INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

IMPACT OF WESTERN EDUCATION IN SOCIETY

Format: MS WORD |  Chapter: 1-5 |  Pages: 65-80

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

The education tradition began seriously in Nigeria with the Wesleyan Christian Missionary at Badagry in 1842. It has obviously been the most successful in meeting the overall formal educational needs of the consumers, for the present and for the future. Schools were built and the mission struggled for pupils and members such that there was a proliferation of primary schools established by different missions. Okebukola (2011). Western education was introduced in Nigeria State around 1923 by Christian missionaries in Bambur, Karim-Lamido Local government area. According to Peter (2001), since the introduction, the Christian missionaries have contributed significantly to education. Nigeria people have great faith in education as a vital instrument for social and economic emancipation of the country and its citizens. The social demand for education had been sustained over the years, and this helps to explain the phenomenal expansion of the education system since national independence in 1960. The historical overview of the development of United Methodist Church participation in education in Nigeria, presents the fact that over 50 percent of all primary and secondary schools in Nigeria were private schools owned and managed by private organizations, to complement the role of the United Methodist, proprietors, individual entrepreneurs, tribal, town unions, and communities which contributed in building schools to the point at which they now constitute the dominant educational institutions in every part of Nigeria.

Formal education was introduced into Nigeria in the 16th century, before its introduction, indigenous education was being practiced. This was non-formal and non-certified in terms of competencies, an took place at various stages of a child’s life, knowledge was presumed to be static and the pedagogic techniques used were basically memorization and the strict imitation of adults behaviour, questioning the logic, meaning or analyses of knowledge was discouraged as children were to be seen but not heard Lesourd (1996). In spite of the shortcomings the pre-literate, African societies had holistic training and education for all members of the communities. The education is lifelong which satisfied the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of the individuals. However, Western colonial education which was introduced in Nigeria had ideas and practices similar to British colonial education. The aim of British colonial education was to train clerks for administration and for commercial activities. Christian missionaries later established schools which were tailored towards the British structure, curriculum and organisation. British colonial education therefore inculcated into Nigerians foreign ideologies, culture and values. In the same vein, learning was tailored towards teaching and mastery of specific subject and one’s level of ability was determined by the capacity to memorize and reproduced facts from these subjects. According to Blege (1996) colonial educationists believe that schools and colleges must help their pupils solve only mental problems while educational functionalists believe that school is an integral, functioning part of the society, vital to its continuation and survival and therefore academic knowledge is useful only if it can be applied to solve societal problems or otherwise it becomes detrimental to the society. Whitty (1991) stated that British colonial education laid no explicit emphasis on social and political education. No wonder in Nigeria vocational and practical training were regarded as suitable only for people of low academic ability and most parents strongly objected to their children going into apprenticeship or vocational schools instead of academic institutions because of the colonial mentality that linked status to academic qualifications. For education is supposed to transform a society from pre-literate to contemporary nationhood, however, the sort of transformation that took place in Nigeria could not help the country revolutionalize and modernise the economy to meet the demands of the growing society because the education system did not emphasis the teaching of life employed nor self-employed as they lack skills for any profession. Historical hostilities and rivalries among many of the peoples agglomerated within Nigeria accounted for some of the conflicted sense of common national identity. The colonial legacy contributed significantly, however, to furthering the collision of loyalties in the new nation. For instance, the structure of British colonial administration of the artificially drawn territory restricted development of a national consciousness within the broad expanse of Nigeria’s borders. Britain’s practice of indirect rule in colonial Nigeria perpetuated separate ethnic and local identities. By using traditional native institutions and tractable tribal chieftains as their functionaries in exercising the doctrine of indirect rule that colonial administrator Frederick Lugard fashioned, the British sheltered the parochial political patterns of many ethnic groups. Particularly in the north, where Hausa-Fulani tribal leaders resisted European education, indirect rule contributed to the persistence of isolated tribal identity. British regional government further compounded the persistence of separateness. Although united under a governor, colonial administration from 1906 to 1922 divided Nigeria into the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, which included Lagos, and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria. That administration was further fragmented into the Northern, Eastern, and Western Regions maintained from 1922 to 1957, with the Federal Territory of Lagos created in 1954. These regions became essentially self-governing in 1960 at the time of Nigeria’s independence as a tenuous federation. The colonial structure maintained ethnic isolation and reinforced it with regionalism–a situation inherited by the independent nation. With the larger ethnic groups dominating the separate political regions, the colonial experience provided little basis for fusing ethnic groups in any common sense of nationalism. It certainly fostered no history or tradition of national community. The education was therefore, found to be ineffective and inadequate to the needs and aspirations of Nigeria society.