A Study of Equity in the Financing of Primary Education in Ogun State
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos
Due to the massive size of the school enterprise resuting from democratization of education effort of the government, the maintenance of financial support for education is one of the serious problems facing education in Nigeria today. The problem is real and clear, the financial support for education is inadequate in amount and is inequitably distributed across regions. Speciafically in Ogun State of Nigeria, different strategies have been in effect at different point in time to share the financial burden of primary education, between the Federal, State, Local authorities and the parents. In addition, different fund distribution formula has been put into effect to relief local education districts of the financial burden of primary schooling. Due to seeming variation in quantity, quality, and efficiency of primary education in the state, it was suspected that the mechanism of financing public primary education in the state which relies heavily on population and enrolment criteria for distributing funds to districts would create substantial inequities among districts rather than promoting equity. Hence this study was set to determine whether the present Ogun State primary education finanace plan has a detrimental effect upon the realization of Nigeria education policy target of levelling out educational opportunity. The field work for study spread over the 1995/96 and 1996/97 school years and gathered information through questionnaire, opinnionaires and inventories from 14,000 pupils, 1,500 teachers in 300 schools in the state public primary school sytem. Parent and education officaials were also interviewed. Demographic and financing data were extractecd from different government records in the state. Simple ratio and percentage, co-efficient of variation, correlation analysis and stepwise multiple regression techiques were employed to provide the statistical analysis of the equalisation of primary educational funding for the period under study. Using the three alternative principle of equity horizontal equity (equal treatment of equals); vertical equity (appropriately unequal treatment of unequals) and equal opportunity defined in terms of lack of disrimination between urban and rural districts and between poor and affluent district- the state primary education financing framework was discovered to be inequitable. The study which exposed the magnitude of disparity in the level of development of primary education inthe state discovered that there was enrolment decline and sharp rise in unit cost of primary education in the state was estimated at about N5,000 of which families civered as much as 80 per cent. In addition, the result of the study showed that dispersion of per pupil revenue allocation across local districts in the state was astonishingly great. For instance, substantial variation in per pupil allocation occurs in the case of #1,173 in Ijebu Ode, #1,165 in Sagamu, #807.26 in Ifo and #724.34 in ogun waterside. Also, inequities in primary education finance observed were more closely related to regional diffrences in wealth, ecological location and size of districts than to diffrences in ‘need’ and ‘fiscal ability’ in districts to finace primary education. In conclusion equality of educational opportunity seemed not to be a prioty of the government inthe state as its finance plan limits access and other poor quality education in less affluent and rural districts. To alleviate the system of financing, it was suggested that new funding formula which would take into consideration the issue of need and ability must be put in place. This is because of the need to increase support where special teaching/learning problems exist in order to offset the disadvantages faced by children in some districts as they try to obtain a level of schooling that will increase their chances at a productive life. Financial support to school districts should be adequate to strengthen the quantity, quality and efficiency of primary education in the state. Since the Federal Government has been identified as a major partner, its role in supporting primary education in the country should be increased substantially.