Throughout history, education has always been man’s most important activity. Infect, man cannot carry on government, family life, religion or earn a living without some form of education. School then is a shelter and a stage that brings people together on daily business, generating intellectual abilities in life and growing up.
Education can be the transmission of values and accumulated knowledge of a society or the process by which an individual gains skills. Social scientists term it socialization or enculturation. In this context, education shall be defined as “the process in which an individual acquires skills and knowledge of the society in which it is found.”
There are two basic forms of education- Formal and Informal. Formal education is acquired through organized study or instructions. Informal education arises from day-to-day experiences or through relatively unplanned contacts.
Education is designed to guide every child in learning a culture which he/she was born without, molding his behavior towards his adulthood and eventual role in society.
In prehistoric period, education was direct and simple because children initiated what adults did. Each tribe developed certain customs, beliefs and ways of doing things. Education consisted of handing down these folkways from the elders to the young. No schools or teachers in our sense of the words existed (informal education). In early civilization about 3,000 years Before Christ, written languages were created in Middle East and India, and man could now keep records of basic knowledge, beliefs and important customs. When written languages appeared, the school as a special institution for educating the young also appeared. Priests in the religious temples or scribes connected with the king’s offices served as the first teachers.
Education was restricted to a smaller privilege and the purpose was to teach a limited number of boys to read and write, learnt how to keep records of laws, religious beliefs, contracts and business transactions. Girls did not usually to go school.
Children sometimes learnt a trade outside school, by a system of direct apprenticeship to a master craft.
Brief History Of Education In Nigeria;
There exist three types of education in Nigeria. Indigenous (informed), Muslim, and western (Christian) education. The oldest is the indigenous education.
a) Indigenous Education;
The Nigerians indigenous education is as comprehensive in scope as any known system of education though the goals and method of achieving it may differs. It is not institutional rather it is giving anywhere and at any time without a strict time table. For example children learn farming, wrestling, and carving, not only while at work but also during period of recreation. Moreover, they are no special class of people called teacher. The entire community is involved in the education of the child.
Object such as development of character inculcation of respect for elders, intellectual development and the promotion of skills lead to vocation suitable for their later life are also emphasized.
At the age of eight, specialization would have started. Girls are oriented to become good house wives later, boy’s good farmers, hunters, and carvers and so on. Various agencies such as age group join in the training.
a) Muslim Education;
Islam was first introduced in Bornu during the 11th century Before Christ. By the 14th century it had spread to Hausa land. The system of education which accompanied is divided in three. The first phase begins at the age of five when young Muslim are sent to the “piazza” school where they are thought to memories the Koran in well drawn out stages. They learn how to perform religious duties in or outside the neighborhood.
The second phase begins with a more meaningful study of the Koran, grammar, literature, poetry. Islamic laws and so on. A few advanced students are known to have undertaken the study of astrology, divination and medicines.
The third phase is the continuation of the second phase, the curriculum is much wider, including grammatical inflexion, syntax, arithmetic, algebra, jurisprudence and others.
b) Western (Christian) Education;
This was found by Christian missionary, the church missionary society (C.M.S) the united Free Church, the southern Baptist convention, Roman Catholic mission (R.C.M) etc.
Christianity was introduces in Nigeria in respond to the invitation of some Yoruba emigrant who wanted missionaries to come and instruct them. In 1842 Thomas birch free of the Wesleyan Methodist missionary society landed in Badagry from the Gold coast and immediately established a mission. The enthusiasm with which he was received encouraged another mission, the church missionary society, to send a party the same year. By 1846, Christianity had been planted also in Abeokuta and between 1842 and 1900 attempts had been made by various other missions to establish themselves in various part of the country.
With the introduction of Christianity western type of education naturally follows as it was a common strategy that as soon as a station was established, one of the first facilities to be provided was a school to recruit young ones who were belief to easily be attracted. Parents favors the school more than the religious because of the opportunity of learning useful skills like Arithmetic , reading and writing English and portages. The materials for reading are provided from chapters in the bible.
These bodies played important roles in charting the pattern of educational development in the country.
In 1903 the southern Nigerians provinces where blessed with a department of education which caught the interest of government in designing and implementing educational policies that would enhance colonial and imperial interests. Emphasis where placed on the production of man power, oriented towards the servicing of the machinery of colonial administration and providing support services to commercials and economic imperialists.
The early missionaries were interested in the production of indigenous families who would help in the propagation of western religion. Hence they educational contents formed an important socialization strategy. They aim at producing educating Nigerians who nevertheless are subservient mentally and psychologically. Colonialism could not reach the desirable level of perfection without this development and so the colonialist intensified their efforts in this direction by giving the missionaries necessary encouragement.
When the British left Nigerian in 1960, they left behind an educational situation which exhibited the following features and problems;
a) The production of mentally subservient Nigerians
b) Excess production white collar applicant and workers
c) Little emphasis on technical and trade education
d) Structural education imbalance between the north and the south.
e) Less emphasis on adult education and extension services.
The missionaries practically did nothing to promote secondary and teacher education because they believed that higher education was implementing to their work by marking Nigerians becoming materialistic and intellectually arrogant.