Evaluating The 6-3-3-4 System Of Education In Nigeria

By Okeogeoghene Edeku
THE Nigeria educational system is filled with successful and unsuccessful periods in the history of reforms from pre-independence to post-independence era. Someeducational revolutionary attempts were made to enhance national development. Such reforms includes the traditional system of education; Islamic system of education;Lugard Policy of Education (1914-19); Clifford’s Policy (1926); Elliot’s Commission Report (1945);Ashbly Commission Report (1960) and the National Policy on Education (1997) which gave birth to the 6-3-3-4 system of Education. All these educational reforms contained noble ideas that could bring the necessary transformation to the educational system in Nigeria.
Education is an investment that pays off any time anywhere. And in a world of crumbling economies and turbulent times, where investors spend sleepless
nights trying to figure out how their stocks are doing, investing in education becomes even more paramount. By investing in education, governments,
corporations, communities, NGOs and individuals can help prepare the youths for the challenges ahead. If children are really the leaders
of tomorrow, then it is time to start investing in them.
Education in Nigeria is based on a 6-3-3-4 system which was introduced in 1988 to replace the 6-5-4 system of education. The system was designed to bring functionality in the system by producing graduates that make use of their head, heart, and hands.
The 6-5-4 system of education was believed to serve the interests of the colonial masters. The system was meant to serve the interests of the colonial masters as it did not encourage science and technology, self-development and entrepreneurship.
The system placed more emphasis on the teaching of humanities. It was as a result of the short comings of the system that necessitated the introduction of the 6-3-3-4 system of education. The reason for the new system was to produce a free-and-democratic society, a just-and- egalitarian society, a united, strong and self-reliant nation, a great and dynamic economy and a land of bright opportunities for all citizens.
To actualize this system of education, the 6-3-3-4 system was structured into three years of Pre-Primary Education, six years of Primary Education, three years of Junior Secondary School (General and Pre-vocational), three years of Senior Secondary School (Vocation and General) and four years of Higher Education (Vocational). Actually, nursery education forms the first stage of the learning process in Nigeria but unfortunately, a lot of families still can’t afford to send their toddlers to nursery schools.
There are many factors militating against the actualization of the 6-3-3-4 system of education in Nigeria. First, the policy is silent on the management and administration of the Pre-Primary School Education component of the policy. Hence, it is not popular among the public primary schools as some private schools do not run it as conceived by the policy. Some private schools have Kindergarten class for one year and then Nursery 1 and 2 while others run Nursery 1to 3.
The Junior Secondary School Examination does not have a national outlook as the Senior Secondary School Examination has. Every state is left to conduct its own examination for its Junior Secondary Schools. Not all the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) participate in the examination conducted by the NECO. Besides, the drop- outs from the JSS are expected to acquire vocational trainings while those who have high cognitive skills will proceed to the Senior Secondary Schools.
Apart from the fact that the vocational centres are not there, most parents want their children to acquire university education at all costs, because of the undue emphasis placed on certificates in our society, whether they have the cognitive abilities or not. It is seen as a taboo that the child of a big shot is learning bricklaying or welding in a vocational centre. Invariably and unfortunately though, all the expected drop-outs find their ways into the Senior Secondary Schools and finally into the higher institutions.
This is the reason why certificates acquired by graduates in Nigeria lack integrity and credibility
both within and outside the country. This is also, the reason why universities in Nigeria have no place in the global university ranking.
The secondary school education in Nigeria has been democratized and over-politicized as a political
strategy. School enrolment is on the increase. Consequently, this has created more financial burdens for many state governments. The 6-3-3-4 system is an expensive project. Most public schools lack the necessary instructional and infrastructural facilities such as well- equipped laboratories and workshops, vocational
equipment, well stocked school libraries, qualified teachers, technical
instructors and guidance counselors.
Emphasis was shifted from humanities to science and technology, yet the science and technology are taught theoretically. Even where there are teachers, they are not motivated. The training schemes for teachers are grossly inadequate.The 6-3-3-4 system of education in Nigeria has not achieved its objectives as envisioned by the National Policy on Education because it is poorly implemented.
The solution, therefore, is not to scrap the 6-3-3-4 system of education and replace it with another one. But there is a strong believes that the policy will succeed if government should fund the education sector adequately by providing it with the necessary instructional and infrastructural facilities that would create the enabling environment for the policy to succeed.
The federal government must be fully responsible for the funding of primary education. Flamboyant style of living, which does not encourage the dignity of labour, must be shunned. Over-politicisation of education must be de-emphasised in the interest of the country. Every stakeholder in the educational sector must be committed to make the system succeed. If this is done, the plan to have a new policy on education will be unnecessary.