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System Of Education in Nigeria

Nigeria has practiced many systems of education. The current system is simply known as the 6-3-3-4 system. It is patterned after the system of education in the United States of America.

The 6-3-3-4 System simply means:

6 years of compulsory primary education
3 years of junior secondary school (JSS)
3 years of senior secondary school (SSS)
4 years of university education

The first nine years, that is the 6 years of primary education and the 3 years of junior secondary education, is called basic education and is compulsory for every child. Upon the completion of the 6 years of primary education, students would sit and write the Common Entrance Examinations to qualify for enrollment into a Junior Secondary School (JSS).

After the first nine years as above, the student can then proceed to the senior secondary school or continue at a technical college to acquire some requisite skills. To move to the senior secondary known as SSS students would have to write a qualifying examination known otherwise known as junior WAEC or the JSCE (Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination).

At the end of the SSS program, students must again write the senior secondary school examination (SSCE), WAEC or NECO. Successful candidates can then apply for admission into a tertiary school such as college of education, polytechnic or university.

A maximum of nine grades are assigned to each subject taken at the SSCE, WAEC or NECO Examinations from: A1, A2, A3 or A1, B2, B3, B4, (Equivalent to Distinctions Grade); C4, C5, C6, or B4, B5, B6, (Equivalent to Credit Grade); P7, P8 or D7, D8, E (Just Pass Grade); F9 (Fail Grade). Credit grades and above is considered academically adequate for entry into any University in Nigeria.
Ownership and Funding

The system in Nigeria allows for both public and private ownership of all cadres of educational institutions. Thus, ownership can be broken down into three, namely:

A. Federal Government owned institutions
B. State Government owned institutions

C. Privately Owned institutions

There are about two Federal Government Colleges in each state. There are also colleges of education, polytechnics, universities plus other specialized institutions owned by the Federal government across the States. All of these Federal owned schools are funded and managed directly by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education. Tuition in these schools is very low, almost free.

State owned schools are funded by each state government and are not comparable to the Federal government institutions. The States owns and manages most of the public primary and secondary schools in their domain. In addition all the State Governments have set up various higher institutions of learning including colleges of education, polytechnics and universities to address the man power shortages.

The private sector is allowed by Nigerian law to own educational institutions including universities. In recent years here has been a surge in the number of private educational in the country. General they are reputed to be better funded and managed. Conversely they are more expensive and only the middle class and above can afford such costs for their children. However, the Federal government owned universities; in particular the first generation universities are still deemed to be best centers of educational excellence in the country.

Medium of instruction   English Language

School Year

In Nigeria, the school year runs from September to July. For the primary and secondary schools it consists of three terms (sessions) of about 14 weeks each. For the tertiary institutions it consists of two semesters of about 5 months each.
School levels

1 Kindergarten Optional

2 Nursery Nursery 1 to 2 Optional
3 Primary Primary 1 to 6 Compulsory
4 Junior Secondary JSS 1 to 3 Compulsory
5 Senior Secondary SSS 1 to 3 Optional
6 Tertiary College, Polytechnic, University Optional

Tertiary education takes about 4 years to complete but depends majorly on the course a student is pursuing. For instance those reading engineering, medicine, architecture and pharmacy spend more years. In general there are 4 years of University education (to obtain either a B.Sc, B.A or B.Ed), 4 years of Polytechnic education (made up of 2-years of National Diploma (ND) and 2-years of Higher National Diploma (HND), 3 Years at College of Education (to obtain an NCE Nigerian Certificate in Education)

Upon completion of the undergraduate university programme, interested and qualified candidates can proceed to the masters degree programme, masters of philosophy programme and to the PhD Levels.

The time it takes to finish university depends of course on what one is studying, but the typical time is about 4 years
Nigeria Universities are generally grouped into 5 categories as follows:

First Generation Universities:

University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Second Generation Universities: University of Benin, University of Port Harcourt, University of Calabar, University of Jos, University of Maiduguri, Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Bayero University, Kano and the University of Ilorin.

Third Generation Universities:

Federal University of Technology Owerri, Federal University of Technology Yola, Federal University of Technology Minna, Federal university of Technology Akure, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta and the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi.

State Universities:

These are the various universities owned and funded by the various State Governments in Nigeria. They include Abia State University, Ebonyi State University, Lagos State University, and the Bukka Abba Ibrahim University in Yobe State.

Private Universities;

The private universities are set up and run by the private sector. These universities can be further categorized into three according to

Missionary owned universities such as Madonna University, and Redeemers University

Corporate owned universities only two at the moment - Pan African University, Lekki, Lagos and Nigeria Turkish-Nile University, Abuja.

Individually owned universities such as the Afe Babalola University.

School Attire

In Nigeria, it is compulsory for primary and secondary school students to wear school uniforms. These uniforms identify them as students, make them look smart for study and for play and encourage personal organisation, neatness and professionalism. The school uniforms are designed by the authorities of each school. In most cases, boys in the senior secondary schools are allowed to wear trousers while those in primary and junior secondary wear shorts.

There are no restrictions on attire and appearance for students in higher educations like the colleges, polytechnics and universities.


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