Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Historical analysis of contigent roles of western education on decolonization and political emacipation processes in Nigeria
Christiana Funsho Oyewumi

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


The 19th century constituted a momentous turning point in the history of Africa. Not only did it witnessed the end of slave trade and inauguration of legitimate commerce, but also witnessed the high tide of European imperial invasion, conquest, pacification and heralded also the introduction of western education.

The enduring impact of western education produced its own contradictions. Early enough, the colonial governments had recognized that their power over African nations depend not necessarily on physical strength but on mental (psychological) control through the school system. However, the deficiency in scope and contents in the curriculum made the colonial education to promote vocational studies and neglected technology, pure and applied science and engineering courses. Many- mission educated Nigerians a number of who became teachers and members of the clergy were not satisfied with their limited education.

Consequently, they began to seek for advanced training because the various European colonial powers refused to established universities in their colonies, Nigerians who could afford it proceeded overseas (especially the United States and United Kingdom) for further studies. Completing advanced (university training in various fields abroad coupled with exposure to the deep cultures of the west-politics, economics, social issues   and various powerful concepts such as liberty, self-determination, equality which also energized them to agitate for independence.It was only natural for them to relate these notions to their own conditions in Nigeria. As the work of J.F. Ade Ajayi (1965) has affirmed, educated Africans began to use those same ideals as a standard by which to judge the intentions and actions of the Europeans administration, empowered and emboldened, they returned home to confront the colonial situation that would force them to question not only the very basis and justification for Europeans colonial rules, but also other intriguing imperial notions, including racial hierarchy, colonial salaries, for Nigerians and employment discrimination.

Unfortunately, European colonial officials were not prepared to accommodate or address the aspiration of the new but potent elites. Initially, some of these educated elite only demanded appointment and salaries in the colonial civil service commensurate with their training, with the hope of working their way up the political ladder, but European colonial officers who saw them as a threat to the status quo frustrated their hopes. Nigerian elites consequently felt marginalized.

Hence decolonization became their ultimate goal. Implicitly they use western education they acquired as an instrument to further articulate their self – government as supported by Atlantic Charter of August 1941. By mid-1950s, graduates of Nigerian universities joined the ranks of their overseas trained counterparts in pressing for political reforms towards the ideals of self – government, without a doubt, western education provided the necessary tools needed by African nationalist to dislodge European colonial rule. It was introduced by European to consolidate their imperial rule in Africa but it ended up assisting Nigerian’s liquidation of colonial rule.