Education in Nigeria | History of Education in Nigeria


Education in Nigeria | History of Education in Nigeria: According to their respective philosophies, the Christian missionaries, who controlled the educational system, began Western or formal education in Nigeria in 1842, only at the primary level. The Chord missionary society, the Wesleyan Methodist, and the Catholic were the missionary organizations available then.


In 1859, secondary education was established, and CMS Grammar School, Lagos, was the first secondary school. The reason behind the delay was not well understood in secondary schools. There are insinuations, however, that it was because the missionaries felt that some logical thinking in people might be caused by secondary education, which may not be suitable for their policies.

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During this time, the British colonial government could not intervene in the education system because of certain political and financial factors. But in 1872, by giving donations to missionary societies to fund education, they began to intervene in the education system.

The colonial government adopted a document in 1882, the Education Ordinance, to have full power over education. This was their first official pronouncement in Nigeria on education. Schools were then divided into public and private schools. The school was funded solely by public funds, but the private sector receives no funding from public funds.

In Nigeria, the Education Ordinance of 1882 was difficult to enforce because the curriculum, the system, and the means of communication for a Nigerian child were too alien. All of these contributed to the ordinance’s failure, and in 1887, another regulation was issued. The new ordinance was seen as the first successful attempt to aid education made by the colonial government. However, only a few metropolises in Lagos were then covered. More foreign teachers were hired, more schools were founded, charitable organizations and private individuals were given financial incentives to set up more schools.

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Lord Fredrick Lugard, then Governor-General of Nigeria, set up some new ideas after the amalgamation. Such proposals are an important part of the 1916 ordinance. It was precisely on 21 December 1916 that the ordinance came into being. It was able to take control of the nation as a whole since the ordinance took place after amalgamation.

Either from the colonial government or the missionaries, the northerners had long resisted Western education interference. To persuade them that education does not affect the Islamic culture, which is more critical to the northerners, Lugard met with leaders from the north.

The first higher education institution was founded in 1932, 73 years after the first secondary school’s creation. Yaba Higher College was the first institution. In 1932, the college was founded, but in 1934, studies began.

The University College Ibadan was founded in 1948, beginning with 104 students only. In 1962, the number of universities increased from one to five. And a significant number of larger organizations were founded in the 1970s and 1980s. Statistics indicate that the number of students admitted to primary school was approximately 12 million in 1980, 1.2 million in high school, and 240,000 at the university level.

Western education has done a lot of damage today. There is no longer the standard of education for which the schools were recognized. Graduates of Nigerian universities lack the proper knowledge and skills to obtain jobs. For Nigerian education to attain its past glory, steps must be put in place.

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