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.
Primary and Secondary Education
Nigeria’s educational system previously followed the British 6+5+2 pattern. After 6 years of primary education and 5 years of secondary education, students completed their Ordinary Level or O Level examinations. Students could choose to do an additional
2 years of study, which led to the Advanced Level or A Level exams. Both were awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) at the time. Students with a minimum of 5 O Level subject passes were eligible for university admission, whereas
those with a minimum of 2 A Level subject passes were eligible for direct entry into year two of university study.
With the introduction of the Senior School Certificate in 1988, Nigeria changed to a 6+3+3 system of primary and secondary education. Specifically, 6 years of primary education are followed by 3 years of lower secondary education. Upper secondary education,
or senior secondary education, is also 3 years. Upon successful completion, students now earn the West African Senior School Certificate (WASSC) from WAEC, or the Senior School Certificate from the National Examinations Council (NECO).
Students may purchase a scratch card or a PIN that allow users to verify the results on the websites of WAEC and NECO, respectively. Since the end of 2022, WAEC has also introduced a Digital Certificate platform for Nigerian students,
allowing for the issue of the WASSCE directly to recipients in digital form.
Post Secondary Education
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 4 years (3 years for students with good General Certificate of Education “Advanced” levels). Medicine and Dentistry are 6 year
courses and some professional degrees, such as Engineering and Architecture, may be 5 years. Graduate degrees include the Masters degrees, 1 to 2 years in duration, and the Doctorate degree, usually 2 to 3 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.