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Dr. ‘Kayode Olu Ijaduola
Department  of Educational Management, Tai Solarin University Of Education
Ijagun, Ogun State, Nigeria

The questions to ask about a country’s development are: what has been happening to poverty; what has been happening to unemployment; what has been happening to inequality?  If all three of these have declined from high levels, then, beyond doubt, this has been a period of development for the country concerned.  If one or two of these central problems have been growing worse, especially if all three have, it would be strange to call the result ‘development’ even if per capital income doubled.  Consequent upon this premise, this paper x-rays how educational planning can assist in arresting the likely problems capable of jeopardizing the hitch-free implementation of the MDGS, particularly in Nigeria and the developing countries in general.

Keywords: Development, educational planning, poverty alleviation.

In September 2000-, 189 UN member states agreed to ‘spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of the extreme poverty.  It can therefore be claimed that the year 200- marks a salient moment in international efforts to combat extreme poverty.  As a result, Iganiga (2007) posited that it is increasingly being recognized by the United Nations, governments and concerned citizens alike, as the year when the world has an unprecedented opportunity to put in place the policies and resources needed to fight global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).

As noted by Uzor (2004), Sachs (2005) WDR (2005), Yansane (2005) and Alimba (2008) , the Millennium Development Goals put the world community on a time when 189 member states of the United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration in September 200-; they  looked backwards to 1990 and ahead to 2015 and gave themselves 25 years to produce substantial improvement in the lives of people.  At that time, as Hughes (2001), Muggah and Bachelor (2002) and Achuonye (2003) contended, it was clear that in many places, development progress had slowed and would have to be accelerated if ambitious targets of MDGS were to be achieved.

According to Otite (1995), Makoju (2006 and Iganiga (2006), eradicating poverty is regarded as the most important goal of human development.  Indeed, it is now widely believed (Chambers, 1995, Umoren, 2001, NPC, 2004, and Yusuf, 2004) that at its core, development must be about improvement of human well-being, removal of hunger, disease and promotion of productive employment for all.  Obatoki (2005) and Chigbue (2005) lend credence to the foregoing when they suggested that a nation’s first goal must be to end poverty and satisfy the private needs for all its citizens in a way that will not jeopardize the opportunity for the future generations to attain the same objective.

In the words of Igue (2005) the MDGS goals, targets and
 indicators relating to poverty reduction and hunger, are quite
relevant in the case of  Nigeria… While poverty is accelerating
at a terrific speed, progress towards minimizing the menace is
at a slow pace.

Specifically, the poverty situation was brought to the fore as Nigeria became committed to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) Declaration.  The MDG’s mandate countries to half the incidence of poverty in 2015.  The National Economic Empowerment Development strategy (NEEDs) that was introduced in 2004 therefore seeks to tackle poverty head on and provide a robust and efficient framework for addressing the lingering problems of the economy.  At the grassroots, interest in education and educational planning has soared and it is now seen as one of the most promising tools for poverty alleviation in developing countries.

Consequently, in order to provide a framework that will serve as a guide in the discussion of the issues intended in this paper, the following questions were posed as a focal point for discussion:
1.         What is educational Planning?
2.         What are the missions’ visions, and methods of educational planning?
3.         What are the Millennium Development Goals?
4.         What are the factors that can militate against the successful    implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria?
5.         How can educational planning be used to solve these problems for effective             implementation of the programme?

Theoretical Framework
The theory that serves as a backup to this work is the goal setting theory.  The theory stipulates that specific and difficult goals lead to higher level of performance than do the generalized goals.  This is based on the belief that harder goals tend to make people to think deeply on how to achieve them, thereby resulting in greater efficiency, which at the end will increase performance.

This idea was propounded by Edwin Locke in the sixties.  He argued that intentions to work towards a goal are the major source of work motivation.  That is, goals tell an employee what needs to be done and how much effort will be expended.  Therefore, goals that are specific and difficult in nature will motivate workers to work harder in order to achieve them.  This action will at the end induce increase in performance.  However, goals must possess the following characteristics before they can motivate workers:

(a)        Goal – specificity: Goals must be measurable, well understood, specific        and quantitative in nature to be achievable.
(b)        Goal-acceptance: It measures the degree to which individuals can accept       goals and put in their best to ensure that the goals are achieved

Considering the articulations of the theory, it is certain that the Millennium Development Goals are goal-oriented and capable of reinforcing the desired motivational inspiration on the part of the government for its implementation.  It is a programme that is set forth to achieve certain goals, which demonstrate the basic characteristics of goal-setting theory. These characteristics are goal-specificity, goal-acceptance and goal-difficulty.  Millennium Goals are difficult,

challenging, and achievable. Hence, they are clear, measurable and quantitative in nature.

The capacity of these goals to transform the conditions of the people, via eradication of poverty, unemployment, diseases, and developing the society at large, informed the level of acceptability accorded the project by different governments of the world.

(c)        Goal-difficulty: The difficult nature of goals should create a challenging       and interesting motivational inspiration on workers.  To this extent, goals should not be so difficult that they will be frustrating and discouraging in nature.

Conceptualizing Educational Planning
Man plans most of his activities in view of some set goals.  Man often decides to do certain things because he wants to achieve specific goals.  This type of decision-making, according to Fabunmi (2005), is planning.  Planning is also defined as a deliberate, organized and continuous process of identifying different elements and aspects of an organism, determining their present state and interaction, projecting them in concert throughout a period of future time, formulating and programming a set of actions so as to attain some desired results (Okwori, 2004; Goodlad, 2005; Usman, 2005; Osawe, 2005; Mebude, 2005; Ijaduola, 2005a).

In the same vein, planning has been defined by Fasokun (2004) as the process of preparing a set of decisions for action in the future with the view to achieving goals, by optimal means.  Based on these definitions of planning, educational planning has been defined by Quisumbling (2000), NPC (2004), Haruna, Olarinde and Soguna (2004), Brown (2005) and Godwin (2005) as a process of preparing a set of decisions on education in such a manner that the goals and objectives of education will be realized in the future, with reasonable use of available resources.

Educational planning as posited by Ijaduola (1999) and Owan (2007) is a continuous process of obtaining and analyzing facts and, from empirical base, of providing information for decision makers on how best the education system is to accomplish its goals and on how best to achieve cost-effectiveness of education programmes.

From the foregoing definition; the following statements are implied:

(i)         Planning is a continuous process,
(ii)        Planning involves making decisions on rational use of educational resources,
(iii)       It is future oriented;
(iv)       It aims at achieving set goals, and
(v)        It emphasizes the cost-effectiveness of education.
However, planning entails the following processes (Rutherford, 2000; SAS 2003, Anugwon, 2005, Ijaduola 2007b).
(a)        Policy making: At this stage, broad policy is initiated.  Policy is a political      statement backed up with legislation.
(b)        Plan formulation: An education plan evolves from the policy.  The plan        contains statistical analysis.
(c)        Plan implementation:  The plan is put into action at this stage.  This is an       administrative function.
(d)        Plan evaluation: This is the final stage, where the lapses in the plan are          pointed out.  Such lapses or deficiencies have to be rectified or modified.

Missions, Visions and Methods of Educational Planning
The mission of most educational systems is to provide the type of education that will promote both the individual and national development, instill high moral standards, good character and sound judgment.  The Nigerian National Policy on Education, 1998 Revised Edition puts the aims and objectives of Nigerian education as:
1.         the inculcation of national consciousness, and unity
2.         the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of     the individual and the Nigerian society,
3.         the training of the mind in the understanding of the world around, and
4.         the acquisition of appropriate skills and the development of mental, physical and social abilities and competencies as equipment for the      individual to live in and contribute to the development of his or her society.

To this end, the quality of instruction at all levels has to be oriented towards inculcating the following values:


(a)        respect for the worth and dignity of the individual;
(b)        faith in man’s ability to make rational decisions;
(c)        moral and spiritual principle in inter-personal and human relations
(d)        shared responsibility for the common good of society.
(e)        promotion of the physical, emotional and psychological development of all children; and
(f)        acquisition of competencies necessary for self-reliance.
As a result, the Nigeria philosophy of education is based on: the development of the individual into a sound and effective citizen; the full integration of the individual into the community, and provision of equal access to educational opportunities for all citizens of the country at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels both inside and outside the formal school system.

In order for the philosophy to be in harmony with Nigeria’s national goals, education has to be geared towards self-realization, better human relationship, individual and national efficiency, effective citizenship, national consciousness, national unity, as well as towards social, cultural, economic, political, scientific and technological progress.

The vision of most educational institution is to expand the frontiers of knowledge and transform the society into a better place through innovation.  No society is static.  Social, political, economic and technological changes are imminent in every society.  The educational system has to grow in line with these changes.  Hence, the need for curriculum review, adjustment and evaluation of education plans.

The Millennium Development Goals
On the 6th and 8th September, 2000, the world witnessed the gathering of 189 heads of state and government in New York, the Headquarters of the United Nations in the United States of America, to draw the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).  These goals are geared towards the reduction of poverty and encouragement of rapid progress in the improvement of the world.  The eight Millennium Development Goals and their targets are shown in table 1.



Journal of Research in National Development 6(2) December, 2008

Table 1: Synopsis of the Millennium Development Goals


Millennium Development



To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target 1: To halve between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people whose incomes is less than $1 a day.Target 2: Proportion of people who suffer from hunger to be halved by 2015.


To achieve universal primary education

Target 3: To ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary school.


To promote gender equality and empower woman

Target 4: To eliminate gender disparity to primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education not later than 2015.


To reduce child mortality

Target 5: To reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under five morality rate


To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Target 7: To halt by 2015 and to begin the reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other disease.


To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Target 7: To halt by 2015 and to begin the reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases


To ensure environmental sustainability

Target 8: To integrate the principle of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse loss of environmental resources.
Target 9: To halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.Target 10: To achieve by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of a least 100 million slum dwellers


To develop a global partnership for development

Target 11-18: Entail reduction and cancellation of bilateral debt among countries, avoid discriminatory trade and financial system among countries, address the special needs of landlocked countries, enhance the productivity of youth in developing countries, provides affordable essential drugs for developing countries and to make information and communication technologies available to developing countries.


Source: United Nations Development Report, 2005. 

As indicated in table 1, these goals are expected to be attained by the countries of the world in the year 2015.  To simplify the implementation exercises for greater success to be recorded, 18 targets were set alongside the goals, for countries to be well-focused and time conscious in pursuing the goals.  This will also enable them to measure the degree of progress made at any point in time.

As earlier stated, eradicating poverty is regarded as the most important goal of human development.  The target is to help the proportion of people whose income is less

than 1 US dollar a day, between 1990 and 2015. The proportion of people who suffer from hunger is also expected to be halved.  Also to halve the proportion of

people whose income is less than & one dollar per day between 1990 and 2015.  Let us take a glance at poverty profile for Nigeria as shown in table 2.

Table 2: Poverty Profile for Nigeria


Poverty level (%)

Estimated Population (million)

Population in poverty (million)





Male headed households

Female headed household











































Source: Federal office of statistics 1999,2005.

As shown in table 2, the incidence of poverty increased during the period 1980-1996, however, there was a decline in poverty level between 1985-1992.  The proportion of people living in poverty in 1980 was 28.1% which later rose to 46.3% in 1985; but decreased to 42.7% in 1992 before escalating to 65.6% in 1996.  Nevertheless, the proportion of people living in poverty declined to 54.4% in 2004.  This translated to 17.7 and 34.7 million poor people in 1980 and 1985 respectively.  The number of people in Nigeria also increased from 39.2 million people in 1992 to 67.1 million people in 1996, and 68.7 million poor people in 2004.  In spite of the observed drop in poverty in 1992 and 2004, the population in poverty was 4.5 million higher than the 1985 figure and 1.6 million higher than that of 1996 figure respectively.  The reduction in poverty level to 54.4% is traceable to reforms introduced to alleviate poverty since the declaration of the MDGS in September, 2000.


Factors that can hinder the success of the millennium development goals in Nigeria
As observed by Ijaduola (2008),  the fact that Nigeria is a pluralistic society, offers the impression that implementing the MDGS may not be an easy task.  Based on this premise, some factors that can militate against the successful implementation of the goals in Nigeria are discussed hereunder:
1.         Public mobilization and enlightenment: Public participation can only be achieved in the effective implementation of the programme through mobilization and enlightenment activities.  The poor media coverage of the country coupled with the problems of misappropriation and embezzlement of funds, high incidence of corrupt practices in high and    low places, and dictatorial behaviour of our leaders have affected their         tendencies to mobilize and enlighten the people as expected on the issue of Millennium Development Goals.
2.         Poor support: For an appreciable progress to be recorded in the achievement of the MDGS as expected within the targeted date (i.e. 2015), the supports of international organization and advanced nations are deemed sine qua non for the developing countries like Nigeria.  Since the supports are not forthcoming, it will affect the realization of the goals in Nigeria and other developing countries of the world.
3.         Cultural problem: Nigeria is a multi-cultural society with over three hundred and fifty ethnic groups.  The variation in culture also reflects in their acceptance of changes and developments.  It is essential for every segment of the country to have equal access and perception to issues.      This is a big problem as far as the MGDS is concerned.
4.         Economic problem: The proper implementation of MDGS in Nigeria, may be seriously threatened by economic problem such as high level of poverty and unemployment, shortage of social amenities, misappropriation of funds etc.
5.         Administrative bottleneck: Bureaucratic protocols may delay the formulation and implementation of the MDGS.  Protocols demand that policies and plans pass through certain stages before

implementation.  Processing of policies and plans often takes months, if not years.
6.         Problem of leadership: Never has the level of leadership failure parading in our country in this contemporary period has ever been recorded in the   history of the country. This is the real problem affecting most developing             nations of the world.  In Nigeria, the inability of our leaders to rise to the challenges of a responsible leadership is the main issue that will frustrate the project to the core.  This is because the political will to mobilize the people towards effective participation in public programmes in the country has withered; hence achieving the project may be unrealistic, because it may single full participation of the people due to leadership failure.
7.         Political instability: The unsettled political climate prevailing in most part of the country constitutes a serious barrier to the effective implementation of       the programme. This will divert the focus, zeal and attention of the government in the business of implementing the Millennium goals.  The        existing instability is caused by injustices, ethnic tension, bad governance            etc in the country.  It is important to state that if care is not taken, the             whole plan and resources that have been invested into the project may          turn out to be a wasted effort.

The Educational Planning Option
The challenges facing the achievement of MDGS in Nigeria are numerous.  As a result, it is expected that the government should ensure that these challenges do not impede its political will in laying down the necessary structures that will constitute the template for the successful implementation of the goals.  Apart from the fact that educational planning is an indispensable ingredient in constructing the social, political and economic frameworks that will support the attainment of MDGS in Nigeria, the adoption and application of educational planning will also engender the following:
(a)        Preparation of alternative decisions for policy makers and executors i.e. administrator.
(b)        Setting goals and objectives for educational systems.
(c)        Planning of educational programmes and services
(d)        Planning the manpower needs of the country, state, local government area or institutions.
(e)        Financial planning, with a view of providing guidelines on how to make prudent use of available financial resources


(f)        Planning the judicious utilization of available physical resources of facilities.


(g)        Planning education within the existing governmental structure and social context, so that the education plan will enjoy the required governmental support for implementation.

Nonetheless, there are four popular methods of planning education.  These include:
(i)         Manpower requirement approach: This approach is of the perception that education should be provided based on the manpower needs of the economy.  This approach is ideal for newly independent countries who experience shortage of skilled manpower as a result of the departure of the colonial administration.  The approach is also suitable for every nation, because of its ability to produce just the required manpower, thereby minimizing unemployment.
(ii)        Investment efficiency approach: This approach, otherwise known as rate      of return approach or cost benefit analysis is of the view that education should be provided based on the benefit to be derived from it.  Educational investment is assessed via the use of the economic investment theory of cost-benefit analysis. It involves calculating the costs of education, estimating the benefits from education and comparing the benefits with the cost of getting anticipated returns.  It is on this basis that decisions are made on the future pattern of resource allocation to and within the education sector.  The advantage of this technique is that it enables optional use of resources, and minimization of             wastage, as a result of the allocative efficiency of this technique.

(iii)       Social demand approach: This approach views education as a public service, which should be provided to all the citizens who desire it.  It is a consumption view of education.  For example, the social demand approach is adopted for the planning of the Universal Planning Education in Nigeria.
(iv) The synthetic approach: This involves using the other three approaches   simultaneously for different levels of education.  For instance, primary education may be provided on the basis of the social demand approach. Secondary education may be planned with manpower requirement approach; while the investment efficiency approach may be adopted for higher education.


Journal of Research in National Development 6(2) December, 2008


This approach is very useful for developing countries, as none of the earlier three approaches may be suitable for the three levels of education.

From the foregoing paragraphs, it has been established inter alia that as a result of excruciating poverty, the political and social terrains of countries around the world are complex and volatile to operate upon.  Consequently, implementing development programmes such as the MDGS will be frustrating and unproductive.  Since projects of this nature are capable of transforming the conditions of people and their countries at large, most especially in the developing countries, it becomes imperative that structures that will accommodate the effective operations of MDGS and other developmental projects should be put in place by the respective governments.  Based on the foregoing premise, this paper has proposed the adoption of educational planning overcome existing problems that can obstruct the effective implementation of the millennium development goals.  The promotion of educational planning will engender a conducive atmosphere that will give rise to political stability, peace and equality in Nigeria.  This in turn will create a suitable framework for the effective implementation of the MDGS in the country.


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