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VOLUME 1 No. 1



























The Fafunwa Educational Foundation was founded in January 1995 by Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa with the following aims and objectives:


1. to promote and fund educational research in Institutions of Higher Learning such as Universities, Colleges of Education, Technical Colleges and Polytechnics.

2. To award prizes and scholarships to outstanding undergraduate/graduate students in Education in Nigerian Universities, Colleges of Education and other higher Institutions.

3. To promote a forum for dialogue between education practitioners and policy makers.

4. To promote and create where necessary public awareness on matters relating to Education.

5. To encourage and promote educational experimentation and innovative activities that may lead to the enhancement and improvement of the educational system in Nigeria and elsewhere.

6. To publish research findings, conclusions, recommendations and communique of important National and International Education Conferences as they relate to Nigeria.

7. To encourage, promote and support the publication of learned journals in Education.




The main objectives of this journal is to make the works of Nigerian scholars in the field of Education more visible to the rest of the world. Many worthy publications appear in local Nigerian journals and other educational literature which have limited circulation even in Nigeria. This journal brings such publications together in two numbers each year. Many of the articles will therefore have appeared in print in other publications. The criteria for selection will be the quality of the articles and the depth of their contribution to educational research or educational policy and practice not only in Nigeria but in other parts of the world.










Editorial iii


The Fafunwa phenomena in Nigerian Education by J.B. Ipaye

(Text of the First Foundation Annual Lecture) 1


Science Technology and Mathematics Education in Nigeria

in the 21st Century by E. Ayotunde Yoloye 28

(Text of the Second Foundation Annual Lecture)


Language Education in Africa: Lessons for and

from Nigeria by PAI Obanya 45


Language Education in Nigeria: Theory, Policy and

Practice by Oladele Awobuluyi 53


Languages and the National Policy in Education:

Implications and Prospects by E. Nolue Emenanjo 62


Using Nigerian Language as media of Instruction to

enhance Scientific and Technological Development by A.O. Olarewaju 83






In this first number of Volume 1, the journal pays tribute to the founder of the Fafunwa Educational Foundation, Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa.


In the first article, Babatunde Ipaye tries to summarize Fafunwa's contributions to education in Nigeria. Fafunwa has contributed in many areas but he is perhaps best known for his ideas on the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction in schools. Also significant is his tremendous contribution to science education especially at primary school level.


The five other articles in this number give recognition to these two areas of contribution. Articles by PAI Obanya, Oladele Awobuluyi and E. Nolue Emenanjo focus on language education in general especially from the points of view of policy and practice. E. Ayotunde Yoloye reviews the past and present states of Science, Mathematics and Technological Education in Nigeria and Projects into the 21st Century. A.O. Olarewaju considers the interface between language of instruction and the development of Science and Technology.



(First Foundation Annual Lecture 1996)



Babatunde Ipaye



Introduction: Education in Nigeria


There are a number of options open to a speaker on a topic like this. Three of such options are these. One could decide to go scientific, in which case you become empirical, sticking rigidly to the demands of precision, examination and re-examination of data and basing conclusions on precise, hard data. Or, one could go psychological, reading behavioural meanings and interpretations, personality traits/dimensions and motivational factors into every bit of evidence adduced. One could also go historical, using oral evidence, documents and various other sources to generate the facts and then presenting them in a narrative form as they are. Most people in educational circles know Professor Fafunwa as an educational historian. I have therefore decided to take the historical approach. I shall state the facts as I found them, leaving other scholars to do the interpretations and in-depth analysis. Where any analysis is done here therefore, it shall be superficial and peripheral.

Today is September 23, 1996. Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa is 73 years old today. By tomorrow, September 24, the second, and surviving attempt by the West to introduce formal, school-type education into Nigeria, i.e. Western formal education in Nigeria, shall be 154 years old, having started in a humble manner in 1842. It should be recalled that around 1472, the Portuguese had visited Benin and Lagos and that around 1515, some Portuguese Catholic missionaries had set up a school in the palace of the Oba of Benin. It should also be remembered that apart from the name, "Lagos", derived from the Portuguese word, Lago, for lagoon and Port Lago in Portugal, which looked alike with our present day Lagos, and whose name Lagos had to take, virtually all the other seemingly important influences of this early Portuguese contact with Nigeria was wiped off by the slave trade which lasted for almost three hundred years. According to Taiwo, (1985), "the Federal and State governments, (and one must add, the Local Governments,) of the Federation place a high premium on education. They recognise it as a weapon against ignorance, disease, squalor, and poverty and as a means of raising an enlightened, lively, and industrious citizenry and of producing a prosperous nation" (p2). Western education is based on education received in the school and within a national educational system. The first church/school was built in 1842, and since then, quantitatively, the development had been much on the increase. Table 1 below shows the number of educational institutions in each State of the Federation as of 1994.

Table 1: Number of educational institutions in Nigeria on the basis of States as of 1994



Pry. Schl.

Sec. Schl.




Abia 865 229 1 2 1
Adamawa 1044 97 1 2 1
Akwa Ibom 1126 192   1 1
Anambra 979 259 1 2 1
Bauchi 1676 121 2 2 1
Benue 1814 198 1 3 1
Borno 1171 69 1 4 1
Cross River 596 96 1 2 1
Delta 1022 314   3 1
Edo 1070 207 1 1 2
Enugu 1292 239 1 3 2
Imo 1236 321 1 1 2
Jigawa 937 70      
Kaduna 1614 187 2 2 2
Kano 2020 197 1 4 2
Katsina 1831 106 1 3  
Kebbi 831 58 1    
Kogi 1287 222 1 2  
Kwara 1017 230 3 2 1
Lagos 883 350 2 4 2
Niger 1338 169 1 2 1
Ogun 1369 241 2 2 2
Ondo 1680 415 2 2 2
Osun 1176 330   1 1
Oyo 1705 313 1 3 2
Plateau 2148 316 2 3 1
Rivers 1382 296 1 2 2
Sokoto 1819 93 1 2 1
Taraba 722 63   1  
Yobe 725 39   1  
F.C.T. 273 37     1
Total 38649 6074 32 62 35




Source: Compiled from available tables from the Statistics Dept. FME


In the area of tertiary institutions, we have as of today, the following:



Colleges of Education: a total of 62

Federal: 19

State : 40

Military: 1

Private: 2

Total : 62



Polytechnic: a total of 39

Federal: 15

State : 23

Private: 1

Total : 39



Universities: a total of 38

Federal: 24

State : 13

Military: 1

Total : 38

(The data above is as of 1996)


There are also hundreds of post primary and post secondary professional institutions preparing people for specific callings in the world of work. (Technical Schools, Schools of Nursing, Schools of Aviation, School of Marine Technology, War College etc.)

The Nigerian "educational system" is shaped by a tripodal force: traditional, Islamic, and western. Western education was the last of the trio. From the very beginning, as a people, we had our indigenous, traditional education. This is education, the type that goes on in the home, on the street, in the clan, at the shrine, on the farm, at night and in the day, in the rain and in the sun, during health and at times of sickness, when you are awake and when you are asleep. Our traditional education cared about the way you look, the way you laugh even about the way you cry. The second to come in the trio is Islamic education. It came through the North and had done much in shaping the lifestyle, the thinking and behaviour of most Nigerians. These three put together today form and shape, regulate and modulate our education, even if not our educational system.

It is the impact of Professor Fafunwa on the system as shaped by the three that we are focusing upon in this lecture. How has he helped to shape the various aspects of the system? what influences had he brought to play on the growth, development and stabilisation of the system? Had he introduced any new concepts, methods, practices etc, which had gone on to stick onto the system and had become part and parcel of the system making it more robust and more beneficial to individuals and the nation? Our answer to these and similar questions is what we describe as the "Fafunwa phenomenon".

A number of Nigerians had long seen education as the surest way of making Nigeria both free and great. They had long seen education as the catalyst to political and economic growth and development in Nigeria. One of such Nigerians is Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa. He wants Nigeria to become both free and great; for many years, he had seen education as our first line of defence and had noted since then that "the answer for all our

national problems comes down to one word: education" (Lyndon Johnson, quoted in Parkinson. 1968): he had exclaimed, just as Andrew