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

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.

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.



  1. Hannatu Umar
  2. Oluwabusijoymi
  3. Yusuf
  4. Rotnen monday
  5. Peter Francis
  7. longdi Paul
  8. CAE
  9. UDO MBA
  10. Ugochi Peculiar
    • uche
  11. Ishaq muhammad
  12. Abdoullahi
  13. Sadik
    • mujaheed iliyasu umar from wamba
  14. Nathan Etimbuk
  15. Koko
  16. Koko
  17. Halimat bakare
  18. Atolani
  19. Gem
  20. SAMSON
    • Jideofor chidera johnpaul
  21. dorcas
  22. Javlanda Choji
  23. Heart Ata
  24. Heart Ata
  25. James Gyang
  26. Muhammad Nata'ala Lawal
  28. abdullah musa
  29. Sultan
  30. AliyosBoy Gama
  31. Ligali Lateef Olawale
  32. adamu bage
  33. awoko fidelis eje
  34. Emmanuel
  35. Yusuf Zainab Adeola
  36. sky
    • awoko fidelis eje
  37. Terkuma Augustine
  38. Aminu mamuda
  39. Anojulu Anthony
    • CAE
  40. mhiztajosh
    • awoko fidelis eje
  41. Ibrahim akeem
  42. Patrick
  43. Godson
  44. Attamee ishaku
  45. Attamee ishaku
  46. Ameenu Tukur
  47. Aondoakaa Stephen
    • Ekachukwu
    • Rahmat
  48. Lyndmary
  49. Adamu
  50. Ngbonye Esther
  51. Maureen
    • muhammad sani bello
  52. Temitope Sarah
    • tangsan nanpan
  53. isiaka
  54. JOHN
  55. angela
    • Adedayo

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