The History of Western Education in Nigeria

In these posts, we will cover the history of western Education and what is eastern and western Education, including the difference between the two.

The moment war broke out in the First World War, but little did Nigerians know that the outbreak and the conclusion in the conflict would mark an era of great hope for Nigeria.

Northern Protectorate before 1914 before European expansion, which Traditional Education had transformed the people’s lives in science, art, jurisprudence, economics, and politics. Traditional Education was a significant factor in the development of society. The traditional system had a wide-ranging influence on the population’s lives, particularly religion and culture. Alongside the traditional system was Islam with its customs and culture. Trimingham (1962) declared that around the time of the 14th-15th centuries, Islam was a religious system that was well-established in people living within the Kanem-BornuKano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Sokoto areas of the North and North-West regions, where Muslims from North Africa along with the Arabia countries had trading relations with the indigenous people of the area.

The North was the first to see Islam and Islamic influence introduced to the Hausa and Kanuri people. Fulani and the Kanuri people via TransSaharan Trade Routes, pilgrimage traffic, and trade relations to North Africa, Middle East, and Western Sudan. Islamic or Quranic Education gained a significant influence in several significant towns such as Borno, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Kano.

The idea for Education within Africa is not a creation of colonialism. Before European colonization and the subsequent advent of Western Education, a traditional system existed in Africa. The primary function of Education in any society is to help individuals be fully and effectively a part of their communities; it helps prepare young people to be active and active members of their communities by instilling the necessary skills to reach these goals.

The formal, Western style of Education was first introduced through British Missionaries around 1840. However, the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) established several schools in the 1890s. The colonial government provided the church financial assistance, but at the beginning of the 20th century, the state started constructing secondary and primary schools. In the early years, the British joined the southern and northern areas into one in 1914. Eleven secondary schools were operating, except one operated by missionaries.

However, as the surge of Christian Missionary Education (CME) considered being Formal as Western Education was pushed toward the Hausa, Fulani, and Kanuri in the North, The influential Emirs in the region, rejected the educational system because acceptance of Western Education would mean the transformation of their children the new religion that is based on Christianity and European culture.

The elites who were educated from the south and North have pushed for a change in the colonial rule of Nigeria. Bowen (1972) advocates the notion that western Education was a catalyst for the process of nation-wide cohesion and integration if it was applied to national problems. Without the 1917 Lugard’s edition of Nigeria and the outbreak of the first world war that transformed Nigeria into a modern state that could not have impacted Nigeria’s political liberation.

The Differences Between Eastern and Western Education

There are striking differences between these two methodologies. Thus, the distinctive characteristics that distinguish Eastern or Western Education are crucial in creating students’ character and outlook.

One of the main differences between these two methods is how students view their roles within their learning.

Eastern Students

Eastern students especially see their efforts as the main method of achieving excellence at school. Eastern schools promote the idea that discipline will outweigh any academic difficulties, eliminating any other factor that could impact students’ performance. In the East, all students are equally treated and provided with equal learning opportunities. Academic failures fall heavily on their shoulders, or they are blamed on their parents.

Western Students

Western schools, On the other hand, are more focused on students’ involvement during discussions. This encourages curiosity within students in students and encourages them to question opinions. Students view their roles as contributors, not participants in what is handed out by the teacher within the class. The importance of effort is stressed; however, not much on standardized tests, as in their Eastern counterparts. Contrary to Eastern schools, which blame the students and their parents for failing academically, the poor performance of Western students is often by institutions that aren’t able to help their academic progress.

Differentialities between the two

Another significant difference between Eastern and Western Education is that learning is viewed as a means for the end. Eastern education systems typically instill moral values in the education system. In China specifically, the students are taught according to the tradition established by Confucius, who was adamant about the importance of Education in bringing honor to the family, oneself, and the society.

According to Jin Li, writer of the book “Cultural Foundations of Learning: East and West,” students who live by this ethical code believe that Education is the primary aspect of life and that it is their life’s mission. Learning is crucial to gaining determination, perseverance determination, and it demands steadfastness, concentration, and self-control in gaining these virtues that one can honor their family and society.

Collective vs. Individual Perspectives

A belief in the intrinsic value of Education is rooted in honoring entities that are larger than oneself, including family, friends, and country. Students from Eastern countries possess a profound belief in the collective that drives them to acquire knowledge and use the lessons to improve their communities. As a result, they tend to be more collaborative than their independent counterparts who live in the West.

The Western system emphasizes the individual as the only person responsible for achieving success. Students in this system tend to question ideas that are presented to students in the classroom. This could be rooted in the notions of liberty and democracy that have emerged and ruled the Western countries for many centuries. The openness that is characteristic of Western culture is something that the East has yet to attain. Sometimes, due to the idea of the use of Education to gain respect, Eastern students are more reserved in speaking and arguing against ideas, fearing receiving poor marks.

What Eastern and Western Educational Systems produce

Eastern and Western educational systems have a distinct characters. The East creates individuals who greatly respect their right to learn and are more likely to develop an ongoing passion for learning. On the other hand, on the opposite side of the spectrum, it is possible that they only consider grades on their own and don’t care as much about actually absorbing the information they acquire at school. The West typically views the student as the only source of exploration, discovery, and achievement. 

It also has its drawbacks. It is also a drawback since Western students might feel that because they can’t achieve academically, it will not allow them to achieve success in any other area they choose. Both systems yield different types of outcomes; they both have strengths and weaknesses. There is no doubt that a lot could be learned by comparing one to the other. One is never too focused or too curious to be geared up for success.

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