Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Merritt, James||Shimabukuro, Shinkichi

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Education




I. THE PROBLEM In this paper an attempt is made to give a satisfactory account of the development of Nigerian education against a background of the society in which it developed. The first portions of the study deal with materials related to the background of Nigerian education. Education, per se, is covered after consideration of the background. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Since gaining its independence in I960, it has had a relatively stable government, and has become a leader in West African affairs. It seems probable that in the future, Nigeria will play an increasingly important role in world affairs. These factors tend to lend importance to the study of Nigerian education, although special justification hardly seems necessary in view of the increasing scholarly attention that is being devoted to the study of African affairs. II. METHODS This paper is primarily a library research project. Most of the information used was obtained from the libraries of the University of Chicago or from British and Nigerian government agencies. In the case of Nigerian education, the particular value of a library research project stems from the fact that it is quite difficult to get a general knowledge of Nigerian education without consulting several fragmentary sources or drawing the material out of long and largely irrelevant reports# To add to the problem, in most libraries materials on Nigerian education are not available. In view of these difficulties this study attempts to consolidate materials from a few authoritative sources. III. MAJOR FINDINGS The findings of this study indicate that Nigerian education is relatively well developed by African standards, but that it is afflicted with most of the educational problems frequently associated with economic underdevelopment. Formal education was first introduced to Nigeria by British missionaries around the middle of the nineteenth century. Since that time Algerian education has been primarily mission controlled, and modeled after British educational practices. In 1960, Nigeria's primary schools were educating almost half of the eligible children, but the quality of primary education was generally quite low. In spite of a rapid rate of expansion, Nigeria's secondary schools can accomodate only a small fraction of the primary graduates. Teacher training is an acute problem in Nigeria. Most primary and secondary teachers are unqualified. Higher education tends to be of a high caliber, but needs expansion. The traditional Islamic culture of Northern Nigeria sets this area apart from the rest of the nation. Primarily as a result of Moslem hostility to the mission schools, educational development in Northern Nigeria has been particularly slow. In spite of the problems which Nigerian education faces, its rapid rate of expansion and development gives reason for optimism in regard to its future.


Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 80 pages




Northern Illinois University

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