Actually within educational and philosophical institutional framework, the concept of equality cannot be given one for all definition because of its controversial nature and the reason is that no two persons can be the same. Nevertheless, the concept of equality can be defined in the following perspective
1. Mathematical equality
2. Legal equality
3. Social equality
4. Universals equality
5. Natural equality
6. Metaphysical equality
7. Equality as a distributive justice
1.MATHEMATICAL EQUALITY; this is referred to a state of sameness in every possible details depicting identicalness in equality, quantity, nature, status, ability, etc. the mathematical equation 2+2 = 4 depicts the situation where the sum total of the figures on the right is perfectly the same total as that on the left of the equation.
2. LEGAL EQUALITY; this referred to the provision whereby every citizen whether high or low in the society is treated as equal before the law of the state. No one or person is above the land.
3.SOCIAL EQUALITY; this implies that everybody in the society should be treated fairly, infact the individual here should receive from the society as much as will be adequately to make him developed a feeling of belonging to that society.
4. UNIVERSAL PROCEDURAL EQUALITY; this is a principle which states that “all men ought to be considered equally”. This is more like a principle of procedure, not necessarily one which says that all men like characteristics need to be treated alike. But that all men ought to be treated equally despite their differences. Until a case is made for justifying that same particular differences between them would warrant their being treated differently. This can also be referred to as equally as impartiality. This impartiality required discrimination for good reason because men should be treated differently if there are relevant grounds for treating them.
5. NATURAL EQUALITY; this referred to the fact that all men are rational being which have the same basic needs and psychological devices. All men are subject to the same natural laws and so all should enjoy the same natural rights. According to Emmanuel Kant, all human being must be treated as ends not merely as means to an end. This is because all men are equally legislating members of the kingdom of end.
6. METAPHYSICAL EQUALITY; the biblical story of creation makes all men children of God. (Galatians 3: 26-29) says “ye are one with Christ”. Perhaps it is a metaphysical basis that universal declaration of human rights (UN General Assembly 1948) declares that “all human being are born free and equal to dignity and right.
7. EQUAITY AS DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE; this is equality considered along the line of Aristotle’s principle of distributive justice. This recommends that equals should be treated equally and unequal unequally. Its position is that justice demand that for every difference is the way men are treated a relevant reason should be given. Who determines what relevant reason is?
FRAMEWORK OF EQUALITY OPPORTUNITIES IN NIGERIA
The concept of opportunity and right will be briefly examined so as to enable us have a better insight into the phrase of equality of educational opportunity. First opportunity means a chance or privilege. Infact, it is a condition which someone else execute rather than something which one is entitle, while right has to do with what a person is entitle to and what create obligations on the right. A right could either be natural or legal, that is created by law. Thus while a right is an entitlement, an opportunity is more of a privilege. In this respect, the right to education is quite different from an opportunity to have education.
Therefore equality of educational opportunity in Nigeria will be treated or discuss under three subtitles namely;
A. equality of educational opportunities as equal right to education.
B. equality of educational opportunity as right to equal education.
C. equality of educational opportunity as an access to education.
1. EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY AS EQUAL RIGHT TO EDUCATION; it is possible for every citizens in a state to have equal right is education? The answer is simply no. the reason is that the concept of equality itself is very fluid and seems unattainable. How then can equality in education be achievable? That is, if already the society is one with class system (inequality in social status). It follows logically that not all children within the society can have equal right to education.
2. EDUCATION OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY AS EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION; as we have seen above, it is not possible for all children within a society to have equal right to education. We have also concluded that it is utopia to provide equal education to all the citizens of the society. We are then left with the most practical way to provide education to all. Nevertheless it seeks access to education to all citizens. The government ought to provide the enabling environment for all her citizens to attain qualitative education without hindrance.
3.EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY AS A RIGHT TO EQUAL EDUCATION; briefly speaking, the right to education will suggest that infrastructures available, curriculum content and implementation, equality of staff etc are made equally (mathematically) available and accessible to all users of the educational provision. It may even mean that education should be made available according to capabilities, disabilities, resources, and services provided on equal basis. This objective to put it very simple is utopia.