Historical Analysis of Educational Policy Formulation in Nigeria: Implications for Educational Planning and Policy


This paper attempts a trend analysis of educational policy formulation in Nigeria and also examines the implication of Nigeria’s experience on both educational planning and policy making in the country. It traces the formulation of educational policies right from 1914 (when Lord Lugard amalgamated the Lagos colony, Southern and Northern protectorates, and his wife named the region Nigeria) up to 2004: the current moment. The British colonial administrators introduced an indirect rule policy in her colonies in West Africa. Indirect rule was an administrative system, which Lord Lugard introduced into Nigeria. It was a system of administration, which the tutelary power recognized the existing traditional, structure and used such for the administration of the Lagos colony and Southern and Northern protectorates. The policy restricted the spread of both Christianity and Western education to the Northern protectorate. This accounts for the gap in the level of educational development between the North and the South. This has implications for both planning and policy formulation in education. The colonial administrators adopted British form of education in Nigeria. The colonial educational policy did not address adequately the aspiration of Nigerians. Hence, the 6-3-3-4 educational policy was introduced. The policy sought to introduce a functional technology – based education, which could sustain the economy. The Nigerian experience has a lot of implications for planners, who should be conscious of our local peculiarities, particularly the heterogeneous nature of the Nigerian society and the gap in level of educational development amongst the different segments of the society. It is essential for policy formulators to begin to initiate policies that will promote unity, equity and even development of education in the country.