Implementing Universal Basic Education in Nigeria: Examining the challenges facing the Catholic schools

Polycarp Chukwumelum Nnajiofor, Fordham University


This study examines the challenges facing Catholic schools in relation to the implementation of Universal Basic Education in Nigeria. The focus of the research is on the challenges of this policy on Catholic elementary schools in Awka Diocese. Using the methodology of purposeful sampling and key informant interviews, the researcher selected six Catholic elementary schools functioning in two different geographical areas to include a representation of urban and rural schools. The purpose of this representation was to examine the ways Catholic elementary schools in these two geographical locations are challenged by the implementation of Universal Basic Education. The study found that although some progress has been made by Catholic schools in giving qualitative education to Nigerian children, yet the structure, administration, funding, recruitment of qualified teachers, staff salary and development, provision of facilities and instructional materials are very much inadequate. The first conclusion of the study is that the revitalization of the Catholic Church's role in Nigeria's education through the establishment of Catholic schools is an urgent necessity. Many Nigerian parents still believe in Catholic education since public schools have failed to deliver the type of education they want for their children. Catholic schools are highly needed in order for the Church to contribute effectively in the production of God-fearing, peace-loving and good citizens, who will transform Nigeria into a better society. The study confirmed that the State involvement in the education of its children, whether the child is in a private or public school, is very crucial in the overall improvement of education in the country. Failure to fund the education of any child by the State because the child is not in the public school, is denying the child's right to education. The study also concluded that there should be effective Church-State cooperation in order to realize to a maximum degree, the purpose of true education of a human person in Nigeria. All available evidences have proved that the policy of complete control of education by the civil powers in Nigeria is no longer tenable; it is not even desirable. Hence, the complete control of education by the State at the exclusion of the Church's indispensable participation has been conceived by the majority of the citizens as incapable of solving Nigeria's social, moral, religious, economic, political, and educational problems. Thus, the only reasonable course of action is to have a genuine Church-State co-operation in education.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Nnajiofor, Polycarp Chukwumelum, "Implementing Universal Basic Education in Nigeria: Examining the challenges facing the Catholic schools" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3262839.