EDU 201.1     -           HISTORY OF EDUCATION            10th Lesson              14/05/12

Prepared and Taught by:

Dr. Abdulrahman Yusuf Maigida




The Colonial Government’s Educational Involvement


The Phelps Stokes Commission


From the foregoing, educational efforts was for many years exclusive preserve of the missionaries in Nigeria. No government intervention. The purpose for which the colonial administration was instituted in the country could be said to be for commercial, military, and political purposes; not for educational engagement. At some points, the impact of missionaries’ efforts was being felt by the colonial administration, because a handful of missionary-educated Nigerians became useful to the colonial officers as clerks, messengers, stewards etc. Even with the realisation of the importance of educating the Nigerians, the colonial administration still did not assume responsibilities for this.

In the history, Lagos became a British colony in 1861 following a crisis of dynasty between Kosoko and Akintoye which the British exploited to declare Lagos a colony.

The Beginning of Colonial Involvement

The very first time the colonial government became incline about education was precisely in 1872, when £30 was provided as educational support for the three (3) Lagos missionary societies of Church Missionary Society (CMS), Wesleyan Methodist and the Catholic Mission. This grant to the 3 missionary societies marked the beginning of educational finance as grants-in-aid policy on education.

By 1877, the grant was renewed and increased to £200 per year for each of these missions. This amount was maintained till the year 1882 when the colonial government saw the need to dish out instructions and guidelines for the missionaries. They realised that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, so the 1882 ordinance came to being.

Education Ordinance – 1882

Between 1874 and 1886, both the Gold Coast and the Lagos Colony were administered politically under the same colonial administration. Then, Accra was the headquarters. The 1882 ordinance therefore, applied to both Lagos and Accra. The control of education by the colonial government was the major aim of this ordinance which provided for the following:

For the 1882 Ordinance’s provisions, Check your textbook on…

“History of Nigerian Education by Kosemani and Orubite – 1995” or any other available textbooks on History of Education.


Education Ordinance – 1887

As earlier mentioned, the 1882 ordinance applied to Lagos and Gold Coast. The 1887 ordinance therefore is what could be regarded as the first indigenous ordinance applied only to the Lagos Colony. The ordinance of 1887 marked the beginning of formulating education policy or laws for Nigeria.

For the 1887 Ordinance’s provisions, Check your textbook on…

“History of Nigerian Education by Kosemani and Orubite – 1995” or any other available textbooks on History of Education.


Education Ordinance – 1916

The previous ordinances did not reflect the nationwide policy on Nigerian education because Nigeria existed as protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria. By the year 1914, the two protectorates amalgamated as a country in 1914 by Sir Fredrick Lord Lugard who was consequently appointed the Governor General. The name Nigeria was given to the newly emerged country by a British correspondent, Miss Flora Shaw who later became Lugard’s wife.

The 1916 ordinance came with Education codes with five major objectives, thus:


  1. Character training and habits of discipline
  2. Cooperation between Government and Mission
  3. Rural and Urban education
  4. Increasing the number of iterate Nigerians to meet the increasing demands for clerks and other officials
  5. Measuring Government control over all schools including assisted schools

For the full 1916 Ordinance’s provisions, Check your textbook on…

“History of Nigerian Education by Kosemani and Orubite – 1995” or any other available textbooks on History of Education.


The Phelps Stokes Commission

The genuine intention to educate Africans in line with their needs and peculiar orientation started with the efforts of the Phelps Stokes Commission. The intention of the colonial administration as portrayed from the foregoing was not for African educational development, but politico-commercial interest. Also, the coming of the missionaries was not originally for educational development of Africans, but evangelism. The need to train pastors, clergy and etc. to help in spreading the gospel necessitated educating the Africans.

The Phelps Stokes Commission was a commission on African Education set up in 1920 under the aegis of American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society to go on full investigation into the needs and resources of Africa in relation to the quantity and quality of education provided. This commission was financed with Phelps Stokes fund and consisted of relevant personalities who had experience or linkage with Negro education. The terms of reference of this commission covered:

  1. inquiring into the educational work being undertaking in each of the studied areas;
  2. looking into the educational need of the people in the light of religious, social, hygienic and economic conditions;
  3. ascertaining the extent to which these needs are being met;
  4. making available in full the results of their study.

Having gone round all the studied areas, including Nigeria; the Phelps Stokes Commission discovered a lot of misconceptions and inadequacies in the education being given to the Africans. The commission therefore submitted its report in 1922 and recommended among others;

  1. adaptation of education to the individuals and communities
  2. condemnation of the situation where education providers had differing conceptions of education
  3. instituting true inspection and supervision of schools.
  4. broadening the curriculum (dropping only literacy content)
  5. educating the girls etc.

The 1922 report of the Phelps Stokes Commission informed why the British Colonial Government issued the 1925 memorandum. The memorandum was simply the prerequisite to the implementation of the Phelps Stokes’ recommendations.

  1. Establishment of advisory boards of education for schools’ supervision
  2. Adaptation of education to local conditions
  3. Use of vernaculars for instruction
  4. Thorough supervision and inspection
  5. Education of women and girls
  6. Religious training and moral instruction as teaching subjects

The 1926 Education Code and the Hedges Schools

Following the 1925 memorandum, the then Governor General of Nigeria, Sir Hugh Clifford identified poor quality of education and growth of mushrooms school as the two major defects of the Nigerian educational system. He therefore proposed more financial provision and control of educational development. The approval of this proposal was given for the colony and Southern protectorate as No. 15 of 1926, hence, the 1926 Education ordinance.

For the 1923 Ordinance and Codes’ provisions, Check your textbook on…

“History of Nigerian Education by Kosemani and Orubite – 1995” or any other available textbooks on History of Education.





  • By Saturday 19th of May, 2012, Check Out For Your Matriculation Number and The Time For Your Test.
  • Your Test Question(s) shall be dropped in Your Email box and Must Be Answered Within 6Hours.
  • Send as Attachment and Do Not Make Mistake of Sending it Twice.
  • See Me For Any Question On or Before Friday 18th of May, 2012

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