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Problems and Prospects of Curriculum Implementation in Nigeria

See the Problems and Prospects of Curriculum Implementation in Nigeria.


A curriculum is a set of courses, course work and topics, offered in schools. A curriculum in simple terms is the aggregate of subjects/courses and topics that are being or should be offered in schools.

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Since when Nigeria got independence, teachers have contributed immensely to the overall socioeconomic growth of Nigeria, hence, their impacts on the national development cannot be underestimated because through them the implementation of education program and policy and curriculum has been translated and as well implemented in the interest of the nation’s education system. Be that as it, teachers education then form the basis of sound and proper implementation of school curriculum in Nigeria. It success cannot be achieved without teachers education. It is their education and professional delivery can guarantee successful implementation of curriculum in Nigeria. The issue of school curriculum in Nigeria over years has become a national discourse. Many are grappling on what and what should be a part and parcel of the curriculum and what should not. A well developed school curriculum should serve the purpose of addressing problems and as well improve program such that can lead to the successful implementation of school curriculum

In Nigeria, poor curriculum implementation is a major problem. There is a great disparity between policies formulated by government and the actual implementation of these policies. Policy makers often vary from policy implementers, hence, this gaps becomes a problem in course of implementation.

It isn’t just restricted to the implementation phase, but also curriculum development in general. Having proper curriculum makes for a sound educational and academic sector because the students will be taught with respect to recent happenings and developments.

However, Nigeria is ladened by a number of problems when curriculum implementation is concerned. Here are some of the problems.

Problems and Prospects of Curriculum Implementation in Nigeria

Problems and Prospects of Curriculum Implementation in Nigeria

One of the problems of education however, could be traceable to who controls what. In view of the different system in Nigeria, there is need to put things straight. The problem of effective apportioning of responsibility has posed a serious challenge to the implementation of school curriculum. Some of the facilitators lack the needed skills to function at that capacity hence,  they lack the skills of ensuring that school curriculum are implemented effectively or what I may call the most possible way for optimal result.

Today increase in knowledge has posed numerous challenges in developing school curriculum lest alone in implementing same. One thing is to develop school curriculum and another thing is that of the implementation of the curriculum, this therefore, brings the difference or actually explained the difference that exists between the development of government policies and the implementation aspect of it. More often there are a number of issues militating against the implementation of government policies hence,  this has become a serious challenge anytime there is need for policy implementation.

However, taking a critical look at the policy of universal basic education which is free and compulsory, some of the schools in Nigeria are charging students of registration fee and sometimes examination fee,  one can see in the case of this policy what has been transpired already in some schools, so if good and relevant measure is not put in place to check this policy, the object of the policy can be defeated.

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In view of this, I think teachers, who are the facilitators in the business of curriculum implementation deserved to be trained in oder to meet up with the challenge of  curriculum implementation. The government efforts in developing school curriculum may amount to waste of time, money, energy until teachers whose work of implementation is anchored on be trained. Again, the issue of using different methods to communicate knowledge to students is another grave matter. By this i mean instructional materials which is yet another problem when it comes to the issue of school curriculum implementation. Information can be compressed in such a way that students begin to see the actual idea the teacher is trying to impact into them. This is referred to as alternative channel of communication, and there is no provision of this important aspect of communication in learning and teaching.

Education today, world over is moving with the moving trend of technology, Nigerian education system cannot be excepted. This development has posed a question as to whether or not Nigerian education system has embraced the modern information and communication technology in teaching and learning. However, studies have revealed that much of what is trainable technological wise are not obtainable in most Nigerian schools hence, noncompliance to the application of these modern techniques in teaching and learning. Therefore the noncompliance of modern information and communication technology in teaching and learning school subjects in Nigeria perhaps is another hampering effect to the implementation of school curriculum in Nigeria. Nigerian government on its part has failed in developing some kits that could help in enhancing the teaching and learning in Nigerian schools.

Accordingly, changes in Nigerian system of education has affected too, the implementation of school curriculum. Reason is obvious. Once there is change in the system the existing curriculum will become obsolete and eventually there would be need for a new curriculum to be developed. For example, universal primary education, when it was launched, there was this policy that stipulated that every child who has attained school age should be in school as the policy also clearly stated that the school would be free and compulsory.

And in the 6-3-3-4 education system, I think one of the objects of that system was that those set of students who would not be able to make up to secondary school can divert into vocational or technical education. At this point one may wonder as to whether the object of this system was actualized. The problem of Nigerian government is  instead of looking inward to see if it can profer solution to the existing problem by way of examining, analysing, or evaluating in order to come by the remote cause of the problem and a possible way to come out of the problem, the Nigerian government will believe perhaps, changing or replacing the policy will serve as the solution to the problem. Infact, Universal basic education came as another change of policy in Nigerian education system. The Nigerian state over time has came with different education policies starting from 6-5-6 system of education to that of 6-3-3-4 system up to the present education system of 9-3-4.

The problems bothering from development and planning to implementation are:

1) Lack of Teacher Participation in Decision Making and Curriculum Planning.

The teacher has a crucial role to play in the success of any educational programme in the nation and as such should be in the center and take an active part in the planning and development of the curriculum. When teachers are not actively involved in the planning of the curriculum, a problem builds up since it is these teachers that interact with the students, know what they need and in what proportion, and actually make use of the curriculum.

2. Lack of Sufficient Finance

Curriculum implementation is greatly drawn back by the lack of finance because workshops and seminars that are necessary to sensitize teachers and educationists across the country cost a lot of money. Hence the teachers are not properly tutored on every corner of the curriculum.

3. Frequent Turnover of Teachers:

The frequent turnover of teachers is caused by so many factors. One factor that plays a primary role is the excessive number of temporary and or part time teachers. For example, Youth Corpers are posted to secondary schools across the country.

They teach for less than a year and a new set of core members replace them. There is no time to settle into the system and work wit the curriculum properly. Also, a host of these temporary teachers are usually not dedicated, while others dont have the zeal and skill to teach.

4. Policy Changes

Another factor that affects curriculum development is the frequent changes in educational policies. An example is the universal primary education (UPE) which was launched in 1976 to ensure that every child who had attained such age that he or she is ripe for school, should be enrolled in school. Then the 6-3-3-4 system came. The 6-5-4 system also came, and so many others.

5. Rapid Increase in Knowledge.

The world is growing at a tremendous rate when knowledge is concerned. Due to the development of science and technology, it become more tasking for the curriculum development process as knowledge becomes obsolete quickly hence the need for constant review for the curriculum, the method and materials of instruction.

It therefore becomes difficult to stay in line with these continuous changes. For example, we were used to 9 planets in the solar system. But right now, Pluto has been removed fron the list of planets because it is simply too small to be called a planet. However, in schools today, teachers still tell their students that there are 9 planets and still include Pluto.

Read Also: Prospects and Problems of Vocational and Technical Education in Nigeria

6. Review When Needed

The curriculum in Nigeria is only reviewed when there is an obvious problem observed. This is wrong, ad the curriculum should be constantly reviewed to keep the country in line with the rest of the world.

7. Poor ICT

The world is developing at a rapid rate and there fore, even when the curriculum is updated, a new problem of meeting the requirements of the new elements added to the curriculum develops.

Since the world is advancing technologically, the new trend of curriculums require students to be familiar with computers and make use of them. However, how many students in secondary schools have laptops? How many of them even have phones? Hence, the problem.

Read Also: The Role of Information and Communication Technology ICT in Nigeria

8. Lack of trained and well informed teachers

You cannot give what you do not have. Hence, when the teachers and facilitators of the curriculum do not have the required skill level to teach correctly in accordance with he growing technology, then the students cannot learn. This makes the curriculum useless.

9. Inflexibility

The inflexibility of curriculum in Nigeria makes it difficult for teachers and students to properly optimize them. Different regions have different conditions and when the curriculum cannot work in any of them, a problem starts up.

10. Unwelcoming Attitude to Change

Some teachers are soused to how they previously taught their subject. This makes it difficult to implement a new curriculum. For example, with the introduction of International Financial reporting standard, and a change in some methods if accounting, some accounting teachers who have been teachers all their life, would still cling to their old methods of teaching.

11. Many Exam Bodies

Different examination bodies have their different standards and techniques, not to talk of approaches to questions. There is a problem on how to adequately meet the needs of these bodies.

Other problems Include

– Lack of Instructional Materials
– poor reading culture
– Poor learning conditions


1. The number of people with mobile gadgets is rapidly increasing in Nigeria. This is largely because these devices have become cheaper and more affordable. Hence, with time, Nigerian students would be able to at least keep up with the pace the curriculum is running at.

2. Students are becoming increasingly aware of the curriculum and syllabuses and know how and what to read to prepare in the right direction. Also, with globalization increasing, examination bodies are becoming more synergized and to do this, they are taking similar approaches to their questions.

3. As Nigeria begin to use the diamond based shaped curriculum by Professor Enukoha, the curriculum process will be effectively developed. This is due to the fact that this model takes into cognizance the flows of other models. It is also a Nigerian based unlike the foreign models we have been using that is alien to us.

4. Nigerian teachers are becoming more appreciative of seminars. Hence, they should be encouraged to attend more and the government should organize more workshops to better train these facilitators. There should be long vacation courses when the curriculum is updated so that the teachers can get themselves acquainted with the new face of it.

5. There should be increased and improved monitoring to ensure that teachers are indeed following the curriculum and not just doing what they like or what is easier for them.


This article talked about Curriculum implementation and the obvious problems and challenges it is ladened with in Nigeria, and it can be seen that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow in this angle.

The teachers should be involved in curriculum planning to make its implementation easier, and they should be sensitized through seminars and workshops.

The technological advancement which also causes problems with the curriculum development has been seen to also have its advantages with cheaper technological devices. The problem of curriculum implementation seems to be reducing at a constant rate in the country.

Teachers, the curriculum implementation facilitators ought to have a clear picture of what impact the curriculum will have on the student, teachers, and also in terms of socioeconomic growth of this nation. This will help them implement school curriculum effectively and on time. There should be a departure of what we have now, as to applying modern technology in learning and teaching. The use of information and communication technology in teaching and learning cannot be overemphasized. This needs to be emphasized in teachers training so as to enhance their skills in curriculum implementation. And this is expected to help boost teachers’ competence too,  in implementing school curriculum.

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Eric Arthur

Arthur is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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