Social policy and education in Nigeria are key components of the country’s overall development agenda, and have been integral to Nigeria’s emergence as one of the most dynamic economies in Sub-Saharan Africa Social policy focuses on the provision of services and resources, such as health care, education and housing, which serve to promote social justice and equity in Nigeria. Education is central to Nigeria’s development efforts, in part because of its importance as a driver of economic growth and social development.
Social policy in Nigeria has traditionally been divided into two distinct categories: ‘hard’ policies which involve the direct provision of services and resources, and ‘soft’ policies which focus on creating an enabling environment for the implementation of such services and resources. In recent years, the focus of social policy in Nigeria has shifted to the latter, with more emphasis placed on creating the necessary infrastructure and legal framework to allow social policy initiatives to be implemented effectively. This has included the creation of a legal framework for the provision of health and education services, as well as an emphasis on social protection strategies and strategies to reduce poverty.
Education is one of the most critical components of social policy in Nigeria, in part because of its role in helping to reduce poverty and improve economic prospects for individuals and communities. Nigeria’s education sector has experienced significant challenges in recent years, including inadequate access to quality education for all Nigerian children. However, there have also been a number of initiatives that have been implemented to improve access to education, including the introduction of free primary school education and free higher education for the poorest 10%, as well as the setting up of dedicated teaching and research institutions.
The following are five of the best examples of social policy and education initiatives in Nigeria:
1. The National Social Investment Program (NSIP): This program was launched in 2016 as part of Nigeria’s Poverty Alleviation Strategy, and has been credited with helping to reduce Nigeria’s poverty rate from 57.6% in 2013 to 56.3% in 2018. The program focuses on targeting those living in extreme poverty, and provides them with access to improved basic infrastructure, such as better roads and water systems, as well as access to education through the expansion of primary and secondary schools and technical training institutions.
2. The Universal Basic Education (UBE): This program was launched in 1999 to provide free and compulsory basic education for all Nigerian children. The program has enabled millions of children to access free primary school education, and has helped to increase the literacy rate from 56.7% in 2015 to 62.1% in 2019. The program has also improved the quality of education in Nigeria through the introduction of state-of-the-art educational technology and curricular materials.
3. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS): This scheme was launched in 2005 to provide universal health coverage to all Nigerians. It allows individuals to purchase health coverage through a variety of sources, including private insurers, employers, and the government-run National Health Insurance Fund. The scheme has enabled millions of Nigerians to access health care, and has helped to reduce out-of-pocket health care expenses, as well as to improve access to essential medicines and health technologies.
4. The Nigerian Youth Employment Program (NYEP): This program was launched in 2011 to combat the problem of high unemployment among Nigerian youth. The program provides financial support for job creation and encourages entrepreneurship by providing capital, training and mentoring for young entrepreneurs. The program has enabled thousands of young people to access jobs that they would not otherwise have access to, thus helping to reduce unemployment and improve the economic prospects of Nigerian youth.
5. The National Higher Education Loan Scheme (NHELS): This program was launched in 2009 to provide financial support to students in Nigeria who wish to pursue higher education. The NHELS provides government-guaranteed loans to students, which are then repaid when the students have completed their studies and are gainfully employed. The program has enabled thousands of Nigerians to access higher education, and has helped to increase the number of graduates.