9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum

The Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum in One Sentence

This post with keywords: Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum – discusses all the past and present editions of the Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum up to the latest.

This will enable you to have a fuller understanding of the subject matter. It will also help you to authenticate any curriculum that people may try to sell to you – so that you don’t fall prey to fake “official” materials.

Introduction to the Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum

The online community of the Nigerian education sector is currently inundated with a lot of information and resources. Far too many people claim to have and sell different educational materials – from curriculum to syllabus, scheme of works to lesson notes and so on.

To convolute things further, since everyone wants to sell; all claim to possess official materials – materials in-line with the NERDC curriculum. A school owner called me to request for lesson notes that are in line with the new 2020 NERDC curriculum that someone sold to her.

In the following sections, I list and discuss all past editions of the Nigerian 9-Years Basic Education National curriculum. I conclude this post by discussing the edition that schools are currently using.

The Entire 3-Series Post

This post is the second of a 3-part article. The entire article is a comprehensive post. I addressed all possible issues concerning the national curriculum as it is currently subsisting among the Nigerian education community. However, in order not to make this a tedious reading for the reader; I have shared the entire article into three part.

Part One – Meaning of Curriculum and How to Choose the Right Curriculum for your School

The first part defines what the (national) curriculum is. It enumerates the components of curriculum and discusses the types of curriculum in Nigerian schools. I concluded the first part by providing leading guides on how to choose the right curriculum for your school.

Part Two – Editions of the Nigerian National Curriculum

In the second part – of which this post is the last unit of, I discuss all the past and existing editions of the Nigerian National curriculum. This will enable you to have a fuller understanding of the subject matter. It will also help you to authenticate any curriculum that people may try to sell to you – so that you don’t fall prey to fake “official” materials. Because the editions of the national curriculum are many, and to make the reading easier for you; I divided the second part into three smaller units.

The first unit – The Nigerian Indigenous and Missionary Curriculum

This unit discuss the type of curriculum that Nigerians used to train themselves before the arrival of foreigners. The unit also details the arrival of missionaries and the era of mission school with their curriculum.

The Second Unit – The Nigerian National Colonial Curriculum

I committed the second unit of part two to the Nigerian National Colonial Curriculum. This was the curriculum that the British colonial governments used to train Nigerians during colonization.

The Third Unit – The 6-3-3-4 & 9-Years Basic Education National Curriculum – Which is this post

The third unit of part two discusses the truly national curricula. It began by discussing the curriculum of the National Curriculum Conference. Then the third unit proceeded to 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum. The third unit concluded by discussing the latest edition of the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum.

Part Three – Curriculum, Syllabus, Scheme of Work, Unit of Work plan and Lesson plan

In the last part, I distinguished between curriculum, syllabus, course of study, scheme of work, Unit of Work plan and lesson plan. This last part addresses the major confusion issues between the terms.

The Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum

The Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum traces its origin to the 6-3-3-4 national curriculum. Consequently, I began this article with the 6-3-3-4 national curriculum.

The 6-3-3-4 National Curriculum

In the first post, I discussed the National Curriculum Conference and the National Policy on Education. The conference was held between September 8 and 17, 1969. The decisions at the conference eventually led to the publication of the National Policy on Education (NPE).

The National Policy on Education (NPE)

The National Policy on Education has a broad curriculum – as we had it before the UBE. The broad curriculum aims at creating enough learning opportunity for all children, irrespective of gender, age, ability, class, interest, etc. The NPE also laid foundation for the 6-3-3-4 system of education.

Implementation of the National Policy on Education (NPE)

Although the NPE is the wish of all Nigerians in writing, its immediate implementation was truncated by the Nigerian Civil war.

Consequently, when normalcy was restored, the government – of the second republic – began implementing the provisions of the National Policy on Education. First, the NPE was revised in 1981 to reflect recent developments. The civilian regime – second republic, according to the revised policy, adopted education “as instrument par excellence for effecting national development”.

Launch of the 6-3-3-4 curriculum

After the revision of the NPE, the government officially launched the 6-3-3-4 system of education in September, 1982. The 6-3-3-4 system of education means stipulated that the nation’s education shall cover six years of primary education, three years of junior secondary, three years of senior secondary and four years of tertiary education.  Accordingly, suitable curriculum was developed for the system of education.

Aims and Objectives of the 6-3-3-4 Curriculum

The 6-3-3-4 curriculum was the direct product of the National Education Policy – which itself resulted from the National Curriculum Conference. This was the product of the yearnings and aspiration of the native people. The primary objective of the 6-3-3-4 was to realize a self-reliant and self-sufficient nation.

Content of the 6-3-3-4 Curriculum

The 6-3-3-4 system emphasized academic and pre-vocational education. As I mentioned earlier, the curriculum was broad/comprehensive. It contained all the subjects as in the UBE edition – even more since each subject stood on their own unlike the UBE that compacted some subjects. As a result of the extensive length of subjects, the curriculum divided the subjects into two – the core and the elective subjects.

This also aligns with the 1980 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCE). In addition, vocational subjects were included and language policy changed. Originally, the plan was that continuous assessment would serve as the method of assessing the learners at the junior level while state and national examination would be used at the senior school level.

Implementation of the 6-3-3-4 Curriculum

The government launched the 6-3-3-4 curriculum in September, 1982. However, when the curriculum was launched; many states were not prepared to implement it – remember the regionalization of education since Macpherson regime.

The politics of the time did not permit uniform implementation. Specifically, while the federal schools and schools in the states that was controlled by the ruling party began the implementation; schools in the states that was controlled by the opposition party did not commence implementation.

It was until the second military era in 1983 that the 6-3-3-4 curriculum was nationally implemented. Hence, the curriculum remained in use for nearly twenty years. Notwithstanding, the implementation was not hitch free. More so, the actualization of the objectives was not realized.

Experts attributed the ineffectiveness of the curriculum to a number of issues. Two major of such issues are: first, was hurried planning and financing. The curriculum was not test-run in small scale before national implementation. The second complaint was that the curriculum contained too many subjects. The later became a major reason for revision of subsequent national curriculum.

The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC)

The second military era between 1983 and 1999 pursued a lot education policy. In 1988, the government merged Nigerian Educational Research Council; Comparative Education Study and Adaptation Centre; Nigerian Book Development Council; and Nigerian Language Centre to establish the Nigerian Education Development Council (NERDC).

One of the major mandates of the NERDC was to develop, review and enrich curriculum at all levels. Thenceforth, the development and revision of the national curriculum become the duty of the NERDC.

I will in the next section discuss the subsequent curriculum.

The 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

In an unforgettable event in the history of the nation, the military ceded power to civilian democratic rule. This ushered in a new era national aspirations and objectives. Accordingly, the government piloted new educational policies to meet the present aspirations and expectations.

A Respond to Global Development: Education for All

At the time a major development in the global education community was the Education for All (EFA) campaign of the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The EFA was a part of the plans to actualize the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The World Education Forum adopted the EFA in April of 2000. It aimed that all children would receive primary education by 2015.

Nigeria, being a member of the United Nations since 1960, launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in September 30, 1999. Another – a most important – reason for the UBE programme was to build a new and better Nigeria that aligns to democratic principles.

The Aims and Objectives of the UBE Programme

The UBE emphasized formal basic education for all Nigerian children.  The objectives of the programme are:

  • developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and strong commitment to its vigorous promotion;
  • the provision of free compulsory Universal Basic Education for every Nigerian child of school-going-age;
  • reducing drastically dropout rate; improved relevance and efficiency;
  • catering for the learning needs of young persons who for one reason or the other, had to interrupt their schooling;
  • Ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy; numeracy; manipulative communicative and life skills as well as the ethnical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning.

Scope of the UBE Programme

The UBE Programme did not cover tertiary education. Instead, it targeted education from Early Years through the first nine years of schooling – i.e. primary and junior secondary education. By lumping the first nine years of school – which is was Primary 1-6 and Junior Secondary School 3 in the 6-3-3-4 system – the UBE programme defined a new system of education for the nation. – the 9-3-4 system. The 9-3-4 system of education under the UBE programme means that there are three levels of formal education – the first level being the first nine years comprising Grade 1 through Grade 9; the second level being the 3 years of senior secondary school; and the last level being the 4 years of tertiary education.

The new system of education required a new curriculum. This curriculum is the 9-Year Basic Education curriculum.

Implementation of the UBE Programme

Though the UBE programme was launched in 1999, it did not begin implementation immediately. One of the reasons for was that there no adequate infrastructure – including appropriate curriculum.

The National Council on Education

As a result of the above, the National Council on Education was ignited to action. The National Council on Education is the highest decision making body in the education sector in the country. Its composed of members of Federal and State Ministry of Education, Education Agencies and Parastatals, Professional Bodies and Examination bodies.

2004 Education Act

In order to give more weight to the UBE programme, and also for the educational needs of the time, the government of Nigeria enacted the Free Education Act, 2004. This Act mandated all state governments to implement the UBE programme; parents to ensure that their wards compulsorily complete the UBE programme; and local government to ensure parents’ compliance with the directive. Most importantly, the Act officially restructured the school system to the 9-3-4 style.

Also pursuant to attaining the UBE objectives, the National Policy on Education was revised. The new structure was also enshrined in the revised National Policy on Education. The new structure invalidated First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) in favour of the Basic Education Certificate (BEC).

The 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

With the new Education Act, the question of structure, finance and compliance was settled. Hence, to perfect arrangements for implementation of the scheme, NERDC developed the required curriculum. Between January and March, 2005; the NERDC convened a meeting of experts. NERDC also organized several workshops to the 9 – Year Basic Education curriculum. The NERDC did this by revising and merging the Primary and Junior secondary curricula of the 6-3-3-4 system.

In December 25, 2005; NERDC presented the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum to the NCE at its meeting in Ibadan. The National Council on Education approved the curriculum. Subsequently, the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum was introduced into Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in September, 2008 –  for effective implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme.

Content of the 9 – Year Basic Education Curriculum

The 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum reflects depth, appropriateness and interrelatedness of the curricula subjects. Also emerging issues which covered value orientation, peace and dialogue – including human rights education, family life/HIV and AIDS education, entrepreneurship skills, etc. – were infused into the relevant subjects of the 9-Year Basic Education curriculum.

In all, the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum had 20 subjects. These include:

  1. Mathematics
  2. English Language
  3. Basic Science
  4. Basic Technology
  5. Computer Studies
  6. Agricultural Science
  7. Home Economics
  8. Social Studies
  9. Civic Education
  10. Business Studies
  11. Cultural and Creative Arts
  12. Nigerian Language (Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba)
  13. Arabic
  14. French

Distribution of Subjects under the Basic Education Curriculum

Although the BEC contained 20 subjects, not all levels of the 9-Year school are expected to offer all the subjects at once. The curriculum divided the 9 years in three:

  1. Lower Basic – Primary 1 to 3 – same as Grade 1 to Grade 3
  2. Middle Basic – Primary 4 to 6 – Grade 4 to 6
  3. Upper Basic – JSS 1 to 3 – Grade 7 to 9.

The subjects are distributed such that:

  • Lower Basic offered a minimum of 11 subjects and a maximum of 12.
  • Middle Basic offered a minimum of 12 subjects and a maximum of 13.
  • The Upper Basic offered a minimum of 13 subjects and a maximum of 15.

The End of the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

As I have stated earlier, one of the major objectives of the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum was to ensure that learners acquire useful knowledge, skills and values for participating effectively anywhere in the world.

The first batch of the JSS students under the BEC completed their programme in June, 2011. Also, the Primary school pupils who will be products of the Basic Education curriculum are expected to enter JSS one by September of 2014. This necessitated evaluation of the curriculum to identify loopholes and how to make it better.

With respect to this, educators provided feedbacks on the curriculum – recommending amendments. Key of the amendments that the feedbacks recommended included repetitions of concepts – both at the same and different classes and levels – and also outdated contents. Other issues that led to the discontinuation of the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum are that:

  • The presidential summit on education which was held in 2010 identified that the curriculum was overloaded in term of the number of subjects
  • There were new national and global issues that changed the educational needs of the time – including issues of Security Education, Disaster Risk Reduction Education and issues of Climate Change.
  • Issues of modern teaching and learning methods emerged in the global education community – which the national curriculum had to incorporate.

As a result of these issues with the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum, decision reached at the Presidential Summit on the Restoration of Education in Nigeria held in October 2010 directed the NERDC to revise the BEC. The NERDC are to revise the BEC in line with – an earlier – Presidential Task Team Report on Education, and also taking into cognizance international best practices and global competitiveness, without compromising the quality of the school curriculum.

In the last section of this post below, I discuss the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum.

The New Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

The New Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum is the Nigerian National curriculum that came into existence in 2013 which schools are currently using now.

The problems of the 9-Year BEC that I mentioned earlier occasioned the new Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum. In addition to the issues, there was new national objectives that the education had to target. That was the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).

The National Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS)

Recall that the government of Nigeria launched the UBE programme in demand of the new system of government – in addition to being a respond to global Education for All (EFA) campaign of the UNESCO.

After one democratic administration (1999 – 2003), the needs of the nation have changed. Pre-1999, the desire of Nigerians – as well as the wish of the rest of the world for them – was a peaceful democratic regime and the access to basic education. Nigerians were tired of the violent military regime and sort alternative. They celebrated at the transition from military to democracy in 1999.

However, by the time the first democratic tenure elapsed – when the UBE programme was just beginning to take hold – the country had begun to experience the inevitable aftermath of the long years plunged by military regime. There was poverty in the land, unemployment was on the rise and the values of the citizenry began to wade.

The new (second democratic) government of the day – though the same as the previous – swung into action. To remedy the impending national issues of the day; it launched the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) on 30th March, 2004.

Objectives of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS)

The NEEDS had five major targets which include:

  • Value re-orientation
  • Poverty Eradication
  • Job Creation
  • Wealth Generation
  • Using Education to Empower the Citizenry

These objectives – just as any other national economic strategy – are hinged on education.

The Vision 2020

Four years into implementing the UBE programme – as the launched of the BEC occasioned – alongside the NEEDS, Nigeria began experiencing a growth turnaround. Conditions seem right for launching onto a path of sustained and rapid growth. Then then Governor of Central Bank saw reasons with the Goldman Sachs projections of Nigeria. Both the CBN governor and the Goldman Sachs were optimistic that Nigeria could be among the top 20 largest economy by 2020.

The government consequently launched the vision 2020 project in 2008/9. Education, being an instrument par excellence for effecting national development in Nigeria – as the revised NPE of the second republic puts it – has to see to the actualization of the vision 2020.

The problems of BEC, the objectives of the NEEDS and that of Vision 2020 compounded to induce a compulsory curriculum review. The result of that review is the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum.

Objectives of the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

The new 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum primarily targets the objectives of the NEEDS and vision 2020. These objectives include:

  • Value re-orientation
  • Poverty Eradication
  • Job Creation
  • Wealth Generation
  • Using Education to Empower the Citizenry
  • Contributing to make Nigeria one of the top 20 largest economy in the world by year 2020

Content and Structure of the New Revised 9 – Year Basic Education Curriculum

The new 9-Year Basic Education curriculum revised the BEC from 20 subjects to a maximum of ten (10) subjects. The stakeholders that participated in the curriculum review did through a conceptual framework. The framework is such that they identified and grouped related subjects in the BEC, thereby achieving reduction in subject listings. Find the grouping in the table below:

Grouping of Subjects in Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum
Composite subject
Constituent subjects
Basic Science and Technology (BST)Basic Science, Basic Technology, Physical and Health Education and Information Technology
Religion and National Values (RNV)CRS/IRS, Social Studies, Civic Education and Security Education
Prevocational Studies (PVS)Agriculture and Home Economics

 

After the grouping, the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum has 10 subjects. The curriculum structures the subjects thus:

  • Lower Basic – minimum of 6 subjects and maximum of 7
  • Middle Basic – minimum of 7 subjects and maximum of 8
  • Upper Basic – minimum of 9 and maximum of 10

The final subject distribution is as in the table below:

Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum Subjects
LOWER BASIC

Primary 1 – 3

MIDDLE BASIC

Primary 4 – 6

UPPER BASIC

JSS 1 – 3

1.      English Studies1.      English Studies1.      English Studies
2.      Mathematics2.      Mathematics2.      Mathematics
3.      Basic Science and Technology  (BST)3.      Basic Science and Technology (BST)3.      Basic Science and Technology (BST)
4.      Cultural and Creative Arts (CCA)4.      Cultural and Creative Arts (CCA)4.      Cultural and Creative Arts (CCA)
5.      Religion and National Values (RNV)5.      Religion and National Values (RNV)5.      Religion and National Values (RNV)
6.      One Nigerian Language6.      Prevocational Studies (PVS)6.      Prevocational Studies (PVS)
7.      Arabic (Optional)7.      French7.      French
 8.      One Nigerian Language8.      Business Studies
 9.      Arabic (Optional)9.      One Nigerian Language
  10.  Arabic (Optional)

 

Implementation of the New 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

The systematic implementation of the revised curriculum commenced from Primary 1 and JSS 1 in September, 2013. Systematic implementation means that only these two – beginning – classes started using it while the other classes – Primary 2 to 6 and JSS 2 and 3 – continued with the Basic Education curriculum. The systematic implementation allowed for the gradual phasing out of the earlier BEC in subsequent years.

All primary classes ought to be using the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum since 2019. Similarly, all Junior secondary schools in Nigeria ought to be using the Revised 9 – Year Basic Education Curriculum since 2016.

The Latest Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum

I noted from the beginning of the article how someone sheepishly sold a purported 2020 edition of the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum to a school owner.

I am not aware of any 2020 edition of the Revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum. The latest edition you can get anywhere – as at the time of writing this post – is the 2017 edition.

2017 Edition of the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum

In 2016 there was outcry over the inclusion of Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Studies as a substituent of RNV.

The protesters agitated for Religious Studies to be made standalone subjects. Consequently, at its 62nd Meeting, presided over by the Honourable Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu, held at the Afficent Events Centre, Nassarawa, GRA in Kano from Monday 24th- Friday 28th July, 2017; the National Council on Education ratified the separation of Religious Studies into standalone subjects. This means that Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies was approved to be separated from Religion and National Values. There was no new curriculum neither of CRS nor IRS.

However, there was an addition to the Revised 9-Year BEC. Also at the meeting in Kano, the National Council on Education ratified the return of History into the national curriculum. Consequently, NERDC developed History curriculum for Grade 1 through 9.

The implementation of the History curriculum commenced in September 2019. Hence it is mandated for all schools to acquire and begin the implementation of the curriculum as well as to teach CRS/IRS as separate subjects. As at today, all schools ought to be teaching History already.

Conclusion

This post on the Nigerian 9-Year Basic Education National Curriculum ends the part of the 3-series post – on the Nigerian National Curriculum.

With the end of this post, you should now be able to:

  • Define or explain the term curriculum without mincing words;
  • State the components of a curriculum;
  • Confidently participate in curriculum talk within the school workspace environment;
  • Choose the right curriculum for your school;
  • Mention and differentiate the contents of the editions of the Nigerian National Curriculum; and
  • Authenticate any curriculum that someone tries to sell to you.

These however, are not all there is to curriculum. For when you talk about curriculum; other terms like syllabus and Scheme of Work comes to mind. Not only do some educators find these terms confusing, but confusion becomes more when terms like unit plan and lesson plan comes to the discussion.

Authoritatively differentiating them is the focus of the last part of the series on curriculum. Check back frequently for this post.

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