“BRIEF REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN
NIGERIA WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE
NORTHERN STATES”
By
Mahdi Adamu(B.1389)
University of Sokoto.


UNESCO defines education to mean organised and sustained communication designed to bring about learning. However, in Nigeria, according to A1bert Ozigi and Lawrence Ocho. Whenever we talk of education, we generally tend to think in terms of the European Christian type with its pervasive cultural influences. It is the type of education most people go through formally from primary stage to secondary or university level. It is the type of education which helps us to secure a job easily, to become sophisticated and ‘civilized’, and enable us to occupy a privileged position in our society. We all know it, since its influence is so all pervading. May be this is why we tend to think that it is the only form or education”.
In Nigeria, there were three types of education. They were, and still are:-
• Traditional Education
• Islamic Education
• Western Education

We agree with the observation of Ozigi and Ocho that in Nigeria education is .imply regarded mean Western education and so “educational development” in the title of this talk is taken to refer to the introduction and the sequent spread of Western Education in Nigeria. The account here is brief because we are sharing the forum with some other papers.
Western Education was first introduced into the Nigerian area by Christian missionary organisations and it was them who nurtured it until

Government later came in and took over. It was in Benin in the 16th century that Christian education first started, but it was not until the first half of the 19th century that the first school was established by the Methodist Mission in Badagary. This was in 1843, within a short time other Missionaries in Abeokuta and lbadan opened similar schools at their stations. The schools were intended to provide forum for conversion of Pagans and Muslims to Christianity. In 1882, British Government issued an Education Ordinance which provided for payment to the missionary organisations grants to run their schools.
It will be recalled that it was in 1851 that the British Government bombarded Lagos and laid the basis for British rule there a decade later. So by the time the Education Ordinance of 1882 was issued for the whole or West Africa, Lagos was already a colony of Britain. The grants· in aid given to the missionaries were therefore payments made to the Church for providing education to the British subjects. It was however, education which was declared free, but had strings attached to it Christian religion. It was this undeclared condition for Western education at the Christian schools which alleviated the Muslim children in Lagos, and so in 1899, the Government established a primary school in Lagos for the Muslims. This was the first Government school in Nigerian area.
In 1903, an Education code was promulgated for the Southern Nigeria Protectorates, and that paved the way for the appearance of Government boarding primary schools. In 1909, the first Secondary school in Nigeria was established by the Government and by the Christian Missionary organisations continued to appear in all parts of the protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
The pattern of development in the area that later became the Northern Region of Nigeria, and now called the Northern States, was not different from the one sketched above.
Western education was first introduced into the northern area by the Christian missionaries. They made the first attempt by establishing a

school in Lokoja in 1865. This school did not prosper because Muslim influence in the Lokoja area was very strong, and the Missionaries had not been able to convert Muslims. In 1903, the Sudan Interior Mission made another attempt. They declared industrialisation as their vehicle for civilizing the people and so in 1903 they were permitted to establish a station at Pategi and in 1905 at Wushishi and Bida. At all the places they established large farms for agriculture. They could not make appreciable impact on education in the North.
The Zaria experiment was the next major effort at the spread of Western education in Northern Nigeria, via the Christian missions. In 1905, Or. Miller was permitted to establish a school in Zaria where people would be taught how to read and write using the Roman scripts. Though the school was declared to be secular. All the texts used were Dr. Miller s Hausa translations of portions of the Bible. Consequently, the project had failed to grow, for up to 1914, not up to twenty Hausa Muslims have been converted by the Miller organisation. Or. Miller belonged to the C. M. S.
The spread of Western education in Northern Nigeria through the Christian missions was not destined to prosper because as early as 1902, Lord Lugard who was operating in the Muslim area.
Lugard’s reason was perhaps political. He did not want loyalty of the Muslim people to be interfered with. When Lugard left Northern Nigeria n 1906, there were only four Christian missionary schools in the North (at Lokoja, Kabba, Bida and Zaria) and three very small Government schools for freed slaves at Zungeru, Sokoto and Maiduguri. All the seven were of Primary levels. The first real Government primary school to be built in the Northern 1909, in Kano.
The Kano experiment of 1909 class conscious, for different classes were opened for people of different social classes, thus:
1909 - the class opened was for Mallams only
1910 - a class for sons of Emirs was opened
1911 - The commoner’s school was added. This was added.

This was also called the Elementary School.
In 1911, there were 80 people in Mallam’s class, 102 in Common people’s class and 97 in Chief’s Son’s class. English was not taught in the .schools. In 1912, a secondary school was added, but was closed during the First World war of 1914. English language was optional. Throughout the school system, literacy in Hausa and aspects of Muslim culture were emphaised. Up to 1914, the only places with Government Primary Schools were Kano with 2 schools and Sokoto and Katsina which had one each. Many others however appeared in 1915 and after. They came to be called provincial schools, and later their names were changed to Middle schools. However, since the teaching of English language was not emphasided up to 1920, according to Sir Hugh Clifford, the Northern provinces had not produced a single educated person who could take up a job as a Clerk in the Government office. The system of teaching had to be changed.
In 1921, the change came with the establishment of the famous Katsina College which was set up to produce English speaking teachers for schools in Northern Nigeria. Less emphasis was placed on Hausa and Muslim culture and more emphasis was placed on English language and European way of life. In 1930, a secondary was added to the College, and in 1938. It was moved to Kaduna. It was in 1949 that it was once more moved to its present site here in Zaria. At that time it was the only Secondary School in the North. It was in the 1950s that Secondary schools began to appear all over the region when the Middle schools were converted to Junior Secondary Schools in 1954, and later still upgraded to Provincial Secondary Schools. The inspiration for the revolutionary expansion in secondary education in the North in the 1950s was political and nationalistic. Let us therefore see briefly what happened at the political plane.
Even though it was in 1900 that Lord Lugard declared the protectorate of Northern Nigeria, it was only after the defeat of the Sokoto Caliphate in 1903 that effective British rule in the North really began. In 1906, Lugard

returned to England, but was sent back to merge together the Northern and Southern Protectorates. The amalgamation took place in 1914, and in 1916, the first Nigerian Education Ordinance was passed, but the Departments of Education in the North and in the South continued to operate separately. It was in July 1929 that they were merged under Mr. Hussey who became the Director for Education for the whole country. The curricula for education in the North and in the South however continued to be different. They remained so until when Nigerians began to determine their own fate, starting with the constitutional reforms of the 1950s. It was the political agitations for Independence in the country in the 1950s which made leaders in the North to become more aware of the need to expand the spread of Western Education in the Region. The need became more acute and more apparent when Self Government was achieved in 1956 and four years later Nigeria becomes Independent.
On our attaining Independence, it became politically necessary for the Government of Northern Nigeria to devise deferent ways of bridging the ever increasing gap in educational achievement between Northern Region and the two Regions in the South. To back up the expansion in Primary and Secondary Schools, a number of Teacher Training Colleges were established. To give vent to the increasing turn out from the primary schools, Craft schools and Trade Centres were also established. In 1962, a new system of school management was introduced with the establishment of the Local Education Authorities which were made responsible for schools, mainly primary schools, which the Native Authorities controlled. Northern Nigerian Government was therefore all set to provide qualitative education on a massive scale to the people of Northern Nigeria.
Primary and Secondary education was not the only levels of education that the North wanted badly. In 1960, the Sixth Form was started in five schools in the North to prepare students for university entrance. The schools selected were in the Barewa College in Zaria, and the Colleges in Keffi, Wusasa, Kabba and Gindiri. In 1962, Ahmadu Bello University was opened, and the first intake of the Sixth Forms of 1960 became

members of the first intake of new I University in 1965, Ahmadu Bello University graduated its first set of students. So by 1966 when the civilian Government of Northern Region was brought to an end, the area of the present northern states had attained all the paraphernalia of modern Western Education, stimulated and funded by the Government of the Region Direct Federal assistance was minimal.
When Ahmadu Bello University was established in Zaria in 1962, it was not the only University in Nigeria. There were the University of Ibadan (Federal) University of Lagos (Federal) University of Ife (established by the Government of Western Region) and the University of Nigeria established in Nsukka by Eastern Nigerian Government. The University of Benin, established by the Mid-western Region, came in the early seventies. Later on the Federal Government took over all 9 of them, and later still established new ones-until eventually by December 1983, there was a Federal Government University in each of the nineteen states of the Federation. As if they were all out to perpetuate the gap between the North and the South in the field of education, all the nine Southern States except Oyo, established state Universities; and as if the Federal Government did not want to see the gap bridged, it down gaded three of the ten Federal Universities in the North to the status of Colleges of same existing universities. That is the position at which we are at the moment. Worse still, the quality in educational achievement which Northern schools were known for has disappeared as a result of poor planning by the States that succeeded the Northern Nigerian Government. What is the way out? This is not the subject of this paper.
Thank you for listening.