What is Post Secondary Education?

What is Post Secondary Education? – This article will discuss everything you need to know about post secondary education, the importance, and it’s programs offered by universities, colleges, vocational schools, and other institutions that provide higher education and specialized training.

What is Post Secondary Education

Post-secondary education encompasses a wide range of academic and vocational programs designed to prepare students for specific careers or to continue their academic pursuits at an advanced level.

What is Post Secondary Education?

Post-secondary education, also known as tertiary education, refers to any form of education beyond the secondary level. It typically includes programs offered by universities, colleges, vocational schools, and other institutions that provide higher education and specialized training.

Types of Post Secondary Education


Offer undergraduate (Bachelor’s degree) and graduate (Master’s and Doctoral degrees) programs across various disciplines, including arts, sciences, engineering, business, and more.


Provide vocational and technical education, as well as associate degree programs, diplomas, and certificates in fields such as nursing, IT, hospitality, and trades.

Community colleges

Offer two-year associate degree programs, as well as certificate programs and workforce training, often focused on practical skills and career readiness.

Trade schools and vocational institutes

Provide specialized training and certification in trades such as plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, automotive repair, and cosmetology.

Professional schools

Offer specialized training in fields like law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine, leading to professional licensure or certification.

NOTE: Post-secondary education plays a crucial role in preparing individuals for the workforce, advancing their careers, and fostering personal and intellectual growth. It offers opportunities for further specialization, skill development, and academic exploration beyond the foundational knowledge acquired in secondary education.

Importance of Post Secondary Education

Post-secondary education holds significant importance for individuals, society, and the economy due to several key reasons:

Career opportunities

Post-secondary education provides individuals with specialized knowledge and skills that are essential for pursuing careers in various fields. Higher levels of education are often associated with better job prospects, higher salaries, and increased opportunities for career advancement.

Personal development

Post-secondary education fosters personal growth and development by encouraging critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and communication skills. It helps individuals develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their interests, and their values, leading to greater self-confidence and fulfillment.

Contribution to society

Educated individuals are more likely to contribute positively to their communities and society at large. They are better equipped to participate in civic activities, make informed decisions, and advocate for social change. Post-secondary education also helps address societal challenges by producing professionals in fields such as healthcare, education, engineering, and environmental sustainability.

Innovation and research

Post-secondary institutions are hubs of innovation and research, driving advancements in technology, science, medicine, and other fields. Higher education institutions conduct cutting-edge research, develop new technologies, and train the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

Economic growth

A well-educated workforce is essential for economic growth and prosperity. Post-secondary education contributes to economic development by supplying skilled workers, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, attracting investment, and stimulating job creation in knowledge-based industries.

Social mobility

Post-secondary education plays a critical role in promoting social mobility by providing individuals from diverse backgrounds with opportunities to improve their socioeconomic status. Access to higher education can help reduce inequalities and empower marginalized groups, including women, minorities, and individuals from low-income families.

Overall, post-secondary education is vital for individuals to achieve their full potential, for societies to thrive, and for economies to prosper in an increasingly competitive and interconnected world.

Factors Affecting Post Secondary Education in Nigeria

Several factors influence post-secondary education in Nigeria, including:

Access and Affordability

Limited access to post-secondary education due to inadequate infrastructure, insufficient funding, and high tuition fees. Many prospective students face financial barriers that prevent them from enrolling in higher education institutions.

Quality of Education

Disparities in the quality of education among different institutions, with some universities and colleges facing challenges such as outdated curriculum, inadequate facilities, and a shortage of qualified faculty. This can affect the overall learning experience and the employability of graduates.

Infrastructure and Resources

Insufficient infrastructure, including classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and IT facilities, which can hinder teaching, learning, and research activities. Lack of resources and equipment may limit opportunities for practical training and hands-on learning experiences.

Educational Policy and Governance

Inconsistent educational policies and governance structures that may lead to administrative challenges, lack of accountability, and inadequate regulation of academic standards. Effective policy implementation and regulatory oversight are crucial for ensuring the quality and relevance of post-secondary education.

Employability and Skills Development

Mismatch between the skills acquired through post-secondary education and the needs of the labor market. Many graduates struggle to secure employment due to a lack of relevant skills, industry experience, and career readiness.

Gender Disparities

Gender disparities in access to post-secondary education, with women facing greater challenges due to cultural, social, and economic factors. Addressing gender inequalities and promoting gender-sensitive policies are essential for ensuring equal opportunities for all individuals.

Socioeconomic Factors

Socioeconomic status often influences access to post-secondary education, with students from wealthier backgrounds having greater opportunities for enrollment and academic success. Poverty, inequality, and lack of social support can hinder educational attainment among disadvantaged groups.

Political Stability and Funding

Political instability, economic downturns, and fluctuations in government funding for education can affect the stability and sustainability of post-secondary institutions. Adequate funding and long-term investment in education are essential for ensuring the continued growth and development of the higher education sector.

Addressing these factors requires collaborative efforts from government agencies, educational institutions, policymakers, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to improve access, quality, and relevance of post-secondary education in Nigeria.

History of Post Secondary Education in Nigeria

The history of post-secondary education in Nigeria dates back to the colonial era and has undergone significant transformations over the years. Here’s an overview of the key developments:

Colonial Era (Pre-1960s): During the colonial period, education in Nigeria was largely controlled by missionary organizations and colonial authorities. Mission schools, such as those established by the Christian missionaries and Islamic organizations, played a crucial role in providing primary and secondary education. Higher education opportunities were limited, with few individuals pursuing studies abroad or through correspondence courses.

Post-Independence (1960s-1970s): Following Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there was a push for the expansion and democratization of education at all levels. The government established several universities and colleges to meet the growing demand for post-secondary education. The University of Ibadan, founded in 1948, was Nigeria’s first university, followed by the establishment of other institutions like Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos, and Obafemi Awolowo University.

Expansion and Diversification (1980s-1990s): In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a significant expansion and diversification of post-secondary education in Nigeria. The government established more universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and specialized institutions across the country. This expansion aimed to increase access to higher education and cater to the diverse needs of students.

Educational Reforms (2000s-Present): In the early 2000s, Nigeria implemented various educational reforms aimed at improving the quality and relevance of post-secondary education. Initiatives such as the National Universities Commission (NUC) accreditation process, the establishment of specialized agencies like the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), and the introduction of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for standardized university admissions were introduced.

Challenges and Reforms: Despite progress, Nigeria’s post-secondary education system faces numerous challenges, including inadequate funding, infrastructural deficiencies, quality assurance issues, strikes by academic and non-academic staff, political interference, and issues related to curriculum relevance and employability. Efforts to address these challenges have included increased funding, policy reforms, curriculum revisions, and partnerships with international organizations and institutions.

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