AN opinion pool was recently carried out in sampled towns in Anambra State by the author of this paper. Secondary school drop-outs were interviewed on why they school left to join trades. Parents were questioned why they no longer encourage their children to pursue secondary education.
The response was generally the same: “Investment in education these days no longer yield economic benefits; but investing the same number of years and fund which would have been budgeted for education, in trade or business will yield greater pecuniary profit”.
It was primarily this mentality of our people that motivated me into outlining the following few considerations – purposefully articulated in enlightening persons with such view and eradicating the view. The main issues here therefore are: do we acquire education only for employment? Are there other benefits accruing from education other than employment? How does the society benefit from individual’s education?
The problem is viewed from the cross -section of the society: studies in social science have provided data which indicate that the higher a family’s status, the more likely its children are to plan on acquiring education, to actually acquire it and later to graduate at higher institutions. These also reveal that many talented young people in Nigeria who are unable to take advantage of opportunities for secondary and higher education are concentrated in families of lower socio -economic status. More recent evidence indicates that a policy of  government subsidies through scholarship for example, tends to favour  groups of students who on average come from higher income families.
Whether the barriers to education in general are largely economic or social in nature remains unresolved, but it is apparent that educational opportunities are unequally distributed.
Economic benefits should not be considered with regard to the student alone. Other economic benefits exist. Regardless of how universal education is defined, the heart of the matter is its efficacy in producing benefits not only for the individuals but also for society. Frank-Bowles (1966) stated  the issue quite succinctly “universal education is not,  itself a goal  for our educational system. The goals are  intellectual, social, economic, cultural, political –the enlargement of knowledge, an open society, the advancement of the culture, freedom of opportunity, freedom of conscience and political expression- aspiration that are individual and aspirations that are collective.”
What are the “economic benefits” of education? The term itself is not precise in-as-much as a variety of dimensions of benefits may be regarded as economic  and the line separating what is and is not “economic” is often blurred.
It is useful to distinguish in other ways the various dimensions of both benefits and costs. for example, there are monetary and non-monetary benefits.
Monetary benefits- higher earning – are economic benefits; moreover, there can be measured in terms of Naira.
Non -monetary benefits – including the joys and pleasures derived from one’s
education –might or might not be classified as economic; some non- monetary benefits can be expressed in monetary equivalents but others are difficult or impossible to quantify. Further there are individual benefits and social benefits, that is the benefits which are captured by individuals as contrasted to the total benefits, including individual benefits, which accrue to  society. The usual term for the difference between individual and total benefits to society is external benefits – those benefits produced by education but which cannot  be captured by the individuals who obtained the education. Both individual and external benefits have a monetary and non-monetary components.
One Often-citied piece of evidence is the relationship between education and  occupational attainment. The general notion is that more education open opportunities for individuals to enter better paying  occupations. In general,  the higher ranked occupations – ranked by income, prestige, and the like are filled with  the people who have vested more heavily in education.
Consequently, the relationship between  educational attainment is said to be quite positive. Effort to identify and quantify all factor so as to provide a more accurate
statement of the effect of schooling on income have not been highly   successful. In summary, then, school and the factor closely associated with it appear to have a strong impact on the economic rewards provided individuals in our society; in addition, there are other satisfactory – consumption benefits- which are not adequately reflected in money earnings.
Here  l shall cite  some of the research studies carried out overseas on this issue. Some in the audience might ask, why not research works in  Nigeria. It is unfortunate to note that on account of lack of fund availability and government encouragement most of our higher institutions are not research oriented. How much fund is made available in the college, for example,  for research? None. This is why we resort to oversea research centres. I do not
Want to be apologetic on this.
An indicator of the economic benefits produced by education (all levels) is provided by research studies on the relationship between investment  in Schooling and economic growth. The pioneering work of Schultz and Dension  (1963) indicates that improvements in the quality of the labour force resulting from the rising educational attainment explain 16- 23 percent of the growth rate of the economy in the U.S. over the period 1929 – 57. Some other studies indicate values placed on the contribution of education to economic growth of that nation.
Despite such cited results, neither economists nor educators pretend to have any well-developed theories; that explains exactly how and why increased schooling facilitates occupational entry, enhances worker productivity, increases earnings and ultimately helps to account for a more rapid rate of economic growth.
Another approach to the estimation of the economic returns to education, from the stand-point of both individuals and society, calls for a measure of the net economic benefits of education. Such a measure would permit us to combine costs (which are concentrated over a brief span of years in early adulthood) and the stream of benefits (which is spread over most of the remainder of a lifetime) by calculating the internal rate of return. This requires that future benefits be “discounted” to allow for the fact that far-distant benefits are valued less highly than benefits just a few years off in the future.
The internal rate of return generated by this procedure may be likened to the rate of return or the rate of interest received from placing funds in a savings bank, buying government bonds, or investing in corporate securities. Individuals will find it beneficial to invest in more higher education if the internal rate of’ return to education for the individual exceeds the rate of return to other types of investments.
The analysis here deals with two kinds of internal rates of return. The first is the individual rate of return, which summarizes the future benefits and costs as perceived by the individual. The costs include the income that is forgone while in school and the costs of book; tuition and incidental expenses connected with schooling. The second is the society’s internal rate of return, which summarizes future and costs as perceived from the standpoint of the economy as a whole. Thus, costs include not only the costs to the individual but also the subsidy provided by the taxpayer through below-cost tuition. Later section of this papers refers to these costs as total resource costs.
Kotsching and Harris (1943) hypothesized concerning the U.S. that
1.    higher institution graduates would be in oversupply relative to the occupation they would seek to enter, with fewer and fewer educated people to do the less glamorous work;
2.    The earnings of the higher institution graduates would fall relative to those of less-educated groups;
3.    widespread unemployment of higher institution graduates would result because of the non-transferability of skills;
4.    Idle  frustrated intellectuals would foment social revolution’
5.    larger productions of unqualified  students would be enrolled in higher institutions, and as a consequence;
6.    the social benefits to investing in higher institution training would decline.
Did these dire predictions materialize? Towards the end of the decade of the 1950 the individual’s rate of return held constant, at somewhere between 10 -11 percent – reported economists. Thus the predictions did not materialize. This is substantiated from the fact that three decades later, a dramatic shift towards more universal higher education was being accomplish without any great change in the rate of return on investment in the College – educated. The job market was able to assimilate the newly educated with comparative ease. The period of the 1960s, particular, was one of rapid economic expansion. In the turn of the decade when there appeared to be increasing unemployment, individuals were able to alter their choices — readjustments took place to help equilibrate supply and demand.
The changes were expected to trigger reassessments by young people completing their educational and career choices.
One common Nigerian way to justify a controversial enterprise is to argue that it makes or saves money . The benefits of education are considered to be such gains as lifetime income increments to the individual and contribute to the percentage rate of increase in the G.N.P. Since the assumption. is widespread that monetary benefits are in some ultimate sense more “real” than less “tangible” human and social benefits, we begin this discussion of human and social benefits by considering two different concepts of benefit and the two distinct components of higher education to which  they correspond. We next turn to an examination of some empirical studies of the effect of higher education attendance on students. Finally, we shall see that the human and social effects of education constitute benefits which  are necessary for the maintenance of a society that is not only technological and prosperous (as the Present government envisages of Nigeria) but also Open, Pluralistic and democratic These aspects will be treated briefly on an account of limited time for presentation  of this paper.
Much recent discussions of the costs, benefits and effectiveness of education in general among the Nigerian youths rests primarily on monetary or economic assumptions.
Educational experiences can be classified as containing two distinct and  sometimes Opposing components which are called technical and critical education.

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