increase both to individuals and societies. In some instances, institutions of learning are established in specific environments in order to proffer solutions to the challenges faced in such communities (Dina & Shah, 2016). However, in recent times, the establishment of institutions of learning and provision of education seem not to meet up with the demand of proffering solutions to the needs and challenges of host communities. This has been attributed to the desire of universities across the globe to meet global standards, neglecting the needs of their host communities. According to Uleanya & Gamede (2017), this is common with African based institutions of learning and has contributed to the challenges experienced by students in some institutions of learning.
The research questions guiding this study are:
1. What are the types of education identified in the African system?
2. What is the aim of education to host communities where the institution of learning is situated?
3. Who are the pillars of education responsible for ensuring the localization of the curriculum of universities in specific areas?
4. How can university curriculum be adopted for sustainable development in host communities?
This study aims at exploring the importance of localizing the curriculum of university education in order to enhance development in rural environments where the institutions are situated. A systematic review which tends to proffer answers to the research questions is adopted for the study. Hence, the previous work of various authors related to localizing the curriculum of institutions of learning, types and importance education, correlation between education, curriculum and development are reviewed and adapted in this study.
The findings of the study based on the research questions guiding the study and reviewed literature are presented in different sub-headings below according to the identified research questions.
Types of Education
There are different types of education. However, any education which fails to build the mind is not worthy to be called “education” (Leisyte, 2013). The identified types of education discussed in this study are with emphasis on the African society. There are three (3) types of education known as: Formal, non-formal and informal (Dushi, 2012).
As the name implies, it is a type of education based on an existing structure. In other words, it is premised on a given an already established structure. This form of education takes place both within and outside the school premises though under the supervision and control of the school authority. Its happenings are regulated by established and well recognized bodies, which ensure from time to time that a given standard is met. Everything about this type of education is well planned and carried out under the guidance of a particular well designed calendar. The curriculum is also well planned to meet the need of the nation and instructors employed to carry out the assignment are qualified.
It is the most expensive of the three types of education and expected that a well-organized examination be conducted at the end of a given period of learning to trace if learning has taken place or not. In the advent that adequate learning has not taken place, there is an alternative plan to ensure learners are well encouraged and helped. Example of this type of education is any conventional school where teaching and learning takes place within the fore walls of a school or under the guidance of a school. The type of learning that takes place in Kings High School, Nigeria, University of Zululand, South Africa, among others will be referred to as formal education.
This is a type of education that is not structured or organized. In this case, the learner learns directly from a boss the antiques (though sometimes new skills are taught) involved in carrying out a given task. Group learning is not fully encouraged. In some cases, only one learner is involved. Its organization is like the “mentee–mentor” relationship. Where the “mentee” is the learner, the “mentor” is the teacher. A good example of this type of education is what happens in a mechanic workshop, where the mechanic is the teacher and apprentice is the student. Furthermore, structured examinations are not conducted; rather the focus is on “practical”. The relationship between a stylist and her apprentice is also a good example of the non-formal type of education, Of course, this type of education takes place majorly in a workshop.
This education type defies a particular form of regulation, structure or organization. Here, activities are not planned as the case is in the formal type of education. It is the cheapest of the three types of education. In addition, it takes place anywhere and examinations are done practically and unstructurally, the same way its learning takes place. A good example of this type of education is that which takes place in homes, especially African homes where children are taught how to cook, sweep, pray, wash, etc.
It is important that no type of learning supersedes the other, rather eclecticism is needed. For instance, the teacher in the class room (formal education) will not have to teach all that parents (informal education) have to teach. In the same vain, Mentors will not have to take their mentees to a class room before they are taught. Hence, anyone who intends to go through the three types of education will have to follow the principle of eclecticism (not viewing one as superior to the other).
UNESCO, (1997) opine that for sustainable education for development to thrive in any society all education stakeholders must be recognized and consequently made to function properly. In the light of this, it is therefore, needful to consider some of the pillars of education and how they affect sustainable development in any society.
The second research question which focuses on tracing the aim education to host communities where the institutions of learning.
Education and Development
According to the Swiss philosopher and developmental psychologist-Jean Piaget (1896-1980), education is the tool used in producing men and women who are skilful of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done. In other words, education is the enabling substance that empowers one to break new grounds to ensure a better society. Hence, any form of education which fails to empower people for better future or development is not expected to be considered as education. According to him, education is the tool with which boys and girls are turned or transformed into real men and women in any society. Hence, introduce education into a poor society with boys and girls; allow the education to thrive properly, in the nearest future that society will turn out to be a rich one. Inversely, take away sound education from a rich society with boys and girls; allow the society to stay for years without quality education, in the nearest future it will become poor.
According to the 20th century French poet and novelist–Anatole France (1844-1904), education can be viewed as simply getting to know that you do not know what you do not know and making attempt to know what you do not know, while you improve on what you know. Therefore, deducing from his work, one of the worst set of people on earth will be those who do not know, yet fail to know that they do not know and keep moving around as if they know. While, next to them will be those who do not know, but think that they know and keep acting in ignorance. Regrettably, ignorance is never an excuse.
Furthermore, from the point of view of William Burrough (1914-1997), a novelist and essayist, education is the knowledge of values not facts. In other words, any education that seeks facts without adding values should not be considered as education. However, knowledge that adds value should be upheld as education. Thus, one can only claim to be educated when one possesses the kind of knowledge that adds values, not facts. Unfortunately, the latter is the case in recent time, as many have knowledge of facts without values, yet claim to be educated.
The educational philosopher, by name Hutchins, Robert (1899-1977), sees education as a tool which has the sole aim of preparing the undeveloped to educate themselves throughout their lives. Invariably, he opines that, education should be targeted towards development. Thus, the duty of any instructor will be to instruct a learner up to the point where such learner can in turn instruct both himself and others.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), a politician, essayist, playwright and poet, opines that, as sculpture is to a block of marble, so is education to the soul. From his perspective, education aims at performing one major goal which is to build the mind of an individual. In view of this, any fellow who claims to be educated with an unrefined mind, should be considered uneducated. Of course, it is a refined mind that will work towards development and progress in any given society. Little wonder, it can never be reckoned with that a professor is seen fighting with a bus driver or conductor, if such happens, then that professor has questions to answer irrespective of his argument, because, he is assumed to possess a refined mind. Imagine the word “refine”, combination of two a prefix and a base. The word “fine” connotes beauty, something of a superior quality or grade, while the prefix “re” connotes additional touch. Hence, for a mind to be refined, it means as beautiful as it was when God created the fellow, an additional beauty is being added to make it better.
Considering the term education from the point of view of Malcom, (1925-1965), a onetime minister and human rights activist,” education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” In other words, anyone who wishes to be relevant in the future and make impact, education must be taken serious and treated as such via conscious preparation. This accounts for the reason why parents will do everything possible to entice their children to go to school. In fact, sometimes (especially in western Nigeria), some parents end-up chasing their children with sticks of cane, flogging them where they deem necessary. When asked the reason for such action, the parents get to explain that they want the tomorrow i.e., future of their children to be good.
Ortiz, Solomon P, (1937-till date), a former US Representative-Texas, attributes success in life to education, which he says is the key to success. To him teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students. In other words, the future of a child can look gloomy if the teacher fails to take up his/her responsibilities. The 78-year-old is of the opinion that once a person is educated, success is sure for life, the same way, failure is likely to be the possible outcome for a fellow who is uneducated. By extension, success is sure for a society with highly educated people.
In the words of the 35th president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), education is regarded as the process of developing our greatest abilities, because in everyone there is personal hope and dream, which if fulfilled benefits all and the nation at large. Once, again, an argument is put forth that education profits and leads to development of any given society or nation. Hence, once a person chooses to be educated, she/he is first of all doing him/herself a favour, thereafter the his/her country and possibly generation/world. This is evident in the lives of some of great inventors like: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, among others who initially would have thought they were being educated for their own good, it later turned out that it was for the benefit of their nation, their generation, today the world at large has benefitted from their education. Indeed, education transcends the individuals involved.
Wilson (2006) views education as a tool for building a united, peaceful and democratic country. From his words, it implies that bulk of the challenges/unrest (social, economic, among others,) experienced around the world can be attributed to “ignorance”–lack of education. Of course, if everyone was educated, it will be irrational for people to fight exchanging blows or words; rather it will be done in black and white, going by the words of literature laureates who state that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Invariably, once this is achieved, it becomes easy for leaders to focus on other things that can help improve the economy and other sectors. Imagine if medical doctors abandon patients in the hospitals, take to attacking one another verbally or even throwing seats from one end to the other, what will happen to the patients? The answer is visible, death becomes inevitable. The same way, if teachers take to attacking one another or farmers do same, it means that our societies/nations will end up in a state of bewilderment. Of course, at that point even the relative peace we enjoy now would have been nowhere to be found. This shows the extent to which education can build our societies and nations.
Education, according to our own renowned African leader, president of South Africa and philanthropist: Madiba Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world. Hence, to him, education is an instrument for change. It is therefore of high importance to note that anyone who seeks change, need embrace education. Thus, without education, positive change becomes an impossible task. This implies that, any society which graves for positive change does not need to shout about it all over the place, all that is needful, is to visit their educational sector/system.
A close look at the various views of the definitions of education put forward by the above mentioned scholars in different fields; shows that education is majorly and mainly aimed at first transforming an individual, who in turn transforms the nation, then possibly the world at large. In brief, it is a process of bringing expected or desired change to a person, group and society, among others.
The third research question which aims at exploring the pillars of education is answered in the sub-head below under the theme “educational pillars”.
A pillar can be described as a pole that provides support. It is usually expected to be large. Considering the word from another perspective, it is an important aspect or area of a given thing or group which gives aid or assistance to the main substance to ensure its survival. For instance, anyone referred to as the pillar of a group is seen as the back bone of the group, meaning his/her absence can cause the group to crumble.
The pillars of education are therefore, the stakeholders who are meant to see to the survival and improvement of productive education. Pillars of education include: The government, members of staff, parents, learners, alumni, industry as well as members of the society (Leisyte, 2013). All these play different roles in influencing happenings and productivity in the school system. For instance, the government makes policies which are followed by members of staff. Parents and members of the public can influence government policies, while learners are the centre of focus. However, one major set of pillar that must be considered carefully are curriculum planners and implementers, as their functions will always involve all other stake holders in this sector. Pathetically, the positions of these curriculum planners and implementers are being politicized by the government of the day, thereby making accountability a very difficult task. This is where it becomes a justified argument for those who blame our political leaders for lack of development/underdevelopment. Nevertheless, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the right curriculum is planned and implemented irrespective of the power that brought them to office, because once it is settled the future becomes settled.
Parents as educational pillars
The first point of call of any child is his/her family. This coincides with the words of Dosunmu & Omokhodion (2005). In fact, sociologically, it is believed that the first agent of socialization is the home. Hence, the role of parents can never be overemphasized. To this end, parents stand to function as strong pillars of education. Sometimes, the parents determine how the child will go in future. For instance, there is the likelihood that a child from a wealthy home, with good basic education at the cradle level will do better than his/her counterparts from poor background. This means that parents who choose not to send their children to school, thinking that it is not worth it, may end up helping that child to destroy his/her future. In addition, the school authorities call for parents to discuss matters surrounding the education of their children. This helps to show the importance of the role of parents. Dorner (2013), buttress the point that parents have three major roles to play in this regard: They are to inform, involve and invest. They are to inform the children on the necessary things they need to know from time to time, as they act as guides to the children. They are also to inform teachers at school on the necessary things they need to know based on the attitude of the children at home. Involving themselves means that they must be ready to know what the children are doing, join them where possible, so the children can see them as friends. By so doing, it becomes easy to win the hearts of the children. Of course, the last “I” is inevitable. Parents must invest in their children if they really want a brighter future for them. It is not enough giving birth to children, as a matter of fact, anyone who is not ready to invest in this line of business should not engage in any activity that will lead to the reproduction of a child irrespective of his/her age, colour, status, etc.
Teachers as educational pillars
Ortiz (2014) attests to the fact that one major set of stake holders in the educational system whose place must not be overlooked are teachers. In fact, he is of the opinion that they can make a more lasting impression on the students. Have you ever wondered why a child of about 1-6 years of age will insist and even argue with his/her parents at home over anything said by his/her teacher, even when the teacher is wrong? This is due to the perception of the child over the teacher. The child sees the teacher as a sage (wise fellow) and sometimes like God who is never prone to errors. With this kind of effect that a teacher can have over his/her student, it means that the future of students sometimes lies in the hands of their teachers.
Community members as pillars
Wright (1946) argues that it is the society/community that makes the child, not the other way round. The society in which a child finds himself determines sometimes the extent to which the child goes. For instance, a child who grows in a slum will likely reason differently and see life from a point of view different from that of child who grows in a presidential villa. Little wonder much will be expected from the prince of England both in dressing, speech and otherwise. This is basically due to where and how he is raised. Community members in a given community (especially where the school is situated) should be allowed to have their own input as it concerns their community. Langseth (2001) avers that members of the community are to be carried along by the government to ensure smooth operation and possibly avoidance of corruption. In planning the curriculum, it will be quite unfair for the planners to generalise; rather different localities where the schools are situated should be put into consideration. Fafunwa (1923-2010) was of the opinion that the language of the community where these schools are located must be taken into consideration. Let us try to imagine a school situated in an area where there is high concentration of Zulu speakers and the curriculum planners come up with a general submission, stating that in all schools the medium of instruction must be only English Language, it means schools in that community will automatically be locked out, compared to their counterparts in areas where English is highly appreciated. This also applies to other areas of interest, such as: Sports, theatre performance, religion, health, music, etc. Indeed, if the curriculum of a society is planned this way and properly implemented, it means that in few years to come every community will have what it is known for or what is associated with it and by so doing, development will spring up in bits from one end to another end, thereby provoking great and more visible development in the nation at large.
Considering recent happenings around the world, there is a vital area which curriculum planners must take note of, that is the area of culture. This further buttress the point that curriculum should be planned locally, not on a broad term. In a country as big as South Africa, the nine (9) provinces have their different cultural heritage which differ one way or the other at the community level. It will be unfair if the curriculum is planned on a province base and it’s made to thrive without taking into consideration the minor differences in the culture of the other communities, especially the host community.
Osinbajo (2010) explains that for transparency to be ensured at the local/municipal level of government, the federal government should endeavour to make known to the public the total amount given to the local/municipal government (council) every month. By so doing, they will learn to be more transparent in their dealings. This shows how influential and powerful members of the public (community) can be when it comes to decision making and implementation.
Curriculum planners as educational pillars
It has been argued by different people that education goes a long way in determining the level of peace, sanity and development that will be enjoyed by the people. Yet, no education (formal) can thrive without a planned curriculum. This shows the importance of curriculum. Of course, no curriculum can exist on its own and by itself; there must be planners to plan it. Coincidentally, it is whatever the curriculum planners plan and is approved that schools must work with. Over time, in several nations of the world, the curriculum is always planned at the state or province level to meet world demand, whereas every state or province comprises different communities with their various peculiar nature and issues. Tian-ming (2006) in his words which one can trace to be part of the secret of the Chinese society asserts that the curriculum of a society be localized. From his view, it is at this point that one may say that a society is beginning to thrive towards sustainable development. Of course, the result is evident in present day China which is almost taking over the world in every sector. Yet, one can state that the original idea was to first meet the needs of their people and coincidentally meeting world demand, which has made them grow. Today, China is the highest consumer of steel in the world (Ohara, 2011). Quite interesting to know that what they did was to ensure that they produce the same steel and currently report has it that China produce almost half of the steel used all over the world (World Steel Association, 2015). This implies that developing society need to first consider their immediate environment before thinking of the entire world, otherwise a curriculum that meets the standard and need of the entire world but fails to meet the immediate need of the community/society may turn out to be “a mere paper tiger or toothless bulldog that can bark but not bite”. Truly, the Chinese society is worth emulating. They were not as they are today some decades ago. Of course, many looked down on them years back, today the reverse is the case and they are looked up to, because they have been able to address their needs, invariably meeting the needs of other societies. “Charity begins at home”, says the popular English quote.
Osinbajo (2010) is of the opinion that local governments be empowered to function using their discretion where necessary, rather than waiting for the federal government to intervene over all that they do or plan to do. This can also be extended to curriculum planners, by establishing and empowering local curriculum planners to function in harmonizing the need/demand of the community with the institutions in that local community via the planning of the curriculum. Once this is achieved, all that will be left will be proper implementation and monitoring. By saying local curriculum planners are established does not mean that the state curriculum board will go to sleep, rather they will oversee all that are done by the local curriculum planners.
In addition, curriculum planners must work in synergy with implementers who will also function as monitoring team. This will be done both at the state/province and local/municipal level. This means that the state/province planners will ensure that what is released at the local level is of standard, justifiable and meets the expectation of the state, just as the federal will expect the state curriculum to meet its standards and expectations.
The Government as educational pillars
It is no news that one major pillar of education that people look up to, including the learners themselves, as well as their parents is the government. Unfortunately, many a time in the African context, we expect our government to do ?everything? for us. This is quite impossible. J.F. Kennedy (1917-1963) said: Never ask what your government can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
Hanushek & Wobmann, (2007), the government is a strong pillar of education in the sense that it makes policies, appoint leaders where necessary, foots the bills for the smooth running of the school, etc. This shows that if the government chooses to politicize the appointment of officers in the educational sector, we may end up having round pegs in square holes, vis-à-vis, if the government refuses to release money as and when due, the development that will be experienced in that institution will be thwarted. This will in turn reflect in the society. However, if the government does all that is expected and ensures proper monitoring, the educational sector will turn out to be what it is supposed to be and in no distant time, it will reflect on the nation’s economic development.
Also, the policy making body of the government is one area that must not be overlooked. Sometimes, the government may not be involved in the funding of a school (as the case is with private schools), but will always be involved in the making of policies that will be binding on them (Beach, Brown & Keast, 2008). Every policy made by this body must not be done based on selfish interest and must be fully implemented closely monitored otherwise it remains ‘a mere paper tiger’ which remains lifeless.
At this point, it is obvious that the activities of the educational planners explained above are like “jig saw puzzle” which if not well managed, makes the future gloomy.
The fourth research question which aims at exploring how university education can be used for sustainable development is presented below under the theme “localization of university curriculum for sustainable development”.
Localization of University Curriculum for Sustainable Development
World Bank, (2008) states that for unemployment to be a thing of the past in any society, curriculum planners must be empowered and made to act wisely. In other words, there will be no such thing as sustainable development without good and well planned curriculum. Sustainable development is a form of development which transcends the generation experiencing it to other generations. Hargreaves, (2008), holds similar opinion as UNESCO, (2005) that education for development is not an entirely different subject, but a subject matter embedded in the curriculum. In other words, there is no need creating or establishing a new course or subject in schools (at any level) called “sustainable development”, rather, the curriculum should be designed in such a manner that such will be realized. Suffice therefore to state that, it is important that the curriculum of every institution is used to meet the immediate needs of the host community and state at large before any other society (Bourguignon, 2007). It is evident that different countries go through different challenges; every country is expected to pattern their educational system to meet their needs (Leke, Lund, Roxburgh, Wamelen, 2010). Unfortunately, the reverse seems to be the case in Africa which tends to strive to please and meet world standard, even at expense of their people. For instance, in Ekiti State, south west Nigeria, the state with the highest number of professors in Nigeria, the governor in recent time proposed a project which seem pleasant to the people based on their reaction. The project is tagged “stomach infrastructure”. It is aimed at giving majorly feeding the people. Fantastic idea because food is an essential need of life, yet the question is what happens when they exhaust the food? The answer is obvious, lack is inevitable. It is pertinent that the state has been unable to utilize its educational sector to resolve its issues. It ends up raising learners to meet world standard, leaving their locality. This accounts for the reason why these sons and daughters raised become useful in many societies all over the nation and world, leaving their homeland which seem far below their standard. Ohara (2011) posits that countries are to design the curriculum of their institutions to help suit and solve problems in the nation, coincidentally, it may meet world need. However, the focus should not be to meet the world’s need first. Using the Chinese society, it is explained that the society knew the importance steel to them. Hence, they set out to meet that need for themselves by striving to produce as much as is needed by and for the society. In the process, they are able to meet world’s demand, today they are the largest producers of steel (World Steel Association, 2015), producing almost half of what is produced all over the world. A great feat of achievement indeed, yet it started as mere meeting their own need. Food eaten today can never be instrumental to sustainable development, therefore to ensure a sustainable form of development that will transcend generations, every curriculum must be designed to suit the demands of the immediate community/municipality/locality in which it is situated.
Sustainable development will be impossible and unachievable if curriculum designers fail to ensure that the case of “one size fits all” is eradicated. If African nations continue to use world standards to judge and design their educational system, failing to put into consideration the pressing needs of their society, they will successfully get international applauds, yet continue to swim in mediocrity, seeking international aids Kunene (1930-2006). For instance, the report of International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (April-2015) on World GDP ranking shows that the GDP of two giants of Africa (Nigeria and South Africa) supersedes that of several countries in the world, yet the poverty rate in these countries is still very high. This is a signal that there must be something wrong with the educational systems cum curriculum. He further expressed through his poem “Heritage of Liberation” that culture must be upheld. Similarly, the 2001 winner of Noni no International Prize for Literature, Ngugi wa Thiongo abandoned writing in English Language in July 1977. When asked by Emily Wilson/AlterNet in an interview conducted for him in 2008, he stressed that the easiest way to cage or put people in bondage is via language. A close observation of some countries classified as developed shows that their language is held in high esteem everywhere especially in their educational sector. Most European countries for instance will expect anyone coming to study in their country to first learn their language before taking into consideration what has brought them. However, the reverse is the case in developing societies where the medium of instruction is usually a major foreign language such as: English, French, Spanish, etc. Pathetically, in most of these societies, the foreign language is rated of more significance than the local language. Africans must learn to appreciate their society, identify their needs and use what they have to realize what they need.
Curriculum at this point must be considered as very important and treated as such. From the primary and secondary levels of education, proper attention should be given to curriculum planning as well as its implementation and monitoring. Proper planning, implementation and monitoring of the curriculum of African universities will help to promote sustainable development which is a major reason for the establishment of institutions of learning in strategic places. However, from findings based on the reviewed literature, the desired sustainable development is dependent on quality implementation of well-planned curriculum. Thus, the following recommendations:
• The roles to be played by all stakeholders: Parents, academic and non-academic members of staff, alumni, members of the community, the government, among others must be taken and treated with all seriousness and every unit performing its function as and when due, without first pointing accusing finger on others.
• Teachers’ qualifications and pedagogical skills should be taken serious and the teachers should be well remunerated.
• Local/Municipal Curriculum planning committee be established and empowered to design the curriculum of institutions within their localities, first to meet their immediate needs, then the state before the nation and world.
• “Glocalization” which is used to mean, ‘producing a product specifically for a given society and at the same time meeting global (world) standard will aid productivity in the society.
• Proper monitoring must be carried-out by the state curriculum planning committee to help checkmate happenings within and around the local curriculum planning committee, so as to ensure that their excesses are curbed where necessary, as we know that power intoxicates. Of course, this will help remove all forms of laxity from the planners.
• The curriculum planners must be professionals, not by paper (certificates), but by productivity. Hence, periodic conferences that will help them in discharging their duties efficiently and effectively from the local level (as it concerns their locality) must be organized for them.
• Students of different institutions should be used to carry out certain services in the community. For instance, engineering students (especially final year students) can be used in road construction/repairs, electricity issues, etc.
• Awards should be given to the best local curriculum planning committee annually. This award will not only be based on their paper work but the outcome experienced by the state based on the effort of the students in the institutions within their local areas.
• Government policies that involve the educational sectors must be scrutinized by professionals in the sector (not politicians). In other words, the government must ensure that the educational sector is not politicized. Only qualified, tested and trusted professionals must be appointed to handle matters that evolve around the educational sector. Until a doctor is considered as a professional, lives are not handed to him/her for fear of losing that life. Hence, in the educational sector, same can be replicated, as lives are dealt with as well.
• Only qualified teachers who have passion for the teaching profession and the future of the nation should be employed. It may be difficult to identify those who are in for the love of the profession, lives, future of the nation not money, yet with proper monitoring, it is possible and attainable.
• Learners should be motivated periodically. This can be done through periodic or annual issuance of awards, scholarship and bursary, among others.
• Also, state/provincial specialization should be encouraged, that is every state/province should be known for something unique. Therefore, every state/province should be encouraged to become master in a particular trade. For instance, a state/province can be known for Agriculture, while another is known for Music and another for Medicine/health issues, among others. By so doing development will be experienced in the society in bits, till it becomes all encompassing.
Beach, S., Brown, K. & Keast, R. (2008). Together now: Stakeholders in government agencies. A paper presented at the Third Sector Panel TrackInternational Research Society for Public Management2008 Conference, Brisbane, Australia.
Bourguignon, F., Senior vice president and chief economist the world bank, foreword of Hanushek, E.A. & W??mann, L. (2007). The role of education quality in economic growth. Policy Research Working Paper, 4122, World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Uleanya, C. & Gamede, B.T. (2017). Access with success: Approach for sustainable social changes in developing African societies: A case study of South Africa. The Anthropologist. International Journal of Contemporary and Applied Studies of Man, 30(3), 174-179.