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Drivers of human capital development: an analysis of primary and secondary education outcomes in Nigeria

Author: 
Ifeanyi A. Ojiako, Jonas Chianu, Ken Johm and Chiji Ojukwu
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Learning through education and training is important in defining human capital because access to education is necessary to improve the quality of human resources. In this study, the drivers of human capital were examined using secondary data on primary and secondary education enrolment rates in Nigeria, 1981-2013. Effects of socio-political stability, per capita gross domestic product, government spending on education, health and agriculture were assessed alongside government oil and non-oil revenues. Data were analyzed using a combination of descriptive and inferential statistics, and regression techniques. Results revealed that gross primary enrolment was positively influenced by democracy (p<0.01) and per capita GDP (p<0.05). The boys' primary enrolment responded positively to changes in oil revenue (p<0.01), but negatively to per capita GDP (p<0.01) while the girls' responded positively to democracy (p<0.01) and negatively to health expenditure (p<0.05). Also, per capital GDP had a significant (p<0.01) positive influence on all secondary education outcomes, namely gross, boys' and girls' enrolments, as against the influence of agriculture that was significant (p<0.01) and negative. Generally, the study found some disconnect between school outcomes and non-oil revenue, education and health expenditure as these factors were grossly redundant in the estimated models. The study supports the sustenance of democracy and promotion of democratic institutions. While still in support of governments' continued funding of education, especially at the lower levels, areas of support should be redefined and prioritized. Sufficient funds should be provided to upgrade the constantly deteriorating infrastructures in public schools while deliberate policy instruments should be used to ensure provision of desired incentives to parents and school-age children to enhance enrolment into schools. Establishment of mini medical clinics in public primary and secondary schools across the country would help to cater for the immediate health care needs of pupils and students while in schools.

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