1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The issue of political instability is a common phenomenon that continues to dominate the political terrain in Nigeria. Although Nigeria is regarded as the “giant of Africa”, yet the country has passed and is still passing through several restless stages of conflict and violence. The process of gaining entrance into the corridor political power is replete with violence and conflicts, resulting from rivalry and suspicions among the various ethnic groups in the country that have culminated in political instability across the entire country. From the pre-independence era till date, Nigeria is still being affected by injustices and oppressions system that were handed down by the past colonial leaders. The resultant effect of which is the weak institutions of the state and incessant struggle for political power. This, in many instances, is to the detriment of the well-being of the masses and the development of the country at large. This is despite the abundant human and natural resources prevalent in the nation. Although Nigeria got her independence in 1960, the struggle for national development and political stability continue to be a mirage. This must not be unconnected with the stormy political and social condition in the country manifesting in poverty, corruption, poor planning and implementation and general indiscipline in the society. The issue of political instability has been a major challenge rocking the country with violence over the decade of Nigeria’s independence as a nation and the period after the country’s civil war between 1967 and 1970. There had been series of sporadic violence and counter attacks by different regions due to suspicion and mistrust in Nigeria’s geo-political landscape. The fundamental taproots of violence in the country always lead to unpredictable and unpleasant experiences, such as, bombing, murdering of innocent people and destabilization of the existing vulnerable regions into political uncertainty. This is with no thanks to the series of tension and threats that have been engulfing the nation to date Political instability in Nigeria started two years after independence, with the leadership crises within the Action Group (AG) (which eventually led to the declaration of a state emergency in 1962), the controversial population census of 1962/63, and the “Operation Wet E” in the Western Region (which eventually led to the military take-over of government in the country in 1966) These marked the commencement of the series of violence and conflicts which the country is witnessing to date. The trend continued unabated, hence, tension, violence and counter-threats which were deliberately invited by some elites to the destruction of the country’s political plan between 1962 and 1966 in the Western region and the whole of the country. Raji and Ajibade (2014) opine that the appearance of violence and political conflicts has never been separated from the country’s politics neither in the past nor in the Present. From the aforementioned, there is a clear indication that politics in Nigeria has been the opposite of what it is in the developed countries and Nigerian politicians in particular are still backward in terms of their values, such as unfulfilled promises, political corruption, greed, violence, tribalism and intimidation. Political instability is said to manifest through fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, inflation of award of contracts, lack of accountability and transparency in governance, discrimination in wealth distribution among others. There is a noticeable impact of political instability in the life of Nigerians resulting in corruption, economic distortion and under-development. The issue of state failure and instability is one of great concern for the west and the inhabitants of fragile states throughout Africa. Terrorist groups such as Boko Haram (Nigeria), Ansar Dine (Mali), Al-Shabaab (Somalia), and al-Qa’ida (Niger, Mali, Algeria) just to name a few have developed in these unstable regions. An examination of this magnitude, is a international security concern, as terrorist groups are known to emerge from weak or failed states. To add, said states are among the poorest and most underdeveloped. Therefore, it is important to understand what pushes a state to collapse, in hope that policy can work to improve the political and economic stability throughout Africa. Education has often been seen as a fundamentally optimistic human endeavour characterized by aspirations for progress and betterment. It is understood by many to be a means of overcoming handicaps, achieving greater equality and acquiring wealth and social status. Education is something that is perceived by many as a place where children can develop according to their unique needs and potential. It is also perceived as one of the best means to achieve greater social equality (Reddy, 2016). The countries across the world are, therefore, placing a premium on secondary education (Bhoite, 2012). It is in the light of the above-mentioned challenges in the Nigerian polity, that this paper examines the effects of political instability on educational attainment of children.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nigeria, as a heterogeneous society in terms of ethnic, religious and cultural pluralism is inclined to conflicts (Agagu, 2012). Since the independence of Nigeria, the country has been confronted with various crises and violence that have been affecting the foundation of Nigeria’s unity and corporate existence. Although, Nigeria is a country that is blessed with abundant human and natural resources her citizens are within the vicious cycle of poverty and bad leadership. Series of political instability had been occurring in the country since independence and up to date and the challenges of it have been a major cause of violence in the country.Over the distant decade of Nigeria’s independence as a nation and the period after the country’s civil war between 1967-1970, there had been a series of sporadic violence and the counter attacks by the people from different regions due to suspicion and mistrust against one another in the country’s geo-political landscape. Even at the end of the country’s civil war, there had been series of conflicts and violence amounting to political instability in the country. The threat to education from these attacks should be seen in the context of the wider problem of the impact of conflict in general on the degradation of education or prevention of educational development. For example, worldwide more than half of children not in primary school – 37 million out of a total of 72 million – are found in conflict countries (Save the Children June 2008), and in “failing” states it is common for more than 50 per cent of children to be out of school in isolated rural areas where conflict can flourish (Alec Wargo 2010) . Nevertheless, the effects of targeted attacks on education are material, psychological and symbolic and when attacks persist over long periods of time they contribute to educational fragility, state fragility and the obstruction of development which is the main drive of the study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the effects of political instability on educational attainment of children, other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the level of political instability in Nigeria.
2. To examine the causes of political instability in Nigeria.
3. To examine the effect of political instability on educational attainment of children.
4. To examine the structure of the Nigerian educational system.
5. To examine the relationship between political instability and educational attainment of school children.
6. To proffersolutions to the problems of political instability in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of political instability in Nigeria?
2. What are the causes of political instability in Nigeria?
3. What are the effects of political instability on educational attainment of children?
4. What is the structure of the Nigerian educational system?
5. What is the relationship between political instability and educational attainment of school children?
6. What are the solutions to the problems of political instability in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of political instability on educational attainment of children.
H1: There is a significant effect of political instability on educational attainment of children
H0: There is no significant relationship political instability and educational attainment of school children
H1: There is a significant relationship between political instability and educational attainment of school children
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is important as it may provide adequate information depicting thatthe re-occurrence of violent conflicts always throws the country into a state of chaos and political instability which results to poor educational attainment of school children. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to effects of political instability on educational attainment of children.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Politics: The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power, the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.
Education: is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training,and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators and also learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informalsettings and any experiencethat has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.
Educational attainment: is a term commonly used by statisticians to refer to the highest degree of education an individual has completed as defined by the US Census Bureau Glossary