National factors of a country are closely related with nationalism and national system of education. In the study of Comparative Education we will discuss the factors which make the education of a country national.
1. Geographical Factors
q Chaube and Chaube: “The various countries of the world have different geographical positions. Therefore, their modes of living, culture, civilization, social institutions and education systems are also different. Geography affects every sphere of life and in many ways shapes the lives of a people”.
q The geography of any particular place is often natural, which means that it is undefined by man. Education system is influenced by the geography of the particular region. The geography of a particular area dictates the type of building and equipment, means and methods of transporting children to school, school going age of pupils among others.
q Three major geographical aspects… climatic conditions, population distribution and land configuration.
q In regard to Climatic Conditions they influence the system of education in terms of ,content of education depend on the continental climate, for example, training of teachers in the university is likely to emphasize more on university base training.
q In regard to Population Distribution, which is often as a result of geographical influence also affects the educational system. worldwide, population is either concentrated in the urban centers, or scattered in the country side having two systems of education, that is, one for the urban areas and the other for rural areas.
q In regard to Land Configuration, this also influences the education system in terms of architectural structure of farm houses, school buildings, village location and also the whole way of life and thinking of people. By and large land configuration determines settlement and location of schools.
2. Economic Factors
q The type of education largely depends on the economic strength of any country, it determines the content & method of an education system. Formal education is often possible where production exceeds consumption.
q From an economic perspective, expenditure on education refers to the amount or %age of national revenue spent on education by both individuals and the govt.
q If the economic condition is poor, education becomes backward in many aspects while if the economy of a country is strong, then educational aims & the curriculum are given a special direction for making the country prosperous.
q Examples of Britain, France, Japan and the USA… enough grant allocation and enough funds to support ..
q The case of developing countries, very scarce funds, which affect even payment of teachers salaries, essential resource materials.. This greatly affects the nature of the systems of education in terms of the content and methods in learning institutions and in essence the whole system of education.
3. The Social & Cultural Factors
q Schools at large often and closely reflect the social patterns prevailing in a particular country. Education system is usually seen as a social factor which must reflect the philosophy of the people that it serves.
q The prime aim of education is to ensure cultural continuity through fostering the growth and development of national characteristics that often act as stabilizing forces. A culture of a society is the total way of life of the society.
q Every society consist of human beings and in whatever state they find themselves they always have some kind of educational system. This form of education of the society always strives to effect and protect its traditions and aspirations.
q A close study and analysis of each education system always reveal the cultural concept and pattern of the community. Also the social patterns of the people in any particular community or country are reflected in its system of education.
q The culture of the people often changes at a slow pace. In each culture, there are certain values which are not affected by time and place, for example, faith in God, love for truth and non-violence and the ideal of universal motherhood and justice are the permanent values of many cultures of the world. However, radical reforms in a society may be slowed down or blocked at the level of implementation because of the cultural lag.
q Another view of cultural & social change is in the reshaping of the educational machinery to make for equality of educational opportunity for all. This has led to widening of school curriculum and increased emphasis on the importance of right kind of technical education for new technological age.
4. The Historical Factor
q Each country of the world has its own history that shapes the national aims, aspirations, activities and destiny, often reflected through the educational system.
q Colonialism has been an important historical factor that can be said to have shaped the education system of many countries in the world.
q The missionary factor also contributed a great deal in shaping the system of education in most countries.
q Christian missionaries in particular from Britain, France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, US largely influenced the development education system in Africa.
q The present systems of education in many countries of Africa, Asia, North and South America are actual products of past colonial influence.
q Similarities and differences of education systems all over the world have a history behind them.
5. Political Factors
q Throughout history the kind and amount of education given has depended on the waxing or waning of political outlook or belief. (Vernon Mallinson, 1966: 41)
q If a political party gains power it wants the education system to be consistent with its ideology. Thus, the Govt. controlled by that political movement or party will institute programs it feels are necessary ‘for the good of the nation’.
q The political philosophy which controls the Govt. of a country often has its inevitable impact on education.
q The political factor dictates the kind of administration the system of education will have. They also underlie the features in education system and the functioning of the same.
q A close relationship between the national character and the national system of education and the former has been universally accepted as an important basis of national system of education.
q For example, the national character of USA & Japan is democratic as such its education system is democratic in most of its aspects.
6. Language Factors
q Many languages may be spoken in a country, but only one enjoys the status of a national language. In every country the national language occupies a special place. Also every govt. tries to ensure that every one acquires the capacity to express himself through the national language. Without one's own national language, no country can be said to be strong.
q Language in itself is a symbol of the people. Each community or group has an original language of its own which often suits its environment and stage of cultural development. It is through language that individuals become members of a community and this is important in building the national character.
q Through the native language, the child has the first expression of himself/herself and the world.
q However, in the modern world…increasing use of foreign language especially in the school system. This requires a child before entering school to learn the foreign language.
q In most cases, before entering school the child acquires proficiency in mother tongue or native language and in so doing builds up vocabulary covering most of the objects of sense, impression and daily activities. This means using a different and a foreign language in school system means applying on this basis a language of ideas expressed entirely in a foreign medium and this often poses a problem to the learners.
7. Religious Factor
q Religion is one such factor which has influenced education more than any other single factor. (Sodhi, 1983: 25)
q The religion one chooses to follow can determine whether one’s children go to school or not. For instance, in Zimbabwe some members of the Apostolic Faith sect refuse to allow their children to go to school at all.
q Religious loyalties dictate aims, content and even methods of instruction in education. Indeed, religion and beliefs have also been known to influence and shape aspects in education system.
8. Technological Factors
q Modern technology influence the education system of the country. Historically, emphasis on industrial and technical education followed the industrial revolution.
q Technology affects the type of education as well as the means of instruction. With the emergence of computer technology, internet technology, this has revolutionalized the whole education system..
q Through ICT, home learning has been made possible. Universities are also adopting projects like e-learning.
9. Consciousness of National Unity
q Only that system of education can be called national which strengthens a feeling of national unity. In each country there are various communities, religions, classes and languages. Therefore, the feeling of national unity is necessary to bring these varying units together.
q The people in US and India are varying races and languages. Hence it was necessary in these countries to bring the people into one fold by disregarding their provincial and regional differences. In the achievement of these objective, education has played a vital role.
10. National Character
q There is a close relationship between the national character and national system of education. For instance the national character of USA is democratic, so its education system is democratic in most of its aspect. In china the national character is communistic so its education system is governed by communisms.
q Philosophy of life as followed in a country formulates its pattern of education. This philosophy of life also shapes national character.
11. Effects of Race Relations
q The simply means a group of people from the same geographical location see themselves as one and begin to discriminate against others who are not from their geographical location. This is very common in Nigeria.
q In order to overcome this problem of ethnicity or racial, the federal government introduced National youth Service Corps Scheme, Federal Government Colleges, Unity Schools, and Quota System for Federal so that every State of the Federation will be taken care of anything.
q In the South Africa, the Africans who were the sons of the land were heavily discriminated against by the whites. The schools being attended by the children of the whites were superior to the schools being attended by the children of the blacks.
12. Gender Issues
q The traditional ascription of feminine and masculine standards of behavior, division of labor and family responsibilities have been the main barriers in achieving female education equal to that of males.
q In the rural areas, the poor people send only their sons to school, but female children are kept without schooling. Developing countries have not been able to provide adequate opportunities for the girls to acquire education.
q Disparity in educational opportunities is the result of factors such as geographical, socio-economic, customs and local traditions, lack of separate schools for girls, lack of qualified female teachers, poverty, socio-cultural bias against female education, and lack of interest by parents in educating their daughters, school distance from home (Ashraf, 2008).
13. Curriculum and textbooks
q Curricula influences the education system of the country. It reflects the culture of specific country.
q Poor curricula in developing countries… in terms of both scope and sequence,,, lacks relevance to students` life & is inappropriate for a bi-lingual system.
q The difference of study courses in the public & private institutes.
q The curriculum and textbooks seem to have been driven more by experts and subject specialists with very little input from practicing teachers and local administrators. Hence they are done more in a scholarly way suggesting what children should learn rather than what they can learn.
q Textbooks do not seem to be keeping pace with the time, considering children's experiences and age level. Teachers thus resort to encourage rote learning methods rather than developing children's understanding and thinking.
14. Teacher effectiveness
q Teachers play a vital role in making education system effective. Direct impact of teachers on personal and professional development of student achievement.
q Out-dated curriculum for teacher training with little relevance to practical problems that the teachers face. Existing teacher training programs in Pakistan have not improved in the content knowledge and practice of teaching.
q Status of teaching profession in Pakistan is low ( Halai, 2007). Teachers are under paid and do not have a promising career ladder. Thus it fails to attract the best talents.
15.Cost of Education
q The cost of education is another determinant for parents to decide whether to send their children; to Govt. schools, private schools or no schools. Cost of education has increased further due to increased inflation. (Andrabi et.al 40).
q The paradox is that private schools are better but not everywhere and Governments schools ensure equitable access but do not provide quality education.
16. Returns to Education- A misconception
Geeta Kingdon, in “Education, Skills, and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Pakistan” explained that returns to education are significantly greater for women than men in almost all occupations. This could be due to shortage of educated women nevertheless; women actually earn less than men because of lack of equal opportunities.
Returns to wage employment as well as returns to self-employment increase with the increasing years of education for both genders. This implies the presence of misconception of education having negative returns due to the forgone income. Thus there is a strong need to make the students and their parents aware that returns to education increase with an additional year of education.