Education in its wide form is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense education is the process by which a society deliberately connects and share knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to another either formally or informally.
While the role and importance of education in any society cannot be overstated, yet the value of the structured form of education unlike its counterpart in Nigeria is continuously getting discounted.
The formal form of education, which is the form that students get from trained teachers in classrooms through a structured curriculum. Formal education is carefully thought out and provided by teachers who have a basic level of competency. This competency is standardized through formal training of teachers to provide them with a recognised certification.
While Informal education refers to a system of education that is not state recognised or sponsored. It does not lead to any regcognised certification and is not structured, or classroom based. Informal education is the naturally occurring style of learning. Informal education is also commonly named the “learning from experience” style of learning.
Non-formal education can be outside of the classroom, but still with instructors and teachers. This can be craft learning programs, sports programs, museum/library education programs.
The fuzzy boundaries and intertwined nature of informal and formal education sectors in Nigeria has varied impact on the economy.
Economic Impact of the Informal Educational Sector Nigeria represents Africa’s largest economy with a rebased GDP of 375 billion dollars and estimated population of over 200 million.
The economic activities of industries based on informal education constitutes a significant segment of the economy, despite the Government significantly spending on its counterpart. The Nigerian Governments allocated an annual budget of 691 billion naira for the Federal Ministry of education in 2020, an important sector marred with strikes and unemployment of graduates. While much fund has been allocated for the formal educational sector, Much has eluded the non-formal sectors. Popular non formal sectors such as the sports industry, music industry, blogging, social media advertising and brand awareness agents, comedians, movie industry, clothing and fashion designing, shoe making industry and even drivers. The formal education sector is the brain of every country but the body is also of equal importance, and in this case, the non formal is the body.
Its is the operational section of every society, they do the work, and it is a section any growing country would be wise to equip as the standard of living of any country is measured by the average life of its unskilled labours, who mostly fall in the category of unskilled labours.
This sector often offers underpaid labour workforce, imagine a petrol station attendant making a monthly stipend of five thousand naira while working 8am to 8pm; such is the availability of labour in this category and also the statement of isolation by the Government. Until the government finds a way to engage these mass workforce sector often enjoined by unemployed graduates, the economic conditions in Nigeria and standard of living of her people will not change much. In England’s Sport sector, Manchester United boasts of a workforce of over 4000 employed personells, with over 1000 clubs in the country, that’s millions of directly engaged employees.
Involving, other sports, entertainment industry, e.t.c they have already a robust and productive economic line, offering both services and empowerment for the formal and informal sector.
The Nigeria Government needs a shift in focus to this discounted sector, as benefits of efficiently and productively engaging this sector would bring the following economic benefits:
1. Increased Security: Idleness they say is the devils instrument, when a person isn’t engaged, something eventually engages them, from drugs to cultism and other social injustices can all be attributed to lack of empowerment and engagement. Government empowering this sector would take a lot off the streets, give them basic life, and eventually reduced crimes.
2. Empowerment: When the average populace are productively enageged, and paid well, that is the biggest form of empowerment, i.e. when people who are willing to work are engaged in a proper work structure.
3. Less Dependency on Government: Even though the government is struggling to provide basic amenities in all areas of the country, a structure engagement of this sector by the government can only help them, they’d be able to provide these amenities for themselves.
4. Increased Cheap Locally Produced Products: When people are engaged locally to aid in the production of goods and services by the government, the country will have significant success as policies will be on their side. With this there is More Exportation and Less Importation
5. Improved Standard of living: When people in this sector are financially independent, the standard of living of the country can only improve.
By: Oyewole Oluwatofunmi Deborah.