All About Africa  

Education System in Nigeria

Education System in Nigeria – Nigeria Education System

Education System in Nigeria: The responsibility for education institutions is shared between Federal, State, local government, communities and private organisations.

The education policy in Nigeria is based on the National Policy on Education (NPE) document of 1997 (last revised in 1990). The introduction of Universal Basic Education within NPE made the first 9 years of primary education free. Education in Nigeria has become compulsory up to age 15 years old. The language of the education in Nigeria is English.

The academic year runs from October to July and is made up of 2 semesters, each 14-16 weeks long.

Education System in Nigeria: Primary and secondary education

Since the introduction of the Senior School Certificate in 1989, the Nigerian primary and secondary education system consist of 6 years of primary education for children, 3 years of junior secondary education and 3 years of senior secondary education. This is called a 6-3-3 system. As already mentioned education has been compulsory since 1999 for children aged 6 to 15, i.e. for the duration of Primary and Junior Secondary Education. These first 9 years are also referred to as Basic Education.

Education System in Nigeria: Primary Education in Nigeria

Primary education lasts 6 years (age group 6-12) and culminates in the First School Leaving Certificate. Junior and Senior Secondary Education Secondary education is now divided into general secondary education and secondary vocational education, and begins at the age of 12. After 3 years of Junior Secondary School, the Junior School Certificate is awarded.

Since 1989 the Senior School Certificate has been granted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), and since 1999 also by the National Examinations Council (NECO). It is commonly assumed that the level of the NECO examinations is lower than the examination run by the WAEC. Upon completion of the entrance examination (University Matriculation Examination (UME), both diplomas grant access to higher education.

The curriculum consists of six compulsory subjects: English, one of Nigerian languages, mathematics, one of physics/chemistry/biology, one of English literature/history/geography and either an agrarian or vocational subject. Students also take three electives, one of which they can drop in their third year. In order to obtain the Senior School Certificate, candidates must complete examinations for at least eight subjects: the six compulsory subjects and two electives.

Education System in Nigeria: Secondary vocational education

Since 1995, the following diplomas have been awarded in secondary vocational education: the National Technical Certificate (NTC), the National Commercial Certificate (NCC), the Advanced National Technical Certificate (ANTC) and the Advanced National Commercial Certificate (ANCC). The examining body is the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB).

Education System in Nigeria: Admission to higher education

The Senior School Certificate, the General Certificate of Education – Ordinary and Advanced Level, the (Ordinary) National Diploma and the Nigerian Certificate in Education all grant access to higher education in Nigeria.
The Senior School Certificate also grants access to higher professional education upon successful completion of the Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Courses in Colleges of Education (MPCE) entrance examination.

Nigeria has a dual admissions system for university education. Nowadays, the General Certificate of Education – Advanced Level with good results grants direct access to the second year of a bachelor’s programme. The Higher National Diploma and the Advanced Diploma, issued by state universities, also grant access to the second year of a bachelor’s programme.
In all other cases, the entrance examination (the UME – University Matriculation Examination) must be completed and a minimum score of 200-250/400 achieved in order to be admitted to the first year of the bachelor’s programme. The higher education admissions are arranged by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), an institution that organizes both the MPCE and UME entrance examinations.

Education System in Nigeria: Higher education

University education is provided by universities. There is a distinction between public (including federal and state universities) and private institutions. Both public and private universities are accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

In the past, the quality of federal universities was assumed to be better than that of state universities, due to the fact that individual states had the right to establish their own universities without the need for national accreditation. Nowadays all universities are monitored by the government, and states are no longer permitted to set up their own universities. The purpose of this measure is to create a uniform level among all universities.

Higher technical and professional education is mainly provided by specialist schools and institutions such as Polytechnics, Institutions of technology, Colleges of Education and Professional Institutions. Monotechnics provide education in the field of agriculture and industry.

Education System in Nigeria

Education System in Nigeria

Education System in Nigeria: University education

No JAMB entrance examinations are required for entry into Diploma or Advanced Diploma programmes at state universities with durations of 2 and 3 years respectively, because these diplomas are usually obtained with a view to entering the labour market. The Senior School Certificate forms the entrance requirement for a Diploma. Students who obtain very good results for their Diploma may be granted access to the second year of the bachelor’s programme. Students with good results for their Advanced Diploma are permitted to grant access to the third year of the bachelor’s programme.

Higher education in Nigeria consists of the three following stages:

First Stage

Following the introduction of the Senior School Certificate in 1989 and the elimination of the General Certificate of Education – Advanced Level, the nominal duration of the Bachelor was extended by 1 year, so that it is now 4 years long. The bachelor’s programmes of medical (medicine, veterinary science and dentistry) or engineering studies, and of the LLB take between 5 to 6 years, depending on the institution.

Second Stage

The second stage of higher education lasts from 1 to 2 years, and is a continuation of the First Stage. Upon completion of the Second Stage, a master’s degree, a postgraduate diploma or a certificate is awarded. Admission to the master’s programme requires a bachelor’s degree with first or second class Honours. In a 2-year Master, additional research skills form part of the programme.

Third Stage

The Doctorate is awarded after 2 or 3 years of study following a master’s degree. Some universities require that students complete a Master of Philosophy before qualifying for admission to the PhD programme.

Education System in Nigeria: Higher professional education

Following successful completion of the entrance examination, the Senior School Certificate grants access to higher professional education. Students must have obtained a satisfactory result for at least five relevant subjects, mathematics as a compulsory subject.

In the 1960s and 70s, ten Polytechnics were founded, in: Auchi, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Port Harcourt and Yaba. These institutions and more recently established Polytechnics run 2-year progammes leading to the (Ordinary) National Diploma and the Higher National Diploma. Successful completion of the (Ordinary) National Diploma must be followed by 1 year of practical experience before admission to the final 2 years of the Higher National Diploma is granted.

After the Higher National Diploma, students can continue on to the Full Professional Diploma (also called the Post Higher National Diploma), obtained after around 18 months of study. All programmes are accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE); the entrance examination is run by the JAMB.

Education System in Nigeria: Teacher training programmes

The Nigerian Certificate in Education has been the minimum teaching qualification in Nigeria since 1998. This certificate can be obtained from a College of Education, and has a nominal duration of 3 years. Students must have obtained at least three satisfactory grades for their Senior School Certificate in order to be admitted to the Nigerian Certificate in Education.

Students who have obtained the Nigerian Certificate in Education can continue on to the second year of the Bachelor of Education or the first year of a regular bachelor’s programme.