On Monday 6th September 1976, the Universal Free Primary Education Scheme (UPE) was launched by General Olusegun Obasanjo, the then head of the Nigerian military administration at a simple ceremony at the Oke-Suna Municipal Primary School in Lagos. The decision by the then Federal Military Government to start universal primary education in September 1976 and make it compulsory in 1979 was a clear demonstration of good intention of the government as well as in keeping with the decision of the meeting of the Addis-Ababa meeting of African Ministers of Education (1961) which expressed the desire for African countries to achieve universal primary education by 1980.

            The concept of universal free education stems from the realization that education is not only an investment in human capital, but also a prerequisite as well as a correlate for economic development. It was a scheme that was indispensable for progressive leadership and enlightened society, it aimed at establishing equal educational opportunity for all children of school age in Nigeria and to gradually eliminate illiteracy and ignorance in Nigerian society.
            The Universal Primary education was perhaps the most gigantic educational enterprise of the Federal Government of Nigeria. When the- scheme was started in 1976/77, session eight million pupils were enrolled in the primary schools throughout the federation. By 1980/81 session, the figure had risen to fifteen million as provided in the next table.
            In   preparation   for the   Universal   Primary   Education,   the Federal Government had to take to certain measures of teacher education. The training of primary school teachers took the form of the following programmes.
5     year course for primary school leavers.
3     year course for S.75 and Modern School Leavers.
2    year course for Grade III teachers and candidates with full secondary Education.
1 year course for holders of West Africa School Certificate.

            Like other sectors of the national economy, primary education in Nigeria faced many problems and stresses. Such problems range from inadequacy of teaching personnel, country.
            The problems of teaching personnel ranged from teacher quantity, quality, incentive and self-image to the societal image of the teacher. It was evident with the inception of the U.P.E. programme that the available teachers could not cope with the staggering number of pupils. This factor led to the merger of classes under single teacher thus leading to a disproportionate teacher to pupil ratio. The problems that relate to teacher incentive cannot be regarded as less important. The problems of education today are many. A large number of teachers are not committed to the work. The attrition rale of the leaching profession in alarming. The poor salary of teachers makes some teachers as temporary income measure merely for economic survival and not because, they are committed to the job. It is therefore necessary for government to provide better teacher incentive by was of improved salary, housing allowance, transport allowance, vehicle loan as well as avenues for staff development programmes for primary school teachers.
            The infrastructural problems are so glaring in many stales of the country. The acute shortage of classrooms had fed to the two or three shift school arrangements in some states. Other places have had to hold classes I make shift structures including churches, mosques, sheds, town halls or under tree shades. Another problem is the erection of sub-standard buildings which collapse after a short time. Such problems develop from the performance of in-experienced and inefficient indigenous contractors. They are problems which are not unsurnmounlable and should be regarded as part of Nigeria's formative experience.  
            The government should ensure that the constructions of school building contracts are awarded to reputable construction firms the problem of financing primary education is a fundamental one. The Government was initially set to shoulder entirely the W.P.E expenses but later discovered that it was not feasible. Later, primary education expenses were shared between the Federal Government, State Governments and Local Government the Federal and State Governments usually met these obligations, but some local governments sometimes did not. The problem was worsened the tendency on the part of the Local Governments to divert educational funds to other areas. The effect of the problem was that adequate teachers were not employed, equipment were not provided and text-books were not available. Following the introductionof the 1979 constitution the Federal Government ceased to have direct responsibility for primary education. The Federal Government gave only 15% block gram to Local Governments while the State and Local Governments assumed the responsibility for primary education. This action and greatly affected negatively the development of primary education in Nigeria.
            In the area of community participation, the fact remains that community participation has a salutary effect on these plan, and those who implement the programme. Success in our educational endeavour cannot be achieved without a clear programme of public information and mass support. Under the pressure of public opinion, hoped that registration of pupils would be greater, contractors would perform better, publishers and booksellers would work over-time, finance ministry would provide funds faster, industrial and commercial communities would play their role in the growth and development of primary education in Nigeria.
In the area of curriculum development, there is no doubt that a great deal of work has been done, but there is still room for improvement. The Federal and State Governments should set up Local Book and Materials Production centres. Such centres would cater for the development and production of text-books, well as instructional materials including audio-visual aids.
            There is equally the need to revamp the inspectorate division of the Ministries of education. Inspection of primary schools is ineffective today because of the few personnel to handle the task. Inspectorate division should be expanded and personnel trained to ensure that supervision of education is adequately delivered at the door steps of the local schools.

Secondary Education
            The development of Secondary education since independence was influenced by a number of factors. In the first place, the expansion in primary education led to a greater demand for secondary education. Secondly was the decision of the governments to implement the recommendations of the Ashby Commission. Thirdly, Nigeria was implementing the decision of the African States at the Addis Ababa Conference. Fourthly, the Dike and the Banjo Commissions had been critical of the content and method of secondary school curricula in the Eastern and Western Regions respectively and had recommended improvements.
            The most popular secondary education was the grammar school type which was a five year programme (before the implementation of the new system the Curriculum was English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Religious, Knowledge, Fine Art, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and French.
            The comprehensive secondary school type was taken as the answer to the criticisms against purely literary and academic secondary schooling. A model at Aiyetoro near Abeokuta and another at Port Harcourt were set up as pilot projects. The Aiyeloro Comprehensive High School which was heavily financed by the Ford Foundation and staffed with Americans and Nigerians was set up so as to incorporate some of the features of secondary grammar and secondary technical education. It was planned to contribute towards meeting the manpower requirements of Nigeria and through its unique/structure and programme, assist the social, political and philosophical development of Nigerian pupils. Apart from the basic arts and science subjects the comprehensive high school offered courses in: Economics, Accounts, Typing and Shorthand, Business Methods, Cookery, Needle Work, Agriculture, Applied Electronics, Metal Work, Technical Drawing and Fine Art.

Federal Government Colleges
            The Kings College, Lagos founded in 1909 was the oldest Federal Government Secondary School in Nigeria. The Kings College catered for the education of; boys while Queen's College Yaba. Lagos founded in 1927 catered for girls. After independence, the federal government set up three regions namely Okposi (East) Ward (West) and Sokoto (North). The intentions ,of the Federal Government for setting up the Federal Colleges were two fold. Firstly, to serve as model schools and secondly, to foster Nigerian Unity by bringing together, at'their formative years, children from different parts of the country and educating them under the same roof. In 1973 Federal Government Colleges were established each  at bnugu (to replace: Okposi) Maiduguri, Ikot-bkpene, Owerri, Kaduna, liorin, Odogbolu, Jos, Port-Harcourt and Kano. 1974, nine more colleges (all for girls) were established at Oyo, Abuloma, Bida, Calabar, Benin City, Bauchi, Bakori, NeW Bussa and Kazaure. In 1975, those at Gboko and Ijanikin (Lagos) were flhlfihlifihfirl.1077, ninm milages wem founderl a I A?aro( Onilqha, Poliskum, Okigwe, Ido-Ani, Akure and Ogbomoso. In 19/0 more Federal Colleges were established at Sagamu and Wukari. In 1979. Colleges were founded at Yola, Minna, Ugwolawo and Gusau. In 1980, two colleges were built at Abuja, one for boys and the other for girls.
Higller Education
            The development of university in Nigeria came in the wake of-the Asquith Commission and the Elliot Commission both in 1943. In 1948, the University College Ibadan was established as a University College of London and continued in this status till 1963 when it became a full-fledged University and was renamed the University of Ibadan. The University of Nigeria Nsukka, patterned after the Land Grant Universities of the United States of America, was established in October 1961 as a full university awarding its own degrees. The initiative for the establishment of the University of Nigeria Nsukka came from the then Government of Eastern Nigeria. This was followed by three other universities all established in October 1962 which were outcomes of the Ashby Commission Report of 1960. These were Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the University of Lagos and the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo .University). It is important to note that at this lime, Nigeria .consisted-.politically of three regions (North, East and West) and the federal Territory of Lagos The effect of the location of the Universities was that in addition to the University College Ibadan each of the political units now had a University.
            Subsequently, increases in the number of universities in the country have followed closely increases in the number of political units created. Thus in 1967, Nigeria was reconstituted into 12 states instead of the original 4, (The mid-west Region had been created in 1963). By 1977 the number of Universities had increased to 13, tile eight new ones being University of Jos (1971) University of Benin (1973) University of Calabar (1973), University of llorin (1976) Bayero University kano (1977), University of Sokoto (1977), University of Maiduguri (1977) and University of Port-Harcourt (977).
            In 1976, Nigeria was again reconstituted into 19 slates instead of 12.  Another significant political event was the return of the country to civilian rule in   1979 after 13 years (1966-1979) of military rule.  The 1979, constitution transferred the’ University education from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list. This meant    that,    apart    from    the    Federal    Government,    State Governments who wished could establish their own universities as was the practice before 1975.    the military administration had earlier made all the thirteen older universities, federal universities. Thus, between 1979 and 1981, the following state universities emerged.  
·        Bendel State University - Ekpbma
·        Anambra State University of Technology - Enugu
·        Imo State University - Ekiti
·        Ondo State University -Ado Ekiti .                 
·        Ogun State University - Ago-lwoye.                    
            Rivers Stale University of Science and Technology, Port-Harcourt Cross-River State University, Uyo. Lagos State University, ijanikin.
The period 1981 in 1985 witnessed the founding of universities of technology. In 1901/82 session. University of Technology at Bauchi Makurdi and Owerri took off. Those at Yola and Akure took off in 1982/83. in 1903/04, those at Abeokuta and Minna were opened. Though in October IJ-L84, four of the Federal Universities of technology- Bauchi, Yola. Makurdi and Abeokuta were merged with Older Universities; they have since then regained their autonomy.
            Students' enrolments at the universities    increased astronomically   over   the   years.   The   population   of   university" students which was 3.601 in 1962/63 with only five universities rose to well over 92.116 (excluding those in state universities) in 1982/83.
            Similar expansions have occurred in Colleges of education and Polytechnics. Much of these expansions have been on State initiative and again reflect an anticipation of expected explosion of secondary school leavers as well as the political need of distributing amenities to all constituencies.
            Two inevitable implications of these expansions are (1) the financial burden which is so high that some of the universities staff cannot adequately fulfill some of their statutory roles and (2) the shortage of academic staff. Perhaps an attempt to solving the problems above is the older of the National universities Commission for a rationalization of university programmes.
            The extent to which that would go in solving the problems of quality and relevance in the university education is yet to be determined.  
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