Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Nigeria: A system Analysis of Policy in National and Local Contexts

PhD Thesis

Ogunkoya, A. 2023. Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Nigeria: A system Analysis of Policy in National and Local Contexts. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Education and Communities https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8wx13
AuthorsOgunkoya, A.
TypePhD Thesis

Across the world, countries consider early childhood education (ECE) beneficial for young children’s lifelong educational development and nations’ socioeconomic growth. The national government of Nigeria has officially given this type of education recognition in the 2013 National Policy on Education, which alongside stating ECE policy’s objectives, described implementation measures to achieve its goals. The national government’s introduction of universal early education into the public education system was underpinned by the 2004 Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act. However, the implementation of ECE policy faces several challenges, affecting the achievement of its goals.

This thesis examines the ‘fit’ between ECE policy at the national level and its implementation at the state and local levels within the ECE system in three states in western Nigeria. My empirical research focused on ECE policy implementation and provision available to children aged 3–5 years since the 2004 UBE Act’s introduction. This study employed a qualitative interpretive approach using semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and fieldnotes. It explored perceptions of policymakers at the national, state, and local levels of government and of implementers involved at the state and local levels, including policymakers, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) officer, ECE providers, and practitioners in both public and private-for-profit settings. A combination of systems and postcolonial theories informed the theoretical stance in this thesis.

Findings revealed significant gaps between the national government’s policy aims and actual ECE implementation in the three states. All aspects of the ECE system needed to support successful policy implementation were problematic. The funding allocation model for ECE policy implementation is seriously deficient. Nigeria will likely need to develop targeted strategies for change to achieve its universal ECE policy goals. This thesis adds to the body of studies suggesting how Nigerian ECE policy implementation can be improved to achieve its stated goals.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8wx13
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online06 Nov 2023
Publication process dates
Completed04 Oct 2023
Deposited06 Nov 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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