Many of us today has at one point or the other gone through formal education but cannot even tell how useful or helpful it has been to us. Are you someone that seeks information on how important formal education has been in Nigeria? Then this article is for you.

I have included a lot of detaild on things you would love to know about formal education in Nigeria.

What is western education?
Western education is simply a type of education that replaced the African style of education. It has to do with formal classrooms, a well structured curriculum and scheme. The widely acceptable language of western education is English Language which is a priority in learning as well as numeric and writing. We can easily call these English and maths today.

What kind of education did we have in Nigeria before the western education?
Before the western education in Nigeria, we had two types of education that was in existence in Nigeria. We are going to properly look at these two types of education in relation to the western education in Nigeria. They are:
1. Traditional education
2. Islamic education

Traditional education is the African style of education which has been practised for as long as we can remember. It is type of eucation that our fore fathers had. One major difference between the traditional eduaction and the western education is the fact that the former wasn’t written but was written in our hearts. It is important to understand that traditiinal education is still practised in African societies with reference to the parents as well as elders as the principal teachers for the children. In this type of education, the children basically learnt morals from the elder ones in the society.

And the parents were not considered the only teachers but also every other person in the community. Values as well as beliefs and culture was passed to the next generation from the older ones. This type of education is fondly called “informal education”

Islamic education in general began with the first Qur’anic revelation to the famous prophet of Islam, Muhammad (S.A.W.). According to research, islamic education had started in Nigeria before the 18th century. The mosques were basically the study centers as if is fondly said that the school is not separted from the mosques and the mosques is not seprated from the school. The children were basically taught the laws of Allah and how to be good Allah’s khalifs while corporal punishment was used as a basis to correct the children when they misbehaved or cannot recite some parts of the Holy Quran. The method used in teaching children here

1. Rote learning
2. Memorization
3. Songs etc.

The teachers of this typeof education were fondly refered to as “mallams” while anyone that finished successfully from the levels of education were celebrated with a “walimat” because not every one gets to this stage.

How did western education in Nigeria start?
Western education in Nigeria began in 1842 with the advent of the missionaries establishing schools. At that time, the school were not funded by the government or private individuals but by the churches. Children were basically taught how to read and write and also christian religious studies.

The teachers were usually the priests and their wives. The problem with this was that it was not properly structured with poor management and no standard curriculum.

Modern education in Nigeria however started in with the intervention of the government in western education and the establishment of the 1882 education ordinance which was for Lagos and Accra. Although, there were other education ordinance but this marked the beginning of a new era of western education in Nigeria. There were a couple of challenges of this new modern education at that time which were:

1. No standard curriculum
2. No proper uniforms
3. The education at that time did not meet the needs of the Nigerian children
4. The education was still not widely accessible to a lot of students
5. No proper training for the teachers
6. The education ordinance was for both Lagos and Accra.

Today, this education has evolved from one that was limited to only a few people to one that is highly accessible by a lot of children. It also has a well structured curriculum and scheme and it is also one that meets with the needs of the Nigerian child.

What are the differences between traditional education and western education?
These types of education are very different from each other. In order to make it easier for you to identify the differences, i have put it in a tabular form below:

What are the importance of Western education in Nigeria?
The importance of Western education in Nigeria today cannot be overemphasized because it has helped modern civilization to properly cut across Nigeria. I have identified a number of importance of the western education in Nigeria. They are:

1. Improvement of the standard of living of Nigerians
2. Faster independence
3. Fast movement with the trend of technology
4. Establishment of industries

It is no longer news that the establishment of western education in Nigeria helped in Improving the standard of living of Nigerians. It should be noted that western education is not just limited to

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