06 Mar 2018

HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION IN NIGERIA

When the First World War broke out, little did Nigerians realize that the beginning and the end of the war would usher in a glorious beginning for Nigeria.

Northern Protectorate before 1914 prior to the age of European penetration, that Traditional Education had transformed the people in the spheres of technology, arts, jurisprudence, economics and politics. The Traditional system had far reaching impact in the life of the people, especially in religion and culture. Further to the traditional system came Islam with its traditions and cultures. Trimingham (1962) stated that by the 14th and 15th centuries, Islam as a religion, had been firmly established among the Kanem-Bornu, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto areas of the North, where Muslims from the North Africa and the Arabia countries had trade contacts with the people

In the north, Islam and Islamic influence came to the Hausa- Fulani and Kanuri people through TransSaharan Trade Routes, pilgrim traffic, trade relations with North Africa, Middle East and Western Sudan. Islamic or Quranic Education gained a considerable hold in many big towns like Borno, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Kano.

The concept of education in Africa was not a colonial invention, Prior to European colonization and subsequent introduction of Western education, traditional educational systems existed in Africa. The enduring role of education in every society is to prepare individuals to participate fully and effectively in their world; it prepares youths to be active and productive members of their societies by inculcating the skills necessary to achieve these goals.

Formal, Western-type of education was introduced by British missionaries in the 1840s. The Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) started several schools in the mid-1800s. The colonial government gave the church financial aid, but in the early twentieth century, the government began building primary and secondary schools. By this time the British combined the northern and southern regions into one colony in 1914, and a total of 11 secondary schools were in operation, all but 1 run by missionaries.

But as the wave of Christian Missionary Education (CME) regarded as Formal or Western Education pushed towards the Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri in the North, the powerful Emirs in the area rejected this educational system because accepting this Western Education would mean a conversion of their children into the new faith of Christianity and European cultures.

The educated elites from the north and south mounted extensive pressure against colonial rule in Nigeria. Bowen (1972) is the view that western education facilitated the process of national integration and cohesion if mildly applied to national issues. If not for the 1914 Lugard’s amalgamation of Nigeria and the outbreak of the 1st world war, which remolded Nigeria into a modern nation, could not have had any meaning in the political emancipation of Nigeria.

 

To be continued…..

 

Article by: Busayo Tomoh

 

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