In a nut shell, a peek into the history of education in Nigeria will reveal that prior to the European colonial era; teaching and learning had been an integral part of the Nigerian’s history.
Kids learn about their culture, community activities, job skills and expertise as well as trade. Most of these teaching and learning courses of actions were done unceremoniously; but it was not uncommon to find a small number of these communities engaged in formal teaching and learning of the community life and culture.
Within these communities, there were laid down rules and procedures followed to offer formal instructions to youths as a means of ushering them into the adulthood’s stage of life.
To be admitted for such courses, the teenagers ought to have gained knowledge of skills that will see them through life and must have also gained appropriate social skills together with a tangible knowledge of the culture to usher them into the adulthood stage. It was from such groundwork of the history of education in Nigeria that the western education took-off.
The history of education in Nigeria shows that the western education was initiated in Nigeria in 1840s. It started in Lagos, Calabar and in addition to other cities situated near the coast.
Within a couple of decades learning in English language progressively became established in Nigeria. At that time, British government did not encourage and support education. The schools were established and managed by the then western Christian Missionaries. British government simply provided funds for a handful of schools. Their guiding principle was provision of grants to mission schools instead of developing and growing the system.
Western education was forbidden in the northern part of Nigeria, which was largely Muslim inhabited. The Muslim religious leaders did not allow the missionaries to get in the way of their practice of Islam. This was what led to the formation of Islamic school which principally deals with the Islamic education.
Currently, adult English literacy has been predicted to be above 78 percent for male and 64 percent for female with the exception Arabic literacy amid the northern Muslims. Consequently, saying that Nigeria is a nation that is predominantly subjugated with knowledgeable individuals is not a mistake.
Before Nigeria gained independence, Nigeria only has 2 higher Institutions-the Yaba Higher College founded in 1934, presently known as the Yaba College of Technology and the College of the University of London founded in 1948 which is the present day University of Ibadan. The More famous Nigerian universities- University of Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University which is previously University of Ife, Ahmadu Bello University and Mohood Abiola Kashimawo University which was previously formerly University of Lagos were all initiated after the independence.
After that in 1970s additional universities- University of Benin, 1970 and another Calabar university, universities of Ilorin, Jos, Port Harcourt, Sokoto and Maiduguri were opened. Again, in the 1980s, extra universities were flagged off in addition to Schools of Agriculture and Technology. Few Polytechnics were also started, among which are the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos and Kaduna Polytechnics.
In the year 1980, the predicted no of pupils who got registered into the primary schools were 12 million. In the secondary school and the technical colleges, the students who registered were 1.2 million, those who got into teachers colleges were 240,000 and those who got into the Universities were 75,000.
The normal thing to expect is improvement in Nigeria’s education but unfortunately to show that the civic education in Nigeria has fallen apart, the contrary is what has happened.
The current back-lock of civic education in Nigeria is as a result of what happened between the year 1980 and the year 1990.Within this period, there was massive reduction in the supply of qualified teachers within the country.
Few skilled teachers available were not paid commensurably and also as at when due. To worsen the situation, the population growth did not tarry with the number of available schools and colleges and in addition the schools that were in existence lacked adequate funding.
Tuition fees were also increased which attracted mass protest and postponement of academic sessions. Furthermore the common habit of academic staff of the universities has not helped
Nigeria in any way.
The History of Civic education system in Nigeria has suffered from severe damages. Graduates from the Nigerian universities today lack the proper knowledge and technical skills and so are unable to secure employments.
This has in fact turned apart not only the educational system but the whole nation. This is because for any country to advance, education must play a very high and significant role. Something must be done quickly to salvage the image of civic education in Nigeria.
The formal glory of education in Nigeria as a result of the solid rock on which the European missionaries built must be restored back if the country will make any significant advancement.