The Role of Education in Nigeria

Here in the post, we are going to examine the role of education in Nigeria. We hope you find this article informative and educating.


Education is an important sector of the economy, as the light of every nation, developed and undeveloped are its elites.

Notwithstanding, there have been arguments in our contemporary society on the role education have played. In terms of nation-building, job creation and reduction of crimes in the world and in Nigeria particularly. The crux of this argument is that even though there are lots of educated people, poverty still thrives.

Read Also: The Importance of Citizenship Education in Nigeria

The Role of Education in Nigeria
The Role of Education in Nigeria – Photo Source:

In Nigeria particularly, are no less than five million graduates annually, with just a quarter of that number graduating into good jobs, and better living standards.

Very few go into entrepreneurship, an establish businesses, with only a minute a few succeeding. So one may be right to ask, what role has education really played in Nigeria?

In this article, I will provide an answer to your question and fill you in with the role of education has played in the development of Nigeria today

Education in Nigeria

Education is the process by which an individual, irrespective of age, acquires the basic, practical and theoretical knowledge, skills, values and abilities that enable him or her function well in his or her society. It is the light and the lifeblood of a nation.

Education has been ongoing in Nigeria since time immemorial. However, it was informal, children were taught about farm work, weaving, oil processing, culture, social activities, survival skills, and work.

Some societies, however, created some form of activity for male children that serves as a passage from youth to adulthood for a specific number of years usually 7 years.

Western Education was introduced into Nigeria in the 1840s. The Christian Missionaries opened schools in cities and villages in the east, west, and south of Nigeria.

Read Also: The Role of Education in the Promotion of Health in Nigeria

In the northern part of Nigeria, which was predominantly Muslim populated also established Islamic education. Today, there are many primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning in Nigeria.

Our Nigerian education system started hitting the rocks in the 1980s and 1990s. This was due to inadequate qualified teachers, low remuneration, poor funding, lack of sufficient schools for the growing population, poor maintenance of facilities, strike actions and nonchalance of teaching staff. However, the foundation of our education system is a strong one that has stood the test of time.

Role of Education in Nigeria

1. Manpower Development

Education develops an individual to add value to society, to solve problems in society and gear towards societal development.

Education enables individuals to discover and harness the potentials in them and improvement of the existing skill and technique of performing specific tasks, thereby increasing the efficiency of their personal societal efforts I wonder what Nigeria would have been without education today.

There would have been no manpower for revolutionary advancement and no enlightenment.  We would have not had engineers, teachers, medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, scientists no professionals at all. When you think of it, you start appreciating the bright light of education.

Read Also: The Role of Technology in Education and Training in Nigeria

2. Socialization

Social relationships are fostered by education, as individuals are trained to interact and relate productively with other individuals, regardless of cultural backgrounds, and appreciate cultural differences.

Education unifies different personalities of individuals with a common goal or interest and enables them to co-exist in peace and unity.

Through education, individuals can adapt to any environment they find themselves, gain experience from different organizations and clubs. If you have friends that are from tribes or cultural backgrounds, you can be grateful to education for this.

3. Promoting National Peace and Unity

Forget the times we are in now, education promotes peace and unity. School provides a platform that enables learners or individuals to work and compete with one another with minimum friction and this goes a long way to promote national unity and peaceful co-existence which will lead to national development.

Through education, we accept different people’s cultures and their religious beliefs. It molds individuals in interpersonal relations and understanding of human behavior.

Education also promotes inter-tribal marriages that foster peace and unity. If you have another ethnic person as your in-law, you would appreciate this role more.

Read Also: 7 Importance of Entrepreneurship Education in Nigeria

4. Citizenship Education

Good values are dying in society. Education fosters morality.  Hard work, integrity, patience, self-reliance, honesty, patriotism, tolerance is embedded in individuals through education.

Education grooms individuals morally to be responsible and law-abiding citizens who become leaders of tomorrow needed to uphold the dignity of our nation.

Were it not for the education of our founding fathers, perhaps, Nigeria would have endured colonialism longer than necessary.

The likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Herbert Macauley among others who furthered their education even beyond the shores of Nigeria, came back and fought valiantly, till Nigeria was given her independence.

Although, leadership in Nigeria has become like a joke as most of them are selfish with their ambitions. Different uneducated individuals have formed sects that are founded on ruining the impact of education on the nation.

The Boko Haram sect is a vivid example. If might have been a different story if individuals of such sects understood the gains of education.

5. National Development

It is needless to say that there have been no gains from education in Nigeria. From the advent of the early missionaries who brought both Christianity and education, we can hardly say that the times are the same.

We lived in a time where we had no decent road, all we did were done in absolute primitivity. One would bet on the fact that 99.8 percent of this generation of youths would die a million times if what was before the missionaries, and education came was to be brought back now. Many can hardly stay a millisecond without power supply.

Has education improved the standard of living? Yes, it has, as no educated person would love to be idle. Instead, he establishes no matter how little and provides what he can for himself.

Thanks to education, agriculture has gone beyond subsistent farming to take a more commercial outlook. In the world and Nigeria specifically, there are Universities and colleges of agriculture. Hence suffice it to say, that education brought rapid development to our dear country.

Read Also: Definition Of Civic Education In Nigeria


What more can we say in virtually every sector of Nigeria’s Economy, we can see significant changes as compared to the pre-colonial era.

If you still doubt the goodness of education, you can imagine yourself living in the pre-colonial times and imagine how you’ll survive this fourth industrial revolution that is taking over the world. No Nation can survive without Education.

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Rosemary Ugwuogo

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

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