Nigeria is located on the West Coast of Africa and it is the most populous state in Africa. Ethnic and religious differences have led to much instability.
Through the 19th Century, European traders established colonies for traffic in the slave trade. the British expanded trade in Nigeria and in 1901 Nigeria became a British Protectorate. The influence of the British system of government can be seen in the structure of the educational system. However, in recent years, the educational system has acquired some characteristics of the American educational system.
Nigeria obtained independence from Britain in 1960. For most of its years of independence, Nigeria has been under military rule. However, in 1999 a new constitution was adopted and there is now a civilian government. During the military rule, there were many riots and strikes which led to a decline in the educational system.
At the present time, Nigeria is encouraging the establishment of private universities. A National Universities Commission has been established to accredit private universities and oversee programs at Federal and State national universities.
Nigerian education, since the introduction of the Senior School Certificate, has a 6+3+3 system of primary-secondary education. Six years of primary education are followed by three years of junior high school. High school (senior secondary education) is also three years. The Senior School Certificate is awarded upon graduation. The Senior School Certificate examinations are conducted by the West African Examinations Council or the National Examinations Council (NECO). The language of instruction is English.
Verification of WAEC Senior School Certificates
Students in Nigeria may purchase a “Scratch Card” which may be used up to five times. If you wish to verify the WAEC Senior School Certificate, ask the student to send you a copy of both the front and the back of this card. Then you may visit the WAEC Website and verify the credentials via the internet. According to the educational adviser, all results from 1993 to the present will be listed on the computer, and will remain on the computer. There is also a Zonal or Branch Office in each state of the country.
As of 1999, all certificates contain the photograph of the student embossed on the Certificates, as an added security measure.
Prior to the introduction of the Senior School Certificate, Nigerian students completed the General Certificate of Education “Ordinary” level (eleven years) and the General Certificate of Education “Advanced” level (thirteen years). Students who had successful “Advanced”
level passes were admitted to the second year of university education, and students with passes at the “Ordinary” level were admitted to the first level of university education. Specific passes in specific subjects, depending on the faculty,
may be required for both the Senior School Certificate and the General Certificate of Education “Ordinary” level.
There are both Federal and State institutions of higher education in Nigeria. The Federal institutions tend to be better funded. Entry into university requires the Universities Matriculation Examination offered by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Grades of 200/400 are required for passing. Bachelors degree programs generally last four years (three years for students with good General Certificate of Education “Advanced” levels). Medicine and Dentistry are six year courses and some professional degrees, such as Engineering and Architecture, may be five years. Graduate degrees include the Masters degrees, one to two years in duration, and the Doctorate degree, usually two to three years in duration.
Students may also receive a Diploma or Advanced Diploma from departments of universities in Nigeria. Admission requirements to the Diploma course are different from those required for regular undergraduate students. These students are not required to take the admission examination (JAMB), and are often acquiring the Diploma for employment purposes. However, students with exceptional grades on the Diploma course may be admitted to the second year of undergraduate study at universities in Nigeria. The Advanced Diploma is also often obtained for employment purposes. Students with the Advanced Diploma are generally admitted to the second year of university study at universities in Nigeria.
The Nursing Council of Nigeria also offers a 3 year nursing diploma and a one year diploma in Midwifery.
Nigeria also has a variety of non-university, post-secondary education. Technical colleges and polytechnics offer the National Diploma and the Higher National Diploma. Teacher training colleges, which are not university level, previously offered the Grade II Teacher's Certificate and the Nigerian Certificate of Education. The Grade II Certificate was previously required for teaching in primary school, but now the Nigerian Certificate of Education is the minimum requirement. Teachers with the Nigerian Certificate of Education may be admitted to the second year or the third year of a Bachelor of Education degree program, depending on grades received.