History of Education in Nigeria


Brief History of Education in Nigeria

Western or formal education was started in Nigeria in 1842 — only at the primary level — by the Christian missionaries who managed the educational system according to their respective philosophies.

The missionary organizations available then were the Chord missionary society, the Wesleyan Methodist, and the Catholic.

Secondary education was established in 1859 and the first secondary school was CMS Grammar school, Lagos. The reason behind the delay of secondary schools was not well known. Though, there are insinuations that it was because the missionaries thought that secondary education can induce some critical thinking in people, which may not be helpful for their policies.

During this period, the British colonial government couldn’t interfere in the education system due to some political and financial factors. But in 1872, they started to intervene in the education system by giving donations to the missionary societies to support education.

In 1882, the colonial government brought a document- Education ordinance, with the aim of having total control on education. This was their first formal pronouncement in education in Nigeria. Schools were classified then into Government and private school. The government school were financed entirely through public funds but the private only receive little aid from public fund

ALSO READ:  CSL Stockbrokers: All You Need To Know

The 1882 education ordinance was cumbersome to implement in Nigeria because the curriculum, the method, and the medium of communication was too foreign for a Nigerian child. All these led to the failure of the ordinance and another ordinance was provided in 1887. The new ordinance was seen as the first effective effort made by the colonial government to aid education. Though, only some metropolises in Lagos were covered then.

More foreign teachers were employed, more schools were established and financial encouragements were given to the missions, voluntary agencies and private individuals to establish more schools.

After amalgamation, Lord Fredrick Lugard- then the Governor General of Nigeria, set up some new ideas. These ideas form major part of 1916 ordinance. The ordinance came into existence exactly on 21st of December, 1916. Since the ordinance took place after amalgamation, it was able to take care of the country as a whole.

The northerners had for long been resisting the intrusion of western education either from the colonial government or the missionaries. Lugard met with leaders from the north to convince them that the education will not affect the Islamic tradition which is more paramount to the northerners.

ALSO READ:  Tips For Applying & Winning Scholarships

After 73 years from the date of establishment of the first secondary school, the first higher education institution was established in 1932. The first institution was the Yaba Higher College. The college was established in 1932, but commenced studies in1934.

In 1948, The University College Ibadan was created, starting with just 104 students. The number of universities rose from one to five in 1962. And in the 1970s and 1980s, an appreciable number of higher institutions was established. Statistics show that, in 1980, the number of students that gained admission into primary school was about 12 million, 1.2 million for secondary school, and 240,000 at the university level.

Today, western education has suffered many damages. The standard of education that the schools were known for is no more. Nigerian university graduates lack the proper knowledge and skills to acquire employment. Measures must be put in place for Nigerian education to attain its past glory.



Add a Comment
  1. Ishaq muhammad


  2. Abdoullahi

    Nice update

  3. Sadik

    What is history of education?

    1. mujaheed iliyasu umar from wamba

      Disadvantage of 1887 education ordinanceqordinance I need help.

  4. Nathan Etimbuk

    Please can I have the full details of history of education in Nigeria according to the difference author. Thank you.

  5. Koko

    I need an Urgent answer.
    Contributions of the 1944 educational policy TO the development of Nigeria.

  6. Koko

    I have a question please………need an Urgent answer.
    Contributions of the 1944 educational policy TO the development of Nigeria.

  7. Halimat bakare

    Pls I was given a topic to write on the 1919 education ordinance and code…pls can I get help on that ?

  8. Atolani

    What is education ordinance of 1908

  9. History of educational planning before 1960 please!

  10. SAMSON

    please i need the history of ‘ENVIROMENTAL EDUCATION IN NIGERIA’

    1. Jideofor chidera johnpaul

      Ok let’s get it done

  11. dorcas

    Trace the development of education in Nigeria from 1919 and beyond

  12. Javlanda Choji

    A very concise history

  13. Heart Ata

    Discuss the place of colonial administration in the development of adult education in Nigeria.

  14. Heart Ata

    Discuss the place of colonial administration in the development of adult education.

  15. James Gyang

    very educating

  16. Muhammad Nata'ala Lawal

    I have a question please, my question is: trace the historical development of education from 1960 to date.


    wow what a beautiful page. I like it.

  18. abdullah musa

    pls what are the five objectives of historical system of educatoonbin nigeria

  19. Sultan

    Pls Wu knows anything about dikes commission…..pls email me

  20. AliyosBoy Gama

    Pls Who tell me! Say types of History of Nigerian Education

  21. Ligali Lateef Olawale

    please guys, i have a question for you.
    The question says:
    Discuss the history antecedent that surround the development of higher education in Nigeria

  22. adamu bage

    i an very happy with this page i like more and more

  23. awoko fidelis eje

    Can some body either within or outside the country tell what actually is responsible for the low standard of education in Nigeria today?

  24. Emmanuel

    hi friends…i was given an assignment to expantiate d impacts of spartan education on Nigerian education…i need help plz…???

  25. Yusuf Zainab Adeola

    trace the historical or theological development of educational management from United States to Nigeria

  26. pls friend i was given an assignment in school the quesion is:the definition of education starting from year 2000 upto date,the writers and reference.i have try all i could but cant get it and this assignment are to be summitted tomorrow.pls can someone help me?

    1. awoko fidelis eje

      Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research.

  27. Terkuma Augustine

    pls guys i av an assignment and it says,clearly identify wit date government intervention in the provision control at financing of primary and secondary schools 4rm 1842-1914

  28. Aminu mamuda

    What is going now?

  29. Anojulu Anthony

    Thanks for the information. But can we have the statistics of how different regions – Igbo, Yourba ect- reacted the westerm education. Again,was the education given at the advent of these schools standard enough? If so,what went wrong with regard to the poor quality of our education

  30. mhiztajosh

    what is the contribution of frederick lugard to educational administration in nigeria

    1. awoko fidelis eje

      he only provided the 1916 ordinance and call on private organization, missionaries, individuals to open schools,and at the same time fund the establishment of these schools by these organizations.

  31. Ibrahim akeem

    I like this page

  32. Patrick

    I need the history of Educational planning in Nigeria before 1960

  33. Godson

    Thanks for the info.

  34. Attamee ishaku

    What are the ideas set by Lord Lugar’s government after amalgamation?

  35. Attamee ishaku

    What ideas did the government of Lord Lugar’s set after the amalgamation?

  36. Ameenu Tukur


  37. Aondoakaa Stephen

    what is the full meaning cms

    1. Ekachukwu

      Church Missionary Society

    2. Rahmat

      Pls guys,what is the method of teaching used by the missionaries for teaching

  38. Lyndmary


  39. Adamu

    please friends. I need your help. I was given an assignment in school. the question says “Mr Charles has a son Mike whom he wants to study medicine in the university but his son’s grades and school performances show that Mike would be better of if he goes for Law ”
    How can you as a counsellor handle this situation? thanks a lot. I will be waiting….

  40. Ngbonye Esther

    I love this page,,i wil like to be visitn dis page evry week

  41. Maureen

    What is the difference between 1882 & 1887 education ordinance

    1. muhammad sani bello

      the deffrent b/w frist1882 and second1887c ordinance is the 82 ordinance is the ordinance of nigeria $ ghana and the 87 ordinance is frist nigerian ordinance is only 4 niggerian

  42. Temitope Sarah

    what are the roles of the missionaries in the development of Nigeria Educational system

    1. tangsan nanpan

      what areas has education developed after religious educations

  43. isiaka

    The 1926 educational ordinance and some of the provisions that still exist in 2016


      sum of it provisions i still observed that still excite include Registration of teachers; compulsory inspection and supervision of schools.

  44. JOHN

    what is the implementation of 1887 education ordinance to adult education?

  45. angela

    How has the new educational curriculum been so far interms of the new subjects added to previous ones

    1. Adedayo

      Why colonial government did not participate in Nigeria education before

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *