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Education System in Nigeria Problems and Solutions

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Education System in Nigeria Problems and Solutions

Education in Nigeria is overulled by the Federal Ministry of Education. Policies at the state-level is overseen locally by the Local Authorities in-charge of controlling and implimentation of policies at its local level, is overseen by the Ministry of Education. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policies at its local level regarding to public education and state institutions.

Nigeria Education System is divided into several sectors as listed herein: Kindergarten, Primary education, Secondary education and Tertiary education. 

Today, the Nigeria Federal Government has been facing series of challenges/problems in its educational sector since the officilal declaration of independence since 1960 and so, some vital policies proposed by the government to the educational system in Nigeria have not been successfully attended to.

This problem faced by the Nigeria education system has posse the largest population of out-of-school youth worldwide.

Education System in Nigeria

Lets look into the various educational sectors in Nigeria.

Sectors in-charge of the Nigeria Education System.

  1. Public Sector (as popularly known: Government/Public Schools)
  2. Private Sector (owned by individuals).

Forms of Nigeria Education System.

Nigeria Education System is constituted with the following forms;

  1. Kindergarten
  2. Primary education
  3. Secondary education and; 
  4. Tertiary education.


This is the first stage after education after some home-upbringing. It has been introduced in the Nigerian Educational System to introduce kids ranging from 1-2 years old. This form of education is the early type of training given to children before the primary education.

Kindergarten Nigeria Education System

However, most Nigerian parents prefer having their children enrolled directly into the primary education. Some make excuses of insufficient money to enroll their children into this type of educational system in Nigeria while few consider this form of educational system in Nigeria as the foundation of education to their children.

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Primary Education.

Primary education is recommended to begin around the ages of 3-6 years. Pupils spend 6 years in years in primary school and graduate with an award of First School Leaving Certificate. 

Primary Education in Nigeria

Student in the primary education sector offers subjects ranging from; Christian Religious Knowledge, English language, Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Islamic religious studies, Mathematics, Science, and Yoruba, Computer science and Fine Art (Creative Arts), e.t.c. 

Primary school students are required to partake in the compulsory Common Entrance Examination conducted by the Ministry of Education in-charge thereby, qualifying that pupil for admission into further learning either in Federal, State or Private owned secondary schools of their choice.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Nigeria has two faces; the Junior secondary and the Senior secondary education. Students spend 6 years in secondary school i.e., 3 years in junior secondary school and 3 years in senior secondary school. Junior secondary students are mandated to write qualifying examinations conducted by BECE for senior secondary school education while the Senior secondary students write WASSCE examinations conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

Secondary Education in Nigeria

The secondary education in Nigeria is a bit challenging because this is where students are groomed for further education. 

The Senior Secondary School curriculum is based on 4 core subjects completed by 4 or 5 elective subjects. Core subjects are: English; mathematics; Economics; Civic Education; one or more electives out of biology, chemistry, physics or integrated science; one or more electives out of English literature, history, geography or social studies; agricultural science or a vocational subject which includes: Commerce, food and nutrition, technical drawing or fine arts.

Promotional Examination in the Nigeria Education System.

The introduction of the 6-3-3-4 system of education in Nigeria, students would have spend six years in primary school, three years in junior secondary school, three years in senior secondary school, and four years in tertiary institution. The six years spent in primary school and the three years spent in junior secondary school are merged to form the nine in the 9-3-4 system. Altogether, the students must spend a minimum period of six years in Secondary School. During this period, students are expected to spend three years in Junior Secondary School and three years in Senior Secondary School.

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General Certificate of Education Examination (GCE) was however, conducted not until a body called WAEC took over the examination process making it twice annually. The GCE examination is conducted every October/November for those candidates who could not meet the required grades during the main SSCE examination conducted around May/June annually.

Required Grades in the Senior Secondary Examination (SSCE) in Nigeria.

A maximum of nine and a minimum of seven subjects are registered for the examination by each student with Mathematics and English Language taken as compulsory. A maximum of nine grades are assigned to each subject from: A1, B2, B3 (Equivalent to Distinctions Grade); C4, C5, C6 (Equivalent to Credit Grade); D7, E8 (Just Pass Grade); F9 (Fail Grade). Credit grades and above is considered academically adequate for entry into any University in Nigeria. In some study programs, many of the universities may require higher grades to get admission.

Tertiary Education.

Tertiary Education in Nigeria

The Nigerian government has adopted tertiary education as a tool for enhancing students largely accross the country. There are 27 universities and 13 polytechnic colleges that evolved since independence. The medium of instruction is English and the academic year runs from October to September.

Problems Facing the Education System in Nigeria.

  1. Unavailability of Qualified Teachers
  2. Lack of Continuous Training for Teachers
  3. Failure to Accommodate the Rising Population Demands
  4. Poor Funding
  5. Low University Admission Capacity
  6. Academic Fraud, Corruption and Indiscipline
  7. Poor Standard of Living and Bad Governance
  8. Politicization of the Education System
  9. Changing of Staffs Regularly
  10. Inadequate Learning Equipment
Education System in Nigeria

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Solutions to the Problems Facing the Education System in Nigeria.

  1. Firstly, most of the problems boil down on lack of funding of the sector. There should be a proper budgetary allocation for the sector. 
  2. Funds should be channeled to each institution and proper managing of the funds must be ensured by the government.
  3. Teachers’ salary should be more attractive and paid regularly, so as to build the interest of brilliant and promising students in the profession. Teaching should not be seen only as a job chosen when there is no option.
  4. The regulatory bodies in charge should ensure that the syllabuses are strictly followed and the school curriculum must be well implemented.
  5. Critics have argued that, one of the causes of the non caring attitudes of the Government on education is the existence of double standard. Most people in Government would have their own children in the few private schools where standard education is ensured. Thus, making the government not to care about the masses.
  6. It is advised that all school should have the same standard and policy for the general interest of the masses.
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Education System in Nigeria is a 6-3-3-4 system of education. Nigeria also have some good universities, primary schools and secondary schools around Africa at large. Would you like to ask or know more about the education system in Nigeria? Then join our newsletter below or put down a comment in the Comment box  below.

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