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PART 1: Descriptive section

Brief Description of Review Process

This country report is a product of collaborative efforts involving policy makers, planners and researchers from Federal, State and Local Government, education authorities as well as parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Education with responsibilities for various aspects of basic education (eg. mass literacy, teacher education, nomadic education, curriculum development), professional teachers associations, NGOs and other stakeholders in the promotion and delivery of basic education such as Permanent Teachers’ Associations, International Organisations, i.e. UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO which make up the National Basic Education Steering Committee. The latter evolved from the EFA National Task Force and is now constituted into the National EFA Assessment Committee, with members with relevant expertise constituted into the Technical sub-group.

The current review follows up on the mid-term Review carried out in 1995 using the guidelines provided by the EFA Forum Secretariat. Thus the Review draws information from the outcome of data gathering on quantitative and qualitative information needed to assess the progress made in each of the six target dimensions of the Jomtien Conference. The outcome of the two day Mid-Decade Review Seminar on EFA during which Federal, State, LGEAS and other stakeholders gave progress reports, appraised progress made in the different sub-sectors of basic education in groups and made suggestions for the improvement of the strategies being adopted, as well as Reports of achievements made thereafter by the different groups.

The report also draws from Evaluation Reports such as:

    1. The Report of the 1995-1997 Terminal Review on FGN/UNDP National Mass Literacy Programme
    2. The Report on Monitoring Learning Achievement

(3) The Comprehensive Education Analysis Project in September 1999

Furthermore, the Report draws on the work of the Technical sub-group of the EFA Assessment Group, which considered the 18 indicators recommended to guide the preparation of the current report with a view to determining on which of the data is available. It decided to carry out a survey which will identify data in areas in which they are not available and to use them when obtained along with existing data and analyse them in the course of the Comprehensive Education Analysis project in the country. Although a formal forum was not organized to debate the Report, components of it were considered at other various fora.

Background Information

Nigeria: A Country Profile

Land Area :923,768 sq. km

Population (1998):108.2 million

Population density (1990-1992):04 persons per square kilometre

Population distribution (1998) Urban – 36%

Rural - 64%

Under one year pop.-2.5 million

Under five years pop.- 17.1 million

Six-Eleven years pop.-19.34 million

Population growth rate2.83%

GNP (1995) US$ 220

Administrative divisions

Nigeria is a federation of 36 States and a Federal Capital Territory.

There are3 types of Governments; the Federal, State and Local

Governments. Following the successful completion of the transition to Civil

Rule programme with effect from 29 May 1999, each State is governed by an

elected Governor, while each local government is headed by an elected

Chairman who is the Chief Executive assisted by a Secretary who is the

administrative head.

Duration of Compulsory Education9 years

Adult Literacy Rate (1995) Female-47.3%

Male - 67.3%


School Age Population (1995)18.2 million

Primary School Enrolment (1995) Girls-7,011,657



Primary School Completion (1995)Girls-68.2%

As % of total enrolmentBoys-70.6%


Number of primary schools 41 531

Number of primary school teachers437,619


Male - 230,287

Average teacher-pupil ratio1:36

Sources:(a) Federal Ministry of Education

(b)National Population Commission.



Jomtien was not for Nigeria the beginning of the journey towards universalising education. It dates back to the introduction of universal primary education in the 1950s in two of the then three regions of the country and its introduction at the national level in 1976. Thus, by joining other countries, agencies and organisations in adopting in March, 1990 the World Declaration on Education For All, Nigeria was merely reaffirming that in which she believed, and had already taken steps towards its attainment.

The National Policy on Education, (1977, revised 1981, 1985, 1998) attests to Nigeria’s commitment to Education For All, in particular, basic education for all. The policy lays emphasis on universal, functional and qualitative education.

The guiding principle of the Education For All programmme in Nigeria is the equipping of every citizen with such knowledge, skills, attitudes and values as will enable him/her to derive maximum benefits from his membership of society, lead a fulfilling life, and contribute his own quota towards the development and welfare of the community.

For Nigeria therefore, Basic Education comprises both the range of formal schooling as well as a wide variety of non-formal and formal public and private educational activities offered to meet the learning needs of groups of people of all ages. Thus basic education refers to early childhood and pre-primary education, primary education, the first three years of secondary education and basic and functional literacy for out of school children, youth and adults, as well as nomadic education for school age children of nomads and migrant fishermen.

EFA Goals and Targets

Not long after the Jomtien Conference, Nigeria took specific measures aimed at translating the Jomtien Declaration on Education For All into reality. The activities embarked upon included a sensitization drive mounted not only in the mass media, but also through the agency of the two key national advisory bodies on education policy, namely, the Joint Consultative Council on Education which brings together various officials in Federal and State Ministries of Education, and the National Council of Education which is composed of State Commissioners of Education and the Federal Minister.

The discussions and consultations of these meetings resulted in a clear perspective of what State and Federal Government priorities were within the context of basic education and a sharper focus was obtained as to what remedies were considered most urgent. Using the resulting information, a national plan of action on Education For All was drawn up. A Task Force (which metamorphosed into the present EFA Assessment Group) was set up to coordinate all activities related to EFA.

The Master Plan articulates the EFA goals and targets in all dimensions including the six target dimensions recommended in the EFA Assessment Guidelines.

The goals and targets on the various aspects of basic education as follow:

    1. Expansion of Early Childhood Care and Developmental Activities

Formal education begins from pre-primary education which is the education given in day-care centres and Nursery schools to children aged 3 to under 6 years. It is enriched by the informal traditional up-bringing given to children from 0 to under 3 years which makes them ready for school. Although Government is not directly involved in the establishment of day-care centres and nursery schools, it is however responsible for:

According to the National Policy on Education, the purpose of pre-primary education are to:

  1. Effect a smooth transition from the home to the school;
  2. Prepare the child for primary education
  3. Provide adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work (on the farms in the markets, offices etc);
  4. Inculcate social norms;
  5. Inculcate in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration of nature, the environment, art, music and playing with toys, etc;
  6. Develop a sense of co-operation and team-spirit;
  7. Learn good habits, especially good health habits; and
  8. Teach the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes, forms etc. through play.

In consonance with the Jomtien Declaration, World Summit for Children, the Convention on rights of the child, ECCDE has become an important part of basic education programme. This has provided supportive policy implications for different sectors such as health, social services, agriculture, nutrition among others. Furthermore, the Convention on the Rights of the Child led to the setting up of implementation committees that have harmonized national laws and policies.

As a practical demonstration of government’s commitments to children, the Federal Government in co-operation with UNICEF instituted a project on Early Childhood Care Development Education (ECCDE) which draws great strength from the concept that life begins at birth; the project took off in 1991. The project goals are to:

  1. Afford children access to early childhood education through informal, low-cost, community-based child care;
  2. Train para-professional corps of pre-school workers, and ensure a system of on-going support for the relevant activity;
  3. Improve the mothers’ knowledge of nutritional practices and their relation to the physical intellectual and social development of the child;
  4. Develop positive community attitudes towards children in terms of increased freedom based on the child’s rights, needs and likes, as well as improved parent-child interaction and reinforcement of creative behaviour.

These goals are in accord with the EFA Master Plan that seeks to:

  1. expand the early childhood services in order to cover at least 25% of children under the age of six years who are enrolled in pre-primary by the year 2000;
  2. provide universal access to basic education to at least 80% of primary school-age children through formal and non-formal education with emphasis on improving enrolment of girls and for children in difficult circumstances.

Concerning early child care, available statistics from a sample survey conducted in 1991 revealed that only 4.7% of the pre-school age population had pre-primary education in Nigeria. Today, the situation is different owing to the rapid expansion of the ECCDE project.

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