Western Education in Nigeria has made a great impact on its citizens. Nigerians are some of the most educated in Africa. They study in many western universities. Western Education not only opened the world to Nigerians but also Nigerians to the world. It provided recognition of this enormous country on the global arena. How did western education emerge in Nigeria? Who is responsible for bringing the light of knowledge to Nigerians?
History of Western Education in Nigeria in the 19th century
The spread of Western Education in Nigeria began in 1842 with Christian Missionary coming to the country. Still, there was no serious impact on the overall literacy level of the nation because the missionary mainly concentrated on Lagos state.
The British started their expansion during the tension between Dosumu and Kosoko. This provided an opportunity to the British Empire to bombard Lagos between 1851 and 1861. The British Colonial Government implemented a major educational shift in Nigeria between 1872 and 1882.
Why did the British Missionary delay provision of education in other parts of Nigeria?
The Exclusive Military Enterprise was responsible for the education of Nigerians in 1842-1882. Various Christian organizations tried to help Nigerians. They did not let the fact there were limitations in manpower, financial and material resources stop them. The Government was silent about the missionary during that period. Why did the Great Britain not intervene in the matter?
1. Religious Factor was the main reason why The Great Britain did not intervene in the challenges being faced by missionaries. They were interested in Nigerians converting into Christianity. Various religious missionaries concentrated mostly on the religion and subsequently in science. In 1861, the British Colonial Government took over Lagos and established a new colony.
2. The British Education system was decentralized in the 19th century. Thereafter, various religious and private educational groups were allowed to run their ventures across all the colonies of the GB. The colonies in Nigeria were not an exception.
3. The Colonial Government in Nigeria couldn`t provide proper education to Nigerians as it did not have adequate finances to do that.
First Minimal Grants
The British Government provided a sum of thirty pounds to three missionary societies in Lagos in 1872. These missionary organizations were:
– The Catholic;
– The Wesleyan Methodist;
– The Church Missionary Society.
The money was provided to support the missionary activity in Nigeria. That was the first attempt of grant-in-aid help for education in Nigeria. After this, grants-in-aid continued the spread of western education in Nigeria. In 1877, The British Colonial Government increased the sum of the grant up to 200 pounds. This amount was preserved until 1882. That year, the administration decided to intervene and create a new policy towards education. This new policy was regulated by ordinances.
Why did the British care about the education of Nigerians?
Education in Nigeria at that time was extremely conservative, and only high society members were given the privilege to study. It slightly changed with the arrival of the missionary. This was when the British Colonial Government tried to change the situation because of the following reasons:
– They needed to use cheap and low price workers to perform such duties as clerks, messengers, and interpreters.
– To produce educated youth who were capable of making changes and help in the agricultural sector of the colony.
– They needed to produce semi-literal citizens that could justify the presence of the British Empire in Nigeria.
1882 Education Ordinance
It was the first formal document that was implemented to control education in Nigeria. The Education ordinance of 1882 covered the territories of Accra and Lagos. This Ordinance provided next steps towards Western education in Nigeria, it:
Provided training institutions and colleges for teachers;
Provided the school curriculum for girls;
Provided special grants to the industrial schools;
Appointed the Inspector of the schools in all of West Africa;
Regulated conditions of grants-in-aid;
Gave freedom to the religious institutions;
Created the duties and powers of the Local Board of Education;
Created the constitution of the General Board of Education.
The Ordinance 1882 – Why was it important?
This Ordinance was crucially important for the history of Western Education in Nigeria.
It was the first formal document that stated and regulated the education system of Nigeria.
It was a regulatory body that controlled the education system in Nigeria.
It encouraged the spread of Western Education in Nigeria.
The Education Ordinance 1887
The 1887 another Ordinance was created to fill in the gaps of the 1882 order. It provided major improvements toward the educational system of the country.
– The 1887 Ordinance established the dual system of education, where it supported private and religious agencies to establish schools and provided the rules of education in those schools.
– It provided a balanced composition of Boards system.
– It provided equal education to all races and religious communities without discrimination.
– It provided additional grants towards technical specialties
– It made possible the spread of western education beyond the Lagos area
The 1916 Ordinance
This 1916 Ordinance provided new goals for education in Nigeria! It had these objectives:
1. It stated the further cooperation between missions and government
2. It focused on Rural and Urban Education
3. It increased the number of literate Nigerians
4. It increased the government control over schools
Life of the Western Education
Therefore, it was the document that created today`s modern educational system in Nigeria. Christian missions provided the first education laws in Nigeria. One of the first schools was St. Thomas Anglican Nursery school.
1916 was also the year of the first examination in the Nigerian Education System. Frederick Lugard, first governor of the colony stationed the very first inspection of the schools. Advancement in the European education in Nigeria was only slightly noticed until the Second World War. Before the independence, the country showed extraordinary educational growth. It was specially recognized in the Western Region.
The modern educational programmes in Nigeria has bro a new era for western education. Advantages of western education are enormous. The whole world has already implemented the system of western education. The western education in Nigeria helped to establish Universities, which are recognised around the world. Nigerian students can enjoy the benefits of western education and show the world what Nigerians are capable of.