10 Challenges of School Supervision in Nigeria and Solutions

The number of privately owned schools is ever-increasing in Nigeria. Statistics show that between 2005 and 2010, close to 1,000 new private schools were established every year. 

While this is supposed to mean progress for the nation’s educational system, it comes with several challenges. Chief of them is the operation of those schools below standard, lowering the quality of education in Nigeria.

The way out of this situation would have been through intermittent supervision of the schools by the government, but Nigerian private schools receive little to zero supervision.

What are the reasons for this?

Problems/ Challenges Affecting School Supervision in Nigeria and Solutions 

Below are 10 challenges affecting the supervision of schools as caused by the government, schools, teachers, and Nigerian communities.

1. Inaccessibility of schools

The first challenge preventing the effective supervision of schools by the Nigerian government is the fact that many schools are not accessible. 

Several schools are built in rural communities that have no motorable road network for supervisors from the Ministry of Education to pass through. 

Even when these government officials are ready to make sacrifices and go through such roads, the schools are difficult to find. They encounter several obstacles, sometimes threats to their lives. 

Supervision of these schools should be handled by officials close to the community through the Local Government Education authority instead of bringing in supervisors from distant cities.

Also, local government supervisors should be trained and retrained to ensure they are effective. Then, they send periodic reports to the state education authority.

2. Large number of unregistered schools

The second problem affecting the supervision of schools in Nigeria is the large and increasing number of unregistered, therefore unidentified, schools.

More and more people keep starting private schools that are below standard— just for the business of it. And because the government isn’t aware of the schools (some don’t even look like schools), they cannot send officials for supervision.

The solution to this challenge is maximizing the power of the grassroots again. While officials from the city can’t know the schools, those at the grassroots do.

The Ministry of Education should therefore hold meetings with the community heads and make them see the need for having all schools registered.  They shouldn’t then give ample time to all schools to register and sanction those who don’t afterward.

3. Insufficient number of supervisors

It is no doubt that there is a need for more supervisors than there currently are to match the ever-growing number of schools.

Regardless of the intentionality of the Ministry of Education in ensuring that schools are supervised from time to time, if there is not enough manpower, there is only so much they can do.

This realization of the need for more schools is good news for the nation because while the Ministry of Education can’t employ more teachers to meet the unemployment needs of the nation, they can employ more supervisors.

4. Poor funding of education

We have just talked about the need to employ more staff and involve the grassroots, but all of these cannot be done without funds. The allocation given to education in a Nigerian budget is extremely discouraging.

The percentage of the budget allocated to education has continued to decrease each passing year. From about 10.79% in 2015 to 5.39% in 2022. This is as against the UNESCO benchmark for developing nations of 15 to 20%.

The major stakeholders of the education sector must continue to advocate for more funds from the government. They should continue to make more appeals through the legislature and pay extra attention to the management of those funds that have so far been allocated.

5. Bribery and corruption

Two aims of supervision are to identify how to improve the quality of education (standardization), and to sanction unrepentant defaulters.

However, because the demand of making schools up to government standards is cost-intensive, many school owners will rather pay off supervisors than work on improving their schools.

This is an institutional problem working against the benefit of school supervision and it is even worse than not supervising schools at all.

When supervisors go to schools but manipulate reports due to bribery and corruption, it wastes the funds that have been allocated for supervision, still not improving the educational standard of the nation.

The Ministry of Education must put all its guards up in the fight against corruption within its system. Also, they should give rewards to staff who uphold integrity to reinforce the culture.

6. Untrained supervisors

Bribery and corruption aside, another challenge school supervision in Nigeria faces is the poor evaluation techniques of the supervisors.

 After supervisors are sent to various schools for routine visits or full inspections, the feedback they bring is dependent on their personal judgment of what quality is. Since there are no standardized tests or measurements, quality is subjective to the observer’s perception.

The Ministry of Education should commit to training and retraining supervisors on how to appraise schools objectively and give reports based on the nature of things, without bias.

7. Lack of inspection equipment

Another problem that affects the inspection of schools is a lack of the needed facilities needed to do so. These include rating scales, anecdotal records, and electronic gadgets that will make the work of inspectors more efficient.

The Ministry of Education must become intentional about providing these tools and training the supervisors on how to use them, especially electronic gadgets.

The use of dedicated software can also make up for the subjective evaluation of these supervisors as discussed earlier.

8. Unsupportive principals and teachers

How well a supervisor can inspect a school is dependent on the support they receive from the school. 

They need the staff of the school to take them through the classes, explain blurry issues, tell them the challenges they are facing, and so on. If the school is unsupportive, the effort of the supervisors will be ineffective.

Before sending in supervisors, the Ministry of Education should conduct some form of orientation for schools to make them see that the inspection exercise is not to witch-hunt them, but to help them grow. 

Employing orientation personnel also creates more jobs for the nation.

9. Poor implementation of supervision report

With the little progress that has been made with school supervision so far, there has been no impressive implementation of the reports.

This is also because the executive power to implement is not fully with the Ministry of Education and reforms will have to go through bureaucratic processes before implementation. This severely affects the purpose of inspecting schools.

The government should allow the ministries of education across various levels to implement some policies as long as they do not outrightly drift from the National Policy on Education.

The ministry should also take implementation more seriously and continue to advocate for their demands.

10. Absence of effective follow-up

Supervision and inspection of schools are not a once and for all activity. It must be done periodically and progressively to see the impact of the process on the schools and the educational system. 

This however cannot be done without follow-up. Schools that have been identified to be lagging should be visited again to ensure they are progressing. Also, the schools that proved to uphold standards should be followed up to ensure they maintain them.


The problems affecting school supervision and inspection in Nigeria include

  • Inaccessibility of schools
  • A large number of unregistered schools
  • Insufficient number of supervisors
  • Poor funding of education
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Untrained supervisors
  • Lack of inspection equipment
  • Unsupportive principals and teachers
  • Poor implementation of supervision reports
  • Absence of effective follow-up

To improve the quality and impact of school supervision and inspection in Nigeria, the government must provide adequate transport and inspection facilities, implement supervision reports, orientate schools on the need for supervision, identify and sanction corrupt practices, train and retrain inspectors, provide adequate funding for inspection, and follow up on inspected schools.

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