Nigerian educational system has gone through various developments and changes viz-a-viz curriculum issues. The dynamic nature of the curriculum process lead to the history of curriculum development for basic education in Nigeria. Analysis of the Nigerian education sector reveals the challenges of incoherence in policy Formulation and implementation. The selection and organization of curriculum content, curriculum implementation and evaluation, the development, distribution and use of teaching materials, and the relevance of the curriculum to the needs of society Therefore, the need for transformation in curriculum for all the educational levels becomes necessary.
COMPARISON BETWEEN COLONIAL PERIOD AND PRESENT PERIOD
The Missionary Curriculum, 1842-1882
The history of curriculum development in Nigeria was the arrival of the Christian Missions towards the end of the first half of the nineteenth century, followed closely by the Establishment of missionary schools and the teaching of the Four R's. From the time of their arrival from September 1842, until 1882, the Christian Missions alone controlled the school curriculum in Nigeria. They alone opened maintained and controlled schools. They alone formulated the objectives, content and methods of teaching the subjects included in the curriculum of those schools. Basically, the schools provided instructions in the four R's: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Religion (Fajana, 1969). Apart from Badagry, Abeokuta and Lagos, where the missionaries opened their first set of primary schools, there were also primary schools in Ijaiye, Ogbomosho, Ibadan and later across the Niger in Calabar, opened through the joint efforts of the Christian missions and the local communities.
The Early Curriculum/and The Impact of British Examining Bodies, 1882 - 1925 The year 1882 was a landmark in the history of education in Nigeria, a major trend in the development of the curriculum, for it was from that year that the government began to show interest in the development of the school curriculum when it passed an Education Act which provided for a Board of Education to control the development of education at all levels in English speaking West African Countries. However, it was not until 1887, when the first Nigerian Education Act was passed, that a separate Board of Education was constituted for Nigeria. Up to 1909, the only external examination available to Nigerian Grammar-School candidates remained that of the College of Preceptors of London. The first recorded success of Nigerian candidates in that examination was in 1892, when Michael Cole and Simon Pratt of the C. M. S. Grammar School, Lagos, passed the examination with First Class Certificate. In December 1910, one year after the opening of the first Government Secondary School (King's College, Lagos), the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (U.-C. L. E.S.) created a centre for its local examinations in Lagos. Thus, King's College, Lagos, led other grammar schools in Nigeria in presenting candidates for Cambridge Local examinations.
Phelps-Stokes and After, 1925 — 1952
The main observation of the Phelps-Stokes Commission was that education in Nigeria was not adapted to the needs of the people (Lewis, 1962). This was because there was too much emphasis on the academic curriculum. The Nigerians in general preferred the academic curriculum to the technical or agricultural one because the past generations of pupils and students following it had used their qualifications as a ladder to the Universities and other higher institutions of learning, and in effect as a passport for attractive white-collar jobs. The commission therefore recommended that education in Nigeria should be adapted to the real needs of the people. Thus, in subjects like History, Geography, Biology and the like, emphasis should be on African countries rather than on European countries.
W. A. E.C. To independence 1952-1960
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