Privatization of Unity Schools In Nigeria: Implications For The Education Sector
The sweeping change occasioned by the neo-liberal privatization policy of the 21st century has virtually affected all sectors of the Nigerian economy, and at the same time a source of public concern. This study therefore focuses on the privatization of Unity Schools in Nigeria: implications for the nation’s education sector. The study became imperative based on the public outcry that followed the privatization of the one hundred and four (104) unity schools in the eleventh hour of the Obasanjor’s administration in 2007. The unpopular policy which was later reversed by the Yar adua’s reign has some implications for the education sectors. The paper adopted content analysis and Focused Group Study (FGS) techniques to sample opinion from the public. Human Capital Development Theory was adopted to establish a strong linkage between education and training and the overall development of any giving nation. The paper observed that pro-privatization groups agued that privatization of Unity Schools in Nigeria will lessen government’s financial burden, improve efficiency and effectiveness in the management of schools, ensure stable academic calendar among others. Critics on the other hand, maintained that the policy will lead to more enrollment problems, poor staffing/ quality of personnel, exploitation, inequality, increased examination malpractices etc. the paper concludes that education is part of government’s social service constitutional responsibility, and that considering the nation’s population and the high rate of poverty, privatizing unity schools portends danger for development of the country and therefore recommended among other things that the government should ensure proper funding of education especially, in line with the 26%s UNESCO benchmark, practically implement the free and compulsory education at primary and secondary levels as contained in section 18 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.