Universality of Primary Education in Nigeria: Trends and Issues


Universality of primary education dates back to the 1950’s. Before independence, the different governments in southern Nigeria proclaimed primary education to be universal. After independence, during the second republic, all the state governments in the southwest geo-political zone announced that primary education, amongst other levels of education, was for all. On two different occasions, the federal government expressed its intention that primary education was (and still is) for all children Much as the different governments have tried; the story of the exercise has not been one of full success. Different unresolved issues are responsible. These are: poor projection resulting in pupil population explosion, and non-availability or inadequacy of educational resources; self-interest or overriding political interest, lateness in putting in place regulatory policies, apathy on the part of some parents, and unstable polity. In order to solve the identified problems, the different tiers of government—federal, state and local—should have genuine interest in education and display the needed political will. More importantly, good governance is necessary to guarantee political stability and, by extension, universality of primary education that will endure for as long as there is human civilization.