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1.1              BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The education tradition began seriously in Nigeria with the Wesleyan Christian Missionary at Badagry in 1842. It has obviously been the most successful in meeting the overall formal educational needs of the consumers, for the present and for the future. Schools were built and the mission struggled for pupils and members such that there was a proliferation of primary schools established by different missions. Okebukola (2011). Western education was introduced in Nigeria State around 1923 by Christian missionaries in Bambur, Karim-Lamido Local government area. According to Peter (2001), since the introduction, the Christian missionaries have contributed significantly to education. Nigeria people have great faith in education as a vital instrument for social and economic emancipation of the country and its citizens. The social demand for education had been sustained over the years, and this helps to explain the phenomenal expansion of the education system since national independence in 1960. The historical overview of the development of United Methodist Church participation in education in Nigeria, presents the fact that over 50 percent of all primary and secondary schools in Nigeria were private schools owned and managed by private organizations, to complement the role of the United Methodist, proprietors, individual entrepreneurs, tribal, town unions, and communities which contributed in building schools to the point at which they now constitute the dominant educational institutions in every part of Nigeria.

Formal education was introduced into Nigeria in the 16th century, before its introduction, indigenous education was being practiced. This was non-formal and non-certified in terms of competencies, an took place at various stages of a child’s life, knowledge was presumed to be static and the pedagogic techniques used were basically memorization and the strict imitation of adults behaviour, questioning the logic, meaning or analyses of knowledge was discouraged as children were to be seen but not heard Lesourd (1996). In spite of the shortcomings the pre-literate, African societies had holistic training and education for all members of the communities. The education is lifelong which satisfied the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of the individuals. However, Western colonial education which was introduced in Nigeria had ideas and practices similar to British colonial education. The aim of British colonial education was to train clerks for administration and for commercial activities. Christian missionaries later established schools which were tailored towards the British structure, curriculum and organisation. British colonial education therefore inculcated into Nigerians foreign ideologies, culture and values. In the same vein, learning was tailored towards teaching and mastery of specific subject and one’s level of ability was determined by the capacity to memorize and reproduced facts from these subjects. According to Blege (1996) colonial educationists believe that schools and colleges must help their pupils solve only mental problems while educational functionalists believe that school is an integral, functioning part of the society, vital to its continuation and survival and therefore academic knowledge is useful only if it can be applied to solve societal problems or otherwise it becomes detrimental to the society. Whitty (1991) stated that British colonial education laid no explicit emphasis on social and political education. No wonder in Nigeria vocational and practical training were regarded as suitable only for people of low academic ability and most parents strongly objected to their children going into apprenticeship or vocational schools instead of academic institutions because of the colonial mentality that linked status to academic qualifications. For education is supposed to transform a society from pre-literate to contemporary nationhood, however, the sort of transformation that took place in Nigeria could not help the country revolutionalize and modernise the economy to meet the demands of the growing society because the education system did not emphasise the teaching of life employed nor self-employed as they lack skills for any profession. Historical hostilities and rivalries among many of the peoples agglomerated within Nigeria accounted for some of the conflicted sense of common national identity. The colonial legacy contributed significantly, however, to furthering the collision of loyalties in the new nation. For instance, the structure of British colonial administration of the artificially drawn territory restricted development of a national consciousness within the broad expanse of Nigeria's borders. Britain's practice of indirect rule in colonial Nigeria perpetuated separate ethnic and local identities. By using traditional native institutions and tractable tribal chieftains as their functionaries in exercising the doctrine of indirect rule that colonial administrator Frederick Lugard fashioned, the British sheltered the parochial political patterns of many ethnic groups. Particularly in the north, where Hausa-Fulani tribal leaders resisted European education, indirect rule contributed to the persistence of isolated tribal identity. British regional government further compounded the persistence of separateness. Although united under a governor, colonial administration from 1906 to 1922 divided Nigeria into the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, which included Lagos, and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria. That administration was further fragmented into the Northern, Eastern, and Western Regions maintained from 1922 to 1957, with the Federal Territory of Lagos created in 1954. These regions became essentially self-governing in 1960 at the time of Nigeria's independence as a tenuous federation. The colonial structure maintained ethnic isolation and reinforced it with regionalism--a situation inherited by the independent nation. With the larger ethnic groups dominating the separate political regions, the colonial experience provided little basis for fusing ethnic groups in any common sense of nationalism. It certainly fostered no history or tradition of national community. The education was therefore, found to be ineffective and inadequate to the needs and aspirations of Nigeria society.


The trend of cultural westernisation of Africa has become very pervasive and prevalent, such that Western civilisation has taken precedence over African values and culture and the latter is regarded as inferior to the former. As with other societies and cultures in the so-called Third World, the impact of Western education on Africa has occasioned a discontinuity in forms of life throughout the continent. This has led to a cultural dualism that often presents itself as a real dilemma in concrete, real-life situations. In other words, the African experience of modernity is fraught with tensions at every level of the communal and social settings. The post- independence Africa is confronted with how to have a true identity, a new culture that is African in nature. However, it will be unfair if we will to mention that western education also came with it some very impactful sides. This is why the researcher intends to have a critical assessment on the perceived impact of western education on the African continent, using Nigeria as a case study.

1.3              OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main aim of this study is to examine the impact of western education in the society. The specific objectives are to;

1.   Identify the impact of western education on the infrastructural development Nigeria

2.    Examine the impact of western education on the development and training of manpower in industries and firms:

3.    Examined the impact of western education on the culture and tradition of the society:

4.   Access  the impact of western education on the morality of the youth:  

5.   Examine the impact of western education on the African religious belief and practice.

1.4              RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hypotheses one

Ho: western education has a negative impact on the culture and tradition of the African society.

Hi: western education has a positive impact on the culture and tradition of the African society.

Hypotheses Two

Ho: There is no relationship between western education and infrastructural development.

Hi: There is a relationship between western education and infrastructural development.


The study would benefit religious leaders since it would serve as a guide on how to provide education on character and moral training and the development of sound attitudes towards desired ends, such as societal values, respect, honesty, justices and truthfulness. The study would suggest to policy makers the need to introduce more necessary methods to teach in primary schools. This would enable the policy makers to achieve the national educational goals as spelt out in the National policy on education which emphasizes on giving the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that would enable him to function effectively in society within the limit of his capacity. Such skills bring out the ability of the child in certain trades and vocation that he would earn his living from. The study would be significant to student for the development of self-reliance. It will also be useful as a research material to other researchers who intend to embark on similar or the same topic.


This study is primarily concerned with impact of western education on the society. It study covers Nigeria, with a case study of university of Abuja. The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following.

a) availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study    

b) time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


WESTERN EDUCATION: Western education is a system originated from the west and penetrated to the world after Islamic education in the earliest 15th century. Its main approach was the modernization of social life through science and technological advancement (Farid, 2005).

SOCIETY: A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study    

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