The Role Of Private Enterprise In The Development Of Education In Nigeria

The involvement and the numerous role of private enterprise in the development of education in Nigeria cannot be overemphasize. In the area of primary schools, private enterprise did not feature much. This was left solely in the hands of the voluntary agencies and government. Some corporate bodies like the University of Ibadan and other universities at Nsukka, Ife, Lagos, and Zaria tried to establish primary schools for the convenience of their staff. In the post-secondary sector, local communities and individuals helped the government by establishing and running some secondary schools.

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Moreover, most of these private schools were not grant-aided from public funds and so turned to commercial and vocational subjects which attracted students. This gave rise to numerous private commercial secondary schools which were established after independence. It is true that most of these institutions were poorly equipped, but they supplied the secretarial staff which enabled the Nigerian bureaucracy to stand when the colonial staff left in 1960.

The period 1931-1959 witnessed a lot of local community participation in spreading science education in Nigeria as individuals, groups, and communities set out to establish more secondary schools in the country.

Prominent Nigerians who studied abroad like Professor Oyerinde, Professor EyoIta, N.D, Chief Daniel Henshaw, Rev. O. Offiong, and Alvan Ikoku saw the need for technical/vocational education. They formed a National Education Movement and later opened secondary schools that were somehow technically oriented. Specifically, the schools emphasized the training in such trades as painting, carpentry, tailoring and bakery (Eke, 1998). Many of such schools were opened in Lagos, Calabar, Ibadan, Aba, Port-Harcourt, Ikot-Ekpene and Arochukwu.

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Some of the schools founded by different categories of Nigerians according to Eke (1998) include the following:
Schools Established by the Elite Group1. Entonna High School, established in 1932 by Rev. Patts-Johnson, I.R.2. Aggrey Memorial College, established in 1933 by Alvan Ikoku.
3. Ibadan Boys High School, Ibadan, established in 1938 by Oyesina, O.L.

School Established by Non-Elite Nigerians

  1. Christ High School, Lagos, established in 1934.
  2. New African College, Onitsha, established in 1938
  3. Okpe Grammar School, Sapele, established in 1941
  4.  New Bethel College, Onitsha, established in 1942.
  5. Lisabi Grammar School, Abeokuta, established in 1943.
  6. African College, Onitsha, established in 1943
  7. AdeolaOdutola College, Ijebu-Ode, established in 1945.
  8. Western Boys High School, Benin-City, established in 1947.

Schools Established by Communities

  1. Ibibio State College, Ikot-Ekpeme established in 1949 by the Ibibios.
  2. Urhobo College, Effurum, established in 1949 by the Urohobos.
  3. Egbado College, Ilaro, established in 1950 by the Egbados.

However, the massive growth of private secondary schools made planned expansion very difficult. Therefore, communities and villages competed against one another in the establishment of secondary schools. The quality of the schools varied from school to school as revealed by the results of the West African School Certificate Examinations. These private schools were worst hit in terms of performance because of lack of finance which resulted in poor equipment and personnel. Therefore, there were isolated exceptions such as the International School at Ibadan which was being sponsored by the University of Ibadan.

In the case of primary schools, private schools were among the best because they were very few and the parents were prepared to pay high fees for running the schools. The aim of the parents was to ensure that their children secured admission in the few well equipped and staffed Government Colleges in each of the regions. In addition to the contributions of the private enterprise in the formal system, there are hundreds of artisans spread throughout the country who were self-employed and who train apprentices in their respective trade. Consequently, many girls acquired skills in needle work, sewing, catering, and domestic science in this way. Also, many road-side mechanics acquired their skills, which are reasonably high in a few cases, from self-employed artisans.

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