AN opinion pool was recently carried out in sampled towns in Anambra State by the author of this paper. Secondary school drop-outs were interview on why they left school 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 educating 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 your 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 aid unequally distributed.
ECONOMIC BENEFITS
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 individual about also for society. Frank Bowles (1966) stated the issue quite succinctly “Universal education is not, in 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 – aspirations 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 benefit; 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 benefit and costs for example, there are monetary and non-monetary benefits. Monetary benefits – higher earning – are economic benefits; more there can be measured in terms of Naira.
None-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 equiva1 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-cited piece of evidence is the relationship between education an occupational attainment. the general notion is that more education opens 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 and occupational  attainment is said  to he quite positive. Efforts to identify and quantify all factors, so as to provide a more accurate statement of the effect of schooling on income have not been lightly successful. In summary, then, school and the facto is closely associated with it appear to have a strong impact   on the economic rewards provided individuals in our society; in addition  there are other satisfactions -consumption benefits – which are not equally reflected in money earnings.
Here I 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 to fund availability and governmental encouragement most of out higher institutions are not research oriented. How much fund is made available in this 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 Denison (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 intent 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 re turn 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 books, tuition and incidental expenses connected with schooling. The second is the society’s internal rate of return, which summarizes future benefits 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 taxpayers through below-cost tuition. Later section of this paper refers to these costs as total resource costs.
HISTORICAL EVIDENCE ON BENEFITS
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 4of the l950s  the individual’s rate of return held constant, at somewhere between 10 -15 percent – reported economists. Thus the predictions did not materialize. This is substantiated from the fact that three decades later, dramatic shift towards more universal higher education was being accomplished without any great change in the rate of return on investment 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 speared to be increasing unemployment, individuals were able to alter their choices -‘. readjustments took place to help equilibrate supply and demand. These changes were expected to trigger reassessments by young people con templating their educational and career choices.
HUMAN AND SOCIAL BENEFITS
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 decussion 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 are necessary for the maintenance of a society that is not only technological and prosperous (as the present government envisages of Nigeria) out 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 rest primarily on monetary or assumptions.
Educational experiences can be classified as containing two distinct a Sometimes opposing components which are called technical and critical education.