There is a wide disparity
between policy pronouncements and policy implementations in Nigeria
(Jeter, 2002). The Minister for Science and Technology, Professor T.
Isoun , was mindful of this when he posited that the formulation of
an information technology (IT) policy constituted only about 20% of
the IT solution for the country, but the remaining 80% lies with implementation
(2001). Therefore, a body was inaugurated to carry out the much larger
task of implementation. The Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria
needs to follow suit and form a body that will regulate, monitor, evaluate
and verify progress on an on-going basis. The Ministry should be mindful
of the reality that educational policies of the past have failed due
to poor implementation.
The enthusiasm with which
the minister's address was received did not produce the necessary actions
(Odogwu, 2000). It seems as if the policy has disappeared with its formulators.
Maduekwe (2003) offered a solution to this by calling for the emergence
of a 'policy elite' that would act as an informed lobby group to the
government, stressing the need for policy implementation. He stated
that the emergence of such a policy leadership group would ensure that
the policies of previous administrations would not be abandoned. This
agrees with Braun, Cicioni and Ducste (2000) suggestions regarding policy
implementation in developing countries. Considering Argentina's situation,
Braun et al.(2000) called for the emergence of policy 'think tanks'
whose function is to conduct policy analysis and offer creative, insightful
and even counter-intuitive solutions for complex problems. Think tanks
can act both in partnership and as a counter balance to governmental
agencies. In many cases they complement and build on the work of public
organizations, act as watchdogs, and are alternative sources of policy
initiatives. Dunn (1996) in the case of Central and Eastern Europe think
tanks, unencumbered by political obligations and driven by core values
and principles, act as independent forums for debate and as sources
of innovative ideas and recommendations. Policy continuity would thus
be ensured if policy elites or think tanks emerge in Nigeria (Freedom
To bridge the gap, both policy
and practice need to be implemented. The current policy pronouncements
are obsolete and need be updated within the dynamic world of computers.
For example, hardware configurations of 16-bit microprocessor, 640 KB
memory capacity and 80 - column printer stated in the policy are outdated.
The updated policy must be popular and deliverable to all computer teachers
in schools so that the teachers will be able to implement the philosophy
and objectives of the computer instruction.
Regular in-service training
for teachers must be in place that includes basic computer operations,
programming and teaching methodologies. The training should be made
open to private schools as well to ensure uniform standards. In addition,
most teachers need retraining in integrating IT techniques into instructional
methods. Chen (1995) outlined what this training should include:
- Basic computing skills
- Up-to-date theories of
learning and instruction
- Wide ranging applications
of IT in education
- IT trends in education
and common mistakes of computer use in education
- Software evaluation methods
and classroom technology integration
This goes beyond the responsibility
of the Federal Ministry of Education. State Ministries of Education
within the country should offer training for school teachers and ally
with various institutes of education in universities whose primary assignments
are the professional development of teachers. This would involve adequate
budgetary allocations for such programs.
Furthermore, deliberate effort
should be made by the government to fund new hardware to at least meet
the stipulated 8-1 student to computer ratios. Making hardware available
is a governmental priority. Mozambique's IT priority has established
'Information Technology Access Mobile Units' in the form of buses carrying
computers for use by interested people in those areas where infrastructure
is not yet available. A similar arrangement can be put in place for
schools. A single school computer laboratory can be fully equipped so
that other schools within the same area can use it on a rotating basis.
For private schools, compliance with the policy hardware provisions
should form the basis of school accreditation.
The shortage of teachers
is a national problem but designated colleges of education and universities
should be assisted in the formulation of successful computer education
programs so that within a few years qualified computer teachers will
be available to schools. It is difficult and expensive to service and
repair computers using computer firms because schools are dispersed
all over the nation and computing firms are located only in the cities.
It may be necessary to employ computer technicians in state offices
of the Federal Ministry of Education so that schools can share as the
need arises. Private schools will only have the option of resorting
to computer firms.
Above all, adding computer
studies examinations in Junior School Certificate Examinations as well
as Senior School Certificate Examinations will catalyze serious commitment.
Cameroon, for example, has introduced computer education as an examinable
subject at the General Certificate of Education Level (Onabanjo, 1997)
which has increased computer awareness. Putting these types of practices
in place will reduce; if not entirely close the gap between policy stipulations
and school practice.
Philip Olu Jegede
is currently a lecturer at the Institute of Education, Obafemi
Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He received both his B.Sc
(Hons). and M.Sc degrees in Mathematics from the University of Lagos,
Nigeria. His M.Ed is in Educational Tests and Measurements from Obafemi
Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He has taught Pure Mathematics, Programming,
and Computer Study courses at different undergraduate levels. Before
his present appointment, he taught in secondary schools, a college of
education and a polytechnic school in Nigeria. His research interests
are computer education and information technology behaviors.
currently lectures at the Federal College of Education (Technical),
Lagos, Nigeria. He holds both a B.Sc (Ed) and M.Sc in Mathematics from
the University of Lagos as well as a M.Sc in Computer Science. His work
experience includes teaching mathematics in secondary schools. Josiah
had co-written two books in Mathematics and Computer Studies for secondary