Dewey’s Philosophy and Contemporary Education in Nigeria: Implications for Democracy and Education.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos.
The central problem addressed in this study is the extent to which Dewey’s philosophy can influence contemporary education in a democratic Nigeria. There is in recent times an outcry that the desire to build a democratic society through education has not been fully realized. This is because of contemporary issues that have plagued the Nigerian educational system such as the challenge of educational curriculum that can promote democratic education, equal educational opportunity, the issue of quota system in Nigerian democracy, the challenge of technical/vocational education and the inexplicit role of university education in internalizing tenets of democracy. This study ascertained some philosophical connotations and assumptions of Dewey’s philosophy in the context of democracy and education. It critically reviewed Dewey’s philosophical positions and undercurrent views of concept of democracy and education as it relates to the Nigerian educational system. This study established that the present educational system falls short of aspiration to build a democratic society as expressed in Dewey’s philosophy because of the issues identified in the Nigerian educational system. The study design employed non-empirical and non-quantitative methods but was based on conceptual analyses, hinged on the hypothetical-deductive method to ascertain that these ills are present in the Nigerian educational system. The conceptual analysis of the philosophical basis of these ills in the educational system dates back to the colonial period/ British system of education. This study, however, draws attention to the need xii. for a reformative and transformative education system through Dewey’s philosophy. In view of these issues, this study established that Dewey’s philosophical tenets as expressed in his democracy and education is a panacea for building effective democratic education in Nigeria. To effect this, some recommendations and suggestions were made.