Yaba Higher College

Students at Protozoology Class Yaba Higher College 1947
1947- Students at Protozoology Class Yaba Higher College. Source: NNP

Yaba Medical School was a colonial medical training college founded in 1930 to train medical assistants with the award of a diploma. The school represents the first steps in post-secondary education in Nigeria. ERJ Hussey, as director of Education in Nigeria from 1929 to 1936, through his advocacy for a shiftfrom literary education to practical training and science proposed the Yaba school in his Memorandum of Education Policy in Nigeria. A High College, though proposed for both Yaba and Zaraia had materialized only in the former, and the Yaba Higher College, starting with a medical course, was established in 1930. This school, which also signaled the commencement of medical education in Nigeria, was merged with the newly formed University College of Ibadan in 1948, which graduated its first medical class in 1960. By this time, most West African countries had not established their own medical schools, and the Francophone countries relied on the Dakar school while Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia relied solely on the Ibadan facility to meet their needs for medical personnel.

The Yaba Medical School, patterned after the Dakar School of Medicine with combined medicine and pharmacy student training was opened with 14 medical scholars at Kings’ College, Lagos and 57 pharmacy students. The Training College was the outcome of the series of conferences in 1927 in which colonial territories of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gold Coast studied the Dakar school with a view of implanting a medical school in West Africa to serve all of the colonies. Membership of the Board of Advisers of the school announced in 1937 included Eric Moore, Dr. K.A. Abayomi and the principals of Igbobi College and St. Gregory College Promise to convert the Yaba achool into a University College failed and throughout its period of existence, only local diplomas, adjudged as being of sub-degree level were awarded.Failure rate was high in the Yaba Higher College allegedly because  the colonial administration of the day was anxious to curb the production of educated men in large numbers, who would post a political threat.