Education has been described as a mode through which an individual obtains the requisite physical and social abilities or competencies needed for the development of a society. growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that people acquire, not the number of years that they sit in a classroom.
The role education plays in the national development of any nation cannot be over-emphasized. It has been established that no country can develop beyond her educational level. The realization of the economic development, advancement or independence of any nation is a function of the educational capacity of the working class or the decision makers of that nation.
The importance of knowledge and learning has been recognized since the beginning of time. Plato wrote: “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”
But it was really the Nobel winning economists that put the argument of education as investment. T.W. Schultz argued that investment in education explains growth and Gary Becker gave us the Human Capital Theory.
For any nation to maximize the benefits of education for sustainable development, it must invest heavily in education. This is one of the reasons the importance of education will continue to receive the attention of all stakeholders both at the local, state and federal levels in Nigeria.
Today’s educational shortcomings weaken Africa’s development capacity. According to the World Economic Forum, Africa needs another one million university-trained researchers to tackle its most pressing health, energy, and development challenges.
Prioritising investment in education will help reverse the threat of systemic collapse of the social order. It will do more over the long-run. Developing local expertise through effective and functional education will aid the accumulation of capital in the domestic economy. Local knowhow will drive down the cost of projects, usually heightened by foreign sourcing of experts that dictate project costs.
To promote success in today’s labour market, one needs to invest early, and then invest in the relevant skills Above all, countries need to invest smartly, by promoting attention to the 3 A’s: Autonomy, Accountability, Assessment. They need to pay attention to teachers, early childhood development and culture.
Education is truly one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and it sets the foundation for sustained economic growth.Many countries have placed greater emphasis on developing an education system that can produce workers able to function in new industries, such as those in the fields of technology and science.
This is partly because older industries in developed economies were becoming less competitive, and thus were less likely to continue dominating the industrial landscape. Also, a movement to improve the basic education of the population emerged, with a growing belief that all people had the right to an education.
A country’s economy becomes more productive as the proportion of educated workers increases since educated workers can more efficiently carry out tasks that require literacy and critical thinking. However, obtaining a higher level of education also carries a cost. A country doesn’t have to provide an extensive network of colleges or universities to benefit from education; it can provide basic literacy programs and still see economic improvements.
The choice of infrastructure development over education by Nigeria, and indeed other African countries, is with the encouragement of the multilateral financial institutions and the foreign private investors. Irrespective of the state of disrepair in which education infrastructure has fallen in Africa, and how this would ensure Africa does not become globally competitive in the foreseeable future, the investment theme which global financiers have formulated for the continent is infrastructure investment.
Countries with a greater portion of their population educated see faster economic growth than countries with less-educated workers. As a result, many countries provide funding for primary and secondary education to improve economic performance which Nigeria must tap from to strengthen both economy growth , reduced rate of unemployment and curb insecurity.
The knowledge and skills of workers available in the labour supply is a key factor in determining both business and economic growth. Economies with a significant supply of skilled labour, brought on through formal education, as well as vocational training, are often able to capitalize on this through the development of more value-added industries, such as high-tech manufacturing.
Nigeria is deficient in appropriate know-how that could stimulate economic growth and development due to abysmal neglect of the education sector of the economy. The result is a true reflection of the problems confronting the Nigerian economy which include shortage of professionals, regional imbalances, underutilization capacity and of course, brain-drain.