“Less Is More”: Nigeria Can Borrow From Finland Education Mantra


By Joseph Ayodele

The problems of government schools in Nigeria are many.

The least expected is the irregular release of meagre running costs, and delay in the payment of staff salaries and emoluments.

How can we optimize School improvement and development plans in Nigeria? This should be a top-line agenda for the Tinubu administration. We have gone through the document on “Education for renewed hope: Nigerian Education sector (2024-2027)”.

It is a masterpiece document by the new Federal Minister of Education. Making it work will start by paying attention to little details of regular payment of salary, and prompt release of meagre running costs.

Nigeria can borrow from the Finland education mantra of “Less is More”.

Finland is known for its successful education system and has often been cited as a model for other countries to follow.

Nigeria’s “less is more” mantra is to address the problem of irregular release of running costs and delay in the payment of staff salaries and emoluments.

Here are some strategies that can be implemented:

1. Adequate Funding:

Allocating sufficient funds to education is essential. The government should prioritize education in the national budget and allocate a significant portion of funding for running costs and staff salaries. This will ensure that schools have the necessary resources to operate effectively.

2. Timely and Regular Release of Running Costs:

The government should develop a system that ensures the timely and regular release of running costs to schools. This can be achieved by streamlining administrative procedures, establishing clear guidelines for fund disbursement, and utilizing technology for efficient tracking and monitoring of funds
disbursement, and utilizing technology for efficient tracking and monitoring of funds.

3. Prompt Payment of Staff Salaries and Emoluments:

Ensuring that teachers and staff receive their salaries and emoluments on time is crucial for maintaining a motivated and committed workforce. The government should prioritize the prompt payment of salaries, establish mechanisms for accountability, and address any bureaucratic delays or inefficiencies in the payment process.

4. Capacity Building for School Administrators:

Providing training and capacity-building programs for school administrators will enhance their management skills, including financial management, budgeting, and resource allocation. This will help them effectively handle running cost funds and ensure their optimal utilization.

5. Enhanced Transparency and Accountability:

Implementing transparent financial management systems and accountability mechanisms is crucial to prevent corruption and mismanagement of funds. This includes regular audits, financial reporting, and strict enforcement of anti-corruption measures.
By promoting transparency and accountability, the government can ensure that funds are used appropriately for the improvement of schools.

6. Stakeholder Engagement and Participation:

Engaging and involving stakeholders, such as teachers, parents, and communities, in the decision-making process is vital. This can be done through regular consultations, forums, and feedback mechanisms where stakeholders can provide input on schools’ improvement plans. Their participation will foster a sense of ownership and commitment to the development of the education system.

7. Infrastructure Development:

Investing in the construction and maintenance of school infrastructure is crucial for creating conducive learning environments. The government should prioritize infrastructure development, including the provision of classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and other necessary facilities. This will contribute to the overall improvement of schools.

8. Focus on Quality Education:

Alongside addressing financial challenges, the government should emphasize the delivery of quality education. This includes implementing curriculum reforms, providing professional development opportunities for teachers, and ensuring access to updated teaching materials and technology.

By incorporating these strategies into a comprehensive School Improvement and Development Plan, the Tinubu administration can work towards optimizing the education system in Nigeria.

Prioritizing the regular release of running costs and timely payment of staff salaries, alongside other key interventions, will contribute to improved learning outcomes, increased teacher motivation, and ultimately, the development of a robust education sector in the country.

Joseph Ayodele is the Director-General of the African Principals Conference Initiative.


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