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Commencements of Education in Nigeria

The importance of education in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

What is Education?

Various scholars have tried to define education, none of which is adequate to cover all aspects of education. That is, each of these definitions experience one aspect of education or the other. Let us examine some of these definitions. D. O. O. Conner (1957) sees educations as the process by which society through which schools, colleges, universities and other institutions deliberately transmits its cultural heritage. This definition stresses only formal education of organized classroom groups. While R. S. Peters (1972) sees education as basically initiation, that is initiation into the values of society and the young ones are from time to time initiated into these values.

In all, education may be defined as the process by which an individual born into a human society, learns the way of life, which include knowledge, skills and values of the society, at home, community and schools, so that he can function effectively as a member of the given society. This definition covers educational practices in both school and school-less societies.

Western Education in Nigeria

There were two systems of Education in Nigeria before the advent of Western Education and it was noted that Islamic Educational system was predominantly in the Northern part of the country. History had it that it was the Wesleyan Methodist Mission that arrived in Nigeria to start both Christian and education work and this was in September 1842, arriving in Badagry, Rev. Thomas Freeman and Mr. and Mrs. Degraft started work at once and from there they traveled to Abeokuta to visit those who had also arrived there either from the Gold Coast (Ghana) or the Sierra-Leone. In these two places, at Badagry and Abeokuta the first schools were established.

After the arrival of the Methodist, the Church Missionary Society arrived a year later led by the Rev. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Mr. Townsend and the Rev. C. A. Collinar at Badagry from where they expanded to Abeokuta in the year 1836. Crowther opened a school for boys and his wife opened another one for girls. They were however, housed in the Mission house. This knows as the Yoruba Mission gradually took off. A few years later the Yoruba Mission (C.M.S) opened an institution for the training of teachers at Abeokuta and by 1862, the mission had extended its work considerably not only in Badagry and Abeokuta, but also in Ibadan and Lagos. By the year the Yoruba Mission had 13 indigenous ordained missionaries, 42 trained teachers, 16 schools and pupil enrolment of 895.

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