The Development Of Secondary Education In Nigeria

Secondary education, the second stage traditionally found in formal education, beginning about age 11 to 13 and ending usually at age 15 to 18 years. Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Except in countries where only primary or basic education is compulsory, secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education, and in many countries, it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary education is characterized by a transition from primary education for minors to tertiary, “post-secondary”, or “higher” education for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, sixth-form, sixth-form colleges, vocational schools, and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems.

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The Development Of Secondary Education In Nigeria

The Post Independence development of secondary education in Nigeria centered around the following problem areas:
1. The expansion in primary education created a high demand for secondary education.
2. The Ashby Commission had called for an increased number in the secondary school population and a revision of its curriculum.
3. Some commissions appointed to review the educational system found out that the content of secondary school education, as well as the methods of instruction in such schools, were inappropriate.
4. Other problems identified included the overemphasis on book education in the secondary schools. Pupils despised manual work. Science curriculum was poor. All these contributed to the so-called falling standards in education.

The government saw the root cause of all these problems as the poor quality and quantity of secondary school teachers. The graduate teachers were in very short supply.

The government tried to have expatriate teachers to meet this demand. But paying for the passages and allowances of the expatriate teachers meant much on the lean resources of the regional governments. And, worse still, many of these hirelings stayed only for a term of two years or three and refused to renew their contract. However, to meet the increasing number of secondary school students, the Government opened many new secondary schools.

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Generally, the curriculum was English Language, Mathematics, History, Geography, Religious Knowledge, Local Languages, Fine and Applied Arts, General Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. French was introduced gradually to replace Latin and Greek. The grammar school kept its lead and remained the darling of both parents and students. The higher school i.e. sixth form was not so successful except in a few government well-established schools with enough graduate teachers and laboratory equipment. This was because the curriculum was tailored to meet the requirement of foreign examinations. Available resources in the schools could not meet these.

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