Dr Alvan Ikoku: Man who made Nigerians wear Uniforms in Secondary schools

Dr Alvan Ikoku: Man who made Nigerians wear Uniforms in Secondary schools

The man that made you wear uniforms when you were in secondary school. His name is Dr. Alvan Ikoku (the face on the ₦10 note).


In 1962, he called for an ‘Education Bill of Rights’ for primary school education to be free for six years nationwide in Nigeria. It wasn’t accepted by the Federal Government until 1976.


Dr Alvan Ikoku still remains a great icon in Nigerian academic and educational development and one of the most outstanding educationists ever had in Nigeria.

Although, he did encounter resistance through much of the 1950s, when the Colonial Government repeatedly rejected his NUT recommendations to introduce uniform education in Nigeria but right after national independence, Ikoku and his union were vindicated, when these recommendations became the basis for education policy in the new nation.


He fostered considerable government interest in the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), becoming instrumental in the Legislative Council’s acceptance of 44 NUT proposals amending various educational ordinances.

Born on August 1, 1900, in Amanagwu Arochukwu, present-day Abia State, from 1911 to 1914, he was educated at the Arochukwu Government Primary School and from 1915 to 1920, he attended Hope Waddell College, Calabar where he was a student under James Emmanuel Aggrey and was mates with Akanu Ibiam and Eyo Eyo Esua.


In 1920, he received his first teaching appointment with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and Church of Scotland at Itigidi and two years later became a senior tutor at St. Paul’s Teachers’ Training College, Awka, Anambra State.

While teaching at Awka, Ikoku earned his University of London degree in Philosophy in 1928, through its external programme.


Alvan Ikoku established the first indigenous private sec. school in Nigeria, Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu, present-day Abia State, in 1932.

Ikoku introduced Carpentry as a subject, which he called “the Education of the Hand.”

Interestingly, students were able to make their own desks, chairs, and tables all by themselves.

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