Boarding secondary education in the Eastern States of Nigeria : Influences, charateristics and problems
The issue of boarding education at secondary level has
been one of controversy in Nigeria at least throughout the
period since Independence. From 1960 onwards the various
authorities charged with the provision of secondary schooling
have had to relate the educational legacies of colonialism,
including the English boarding school model, to the needs
and demands of a newly emerging and economically diversifying
This thesis is therefore concerned inter alia to
identify the influences, characteristics and problems of
secondary boarding schools in Nigeria, and especially in the
Eastern States of that country. It attempts first to identify
significant formative influences through an historical/
documentary study, and then to ascertain empirically contemporary
attitudes and perceptions of the various parties to
the provision and operation of such schools today. In so
doing, aspects such as organisation, administration, management,
discipline, values, routine, facilities and infrastructure are
described and discussed.
The thesis has twelve chapters, organised in three parts:
Part A comprises six chapters dealing with the identification
of the problem and contributing factors. Chapters One and
Two outline the environmental and educational context.
Chapter Three illustrates the history and nature of the
problem, whilst Chapter Four provides an explanation of
the research context. Chapter Five reviews some previous
research on boarding and Chapter Six is a consideration of
the nature and development of the most influential model,
the English Public School.
Part B, the development and nature of boarding in the
study area deals mainly with aspects of the history and
character of boarding schools in Nigeria and especially in
the Eastern States. So Chapter Seven is concerned with
the long period up to and including the Nigerian civil war,
which ended in 1970. Chapter Eight reviews the post-war
situation which is given a more detailed focus by Chapter
Nine, an account of a preliminary field survey carried out
by the writer in 1981.
Part C of the thesis is concerned with the current
attitudes of the various parties as ascertained by the
writer's main empirical exercise, that is to say staff,
students and parents. Chapter Ten describes the empirical
methods selected and used, and is followed by Chapter Eleven
which is a detailed account of the findings. Chapter Twelve
1S a discussion of the results obtained.
The thesis concludes with a summary, and recommendations
for improving provision in this sector, e~ecially in respect
of the quality of facilities and staffing.
The Study confirmed what was generally assumed and
suspected: that boarding school arrangements in the Eastern
States of Nigeria continue to be in very high demand more
than 25 years after Independence. The main conclusion
was that parents, school authorities, members of the public
and students, in general prefer bo~rding to day schools at
this level despite the severe problems of plant and staff
quality that are very evident.
The thesis concludes with a number of alternative
strategies, recommendations and comments aimed at improving
the condition and provision in this sector of schooling.
It is clearly not just a matter of improving physical
facilities, there is urgent need for a clarification of
the objectives of such provision in modern Nigeria as well
as for suitable staff development programmes that will
assist their realisation.