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ERIC Number: EJ787897
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Programmed for Failure? The Colonial Factor in the Mass Literacy Campaign in Nigeria, 1946-1956
Omolewa, Michael
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v44 n1-2 p107-121 Feb 2008
This paper is an account of the earliest attempt in Africa to make education available to all within the context of what has been called fundamental education or a mass education programme. The paper draws attention to how the demand for mass education during the Second World War years was met by the British government, which, following what appeared to be a revision of its initial policy of exclusion, restriction of access and general hostility to mass education, made an unprecedented "large capital and recurrent grant" available for medical and educational work in its Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, and subsequently published the historic document entitled Mass Education in African Society. Using materials from the archives in Nigeria and Britain, the paper seeks to examine the reasons for the collapse of the promising literacy campaign in that country. In the process, it attempts to address, in particular, the issue of colonial policy and practice towards literacy acquisition by the "natives", and in particular the attitude of colonial government to mass literacy promotion. It draws attention to the complex colonial machinery, involving ideological differences and a personality clash that may have frustrated concerted efforts that were required to translate the programme into reality and contributed to the collapse of the literacy efforts. For while some of the officials were receptive to the idea of assisting the colonies in developing a literate citizenry, some remained strongly opposed to providing access to a large population. In the end, the frustrations and neglect led to discouragement and the end of the campaign, which could therefore not achieve its objective of making Africans literate. It then asks whether the failure of the literacy campaign may have been deliberately programmed for failure by the colonial administration to prevent the provision of mass access to literacy for the African population. (Contains 80 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nigeria; United Kingdom