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Nigerian Army College of Education (NACOE) evolved from Nigerian Army School of Education (NASE) Ilorin which was established in the year 1970 as a training institution of the Nigerian Army Education Corps (NAEC) and was charged with the responsibility of educating illiterate soldiers recruited into the Army during the Nigerian civil war. At the initial stage, the objective was to train soldiers to be literate and become Instructors in the fields of Map Reading and Languages (French and Arabic).  This could be said to be the beginning of the foremost military Institution which was initially located at Baboko, Ilorin. Later in 1983, the institution was relocated to a more spacious and expansive location at Sobi Cantonment, Ilorin.

Consequently, the defunct NASE grew in leaps and bounds with the introduction of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) programme in 1987 as a 5-year Sandwich Programme to train soldiers with O’ level results to become professional teachers. The NCE programme was to be coordinated by the University of Ilorin.

The first set of the programme successfully graduated in 1992 and were awarded results by the University of Ilorin, after which the NCE Programme was regularized and run for three (3) years in line with NCCE approved standards.The objectives of regularizing the NCE programme for the foremost military institution was to assist soldiers with good O’ level certificates as teachers to teach in military training institutions and schools. It is also to assist soldiers with good secondary school certificate to further their education in order to enhance their job performance and to assist in training personnel of other sister services and para-military organizations who were nominated for various programmes.

With the introduction of NCE programmes in 1987 and the sustained running of Army courses, the school witnessed an unprecedented growth and expansion in its program, scope and manpower development. These developments gave impetus to the introduction of an affiliate degree with Tai Solarin University of Education Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State in 2015. However, the need to conform to raising standards of other statutory colleges nationwide prompted the Nigerian Army to split NASE into two distinct but professional institutions namely Nigerian Army Institute of Science, Education and Technology (NAISET) and NACOE. This development started in February 2018 owing to Army Headquarters approval for the change of name and commencement of programmes vide NAISET Establishment Order of Battle. NAISET was therefore given the responsibility of conducting military courses, as well as supervising NACOE. On the other hand, NACOE was to run civil programmes in NCE and Degree Programme in Education in conformity with other sister Colleges of Education in Nigeria.