Some Visible Agents and Methods of Internalization of Education in Nigeria Before and after British Colonisation

A. A. Jekayinfa, G.O. Akanbi


Education is the culture which each generation purposely gives to those who are to be its successor in order to qualify them for transmission of the values and knowledge of the society. There were many agents in the transmission of education in Nigeria during the period in question. Each of the agents had its own methods of disseminating knowledge. Of particular interest in this paper are the following agents and the methods they used: Traditional educators applied various methods to convey knowledge. One of those was the informal method of instruction which included learning through play.  Children were left to their own initiative to make toys with which they played. They made such toys from local materials of their own choices and interests. They molded them from mud and clay and made use of articles which were of little use to adults (Ocitti, 1973). Children also engaged in make-believe activities which were imitative, imaginative and symbolic. They enjoyed imitating their parents or other grown-ups, and especially those activities in which they themselves would pursue in later years.  These activities included; building huts of grass, digging and hunting by boys. Girls, on the other hand, participated in activities of the family and life in the home. They therefore imitated their mothers in such activities as cooking, grinding, fetching water and firewood (Erny, 1981). The Christian Missionaries came with the introduction and development of Western (formal) education using the various methods like recitation, assimilation, content transmission and learning by rote The Arab traders came to the country introducing the Islamic education through their trading enterprise and using the methods of recitation, repetition, rote learning and a host of others. The British Colonial government, as an agent of education in Nigeria formalized and modernized all various methods and came out with her own method of internalization of education. Except for the traditional Community, each of the other three agents i.e. the Christian Missions, the Arab traders and the British Colonial Government established schools to advance and develop their educational systems. This paper did a comparative analysis of  agents of education and methods used by each of them in the 18th and 19th century in Nigeria. The Historical method was adopted for this study and this involved the use of the British colonial papers, official Nigerian government papers and  documents of various Missions and the Berber merchants.One of the important findings of this analysis is that although, the traditional type of education was informal, the method used for disseminating knowledge suited the purpose of education in the country by then and the method achieved the result of preparing individuals for employment in their own environments and making them useful and active citizens (Fafunwa, 1974),. Another finding indicated that to a large extent, the missionaries  discarded Nigerian’s ways of life.  They rejected much of the tradition ways of life because their desire was to convert as many as possible to Christianity religion. Thus, the education provided was biased towards religion.

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