The economics of teacher supply in Nigeria
The thesis looks at the Government Bursary Scheme for Higher Education Students in Nigeria and examines two questions relating to the supply of graduate teachers in Nigeria. First, how effective has the Scheme been in augmenting the supply of graduate teachers. Secondly, what is the likelihood that, once trained, the new graduate teachers will leave the profession in favour of better paid alternative employment, thereby defeating the object of the Scheme. To answer these questions, we have used published time-series data and have also conducted a survey of our own among some 600 education undergraduate students in three representative Nigerian universities. Our findings are that, contrary to the prediction of human capital theory, which stresses the importance of prospective relative pay in the choice of courses at university, the Bursary Scheme, which, on the contrary, assumes that it is the relative cost of different courses which principally determines this choice, has been very effective, though not so much in persuading 18-year olds to take a B.Ed. instead of a B.A. or B.Sc., as in inducing experienced primary school teachers to upgrade their qualifications so as to augment the supply of (graduate) secondary school teachers. We also show why the fear that B.Ed. graduates will drift into other professions, which would defeat the object of the Scheme, may be unwarranted.