AFRICA’S EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SINCE INDEPENDENCE
AFRICA’S EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SINCE INDEPENDENCE: THE CASE OF HISTORY RESEARCH AT AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY (A.B.U) ZARIA, NIGERIA
Dr. Sule Bello, History Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
The phenomenal expansion of formal education in Africa since independence seems to be hardly paralleled by a similar development in any other sector. The establishment of, and enrolment into, several types of schools from nursery to tertiary institutions has skyrocketed from almost less than 1% to well over 1000% over the last four to five decades in many African countries. Furthermore local indigenous systems of education which had, more often than not, been neglected by the colonialists are now being slowly revived and in some cases integrated into the mainstream and formal system of Western education. Massive investment, by both the public and the private sectors, in the development of educational infrastructure and facilities is seen as justified by many countries due to the critical importance associated with formal education in modern development.
Like most other African countries Nigeria, at independence in 1960, had no university and very few primary and secondary schools. Colonialists were not supportive in the development of educational institutions, and worked against the various indigenous educational systems. The University College at Ibadan, affiliated to the University of London, was the highest educational institution. Today Nigeria boasts of over a hundred universities established by federal, state and private agencies. Similarly there are also hundreds of other tertiary institutions spread all around the country in the form of colleges of education, polytechnics etc. Nursery, primary and secondary schools are numbered in the thousands. What is particularly interesting is the increasing demand and higher pressure for more schools nationwide. The quest for greater access to education is further reflected in the agitation for cheaper, or even free, provision of education in order to enable wider and greater access. This pressure is due to the fact that education plays a number of roles which include socialization as well as professional training which ensures individuals the possibilities of better financial future. The expansion of education is not without its own problems. In addition to lack of funds there is also the question of the need to make education relevant to the solution of the problems of the society. These considerations greatly influence national educational policies and objectives, on the one hand, as well as the structure, curriculum and content of all the disciplines at various other levels.