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Educational Research and Reviews Vol. 5 (6), pp.

298-302, June 2010

Available online at
ISSN 1990-3839 © 2010 Academic Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Managing Nigerian secondary school reforms to

enhance equity and globalization
V. F. Peretomode1* and P. O. Ikoya2
Educational Administration and Higher Education, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria.
Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria.
Accepted 19 April, 2010

The world is in a state of flux occasioned by profound natural forces, social, economic, and political
changes and rapid scientific and technological advancement. The nations of the world, of which Nigeria
is a part, are also becoming more interconnected and interdependent. To avoid possible “future shock”’
nations must respond quickly, preferably and proactively to these rapid changes. Regular curriculum
renewal, which must consider new competencies, standards and trends, regional and international, is
increasingly becoming a must in most educational systems of the world as a means of coping with these
changes and challenges. Effective management is a sine-qua-non to the successful implementation and
institutionalization of curriculum change in order to achieve the desired goals. This paper examines
systematically the important issue of managing curriculum reforms to enhance effectiveness and
efficiency, equity and relevance in a globalize economy.

Key words: Interdependent, implementation, institutionalization, curriculum, systematically, advancement.


The nations of the world, of which Nigeria is a part, are riculum change. This paper therefore, discusses curricu-
becoming much closer, interconnected and experiencing lum reforms and globalization, curriculum renewal and
profound socio-economic and political changes today. equity and how best leadership styles of school
Since immediate needs of man change with globalization administrators can be harnessed to achieve desired
with its attendant challenges and consequences, the curriculum reforms in the globalization age.
curriculum must also change with it in order to bring
about dynamic adaptation. Such curriculum renewal
efforts must consider new knowledge, competencies, Curriculum reforms and globalization
standards and trends, regional and international, while
still meeting the immediate needs of life of a given Globalization has made the whole world to be looked at
people. as a single community. The internet, satellite television,
Curriculum change or innovation is a complex and cellular telephones and other advancements in tele-
multifaceted process. As Schaeffer (1990) rightly observ- communications, air travels, containerized shipments,
ed, “there is nothing easy about the process of change. and online business transactions and so on have really
No where is this more the case than in education, yet in helped to make the world a global village and a fast
no other fields are innovations and reforms more changing place. Globalization is also gradually breaking
needed.” Effective management is a sine-qua-non to the down educational barriers, although local or national
successful implementation and institutionalization of cur- differences still remain.
If curriculum is a process of preparing children for a
living and life in their own societies and for competition in
the global economy of tomorrow (UNESCO-II CBA,
*Corresponding author. E-mail: Tel: 2002), then it is only logical that secondary school curri-
+23480547531102, +234 culum, both formal and informal, contents and processes
8036761369. should be dynamic enough to adapt to the new socio-
Peretomode and Ikoya 299

economic, political, scientific and technological realities of and secondary schools will have to be enriched. For instance,
times. The curriculum must begin then to reflect issues of sex education, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired
globalization. In other words, globalization will have to be Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) prevention,
infused into the curriculum and this should affect the - bird flu and so on can be incorporated in non-vocational
learning, teaching, processes of curriculum development, electives such as health education and made a required
funding, and management of secondary education. course for all students. A course titled “global studies”
Although our secondary school curriculum appears to should be incorporated in the curriculum and made a
have been overloaded as it now stands because of the core course. The role of the teacher on the whole, will
number of subjects each student offer, there is the need have to change from that of imparting knowledge to
to infuse global issues into the curriculum. This may imply facilitating learning - helping the learner “learn how to
the elimination of certain curriculum requirements, learn”. The school time table may be affected and so also
increasing the scope and depth of certain subjects and the school hours per day and the number of school days
adoption of new programmes. in a year. More infrastructures in terms of quantity and
Fortunately, the National Policy on Education (NPE) quality will have to be provided for schools. All these
recognizes the dynamic nature of the world we live in and have financial implications and demand political will and
the need for the curriculum to also continually change to commitment on the part of governments and the private
reflect this world dynamism. For instance, in section 5 sector in adequately funding secondary education in
(22) (b), it stated that secondary education shall “offer Nigeria.
diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in
talents, opportunities and future roles”. Similarly, the
overall philosophy of Nigeria includes “promoting inter- Curriculum reforms and equity
African solidarity and world peace through understanding
(NPE, 2004, Section 1 (2b)). One of the national goals The concept of equity, firstly, is not synonymous with
which have been endorsed as necessary foundation for equality of educational opportunity neither is it a negation
the National Policy on Education is building of “a land full of the principles of educational universalization or
of bright opportunities for all citizens (NPE, 2004, Sec. 1 democratization. Equity in the management of curriculum
(e)). The Nigeria’s philosophy of education believes in the reforms is hinged on the provision and management of
“full integration of the individual into the community”, and curriculum resources and structures in accordance with
that “school programmes need to be relevant, practical the peculiar needs of the learner in his environment. The
and comprehensive”. needs of the learner are determined by the nature of
The above provisions in the NPE can be said to have programmes of study, the level of education, the
envisioned elements of globalization. Some realities or community needs of the learner and of course the
issues of globalization that our secondary school national policy on education.
curriculum should reflect include, knowledge explosion; Several research studies (Bray, 2004; Hawkins, 2004)
rapid scientific and technological development; health have shown that in regions and countries where the will
issues and new diseases such as Bird Flu; HIV/AIDS to provide quality education is present, adequate
prevention; ecological and global environmental degra- resources are equitably provided for effective curriculum
dation; spread of democratic values; world economic development, implementation and management. School
meltdown; increasing conflicts and conflict resolution materials including books and writing materials are
skills and rapid advances in information and communi- provided in adequate quality and quantity. Children are
cation technologies. Our curriculum must assist our conveyed to and from school in buses with hot lunch
children to acquire current knowledge and skills in these given to pupils during break.
areas so that they can compete not only in their local In other countries, particularly the developing nations,
society but also in the global market place which has findings show (Ikoya, 2005) that the struggle to provide
become everyone’s community today. classroom accommodation and books for pupils still
Globalization has implications for the learning – teach- appear insurmountable.
ing process, assessment, and classroom management. To promote equity in the management of curriculum
The best practices in these areas should be adopted. For reforms in a pluralistic country such as Nigeria, certain
example, learning should be individualized, class sizes factors should be considered. These include:
greatly reduced, critical thinking, the inquiry method,
problem-solving and student-centered approaches should 1. Learners community needs.
be adopted. Furthermore, team teaching and team 2. Ecological environment.
activities should be emphasized. In this cyber-world, the 3. Resource availability.
internet should be introduced into the classroom and 4. Mental, physical and environmental challenges facing
electronics should be used to support collaborative learner.
teaching and learning.
The scope and depth of pre-vocational, non- In general, there is a widespread belief (Cho and Kwon,
prevocational, vocational, and core courses in both junior 2004; Witkin and Altschuld, 1995) that most learners
300 Educ. Res. Rev.

return to their communities upon graduation to develop The education research literature on curriculum innova-
their areas of origin. And as a result communities are tion and change show that leadership is of paramount
becoming more interested in how curriculum manage- importance in the implementation of change (Yuen et al.,
ment can be beneficial to the communities hence in some 2004; Bennett, 1996; Kearsley and Lynch, 1992).
regions, community members want to play more active While these authors agree with Levine (1978) that the
roles in the development of national school curriculum right leadership behavior is fundamental to successful
policies. Such desires are even more relevant in a curriculum change, this paper is of the view that trans-
culturally diverse nation like Nigeria where economic formational leadership is critical to the institutionalization,
aspirations and methods for achieving goals are very successful management and implementation of curricu-
diverse. lum reforms irrespective of the environment in the
Curriculum reforms should be effectively managed to globalization age. It argues that whether curriculum
cater for and meet the needs of the herdsmen in the innovation is a success or failure depends very much on
north as well as those of migrant fishermen of the riverine the effectiveness of the school administrators such as
Niger Delta region. Thus, universalizing curriculum school principals who implement the curriculum reforms.
management reforms in a pluralistic society could result In 2002, Yukl argued that a leader could do many
in dissonance. This argument is better illustrated in things to facilitate the successful implementation of curri-
Figure 2. This model clearly shows that the application of culum change. In the process of curriculum innovation,
a common curriculum reform management strategy to Yukl (2002) maintained that leadership of the principal at
diverse ethnic communities of herdsmen, fishermen and school levels involves the provision and management of
industry workers could lead to dissonance. different factors associated with values, strategies and
Another important factor to be considered in curriculum planning. What type of leadership is this? Yuen et al.
reform management is the resource available to learners’ (2004) believe that a visionary leader was associated
communities and this is closely linked to the ecological with innovative practices supportive of curriculum
condition of the environment. Equity demands that in an change. Such a leader is what these authors refer to as
environment where access to education poses a serious transformational leader.
problem, more funds should be expended there rather A principal who is a transformational leader is one
than other terrain with less ecological constrain. For whose leadership style inspires extraordinary perfor-
example, funds for building a six unit classroom block in a mance among his staff. Ten key practices or behaviors of
swampy riverine community can not be equal to doing the a transformational principal that will make his impact
same on a rocky soil in Kwara State, Nigeria. Finally, stunning irrespective of the environment in which the
equity recognizes that in the management of curriculum curriculum reform is being implemented are that he:
reform both the mentally and physically challenged
learners are catered for through the provision of 1. Creates and communicates a compelling and
necessary infrastructure and learning and teaching acceptable shared vision of the future.
materials to assist them develop their potentials to the 2. Shows personal excitement, enthusiasm and optimism
best they are capable of. about the vision.
3. Encourages creative problem solving.
4. Encourages rethinking about ideas or problems.
Successfully managing curriculum change 5. Expresses confidence in people’s capabilities to meet
high performance expectations.
Any form of curriculum reform, change, or innovation or 6. Expresses encouragement and support.
renovation, whether piecemeal or holistic, can be exciting 7. Listens attentively.
and equally complex. The environment for curriculum 8. Provides people with appropriate challenges.
change may be antagonistic, neutral or supportive. 9. Shares information and resources.
Successful curriculum reform is most likely when a school 10. Gives constructive feedback (Howell, 2005; Shamir et
administrator adopts an appropriate form of leadership al., 1993).
style. Levine (1978), for instance, recommended that in
an antagonistic environment, an authoritarian/directive Transformational leadership can produce significant
style is most appropriate but such school administrator curriculum change and results because it understands
must be competent, political and personally charismatic the process of change. It is able to transform employees
with strong government backing. The tactic for to pursue desired goals in lieu of self interest (Kreitnea et
implementing change is by imposition. In a neutral al., 2002; Byron, 2001). Howells (2005) research findings
environment, Levine is of the view that successful change also strongly show that transformational style of leader-
can best be introduced by participative leadership style ship brings big pay-offs in performance and innovation. It
and the building of a coalition of opinion leaders. In a has a strong, positive impact on individual, team and
supportive environment, a democratic leadership style is school performance. It takes people to higher levels and
recommended and consensus is the tactic for very importantly, transformational leadership style can be
implementing change. learned (Figure 1).
Peretomode and Ikoya 301

Transformational Effects on
Managing Curriculum Outcomes
Leadership Style followers and
work groups
• Personal
• Establishes a • Increased
Adaptive commitment to
Vision intrinsic
leader and
• Establishes high motivation,
performance achievement
orientation and • Self – sacrificial
goal pursuit. behavior.
• Displays
• Organizational
confidence in self • Increased
and followers identification with
• Task
• Intellectual leader and the
stimulation of collective interest
and satisfaction.
followers. of school
• Increased
individual, group
• Increased
cohesion among
• Increased self-
esteem, self-
efficiency .
• Increased role

Figure 1. Transformational leadership and managing curriculum reforms.

Source: Adapted from (kreitner et al., 2002; Waldman and Yammarino, 1999; Shamir et al., 1993).





Figure 2. Curriculum reform management for equity.

In essence, therefore, the effective institutionalization include meticulous planning, involvement of teachers,
and successful management of curriculum reforms is students, and other core stakeholders in decision making
dependent on strong leadership in school principals who and building consensus on how to make the imple-
adopt transformational leadership style. Such school ad- mentation of the curriculum innovation work. It involves
ministrators are able to build and provide the necessary establishment of a climate of mutual trust and respect for
support mechanisms for change. These mechanisms people, staff capacity building through in service profess-
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