Equity, Accessibility and Quality:
Emerging Issues in Nigerian Education
Michael Olarewaju
Chales Christophe, Jankur & Nandap
The paper examined the issues relating to equity, accessibility and
quality education on Nigeria as an emerging issue for consideration in
the modern Nigeria. However the study defined the concepts of equality,
accessibility to quality educational system. Also the paper find out the
causes of in equality and reasons for low accessibility to quality
education in Nigeria and the associated problem from the unequal
distribution of educational opportunities and methods of ameliorations
was examined. It was however recommended that all efforts to provide
equal education opportunities to Nigeria should be explored. That the
learning environment should be made attractive and encourage the
students to have equal accessibility to quality education emerging issue
of quality should be improved up by all and sundry by means of
moderate school fees, improved teachers conditions of service and
adequate provision of educational facilities and welfare services in the
school system.
Keywords: Equity, Accessibility, Quality Emerging Issues and Nigerian
Department of Educational Foundation, Faculty of Education, University
of Jos. Michogun63@gmail.com
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 60
It is undisputable fact that education is an instrument for any national
transformation and development. It is an essential tool for socio-
economic, political and cultural development of every human society.
Education generally develops individual skills and competencies,
imparting knowledge and intellectual capability right from the schools
and colleges and to aid individuals and personal and professional
development and make them relevant to the society in their later years.
Inequality and in accessibility to Nigeria educational system manifested
itself in the distribution of educational resources. The educational
resources include human and physical resources which are not evenly
distributed for effective teaching learning process and towards achieving
educational goals. However education is very important to any nation, as
Ogundele (2008), pointed out that any nation that toyed with educational
provision for her citizens, such nation will not be ranked high among
other developed nations at the global level. This is therefore to say that
without education, socio-economic activities in the societies will remain
stagnant, ignorance, and poverty will set in among the citizens and
human society will not progress. Despite this fact, several societies in the
world are still far from providing the basic necessities like education,
employment and social welfare to their citizens. The problem of the
inability of the government to provide quality education to her citizens
therefore, resulted to ignorance, poverty, mass illiteracy, and social
economic crises at global level. Ojedele (2000) described mass illiteracy
as the bane of productivity in any nation.
In Nigeria, equalities challenges in the education sector had created a
lot of gaps and marginalization among different groups, regions, genders,
religion and culture. Yusuf (2003) opined that the classification of many
states in the north as educationally disadvantages states have affected
quality education in the northern states. This resulted to discrepancies in
the equity and accessibility among the regions genders, ethnicity culture
and socio-economic states. Yusuf however stated that the issues of
inequity and inaccessibility problems should be in the interest of the
sustainable national development and productivity.
Jimba, Ogundele and Damal (2015) observed the need to encourage
accessibility and equalities in Nigerian education system and that the
efforts will in order to solve future national security problems and the
country will be adequate secured. It should be noted that all efforts
require a lot of initiative, zeal and quality education in the country. It was
Equity, Accessibility and Quality: Emerging Issues in Nigerian Education 61
noted that there is the need for the stakeholders, schools, and teachers
and to do away with the issues of unequal educational opportunities in
Nigeria. The authors regard the inequity and inaccessibility to education
as discrimination to one birth right. Ogundele (2008) also described
unequal and accessibilities to education are systematic ways of waging
war against birth right, progress and productivity. Education is an
essential tool for development of any society. It is in recognition of this
importance that the international community and government, the world
has been committed to encourage equal accessibility to quality education
in the developing countries like Nigeria.
Mohammed (2011) sees inequality and inaccessibility to quality
education as a stump, hurdle and threat that weaken the process of
imparting knowledge and skills and the general administration of the
entire education system. Equality and accessibility to quality education
had been in existence ever since education was institutionalized. Today,
the issue of inequality and inaccessibility to quality has become more
glaring, especially in the modern time where equality and parity is the
issue of concerned. Although politicians, government and education
stakeholders have been doing something to minimize the issue of
inaccessibility inequality to quality education, however, the situation
seemed do not improved, but only become more obvious than before.
The issue therefore became concern of Nigerian citizens. This paper
however looked at concept of equality, accessibility, causes and method
of improvement towards quality in Nigeria educational system.
Concepts of Equity, Accessibility and Quality Education
Sofoluwe (2010) noted that issue to access of quality education deals
with the degree or extent to which the education sector obtain/achieve
excellence and standard in the services rendered. The author stated that
the issue of achieving quality in all levels of the education sector has
always been a great challenge to the sector. Sofolowe further stated that,
for sustainable development and continual progress of individuals in
Nigeria, the issue of quality education needs to be addressed urgently.
However access to quality education include the level to which achieving
higher degree of excellence in teaching-learning process; teaching and
non-teaching staff, excellence in provision of educational resources e.g
equipment infrastructural development and maintenance, resources e.g.
equipment infrastructural development and maintenance, instructional
materials, excellence in proper administration of special education and
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 62
excellence in the entire education process, general administration and
management are achieved. However the citizens need to be given ample
educational opportunities to benefit from the governmental efforts of
making education to reach all and sundry in the society.
Causes of inequity and inaccessibility to quality education in
Nigeria: The following are the factors that lead to the inequality and how
accessibility to Nigerian education:
Unequal distribution of educational resources: Educational resources
include human and material resources that aid proper administration and
effective teaching and learning process are inadequate. The human
resources includes both teaching and non-teaching staff while material
resources include both financial and non-financial material resource
includes such as money, classroom, instructional materials, buildings,
infrastructure, ICT electronic gadget, libraries, laboratories etc. all which
are not adequately made available for enhancing quality education
especially in Nigeria.(Ogunsanya, 2007). Observations have shown that
these educational resources are neither adequate nor provided sufficiently
in the school for effective teaching and learning. Due to lack of funds,
leads to inequalities in the education sector. Inequalities of human
resources entail in the shortage of teachers in Nigeria demand for
effective use of professional in subject areas (qualified teachers) in
school. Material resource the imbalance manifested in lack of physical
facilities text books, technological equipment like computers or learning
software and other important facilities as libraries and audio-
Disparity in salary structure: The salary structure in which the
education sector does not recognize or pay well teachers who make effort
to initiate, innovate or become creative in their teaching methods and
affect the issue of quality in Nigerian education. Ogundele (2015).
Disparity in the subject areas and courses offered: Less attention is
paid on key areas like science courses, agricultural, entrepreneurship,
vocational and technical courses. The problem of the disparity in coursed
allocation leads to high rate of unemployment in the society. The rate of
unemployment is the bane of quality education. However, the problem of
unemployment made the society to look down on the quality education
provided by the schools.
Disparity in school location in rural and urban: There is a great
disparity in terms of school attainment and school achievement between
urban and rural dwellers. This cannot be unconnected with the fact the
distribution of educational resources are not evenly done by the
government. For instance, most of the qualified teachers are posted in the
Equity, Accessibility and Quality: Emerging Issues in Nigerian Education 63
urban are while the unqualified are equally posted to the rural areas. Also
the placement of the value system on education differ greatly among the
groups. Hence, bringing about educational imbalance in the education
system between the urban and rural. (Adeyemo, 2015).
Gender inferiority: Educational inequality as a result of Gender
difference is one the major factor or issue that encourage male
dominance in access to educational opportunities. The opportunity cost
of foregoing school for female children is very high due of female roles
and society preference for male children. In some communities the
female children are not sent to school like their male counterparts due to
some cultural/religions practices. Omoregie and Ihensekhien (2009)
equally identified that the Nigerian women and their counterparts in
other African countries have been disregarded and dishonored by the
thought that every women is supposed to consider motherhood as the
principal purpose of her existence. Woman is expected to produce
children, look after them, and wash clothes and take care of men and be
subordinate to male authority. According to Ogundele (2012), there is
still much gender imbalance in Nigeria education in spite of all steps
taken by the Federal Government. The reason is because the Nigeria
culture opined that the women office is in the kitchen and bedroom no
more, they were deprived and marginalized in the society.
Poor educational policies and curriculum implementation: Nigerian
government’s policy planning documents have the view that education
generates human capital the national development, yet a lot of
inequalities occur in implementing sustainable educational policies and
curriculum that will equip individuals with enough competencies and
skills to face societal challenges.
Historical factor: There is no imbalance between South and north
which is owing the problems of past education developments, colonial
administration and history in Nigeria has brought in with it existence of
educational gaps between these two regions. Equally highlighted that the
educational disparity between the South and the North was a common
sense of fear and conflict the Littleton constitution of 1954 officially
fashion Nigeria as federation. The rate of imbalance between South and
north should not be surprising because out of the six (6) earliest
universities in the country, only ABU was in the North. The educational
disparity between the South and the North led to educational inequalities
and educational marginalization in most regions.
High cost of education: Durosaro (2013) opined that the pattern of
budgeting allocation to education revealed that Nigerian governments
(both state and federal) did not consider education expenditure as a
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 64
matter of priority. The budgetary allocation in the country may not
sustain the target education as a prime source for sustainable
Problems Associated with Quality and Accessibility
of Nigerian Education
The dangers of educational result the education sector whose end
result if not solved will lead to the following problems:
Mass illiteracy: There will be high illiteracy rate in the country and
the international commenter will not be able to recon with the certificate
Inadequate qualified experts: Poor quality of teaching workforce
especially at lower levels of the education sector. No wander Ogundele
(2012) noted that lack of quality education in Nigeria reflected on the
inability of Nigerian mechanical engineers to repair their cars themselves
proliferation of many corrupt practices in the education sector.
High cost of education makes the educational system not to be at the
reach of the average Nigerian. It however leads to low accessibility to the
quality education.
The goal of achieving quality, excellence and improving the Nigeria
education system lie on improving equity and accessibility for all the
citizens. Hence this paper tries to draw the attention of the stake holders
on the need to encourage equity, accessibility in Nigeria education.
Creating awareness among the stakeholders to evenly distribute
education to entire citizens of the country. Sensitizing the audience who
are would be administrators on the need for equal for equal distribution
of educational opportunities to the entire populace planning a functional
education for all.
In a bid to salvage the educational in the country, the following
recommendation should be adhered to:
In the area of financing of education sector, budgetary allocations
should be increased and the funds must be expended appropriately.
Equity, Accessibility and Quality: Emerging Issues in Nigerian Education 65
Girl-child education should be improved and encouraged. The
extension of educational opportunity to the girl child has been a
cornerstone of every development plan. This is in view of the role of
women of the development of their community.
The federal Government should promulgate laws against early
marriage, unfavorable cultural practices against women/girl-child and
using hawkers on the streets which expose them to dangers that affect
their education.
Efforts should be made in the area of science and technological
education in order to boost the area. According to Yusuf (2003), science
and technology is one major tool of development of any nation, society
or region. They are the pillars of the well-being of every nation as well as
the source of economic and social development.
There should be proper implementation of effective policies and
curriculum that will improve all education sectors.
Review of school curriculum to promote critical and relevant
learning needed by the society.
Proper harmonization of activities at all levels of education sector
which includes salaries, entry requirements, staff development etc.
Improving access to quality education at all levels of education.
Through universal Basic education, No made education and series of
education for the disadvantaged groups in Nigeria.
Massive investment in infrastructures in all levels of education.
Through ETF, stakeholders, school based management committees.
Improvement of teach quality through employment of professional
and qualified teachers, in-service training and implementation of the
teacher salary structure.
Promoting good governance in schools and strengthening leadership
at all levels of school etc.
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 66
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