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Education System of Nigeria


Types of higher education institutions:

Federal University

State University

University of Technology

University of Agriculture



School leaving and higher education credentials:

Senior School Certificate

West African GCE "O" Level

West African GCE "A" Level

National Diploma

Bachelor's Degree

Higher National Diploma

Bachelor Honours Degree

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Postgraduate Diploma

Master's Degree

Master of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy


Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 6

Age of exit: 15

Structure of school system:


Type of school providing this education: Primary School

Length of program in years: 6

Age level from: 6 to: 12

Junior Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Junior School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 12 to: 15

Certificate/diploma awarded: Junior School Certificate (JSSC)

Senior Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Senior Secondary School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: Senior School Certificate (SSSC)


Type of school providing this education: Technical Secondary School

Length of program in years: 6

Age level from: 12 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: Senior School Certificate (SSSC)

School education:

Primary education lasts for six years. Entrance to secondary education is based on an examination. Secondary education is divided into junior and senior secondary, and technical and vocational education. The Junior School Certificate is awarded after three years of junior school. The Senior School Certificate is awarded after three years of senior secondary education. It replaced the West African GCE "O" level in 1989. Pupils who complete junior secondary school are streamed into senior secondary school, technical college, out of school vocation training centre or an apprenticeship. Technical secondary education is offered in secondary commercial schools which offer six-year courses including academic subjects and specialization. At the end of the course, students may take the examinations for the Senior School Certificate. Vocational education produces low level manpower and is offered in technical colleges or business and engineering skills training centres. Technical colleges are the only alternative to senior secondary schools as a route to further formal education and training after junior secondary education. To enter university, students have to pass the University Matriculation examination (UME).

Higher education:

Higher education is provided by universities, polytechnics, institutions of technology, colleges of education (which form part of the universities and polytechnical colleges or are affiliated to these) and professional institutions. Universities can be established either by federal or state governments. Each university is administered by a Council and a Senate. Within the universities, the institutes and colleges are more or less autonomous.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Decree n.9, Education Amendment Decree Year: 1993

Academic year:

Classes from: Oct to: Jul

Long vacation from: 15 Jul to: 30 Sep

Languages of instruction: English

Stages of studies:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

Higher technical education is offered in technical colleges, polytechnics and colleges of education. They offer two-stage National Diplomas and Higher National Diplomas of two years' duration. The colleges also offer various Certificates in technology which may be obtained after one, two or three years. Students are expected to have at least one year industrial attachment after obtaining the National Diploma to proceed to the Higher National Diploma course. The Colleges of Education in this sector train technical teachers.

University level studies:

University level first stage: Bachelor's Degree:

First degree courses in Arts, Social Sciences and Pure Sciences are usually of four years' duration (three years for students holding good GCE "A" levels), whilst professional degrees tend to last for five years. Degree courses in Medicine and Dentistry last for six years. The Bachelor's Degree may be awarded as an Honours degree: students take either a single subject Honours degree course or combined Honours.

University level second stage: Master's Degree:

Master's Degree courses usually last for one year after the Bachelor's Degree but, increasingly, where the qualification depends on research, it becomes a two-year course.

University level third stage: Doctorate:

The Doctorate Degree is usually conferred two to three years after the Master's Degree. Some first generation universities require students to complete a Master of Philosophy degree before being admitted to the PhD programme.

Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Four years' post primary study at a grade 2 teacher training college leads to a Grade 2 Certificate/Higher Elementary Teacher's Certificate. Holders of the former Grade 3 Certificate may take an upgrading course to become grade 2 teachers. As from 1998, the Nigerian Certificate in Education conferred by colleges of education is required for teaching in primary schools.

Training of secondary school teachers

Holders of the Nigerian Certificate of Education may teach in junior secondary schools and technical colleges. Senior secondary school teachers are trained at the universities. They must hold the BEd or a Bachelors plus a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. Most students study for three years at an advanced teachers' college for the Nigerian Certificate of Education, which also gives access to university. As from 1998, no teacher with a qualification below this level will be able to teach in any school.

Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

Distance education is offered in Open Studies Centres of certain universities.

Lifelong higher education

Extension services are provided mainly in the area of Agriculture. In Education, vacation courses have become a very popular path for teachers wishing to obtain a Bachelor's or a Master's degree.


Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Ministry of Education

Head: Chinwe Nora Obaji, Minister




Ministry of State for Education

Head: Halima Tayo Alao, Minister

Federal Secretariat, PMB 146, Shehu Shagari Way-Maitama

Tel: +234(9) 523 2800

Fax: +234(9) 533 7839

WWW: http://www.fmegovng.org/

Role of governing body: Ministerial responsibility for Education at Secondary and Tertiary levels in Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Federal Government Colleges.

National Universities Commission

Head: Peter Okebukola, Executive Secretary

Aja Nwachukwu House, Plot 430 Aguiyi-Ironsi St., Maitama District PMB 237 Garki GPO

Tel: +234(9) 4133 176181

Fax: +234(9) 4133 250

EMail: enquiry@nuc.edu.ng

WWW: http://www.nuc.edu.ng

Role of governing body: Allocates funds to Federal universities; examines the curriculum so that it corresponds to professional requirements; develops university education.

Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities

PMB 12002
3, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island

Tel: +234(1) 261 2425

Role of governing body: Acts as coordinating body and offers advice to government and universities governing councils on matters of general concern.


Admission to non university higher education studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Senior School Certificate

Numerus clausus/restrictions:

For most fields of study as determined by the National Board for Technical Education and as conditioned by the availability of instructional facilities in different programmes in each institution.

Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Senior School Certificate

For entry to: Bachelor's degree

Name of secondary school credential required: West African GCE "A" Level

Minimum score/requirement: good grades allow for direct entry to universities

For entry to: Bachelor's degree

Name of secondary school credential required: West African GCE "O" Level

Minimum score/requirement: Credit passes in 5 subjects including English Language, Mathematics and Science.

For entry to: Bachelor's Degree

Alternatives to credentials: National Certificate of Education passes at Credit or Merit levels or Ordinary National Diploma at upper credit level.

Entrance exams required: Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) for all first Degrees. Good GCE 'A' level results give direct access to universities.

Numerus clausus/restrictions: For most fields as determined by the National Universities Commission and conditioned by availability of instructional facilities available in different programmes at the level of institution.

Other admission requirements: None

Foreign students admission

Definition of foreign student: Student who is not a citizen of Nigeria, where citizenship is defined in terms of being born in Nigeria after 1960, or both parents being Nigerian, and not being a citizen of another country.

Admission requirements: Foreign students should have qualifications equivalent to the General Certificate of Education in at least 5 subjects, after 6 years of secondary school. At postgraduate level, foreign students must have an appropriate first degree with upper second class honours. Those with a lower grade have to take admission exams.

Entry regulations: Resident permits required of ECOWAS Nationals. Visas and resident permits required of Nationals of other countries.

Health requirements: Certificate of medical fitness at Medical Centre of Institution

Application procedures:

Apply to individual institution for entry to: Post-Graduate Studies.

Apply to national body for entry to: First Degree Programmes.

Apply to:

Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB)

PMB 12748
11/13 Ojoro Road, IKOYI

Telex: 28708 JAMB NG

Application closing dates:

For non-university level (technical/vocational type) studies: 31 Mar

For university level studies: 31 Mar

For advanced/doctoral studies: 31 Mar

Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in home country (System of recognition/accreditation): Accreditation of Higher Vocational / Technical programmes in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education is performed by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE). The Quality Assurance and Research Development Agency (QAADAN) reviews higher education institutions programmes (PO Box 997, 75 Adisa Bashua Street off Adelabu Street Surelere, Lagos; Tel.: +234(1) 583-0108; +234(1) 8030-67652)

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

National Standing Committee for the Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications, Federal Ministry of Education

Head: S.A.B. Atolagbe, Director, E.S.S.

Administrative officer: S.O. Okunola, Deputy Director (E&A)

International relations: Marie Uko, Chief Educ. Officer (E&A)

Educational Support Services Department
Evaluation and Accreditation Division
Federal Secretariat Phase III
Shehu Shagari Way

Tel: +234(9) 31-41-215

Fax: +234(9) 31-41-215

Services provided & students dealt with: Deals with the broad principles and sets the criteria for the evaluation of foreign certificates and diplomas; receives and considers representations from aggrieved persons on the day-to-day evaluation carried out by the Evaluation and Accreditation Division of the Federal Ministry of Education.

Other information sources on recognition of foreign studies: Universities, the Nigerian Law School, etc. where each department often decides on the status of foreign credentials submitted by applicants.

Special provisions for recognition:

For the exercise of a profession: Access to Medicine, Pharmacy, Accountancy, Law and related professions is regulated by professional associations/societies. The associations/societies are supported by statutes and moderate qualifying examinations.

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in the African States

Year of signature: 1981

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: Universities calendars


National student associations and unions

National Association of Nigerian Students

Federal University of Technology
PO Box 1526
Imo State

Tel: +234(83) 233-974

EMail: root@futo.edu.ng

Health/social provisions

Social security for home students: No

Social security for foreign students: No

Foreign student social security provisions: None

Special student travel fares:

By road: No

By rail: No

By air: No

Available to foreign students: No

Student expenses and financial aid

Student costs:

Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 2000 (Naira)

Maximum: 8000 (Naira)

Foreign students tuition fees: Minimum: 6000 (Naira)

Maximum: 35000 (Naira)

Bodies providing information on student financial aid:

Scholarships Division, Federal Ministry of Education

Federal Secretariat, PMB 146, Shehu Shagari Way-Maitama

Tel: +234(9) 52-32-800

Fax: +234(9) 53-37-839

Deals with: Grants

Category of students: Commonwealth students.

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Nigerian Awards-Commonwealth Scholarships

Publisher: Federal Ministry of Education, Scholarships Division

Title: Study Abroad 2004-2005, 32nd Edition

Author: UNESCO

Publisher: UNESCO Publishing

Year of publication: 2003


Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: For the West African Senior School Certificate: 1-9

Highest on scale: A 1

Pass/fail level: P 8

Lowest on scale: F 9

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: For the Ordinary National Diploma (OND):GPA 3.50+ (Distinction; 3.00-3.49 (Upper Credit); 2.50-2.99 (Lower Credit); 2.00-2.49 (Pass)

Highest on scale: 3.50+(Distinction)

Pass/fail level: 2.00-2.49(Pass)

Lowest on scale: 2.00

Other main grading systems

For the Bachelor' degree: 1st class (70-100), 2nd class upper division (60-69), 2nd class lower division (50-59), 3rd class pass (40-49).


Data for academic year: 2002-2003

Source: Federal Ministry of Education and National Universities Commission, Abuja, 2003 (except for governing bodies, updated 2005)

Note on Higher Education Institutions: Also Federal and State Colleges of Education.

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