The first primary school was established by the Methodist mission in the first half of the 19th century in Badagry. After the establishment of the first primary school in 1843, other primary schools were founded in other towns like Abeokuta and Ibadan in southwest Nigeria.
The primary school of 1843 was named Nursery of Infant Church. In 1845, it became St. Thomas’ Anglican Nursery and Primary School.
Now that we know of the first primary school in Nigeria which happen to have been established in southwest Nigeria, let’s take a look at the first primary school in Northern Nigeria.
Since the initial purpose of western education was to convert ‘pagans’ to Christianity, Northern Nigeria did not welcome western education until much later.
In the North, Islamic education flourish under the highly educated Islamic scholars.
In 1865, the Bishop Crowther LGA Primary School was established in Lokoja, Kogi State by the Anglican missionary. Not much has been written about this school so I can’t tell if it was a successful attempt in western education in Northern Nigeria.
In 1899, the British colonial government establish a government primary school in Lagos for the Muslim students as a result of their unwillingness to attend the missionary schools.
The primary school structure
Primary school education begins at the age of 4 for most of the Nigerian population. Nigeria follows the 6-3-3-4 system. This means 6 years of primary school, 3 years in Junior Secondary schools, 3 years in Senior Secondary School and 4 years at the tertiary institution.
In primary schools, students are taught mathematics, English language, Christian Religious Knowledge or Islamic knowledge studies, social studies, science and one of the three main indigenous languages (Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, or Igbo).
Scooper News also learnt that the end of the 6th year, primary school students are required to take the Common Entrance Examination in order to qualify for admission into any Federal or State Secondary schools. Private secondary schools and military-operated schools often require students to take their own entrance examinations as well.