History of Nigerian Education System is discussed in this article. We hope you find it informative and educative, and helpful for your research.
Education in Nigeria is as old as the Nigerian Society. Schools organized in nonformal ways with their educational policies which existed in per-literate societies.
Thus people were inducted into group ways such as habits, ideas, attitudes, and skills through nonformal education and apprenticeship system.
Educational System in Nigeria before Independence was basically the traditional education which was quite functional and self-employed.
However, Reverend Thomas Birth Freeman landed at Badagry in 1842, and with the annexation of Lagos in 1861, under the dual and penetrating grip of Christian missionaries and British imperialism, the life of the Nigerian underwent a radical and irreversible transformation.
Thus an institution known as the school came into existence. This school was to undertake the task of formally arranging experiences that were bought to bear on the people under the guidance of the teachers.
The main aim of the missionary bodies was an attempt to produce teachers for the existing primary schools, as well as catechists, clerks, and literate personnel needed for evangelism.
Read Also: Importance of Education in Nigeria
A brief look at the type of education that operated in Europe will convince one that the missionaries, as well as the British government, brought their type of education to Nigeria.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the curriculum of the British colonialists was established which emphasized English language grammar. Mathematics, History, Geography, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology constituted the content of the secondary school curriculum. Excellence in the English language was given a top priority.
The grammar-centered secondary school curriculum is aimed at preparing students for university education. In the late 1960s, many educators, individual thinkers, and interest groups were dissatisfied with grammar-centered secondary education. As higher education was reserved for the aristocrats and the clergy controlled education for many centuries in Europe.
Educational System in Nigeria before Independence was popularly known as the 6-5-2-3 colonial system of education.
The 6-5-2-3 system was imported from Britain and it succeeded in transforming Nigerians into English men but had the least respect for Nigerian culture and tradition. This imported education was only intended for academically talented individuals who can aspire to become doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc.
Many Nigerians had their talents underdeveloped because they could not fit into the system which was not diversified to cater to fields that were highly based on entrepreneurial skills.
It brought about Nigeria’s dependence upon the government. The Nigerian education system, like England’s public schools, is aimed at producing elites who do not care about the culture of the society and the lower workers of the country.
Furthermore, many Nigerians were concerned about making education meet the needs of Nigerian citizens. Some educators tried to effect changes in the curriculum which lead to the development of proper secondary education.
Examples of such schools were the May Flower in the then Western Region and the Gaskiya in Lagos State.
Also, vocational schools such as West Africa People Institute (WAPI) were established with a curriculum of Agriculture, Carpentry, etc.
This institution was regarded as being inferior and any person who graduated from this school was not given good jobs they were all Nigerians while grammar secondary schools were regarded as being superior and many opted out for it to be the detriment of the nation.
Read Also: How to Start a Private School in Nigeria
Colonial education reflected British society as opposed to Nigerian Society. Nigerian schools became custodians of British values and made Nigerians prefer British styles to Nigeria’s. This resulted in the production of an English man of African skin.