Education, as a process of gaining different knowledge, skills and values, is marked by its diversity. There are many learning methods, goals and education types which are a vital part of different education systems. Within the Nigerian education system one can differentiate between four types: indigenous, formal, informal and non-formal education.
Indigenous education focuses on spreading knowledge of cultural beliefs, rules and customs and its oral transmission from one generation to another. Indigenous education can be seen as a response to a strong wave of globalization. This type of education is more accepted and valued in some systems than in others, but in African context it is seen as a vital part of protecting and maintaining a nation’s cultural spirit.
Formal education, as a prototype of the picture we have of education, is set in a formal, school environment with professional teachers, who follow a specific and planned teaching program. This program concentrates on specific skills, knowledge and education goals. Formal education is in most countries fully-funded by the state and in Nigeria there are different levels of formal education system: kindergarten, primary, secondary (divided in junior and senior secondary school) and tertiary education. Children would spend 6 years in a primary school, 3 in a junior secondary and 3 in senior secondary school, and at the end 4 years in a tertiary institution i.e. institution of the third level education such as university.
Informal education, as the name says, takes place in an informal setting and is a lifelong process. People learn from each other in everyday situations about various topic. This can be illustrated as a parent teaching his/her child how to determinate sides of the world or how to cook a family meal. There are no specific teaching/learning methods when it comes to informal education and a person can gain informal knowledge by visiting museums, reading books in library or being a part of a local community.
The last form of education is the non-formal education. This form mostly focuses on specific needs and goals of a group. Students of the non-formal education can be from different age and this system and its program, although pre-planned, takes place outside the institutional system. Non-formal education aims often adult literacy problems and other continuing education and skill programs such as, for example, swimming lessons for children. Methods used in non-formal education are very flexible and can last for different period of times, depending on the goals and the student group.
Through different types and methods it is easy to use children’s natural curiosity. And although different, every type of education is a part of a puzzle, which leads to youth having good career opportunities and living conditions in the future.