This post, Meaning of Quality Education in Nigeria – in brief

This post, meaning of quality education in Nigeria, is one of the fundamental principles – in the Nigerian education reformation. To us – the education reformers at LeadinGuides – the meaning of quality education in Nigeria is the same as true or substantive education. Hence, quality education in Nigeria is the end target of the reformation campaigns.

This post clearly explains the meaning of quality education in Nigeria. It is a post for all education stakeholders in Nigeria – especially those that are pushing for a change. With vivid understanding of the meaning of quality education in Nigeria, school owners and administrators will set better clear-cut targets; teachers will know where and when to throw the weight of their lessons; parents/guardians will be able to guide and support their children/wards better; and students will be able to prioritise their studies.

Introduction to meaning of quality education in Nigeria

The phrase, quality education is a common expression in our daily conversation. Most of the time, we use the phrase to imply the vague rather than the exact meaning. Nobody really cares actually, except now that it matters because we want change.

Every school owner will tell you their school provide quality education. And when they do this most times, they show the excellent results of their students/graduates. This is despite the fact that we know the ugly secret of how come about the excellent result in some cases. Even parents want quality education for their children.

But what is the meaning of quality education? How do you know if a school provide quality education? As a school administrator, how do you ensure quality education in your school?

Meaning of quality education in Nigeria

Seeing the topic meaning of quality education in Nigeria, one may ask why Nigeria? Is the meaning of quality education in Nigeria different from the meaning in another country?

To answer these, I recall the words of Dr Samuel Amaele of the university of Ilorin – “Since education is a cultural activity of the people, it means that every cultural system has its own education process. The yardstick for measuring quality and standard varies from culture to culture.” You can therefore see that since “the yardstick for measuring quality and standard varies from culture to culture”; the meaning of quality education also varies from culture to culture.

In my post on the new 9-Year Basic Education curriculum, I showed how the kind of education that a people provide depends on their education needs. Hence, the meaning of quality education in Nigeria may not be exactly the same as the meaning of education in Germany.

That notwithstanding, the world is a global village. And with share many things in common with other peoples of the world. Therefore, the meaning of quality education in Nigeria conforms to the global definition.

Global definition

Now someone may ask, “is there any global definition of quality education?” The technical answer to this question is yes.

On September 25, 2015; the United Nations (UN) – which is the largest global organization in the world – ratified the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on. The goal of the SDGs is to serve as benchmarks for every nation to ensure global prosperity – eradication of poverty, protection of the planet, and strengthening of universal peace and freedom.

You can read the full statement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development here. The SDG goal number 4 is the SDG on education. And this SDG goal specifically defines what the countries of the world have agreed upon (ratified) as the target in education.

The SDG Goal 4

The SDG goal number 4 reads – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Now the phrase “quality education”, which is the major target of the SDG on education raised some questions. Remember I said earlier that the meaning of education varies from culture to culture? Well, that came into play when UN focused the limelight on quality education. Some people argued that quality education is simply literacy and numeracy. But others measure quality education by the result from tests.

This argument became one of the reasons to bring educators from all over the world to the discussion desk. Two of the largest education groups in the world, the ASCD – Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – and the IE – Education International lead an extensive discussion on the matter. The ASCD has members (educators) from more than 128 countries while the IE has teachers’ union from 172 countries. These two joined represent over 30 million educators from across the globe.

In February of 2017, the two groups released a joint statement in which they defined quality education without mincing words. In fact, the statement did not only define quality education but also comprehensively discusses it. See the definition below:

A quality education is one that focuses on the whole child—the social, emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive development of each student regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. It prepares the child for life, not just for testing.

The last statement there is the summit of the global definition of quality education. So in summary, we can say that quality education is the education that prepares a child for life, not just for testing. This is quality of education on the global scale.


What is the meaning of quality education in Nigeria?

Quality education in Nigeria for any given level is the education that meets the performance standard set for that level in attainment of the national education goals and in line with recent developments in the global education community.

Three important components of this meaning of quality education in Nigeria are:

  • standard for the level;
  • national education goals
  • recent developments in global education community

National Education Goals

This is the major component that distinguishes the meaning of education in Nigeria from elsewhere. Education is a fundamental social tool in any national system. The heroes of Nigeria’s liberation struggle saw education in Nigeria is the number one tool for effecting national development. Therefore, in the very first truly Nigerian conference after Nigeria’s independence; Nigerians of all ethnic groups, regions, classes and walks of life professed and ratified this in writing. This, they documented in the national policy on education.

Stating that “education as an instrument par excellence for effecting national development” means that whatever development the country seeks; must pass through the tunnel of education. This is another way of saying, “if our education system is effective, the country will develop as we want”.

Consequently, in view of the dream Nigeria of our founding fathers; they modelled (set goals for) the kind of education that is going to make that possible. These became the national goals of education. The goals are reviewed and expanded in line with current national development targets. The latest revision and expansion which occurred in 2004 – as a result of the country’s National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) – gave rise to the new national curriculum.

I discussed the Nigerian national curriculum in greater depths in an earlier post. The national education goals may be far-fetched for a non-education expert – or too large for us to measure its attainment. Therefore, suffice it simply for us to say that quality education in Nigeria at any level is one that attains the national education goals for that level.

Education Standards in Nigeria

The next component of the meaning of quality education in Nigeria is education standards. I just above that national education goals may be far-fetched for non-education expert – or that it is too large for us to measure its attainment. As a result, designated government agencies have the task of breaking the national education goals down into curriculum – the latest being the 2013/2017 Revised 9-Year Basic Education curriculum. In breaking down the national education goals into curriculum, the agencies set standards for the subjects and levels of education.

A standard is benchmark, level or target that is set by an authority for the subjects to achieve. Similarly, education standards are the established norms or targets that are set by authorized education agency/agencies or group(s) for players in education to achieve. There are three kinds of education standards. These include:

  • resource standards;
  • process standards; and
  • performance standards.

In the meaning of quality education in Nigeria, I noted that it is the kind of education that meet specifically, performance standards. Performance standards are the set goals or targets for what students should know, be able to do and character they should display at each level.

Apart from the agencies that set standards for the subjects and levels of education in Nigeria; there is also the UBEC which the law mandates to set standards specifically for the Basic Education levels. Section 9, sub-section (c) of The Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education and Other Related Matters Act, 2004 – which we now know as the UBE Act of 2004 – provided that the UBE Commission is to “prescribe the minimum standards for basic education throughout Nigeria in line with the National Policy on Education and the directive of the National Council on Education and ensure the effective monitoring of the standards”.

To a great extent, the UBEC has been up and doing in this special mandate. And while interested individuals can demand and acquire the minimum performance for basic education from them; the performance standards or targets that is set by the curriculum development agencies and the UBEC for each subject and grade level in Nigeria is not a suitable content for this post. Therefore, I shall here below state the general goals or targets set for each level of education in Nigeria.

General goals of each level of education in Nigeria

The National Policy on Education (2004) was specific on the general goals/objectives of primary, secondary and tertiary education in Nigeria. The policy gives about seven targets for each of the levels. These are as follows.

General goals of Primary education in Nigeria

The National Policy on Education (2004) stated the objectives of primary education are as follows:

  1. Inculcation of permanent literacy and numeracy and the ability to communicate effec
  2. The laying of a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking;
  3. Citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society.
  4. Character and moral training and the development of sound attitudes;
  5. Developing in the child the ability to adapt to his changing environment;
  6. Giving the child opportunity for developing manipulative skills that will enable him function effectively in the society within the limits of his capacity and;
  7. Providing basic tools for further educational advancement including preparation for trades and crafts of the locality.
General goals of secondary education in Nigeria

The broad goals of Secondary Education according to the National Policy on Education (2004) include, the preparation of the individual for:

  1. Useful living within the society and
  2. Higher education.

In specific terms, the objectives are to:

  1. Provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of a higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religion or ethnic background;
  2. Offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents,

opportunities and future roles;

  1. Provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades;
  2. Develop and promote Nigerian languages, art and culture in the context of world cultural heritage;
  3. Inspire its students with a desire for self-improvement and achievement of excellence;
  4. Foster national unity with an emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversity;
Goals of Tertiary Education in Nigeria

The goals of tertiary education, according to the National Policy on Education (2004:31) are to:

  • Contribute to national development through high level relevant manpower training.
  • Develop and inculcate proper values for the survival of the individual and society.
  • Develop The Intellectual Capability of individuals to understand and appreciate their local and external e
  • Acquire both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society.
  • Promote and encourage scholarship and community service.
  • Forge and cement national unity, and to
  • Promote national and international understanding and interaction.

The National Policy on Education is broad in setting these goals. And we may need to break it down further for easy measurement. However, it is unquestionable that a careful study of these general goals of education in Nigeria will reveal that quality education in Nigeria remains far from being achieved in majority of the schools – primary, secondary and tertiary.

No person nor school should claim to offer quality education at any level of education until such as time as when s/he achieves the goals of education for that level.

Recent development in global education community

This is the last component of the meaning of quality education in Nigeria. Now you may ask, “why do we have to include this in our definition since the national education goals, the curriculum (standards) and the UBEC minimum performance standards for each grade level all take into consideration the recent development in global education community?”

Your guess is as good as mine – some reasonable parts of the Nigerian curriculum are outdated. But the curriculum contains the specific subject targets for each grade level. Therefore, the performance standards in these areas are also outdated. This is why anyone that claims or hopes to offer quality education in Nigeria must pursue the national education goals while at the same time independently aligning with recent developments in the global education community.

Conclusion of the meaning of quality education in Nigeria

In this post, we discussed the meaning of quality education in Nigeria. And we learned that the:

  • meaning of quality education in Nigeria somewhat conforms to the global definition of quality education.
  • Summary of the global definition of quality education is the education that wholesomely prepares a child for life, not just for testing – both for life and testing.
  • Meaning of quality education in Nigeria for any given level is the education that meets the performance standard set for that level in attainment of the national education goals and in line with recent developments in the global education community.

What this means for:

Ø  Students

Quality education is the only through education. Quality education is beyond test and exam results. It is about your whole being. It is not so much the school – everyone has their roles to play. But the role you play are the most important. They are many who graduated from school but without quality education. And their lives on the success grid is there to show for it. For your level, look through the goals again.

Make the personal decision to earn quality education for yourself. We are here to guide you, if you need assistance. Fill this form, select Instructor-Led Training and enter Personal Development in the subject, let’s begin this journey of change.

Ø  Parents

What this means for parents is that if you seek quality education for your child, you must look beyond the result many schools advertise to you. Majority of those results are made up. Watch our space for leading guides articles. For a personalize and guidance for your child, you should consider our personal development session for students. Fill the little form on the left-side of the page and we will take it up from there.

Ø  Teachers

You are the ultimate individual for delivering quality education. Lives are in your hands. The quality of your service will add or reduce from these lives. You should settle for nothing less than the highest quality and professionalism at your point of duty – from adequately planning the tiniest bit of your lessons to the most effective delivery, guiding supervision, accurate evaluation and an encouraging feedback. Learn, unlearn and relearn. Our lesson notes will get you on the way – recommend it to your head if necessary. And our Continuous Professional Training will put you on the platter of expertise and professionalism. Fill our service request form, select Instructor-Led Training and enter Continuous Professional Development in the subject.

  • School owners/administrators – I discussed in an earlier post that the people approach is the best way to sustainable growth. Quality education is contagious, leaves a lasting impression on the student, the parents and the teachers. A school these people are proud of, is a school that will stand the test of time. Quality education is hinged on quality teachers (class delivery), quality tool and quality environment. Do not stop trying your best to get the best of these components – that you can afford. And you will ensure and insure, not only quality education in your school but also sustainable growth. Our lesson notes are good for classrooms and our smart classroom facilities are choices of excellent tools.

Ø  Government (education agency officials)

Too often we forget that education, and all of its service, is no less important than the surgeon and the surgical team in the theatre. Not the slightest error by any member of the team – be it the surgeon himself, the anaesthesiologist, the nurse anaesthetist, operating room nurse, surgical tech, residents or medical students, physician assistant or even the medical device company representative – can be condoned without endangering the live on the stage. You are a member of a team whose operations affect not just a live but hundreds to thousands of lives and the society at large. The little deliberate oversights out of leniency and those of your colleagues add up to disaster in the sector & the society – lives unprepared to be lived, destinies aborted, innovations barred, development stunted, standard of living reduced and all forms of social vices propelled. Government engagements are the peoples’ trust and assignment. Fight your good course and see nature reward you.

Ø  All of us

Reformation is our only way left to reclaim quality education for the majority of Nigerians. Indeed, there are schools offering quality education in Nigeria today. But we know the estimate of the percentage. We also know these schools are not readily accessible to the majority of Nigerian students. The education that will transform the Nigerian society is that in which the majority is quality education. Participation in the Nigerian education reformation begins with the personal decision to deliver and pursue quality (true) education, stand up against educational malpractices and to advocate for the needed change.

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