Supporting Intra-Sectoral Collaboration in the Primary Education Sector in Northern Nigeria

Abstract Mistrust between practitioners and academics in Northern Nigeria’s primary education sector has severely limited the potential for intra-sectoral collaborations that could lead to the development of robust policy-focused research.

This paper examines a Research Capacity Strengthening Strategy (RCSS) intended to bring the two sub-sectors together.

The RCSS had five components: (i) engaging in policy-driven research; (ii) partnership; (iii) mentoring; (iv) repeated policy feedback; and (v) hands-on support. These components are examined here in the context of a collaborative study aimed at generating policy recommendations for the identification, recruitment, and deployment of effective primary school teachers. The RCSS was a success but it highlighted the problem of intra-sectoral mistrust.

It was evaluated through a qualitative case study. Here that mistrust and its resolution are explored and explained with reference to social identity theory. Although the findings are context-specific, they have considerable significance for addressing concerns about intra-sectoral mistrust in and beyond Northern Nigeria.