Educating the “Native”: a Study of the Education Adaptation Strategy in British Colonial Africa, 1910-1936

By Omolewa, Michael

This essay discusses how examinations were used as an “adaptation strategy” beginning in 1910 when British examinations boards were invited to assist with the conduct of secondary school examinations in colonial territories in Africa. Although adaptation covered all aspects of formal schooling, this study focuses on secondary education because of its importance as the highest level of education available, and its significant impact on colonial society at the time. Much of recent literature on the adaptation question has focused on the various levels of schooling beyond basic village education in rural areas.1 The essay examines the responses, particularly in Nigeria, to the suggestion that secondary education should be “adapted to local needs,” and the results of the adaptation efforts, culminating in the introduction of the “Overseas School Certificate Examination” for Nigerian candidates in 1936.

The foundation of Western education in Africa was laid by Christian missionaries who were eager to use literacy training to introduce Christianity and win converts to their religion.2 The missionaries also used Western education to train Africans as catechists, messengers, and other positions needed to assist them in realizing the social and economic development and transformations desired by the European missionaries and their agents. Merchants and traders also required qualified personnel to handle their business transactions. Thus after considerable consultations between the Church Missionary Society (CMS), founded by the Church of England to promote evangelization, and the local merchants and traders, the first secondary school in Nigeria, the Church Missionary Society Grammar School, was founded in Lagos in 1859.3

It is by no means surprising that the first secondary school in Nigeria was established by the Church Missionary Society (CMS). Its secretary from 1841 to 1872, Henry Venn, firmly believed in the development of adequate human resources, and that the school must be self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating, and should employ African personnel.4 The African commercial and business elite also required personnel that was well-trained and equipped to handle political and economic transactions between Africans and outsiders involving record keeping and correspondence regarding the exchange of European and African goods and services.5 Africans also gradually began to recognize the advantages and the attractions of post- primary education, especially the increased salaries and wages, and improved conditions of service. Historian Andrew Paterson has observed that in South Africa, “Africans perceived education to be an alternative source for economic security in a time of land dispossession.”6

In a quick succession, additional secondary schools were established by the CMS in various parts of Nigeria, and by other missionary organizations, including the Baptist Mission, the Catholic Mission, and the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, beginning in the 1870s. The Qua Iboe, the Primitive Methodist Society, established secondary schools mostly in Eastern Nigeria starting in 1922. Secondary schools also gradually began to spring up in various other parts of Africa, as community colleges, high schools, and secondary grammar schools, often in cooperation with Christian missions that provided the teachers, the curriculum, and the necessary contacts; however, the local communities provided the buildings and raised funds for these educational services.7 This was the background to the establishment of various mission schools in Africa. In Nigeria, for example, ethnic-based secondary schools such as Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife; Edo College, Benin City; and Imade College, Owo began to sprout up to attend to the various needs of communities and individuals eager to take advantage of the new opportunities for advancement and promotion in the new society that emerged with the coming of the missionaries and the colonial administrative bureaucracy.8

At first the British colonial government was unwilling to have a direct involvement in the promotion of secondary education in Nigeria. However, British officials soon recognized that, following the establishment of colonial rule and the subsequent increase in the demand for clerks, messengers, interpreters, and other administrators needed to maintain British control in the region, it became imperative to establish secondary schools. Thus in 1909 British colonial administrators decided to establish King’s College in Lagos as a model secondary school, providing “sound general education.”9 Government officials also began to complement and supplement the work of the missions by establishing model secondary schools in various provinces. The colonial administrators also began to introduce legislation and provide the policy framework for the expansion of schooling in the colonies.10

This process was accompanied by the invitation to the British examinations board to test the literary competence and ability of the graduates of the secondary school system and to measure its quality. To this end, London University examinations were introduced early to Mauritius, and later to parts of East and West Africa. The colonial administrators also invited the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate into the country in 1910 to assist in conducting the secondary school examinations.11 In doing so the British colonial regime believed that it was taking advantage of the decision of the University of Cambridge in its statute of 11 February 1858, to establish the syndicate for the examination of students who are not members of the university.12 The University of Oxford, which had established the University Delegacy for Local Examinations on 18 June 1857, followed Cambridge in 1929 in the work of conducting secondary school examinations in Nigeria.13

Examinations have remained a very powerful instrument for controlling the content of instruction. They influence curriculum design and preparation, and dictate the teaching and learning process.14 As Fafunwa, a Nigerian education specialist, declared, “It is an educational truism that examinations control the curriculum and whosoever controls a country’s examination system controls its education.”15 Historian Angela Little has made the following important point:

[Examinations represent the ultimate goal of the educational career, they define what are the important aspects of a school curriculum and they dictate to a large extent the quality of the school experience for both teacher and student alike. Moreover, the quality of the examination system itself can have a considerable impact on the quality of skill formation encouraged by the education system, which skills in turn could have a considerable impact on the inputs to the labour market.16

Historian Mary E. Dillard has also observed that it is important to devote closer attention to the instrument of measurement in our effort to understand how educational systems have developed, “in addition to studying educational content, curriculum, and the structure of schooling.”17


Initially, the Africans expected much from the attainment of Western education, but they quickly became disappointed and frustrated over the results.18 This disenchantment was expressed in complaints from Africans and Europeans alike that the “imported” educational system failed to achieve its objectives. Western education was considered “too European,” and therefore, ill-suited and irrelevant to African needs, and that in the process, the indigenous values of love, community relationships, and profound spirituality were being lost. At the same time, some complained that the new system had introduced new values of intolerance, hatred, “cutthroat competition,” disharmony, pride, arrogance, covetousness, and even cheating. It was further suggested that there was too much rote-learning and too little application of the principles being taught in the schools. Colonial officials soon resolved that massive reform was required.19

The plans for reform were influenced by educational practices in the United States and promoted by the Phelps-Stokes Fund, an American philanthropic foundation. In 1920 the Phelps-Stokes Fund launched its African Education Commission, led by Thomas Jesse Jones, a Welshman who had formerly taught at Hampton Institute in Virginia.20 Jones assembled a team of six observers that was to travel to West Africa to survey colonial educational institutions and practices and to make recommendations. The team visited Nigeria from 4 November to 16 December 1920, and traveled to Kano, Onitsha, and Calabar. In its report published in 1922, the team concluded that Western education had little prospect for success in the African colonies because it was transplanted to a soil that was unwilling to let it grow. It was suggested that formal schooling should be adapted to suit its environment. With regard to secondary education, the commission argued that it should aim at training African leaders and suggested that activities of secondary school should be determined with particular regard to the needs of such leadership. Among t\he subjects considered relevant were sciences, physiology, hygiene, sanitation, social studies, mathematics, languages, gardening and rural economics. The report emphasized that formal schooling should, in all lands, concentrate on “indigenous education” and be adapted to local needs.21

Among the team members were education specialists and anthropologists from the Teachers College, Columbia University. They all had a keen interest in examining the educational and social development of “primitive” races, their folkways and history, because they believed that Africans should be made to learn about these cultural beliefs and practices at all stages of their formal schooling. This view was supported by the members of the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa established in 1923 by the Colonial Office in London. Even after the committee was renamed the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies, its members continued to insist on the need to design a specific educational system, curriculum, and examination system for Africans, and to adapt the existing system of formal schooling to suit local needs, arguing that Western education was unsuitable for Nigerians and other colonial subjects.22

The colonial government officials who believed that formal schooling in the colonies must take the culture of the “natives” into account shared their views with others in London and this theme was echoed throughout the colonial period. The Imperial Education Conferences of 1912, 1927, 1937 and the Advisory Committee Reports on Education in the Colonies all emphasized this idea, and a 1925 white paper, titled “Education Policy in British Tropical Africa,” highlighted the need to adapt education “to the mentality, aptitudes, occupations and traditions of the various peoples, conserving as far as possible all sound and healthy elements in the fabric of their social life.”23 The 1925 white paper was dispatched to all the provincial governors in African colonies, and Lord Lugard, chronicler of British colonial history, described it as “one of the principal landmarks of imperial policy in the twentieth century.”24 In October 1929, W. Ormsby-Gore, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies, reiterated the position that schooling had to be adapted to the circumstances and lives of colonial peoples. He declared that:

In all parts alike the need is felt for an education which will preserve and develop the individuality and traditions of the various peoples, whether indigenous or immigrant, and which will give them at the same time the means of acquiring a scientific or technical mastery of the forms of nature and a wider outlook on human experience.25

It appears that the British government considered its policy of adaptation of education to suit local needs as extremely important. In pursuance of this policy, the British government supported the formation of the International Institute of African Languages and Culture, which instituted five prizes for the best books written by Africans in African languages. This action was taken, according to the authorities of the Institute, to give impetus to the production of vernacular literature.26


The responsibility for planning secondary school curricula for the African colonies in the early decades of the 20th century in Africa remained with the Departments or Ministries of Education of the various countries. But the initiative for changes in school examinations remained in the hands of the Advisory Committee of the Colonial Office whose primary concern, according to historian Clive Whitehead, “was to maintain more direct control over the spread and content of education, especially at the secondary level.”27 However, the actual examinations were conducted mainly by the University of London School Examinations Board, the Cambridge University Syndicate for Local Examinations, and the Oxford Delegacy for Local Examinations. As was noted, examinations have a decisive influence on the school curriculum, and university examination bodies had expressed their willingness to consider suggestions from various quarters for appropriate modifications.28 The Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa acknowledged this fact in June 1929, and as early as 1930, the committee began to consider ways of bringing about changes in the content of the educational programs in colonial schools.29 A sub-committee of the Advisory Committee was later set up under Sir James Currie that corresponded with the English universities and expressed an eagerness to modify the existing syllabi for the colonies to reflect local needs. The Advisory Committee assured university officials that it was not interested in lower standards, but wanted “to retain them [colonial subjects] within the ambit of English education, whilst making such modifications. . . .”30

An education conference was held in London between 25 and 31 May 1935 to review proposals for the reform of the syllabus for secondary school examinations in the colonies. Another meeting was held at the Colonial Office in London on 5 December 1935 between the English examining bodies and colonial officials. At that meeting it was agreed that a sub-committee should be set up to coordinate the activities of the examining bodies and should consist of two representatives from each of the university boards concerned with examinations in the dependencies, as well as individuals nominated by the secretary of state for the colonies.31

After several meetings, the Advisory Committee agreed on the format for the existing examinations and the division into subject groups. It also agreed that the syllabi for history, physics, chemistry, and mathematics should remain unaltered. It recommended that local flora and fauna be substituted for the European plants used in the botany examinations, and that a greater emphasis should be put on local geography. Finally, it recommended that essay topics in the English language paper should be made more meaningful to the African students and therefore considered the inclusion of topics considered relevant to the “natives,” including “Native markets,””Native Music,””Native Dancing,””Popular Superstitions,” and “Polygamy.”32

All the English universities responsible for conducting school examinations in Nigeria favorably considered the proposals submitted by the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa. However, as early as October 1922, London University adopted Hausa and Yoruba as “optional special languages” for its university entrance qualifying examinations. At its meeting on 18 October 1922, the London University Faculty Senate approved the recommendation of the senate-appointed “Board of Studies in Oriental Languages and Literature” that these two languages be adopted as suitable examination subjects.33 However, the University Senate insisted that in making these decisions about the adoption of African languages, it would only be guided on academic grounds. Thus at its meeting of 5 February 1926, it resolved that “Efik is not a suitable subject to be offered at the Matriculation Examination on the ground that there is not a sufficient native literature to allow an adequate test of proficiency in the language.”34

In principle, the study of indigenous languages was a positive move, but the assumption that Africans could not grapple with the nuances of the English language was highly questionable. This probably explains why the indigenous peoples were suspicious of the intentions of the colonial officials whom they believed did not want them to master the English language, and therefore compete with them for positions of authority. In October 1930, London University’s Board of Studies in Oriental Languages and Literature recommended that Igbo be recognized as a special language at the matriculation examination on the grounds that it is the language of over four million people. It was also recommended as a compulsory subject for governmental officials being sent to the region before their appointments could be confirmed. The London University Senate, however, raised objections and refused to consider “extra academic factors” in the recognition of a language at the matriculation examination.35

The Board of Studies in Oriental Languages and Literature had suggested that “some stimulus is needed to induce Igbo young men to study, and to help them in the development of their own language; and the recognition of Igbo in this way may help to this end.”36 However, in making its final recommendation in November 1930 to the Matriculation and School Examinations Council, the Senate concluded that Igbo should not be approved as a special language at the matriculation examination.

It was ascertained from further inquiries that Igbo literature consists at present of the Bible, the Prayer Book, a Reader in the written language known as Union-Igbo, a few books of a religious nature in one or other of the dialects, and a history of a town written by a native of that town, more or less after the Union-Igbo model; and further that Igbo is at present a language of many dialects.37

The University of London also faced problems introducing the study of African history into the curriculum because of the absence of textbooks or other written materials.38 Some colonial officials were convinced that some of the indigenous peoples came to their present destinations “at some time unknown, and had nothing in the way of history, handicrafts, customs, or physique to make them notable.”39 The existing textbooks devoted only a few paragraphs to the history of the African peoples before the coming of the Europeans. Moreover, Englishman T. R. Batten, the author of several textbooks on African history, argued that “throughout the long ages before Africa was controlled by European powers inthe nineteenth century, there were few changes in African ways of living.”40 Most colonial officials did not consider the history of the “natives” worthy of study, largely because they saw “history” as a subject needed to inform the “natives” about the European “civilizing missions.” As one of them put it: “We must tell them the story of how the white man has come in his great ships to show the new ways of mining and planting, bringing also factories and cinemas, railways and motorlorries, that break up the old life.”41 University entrance examinations included questions on Henry the Navigator and the European explorers possibly as part of the promotion of “imperial” African history.

With regard to the art curriculum, Cambridge University carefully considered the proposals submitted by K. C. Murray, who as early as 1931 had criticized the Syndicate’s art examination as unsuitable for developing art education in Nigeria because “they have little to do with art and nothing to do with African traditions.”42 Murray then volunteered to consult Africans who, being “a practicable people,” would be able to design a syllabus in art education. In 1933 the Cambridge Syndicate reported that it was proposing to adapt its course to “tropical needs and conditions.”43 Overall, by 1936 the Syndicate had worked out several new examination programs for the Nigerian candidates, but the examinations retained the titles “Junior School Certificate” and “School Certificate.” Both examinations included “overseas subjects” such as geography, which had some questions inserted to test the candidates’ knowledge of “local conditions.” For the award of certificates, all candidates for the examinations were required to pass the English language paper, which was designed to test the candidates’ ability to write English correctly. Candidates were required to offer English and four to eight subjects chosen from at least two groupings of courses.44

The Cambridge University Syndicate, like the other examination bodies, continued to insist on the attainment of specific marks to determine the level of achievement of candidates, and emphasized that “special attention is paid to the English language test in awarding grades. In no circumstances is Grade I, the highest level, awarded to a candidate who fails to reach the pass standard in this test.”45 This of course had implications for the mastery of other European languages in the country, none of which was made compulsory.46


The implementation of the adaptation strategy in Nigeria was fraught with difficulties. Western education was introduced into Africa five centuries after universities had been established in Europe, and more than one thousand years after Western education had been in practice in a written form. Those who pioneered Western education in Africa were aware that while they were dealing with “fundamental” schooling in Africa, in England the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and English grammar schools had been established as far back as the 12th century.47 Some colonial officials assumed that formal schooling in Africa was to be limited to basic village education in a rural setting, but there were those who begrudgingly recognized the need to extend schooling to the secondary education level. Furthermore, the Christian missionaries who introduced Western education were ignorant of traditional African educational systems, with their emphasis on apprenticeship training, oral tradition, and respect for elders, honesty, and fair play.48 Many missionaries and colonial officials assumed there was no educational foundation on which they could build. They later realized that their assumptions about the indigenous educational practices were invalid.

Moreover, the new educational system produced unexpected outcomes by conferring rewards such as jobs and social status on successful students. This drove some African students to do almost anything to achieve success, including rote-memorization of the material, cheating, or even buying their way to examination success. Unlike traditional education, which was interwoven into communal life, Western education produced a new breed of Africans who were at times alienated from their own communities because of the power and authority conferred on them by their new status. As one colonial official observed, “Some products of the educational system overestimated their own achievement and worth.”49 The colonial office in the 1950s had to accept that,

Education practice in Africa has come under fire from various quarters…. There are those who say that the education we offer is too bookish, is not related to the environment of the country, and does not pay sufficient attention to character training; that primary education ought to have an agricultural and rural bias; that secondary education turns out too many people with a desire for white-collar employment.50

At independence, a Nigerian minister of education, Chief J. A. O. Odebiyi, described Nigerian secondary school graduates as “mercenary, materialistic and complacent” and added that they “tend to think that possession of a Cambridge or West African Examinations Council certificate entitled them to believe that the world owes them a living.”51

The implementation of the adaptation strategy further undermined its potential success. Indeed, adaptation became cosmetic, incomplete, nonparticipatory, alienating, and exclusive. Those who benefited did not share the educational vision, but went along for personal gain. This was because the officials who implemented adaptation did not anticipate or call for any contribution from the local people. Eventually, British examinations boards accepted the adaptation program and began introducing new elements into the tests. However, these minor changes did not greatly affect the overall development of Nigerian secondary education. The English language paper remained compulsory, and even the addition of new essay topics for Nigerian candidates did not introduce major changes in the paper. Some essay topics such as ‘”Where there’s a will there’s a way’: How far can this proverb be applied to our everyday life?” were more appealing to Nigerian candidates who had come to sit for the examinations only to prove the dictum. The fact that the examinations had to be written in intelligible and meaningful English only reinforced the Nigerian students’ belief that “adaptation” meant greater facility in Western subjects.

However, many of the subjects were not greatly affected by the adaptation strategy. Arithmetic, geometry, and algebra papers continued to be designed to test the candidates’ ability, irrespective of their geographical location. Physics and chemistry examinations, for instance, tested the same information whether they were taken in Britain or in the colonies. Botany and geography were among the “adapted” subjects, but the basic requirements for standard examinations remained and only about one in ten of the questions reflected colonial circumstances. For example, geography papers before and after adaptation included questions on the earth- its form, movement, and atmosphere; construction and use of maps; distribution of land and water; vegetation; distribution of population; and so forth. But for candidates in Africa, at least one question was added that dealt with the regional geography of Great Britain, and either Africa or America.52

The examiners included questions on the history of the exploration of Africa and the growth of the British Empire, but not on the history of African peoples. The subject groups remained, but the list of topics was expanded. However, it was possible for the candidates to avoid some of the newly introduced subjects and still obtain a certificate. It was also possible to avoid any new topic inserted in the old subjects and still pass the examination.

Perhaps it would be better to describe the new system as a modification rather than “adaptation” since the continued emphasis on English as the lingua franca was itself a negation of adaptation. The secretary of state for the colonies, Ormsby-Gore, came close to acknowledging this reality when in an address at the annual Conference of Educational Associations on 5 January 1937, he declared that “external examinations have always tended to influence curricula, and have not always helped the true course of good education.”53

It is significant that the apologists for adaptation did not comment on the negative aspects of external examinations. For example, no consideration was given to the view that examinations inevitably generated “an exaggerated spirit of selfish rivalry, and a desire of immediate praise and reward. . . . Personal ambition prevails over public spirit and patriotism . . . love of self as opposed to love of others.”54 And Sir John Lubbock pointed out in his criticism of the British examinations that “every schoolmaster will be anxious, for the credit of the school, to obtain as large a proportion of certificates as possible, and under these circumstances attention will be concentrated on the four subjects taken. . . .”55 Therefore, it would appear that the promoters of adapted education failed to appreciate the problems of an educational system based solely on examinations, problems which transcended race and nation.

Historian Henry D’Souza observed that the adaptation strategy was largely restricted to the New Zealand Maoris, the black population in the Caribbean, the native peoples of the Philippines, Africans in the sub-Saharan region, and black South Africans. He has further explained that adaptation “implied low standards compared with that offered at comparable institutions in Britain.”56 He also expressed agreement with the description of T. Smith, a British Member of Parliament, who had described adapted schooling as “education on the Woolworth basis.” D’Souza concluded that the adapted curricul\um was “a method of discriminating against the ‘native’ by slowing down the educational pace and watering the curriculum content.”57 Charles Loram, an apologist for the adapted curriculum in South Africa, was concerned with the “natives of South Africa,” and in his view “industrial training should be made the chief end of Native education.”58 Historian Andrew Paterson pointed to the “certainty with which Loram attributed consensus” on the question of adaptation in South Africa among “all white colonial interest groups.”59

In the early 1920s, the distinct form of “Negro industrial education” associated with Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes and aimed at maintaining the subordination of the southern black working class was recommended as appropriate for the “native peoples” in European colonies in Africa. Historian P. S. Zachemuk explained that “informed by the American-based Phelps-Stokes Commission, and modeled in part on what white Americans thought suited their African American underclass, colonial education policy hoped to create loyal Africans who knew their place in gendered colonial and racial hierarchies.”60 Edward Berman contends that the recommendations of the Phelps-Stokes Fund’s Education Commission to Africa had “strong racist overtones,” and would have proved disastrous for the development of Africa had they been adopted.61 He noted that “the belief in African inferiority and depravity led many to conclude that Africans and their American descendants could not possibly benefit from a literary education.”62 Berman also drew attention to the chairman of the Continuation Committee of the World Missionary Conference who observed in 1914 that the “mental digestion” of the “child race” is weak, and that these races “are more successful in getting knowledge than using it.” The chairman then concluded that the intellectual infirmity of the African had grown out of the “low state of his civilisation and the effect on his mind of centuries of barbarous lawlessness and cruelty.”63 Historian Kenneth King has been critical of the recommendations of the Phelps-Stokes Commission because they were based on assumptions of African inferiority and served as a recipe for political and economic subordination.64 These researchers also suggested that the Commission failed to have a direct influence on educational developments in African colonies because it was overly ambitious, spent too little time in Africa, and did not consult well-respected members of the African intelligentsia.65

Rather than planning a more suitable educational system, overworked and inexperienced colonial officials embarked on the adaptation program half-heartedly. It is difficult to resist suggesting that if these officials had kept their own children in the colony’s schools, they would have appealed to more experienced and competent educational planners outside the colony for advice and sought additional financial assistance for local educational programs from the Colonial Office. However, colonial officials refused to bring their children with them because of fears about the tropical climate. The official reports consistently carried the information that “West Africa has always had, and deserved, the reputation of being so unhealthy that almost certain death would be the fate of the white man who endeavoured to make it his home. And in this general condemnation Nigeria has been included.”66 E. Speed, the first Chief Justice of Nigeria, also commented that “by the nature of our service which precludes the possibility of bringing up children in Nigeria, we are forced to maintain a residence for our family at home or at all events in some climate where children can live.”67 The adapted schooling available in the British colonies in Africa was meant only to apply to African children, and historian Martin Carnoy suggests that the failure of Western education to produce a mass of innovative and highly trained individuals was not a failure at all, but the direct result of the colonizing function of schooling, adapted or otherwise, in a capitalist economy.68

In searching for the real motives for the genesis of the adaptation strategy, one must look at the apprehensions of the colonial officials who suddenly discovered that Nigerians were investing heavily in their formal schooling, which was considered a passport to upward mobility in the colonial system. Because the colonial government invested comparatively little in schooling, many Nigerians began courses through self-education, scorned indigenous education and sub-standard educational institutions, and vigorously embraced the English universities’ examinations. Many Nigerian youths began to consider the acquisition of the certificate as their prime objective for social advancement. Commenting on “these misguided aspirations,” of young West Africans, the well-respected Nigerian nationalist Nnamdi Azikiwe pointed out that “the African is not, and never has been, a problem; there is no such thing as an African educational problem.” The real issue was the overarching emphasis on certificates, credentials, and “degrees after one’s name.”69

But these values were rarely acquired through the passing of the School Certificate or the Overseas School Certificate examinations. Azikiwe did not preach the discontinuance of the external examinations, but he wanted them supplemented by training that would inculcate in the Nigerian youth a sense of dedication, patriotism, and loyalty. It seems plausible to suggest that the colonial administration was not prepared to pursue such an educational experiment, and there seems to have been an element of improvisation associated with adaptation because shortly after the colonial officials transplanted Western education in Nigeria, they began to regret the initiative because of its failure to create the colonial subjects “of their dreams.” For example, it was suggested that instead of producing cooperative citizens, “the present picture is one of ferment and conflict in which the individual, much more than in the past, sees himself and his private interests evermore clearly, and society and his duties to it as something outside himself, demanding and frustrating.”70 British officials in Nigeria consistently complained that products of the existing school system were generally disrespectful to colonial authority and generally discourteous toward the traditional elders. Lord Frederick Lugard, the first governor of Nigeria, who was by no means a profound thinker or intellectual, despised the products of the colonial school system. Lord Lugard frequently drew attention to the negative comments about them, and agreed that they were usually “unreliable, lacking in integrity, self-control, and discipline and without respect for authority of any kind.”71

Other advocates of adaptation such as Lord Lugard’s deputy, C. L. Temple A. Mayhew, the joint-secretary of the Advisory Committee on Native Education, Sir Percy Nunn, Professor of Education at the University of London, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa, often defended the colonial educational system. For example, J. H. Driberg, who became lecturer in ethnology at Cambridge University after serving for several years in the colonies, argued that the “native” needed knowledge and skills in two crucial areas.

The two most important things are the maintenance of life and the perpetuation of his species. He has therefore to have a thorough knowledge of all the economic activities of his tribe and of all the circumstances which may affect them, such as insects or other pests, the seasons (which introduce him to astronomy), his physical environment. … As a member of society, he must know its laws and regulations and the way in which it is organised.72

In an address to the British Commonwealth Education Conference held in July 1931, Sir Percy Nunn argued that, instead of chemistry, physics, and mechanics, the African must be taught biology because “the operation of biological laws-especially micro-biology laws is ever present to him. … If you ask many teachers in this country what they understand by biology, they answer that they believe it has something to do with sex teaching. Let us get this idea out of our heads when considering the significance of biology in Africa.”73 A. Mayhew suggested that certain subjects (which he did not name), could be eliminated from the list included in the school examinations. He explained that “in tropical Africa or the Pacific we have for the most part primitive races that seem at present to have but little to contribute, and that must undergo long years of patient work before they can effectively assimilate the best that we can offer. . . .”74

As early as 1930, the director of education reported problems of unemployment among Nigerians with certificates of British examination boards, and admitted that only a small proportion could find the clerical employment that they desired. As a result, a large number of candidates were in search of clerical or similar occupations in various parts of the country. The director added that the candidates were “suffering from a legitimate grievance if they are not employed.” In September 1932 at the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa, Sir Michael Sadler evoked “the danger of an academic proletariat.” The members drew the attention of the colonial officials to the possibility of the overproduction of these “colonial graduates.”75 W. R. McLean argued that “unless the product of university training, or indeed of any higher training, can be employed in the Dependency, it is probably a political as well as an economic error for the local administration to provide uncontrolled facilities for such training, and for the granting of British External degrees locally to native students.”76

It appears that by the early 1930s there was considerable irritation, \perhaps anger, among colonial officials over the growing number of qualified Africans who demonstrated their competence and training by passing the external examinations, but who were deliberately excluded from the governance and administration of their native land.77


Adaptation was clearly a product of the fear of colonial officials who believed that the new African leaders were a threat to continued colonial occupation of Africa, and the domination of the skilled labor market by the colonizers. The criticism of African secondary school graduates therefore was a convenient invention of the colonial officials who wished to maintain their position of authority. But the larger question is whether or not real “adaptation” was possible under the colonial system. Colonialism was dominating and alienating and denied the subject peoples freedom of choice or input in the planning and implementation of policies that affected them. Imperial officials had no respect for the views of the colonized, and the schools were designed, not to meet the needs and aspirations of the indigenous population, but those of their colonizers. The colonial system did not function for the good of the colonized, who desired economic, social, and political development.

In addition, the original concept of “adaptation” had an underlying racist assumption. Even the European supporters of adaptation concluded that the imported educational system had produced only “questionable” colonial subjects, but often failed to acknowledge that the secondary schools produced graduates who went on to become efficient clerks, surgeons, journalists, learned ministers of religion, powerful barristers, and Nigerian patriots. Perhaps it was convenient for some biased colonial officials to brand these “promising” graduates also as potential agitators and ne’er-do-wells. At the same time, there was a very strong suspicion among Nigerians that they were considered incapable of mastering English education, and this explains their resistance to “adapted” education. As one Nigerian nationalist sniped, “What is good for the goose must be good for the gander!” And this determination to resist adaptation was clearly reflected in Nnamdi Azikiwe’s advice to Nigerian youth who wanted to begin higher studies.

There is no achievement which

Is possible to human beings which

Is not possible to Africans.

Your studies of Logic should

Lead to the correct conclusions.

Therefore go forth, thou

Sons of Africa, and return

Home laden with the

Golden Fleece.78

Writing in 1930, Adeyemo Alakija, then a student of Oxford University, admitted that there was chaos in the Nigerian educational system because “the African could not avoid attempting to imitate the European [and] the European did not think it his duty to study the African’s national institutions. He would modernise the African and advance his mode of life from the European point of view.”79 But Alakija challenged any plan to provide substandard education for Africans because that would be based on European conceptions of the African as mentally deficient. In his opinion, “Africans are not to be a nation of clerks without a future.” As part of his education, the African must be exposed to foreign influences and ideas. And he asked, “Should we say that the African ceases to be African because he finds it more convenient to discard his gabardine for the Bond Street style?”80

By the 1920s it was clear that the indigenous African population had become highly suspicious of the intentions of the various educational “commissions” that had sought to “adapt” what they considered to be an adequate educational program to meet the needs of colonial subjects. Many of the educated African elites had been angered by the various recommendations, which they believed would produce only second-rate scholars unprepared to go on to the university or other institutions of higher learning. The context in which the adapted education system was introduced did not foster partnership between the colonizers and the “natives.” In fact, adapted schooling was imposed on the indigenous people, and was strongly resisted by many. As Whitehead has aptly put it:

British models were certainly followed but not because they were deliberately imposed on colonial schools, but rather because Africans and other colonial subjects insisted on them. Anything less would have been considered second rate. It was for this reason that the policy of adaptation, so popular with colonial educators in the interwar years, failed. Africans, in particular, wanted a carbon copy of British education and qualifications acceptable for admission to British universities and University of London external degrees. A study of the classics may have made little practical sense in tropical Africa, but Latin and Greek were part of the European educational gold standard to which Africans aspired.81

Perhaps another reason Africans resisted adaptation was because they were not allowed to make the decision themselves. As R. J. Mason, a contemporary observer, put it, “I think . . . that a successful adaptation can be made only by Africans themselves. An alien people, and a ruling one, however well-intentioned it may be, can only take another people so far along the road. Thereafter, they must find their own way, seeking such guidance as they themselves feel the need.”82 We should also point out that even the nations that had exported educational models to the colonies had to embark on reforms at various points, as is evident in the important changes in the curriculum, educational systems, and accreditation strategies in European and other developed countries.83

It is important to note that most of the educated elite that began to struggle to attain independence from British colonial rule were not those who had the advanced education of the “unadapted” type found outside Africa. In fact, many African nationalists grew up while the “adapted” version of education was being encouraged. The frustrations of the limited education and the fear and suspicion sown in the minds of the young people who went through the experiment blossomed into a rejection of the colonial apparatus, including the educational programs it generated.84

Perhaps we should add that there was scant willingness to use education to prepare Africans for leadership, independent thinking, confidence building, and assertiveness. Character building, self- assurance, and the capacity to work with others were not priorities. Nor was the system equipped to cope with the issues of ethnicity and class, national identity, social justice, or equity and equality of access to advanced training. Certainly, these educational programs were not geared toward finding solutions to the problems of hunger, poverty, technological backwardness, or the challenges of democratic governance.85 Yet these should have constituted the basis for genuine educational adaptation.


I am grateful to the staff and authorities of the National Archives, Ibadan, Nigeria; the Cambridge University Syndicate of Local Examinations, Cambridge; the Oxford University Delegacy of Local Examinations, Oxford; Rhodes House Library, Oxford; the University of London Senate House Library, London; the Missionary Societies of Great Britain and Ireland, London; the Institute of Historical Research, London; the Institute of Education, London; and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria for giving me access to their rich collection of materials on this subject. I am also grateful for the assistance provided by the Information Service of the Caxton Publishing Company, London; and to the University of London authorities for permission to quote from the University Senate Minutes. I wish to acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Mercy Ette, and the constructive comments of Professor V. P. Franklin and the anonymous reviewers of this work.

1 See Clive Whitehead, “The Historiography of British Imperial Education Policy, Part II: Africa and the Rest of the Colonial Empire,” History of Education [England] 34 (July 2005): 441-54; Kenneth King, Pan Africanism and Education: a Study of Race Philosophy and Education in the Southern States of America and East Africa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), Peter Kallaway, “Colonial Education in Natal: The Zwaartkops Government Industrial Native School 1888 to 1892,” Perspectives in Education 10 (Summer 1987): 17- 33; Carol Summers, “Educational Controversies: African Activism and Educational Strategies in Southern Rhodesia, 1920-1934,” Journal of Southern African Studies 20 (March, 1994): 3-25, Henry D’Souza, “External Influences on the Development of Educational Policy in British Tropical Africa from 1923 to 1939,” African Studies Review, 18/2 (1975), 35-43; D. G. Schilling, “British Policy for African Education in Kenya 1895-1939,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1972; Trevor Coombe, “The Origins of Secondary Education in Zambia,” African Social Research, 3 (June 1967): 173-205; 4 (December 1967): 283-315; and 5 (June 1968): 365-405; and Penelope HelhenngLon, British Paternalism in Africa, 1920-1940 (London, 1978).

2 For discussion on the subject see Jacob Ade Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria, 1841-1891: The Making of a New Elite (Evanston, IL, 1965); E. A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria (London, 1966); F. K. Ekechi, Missionary Enterprise and Rivalry in Igboland, 1857-1914 (London, 1972); C. K. Graham, The History of Education in Ghana from Earliest Times to the Declaration of Independence (London, 1971).

3 See A. A. Adeyinka, “The Development of Secondary Grammar School Education in Nigeria,” M.Ed. Thesis, University of Ibadan, 1974; A. A. Fajana, Education in Nigeria, 1842-1939, An Historical Analysis (Lagos, Nigeria, 1972); Jacob Ade Ajayi, “The Development of Secondary Grammar School Education in Nigeria, ” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria 2 (No. 3, 1963): 517-35.

4 Ajayi, Chris\tian Missions in Nigeria, 1841-1891.

5 Some of the comprehensive accounts on this subject are available in Helen Kitchen, ed., The Educated African: A Country-by- Country Survey of Educational Development in Africa (New York, 1962); L. J. Lewis, Society, Schools and Progress in Nigeria (London, 1965); Peter C. Lloyd, ed., The New Elites of Tropical Africa (London, 1966); Kristin Mann, Marrying Well: Marriage, Status and Social Change Among the Educated Elite in Colonial Lagos (Cambridge, MA, 1985).

6 Andrew Paterson, ‘”The Gospel of Work Does Not Save Souls’: Conceptions of Industrial and Agricultural Education for Africans in the Cape Colony, 1890-1930,” History of Education Quarterly 45 (Fall 2005): 377-404.

7 The African American community in the United States had shared a similar experience of investing in education in response to the neglect by the state and local officials to provide equal or adequate funding for all-black or predominantly black public schools. For a comprehensive story of the experience in the United States, see V. P. Franklin, “Introduction: Cultural Capital and African American Education” The Journal of African American History, 87 (Spring 2002); 175-218; and “They Rose or Fell Together. African American Educators and Community Leadership, 1795-1954,” Journal of Education 172 (1990); 36-64; and V. P. Franklin and Carter Julian Savage, eds., Cultural Capital and Black Education: African American Communities and the Funding of Black Schools, 1865 to the Present (Information Age Publications 2004).

8 For a useful discussion on the origins of secondary schools in Nigeria, their locations, school enrollment, student background, and retention rates, see Adeyinka, The Development of Secondary Grammar School Education in Nigeria; Fajana, Education in Nigeria, 1842- 1939; and Ajayi, “The Development of Secondary Grammar School,” 517- 35.

9 For some useful discussion on the subject, see Philip Foster, Education and Social Change in Ghana (Chicago, IL, 1965); Leonard James Lewis, An Outline and Chronological Table of the Development of Education in British West Africa (London [n.d]); and Colin Wise, A History of Education in British West Africa (London, 1957).

10 See N. Omenka, The School in the Service of Evangelisation: The Catholic Education Impact in Eastern Nigeria, 1886-1950 (Leiden, Netherlands, 1989); F. K. Ekechi, “Colonization and Christianity in West Africa: The Igbo case, 1900-1915,” Journal of African History 12 ,(No. 1, 1971); M. McLean, “A Comparative Study of Assimilationist and Adaptationist Education Policies in British Colonial Africa, 1925-1953,” University of London, Ph.D. dissertation, 1978; and Fajana, Education in Nigeria, 1842-1939.

11 Among the helpful studies on the subject are Yoshiko Namie, “The Role of the University of London Colonial Examinations Between 1900 and 1939, with Special Reference to Mauritius, the Gold Coast and Ceylon,” London University Institute of Education, Ph.D. dissertation, 1989; and Michael Omolewa, “The Promotion of London University Examinations in Nigeria, 1887-1951,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 13 (No. 4, 1980): 651-71; and “Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate and the Development of secondary Education in Nigeria, 1910-1926,” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria 8 (No. 4, 1977): 111-30.

12 There is a comprehensive introduction to the work of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) at the (UCLES) Archives, One Hundredth Annual Report to the University of Cambridge, (Cambridge, Eng., 1958).

13 Michael Omolewa, “Oxford University Delegacy of Local Examinations and secondary Education in Nigeria, 1929-1937,” Journal of Educational Administration and History 10 (No. 1, 1978): 39-49.

14 J. Roach, Public Examinations in England, (London, 1971).

15 A. B. Fafunwa, History of Education in Nigeria (London, 1974), 193.

16 Angela Little, “The Role of Examinations in the Promotion of the ‘Paper Qualification Syndrome,'” in International Labour Office; Paper Qualification Syndrome (PQS) and Unemployment of School Leavers: A Comparative Regional Study, Jobs and Skills Programme for Africa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 982), 177.

17 Mary E. Dillard, “Examinations Standards, Educational Assessments, and Globalization Elites: The case of the West African Examinations Council,” The Journal of African American History 88 (Fall 2003): 413-28.

18 For some discussion on this subject, see L. J. Lewis, Society, Schools, and Progress in Nigeria (Oxford, 1965); M. Read, Education and Social Change in Tropical Africa (London, 1955); Kenneth King, Pan Africanism and Education: A Study of Race Philosophy and Education in the Southern States of America and East Africa (Oxford, Eng., 1971).

19 F. Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1922), especially the section on “Education.”

20 See Thomas Jesse Jones, Education in Africa: A Study of West, South and Equatorial Africa by the African Education Commission (New York, 1922), 67; and Lewis, Society, Schools, and Progress in Nigeria.

21 Jones, Education in Africa.

22 Clive Whitehead, “The Advisory Committee on Education in the [British] Colonies 1924-1961,” Paedagogica Historica 27 (No. 3, 1991): 385-421.

23 Colonial Office, Educational Policy in British Tropical Africa, “Memorandum by the Advisory Committee on Native Education in the British Tropical African Dependences,” His Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO) Cmd. 2374, 1925.

24 M. Perham, Lugard, The Years of Authority, 1898-1945 (London, 1960), 661.

25 W. Ormsby-Gore, “Research and Experiment in Overseas Education,” Overseas Education 1 (No. 1, October 1929): 2.

26 See E. A. Ukong-Ibekwe, “On the Study of Vernacular Languages,” Nigerian Teacher 1 (No. 4, 1935): 32.

27 Whitehead, “The Historiography of British Imperial Education Policy,” 442.

28 Copies of the correspondence between the Colonial Office and the universities are included in the Matriculation and School Examinations Council Report submitted to the University of London Senate in 1935 and 1936, and discussed in those two years. see University of London Senate Minutes (hereafter, SM), 1935-36.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid.

31 Archives of the Missionary Society of Great Britain and Ireland (hereafter, MSG), Box 225. Minutes of the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa, 9 September 1932.

32 SM, 1935-36. The topics that were added for the English language paper included: “The Value of Reading Fiction,””Your Favourite Author or Character,””Rain,””Wild Flowers,””The Forest,””Native Salutations and Greetings,””The Choice of Career for an Educated African,””The Good and Bad Characteristics of Native Religions.”

33 SM (18 October 1922), 314. The Oxford Delegacy followed the example of London University and introduced Yoruba as an optional subject for Nigerian candidates in 1929. The Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate began, by special arrangement from December 1936, to conduct special examinations for West African candidates. In December of that year, the Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate titled its examinations “Special School Certificate for West Africa and the Bahamas.”

34 SM (24 February 1926), 2293.

35 Ibid.

36 Ibid.

37 SM (19 November 1930), 802.

38 For a comprehensive discussion on this subject, see P. S. Zachernuk, “African History and Imperial Culture in Colonial Nigerian Schools,” Africa 68 (No. 4, 1998): 484-505.

39 See J. M. Welch, “Schools and Community Service in a Backward Area,” Overseas Education, 3 (October 1931): 11.

40 T. R. Batten, Past and Present, (London, 1943), iii.

41 B. Mathews, Black Treasure: The Youth of Africa in a Changing HOrW(NeW York, 1928), 109. See also, W. R. Crocker, Nigeria: A Critique of British Colonial Administration (London, 1936), 15; and compare the observation by Sir Philip Mitchell: “And so at the end of the last century, within the vast region enclosed by the coast of Africa, with its widely spaced forts, towns, and settlements of people from other countries, bounded on the north by the Nigerian Emirates, the Sahara, the Nile . . . , and the Abyssinian massif, the West found itself in control of millions of people who had never adopted an alphabet or even any form of hieroglyphic writing. They had no numerals, no almanac or Calendar, no notation of time or measurements of length, capacity, or weight, no currency, no external trade except slaves … no plough, no wheel, and no means of transportation except human head porterage on land and dugout canoes on rivers and lakes. These people had built nothing, nothing of any kind in material more durable than mud, poles and thatch. . . .”; quoted in J. F. Ade Ajayi, “The Continuity of African Institutions under Colonialism,” in Emerging Themes of African History, ed. T. O. Ranger (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 1968), 190-91.

42 K. C. Murray was a tutor with the Department of Education in Nigeria in 1931. For his observation on the Syndicate’s Art Examinations, see K. C. Murray, “Arts and Crafts in West Africa,” Overseas Education 5 (October 1933): 4.

43 Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, One Hundredth Annual Report to the University of Cambridge. 1958, University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) Archives.

44 The group classifications are as follows:

Compulsory Subject:

English Language

Group I:

English Literature, Religious Knowledge

Group II:

Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish, Italian

Other Languages (Yoruba, Hausa, or any other approved language)

Group III:

Elementary Mathematics, Additional Mathematics

General Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology

Chemistry, Botany, Hygiene and Physiology





Group IV:

Art, Music, Handicraft, Technical Drawing, Housecraft

45 Cambridge University Syndicate of Local Examinations, Annual Report for 1936. UNCLES, Archives.

46 For a full discuss\ion of this subject, see Michael Omolewa, “The Teaching of French and German in Nigerian Schools. 1859-1960,” Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 18 (No. 3, 1978): 379-96; and “The Ascendancy of English in Nigeria Schools 1882-1960,” West African Journal of Modern Languages (No. 3, 1978): 152-66.

47 See, Eric Ashby, in association with Mary Anderson, Universities: British. Indian, African: A Study in the Ecology of Higher Education (Cambridge, MA, 1966).

48 J. A. Majasan, “Yoruba Education: Its Principles, Practices and Relevance to Current Educational Development,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Ibadan, 1967: O. Ikejiani, ed., Nigerian Education (Lagos, 1964).

49 Department of Education, Nigeria, Memorandum on Educational Policy in Nigeria (Lagos, 1947).

50 J. R. Bunting, “Certificates and Education,” West African Journal of Education 1 (October 1958): 100.

51 J. A. O. Odebiyi, “The Aims of Secondary Education in Western Nigeria,” West African Journal of Education 1 (June 1967): 43.

52 It is particularly interesting to note that the British examinations boards were not influenced by the arguments advanced by the colonial officials on the need to ask African candidates questions on African tribal tales such as the artful antelope and the strong and sometimes stupid lion, or those on “witchcraft” and “superstition.” Perhaps the examiners did not consider such topics of educational importance, or probably recognized witchcraft as a universal phenomenon, that the fear of “the power of the evil eye” is as old as man, and that many of the “pagan” practices in Africa had their origins in ancient beliefs of the Greeks and Romans. Ayandele notes that Mungo Park, the great British explorer, fervently believed in magic and superstition. E. Ayandele, African Exploration and Human Understanding: The Mungo Park Bi-Centenary Memorial Lecture, (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1971).

53 W. Ormsby-Oore, “Educational Problems of the Colonial Empire,” Journal of the Royal African Society 36 (April 1937): 165.

54 Sir John McNeil, “Competitive Examinations,” The Quarterly Review 108 (October 1860): 569.

55 Sir John Lubbock, “On the Present System of Public School Education, with Special Reference to the Recent Regulations of the Oxford and Cambridge School Examinations Board,” Contemporary Review 27 (January 1876): 168.

56 Henry D’Souza, “External Influences on the Development of Education Policy in British Tropical Africa from 1923 to 1939,” The African Studies Review 18 (September 1975): 36. For an examination of the introduction of a form of “adapted education” into separate black secondary and normal schools in the South, see James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1988), 33-78.

57 D’Souza, “External Influences on the Development of Education Policy,” 37.

58 Charles T. Loram, The Education of the South African Native (London, 1917), 146.

59 See Andrew Paterson, “The Gospel of Work Does Not Save Souls,” 377.

60 Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 33-88; Zachemuk, “African History and Imperial Culture in Colonial Nigerian Schools,” 487-488.

61 Edward H. Berman, “American Influence on African Education: The Role of the Phelps-Stokes Fund’s 1920 African Education Commission,” Comparative Education Review 15 (June 1971): 145.

62 Ibid.

63 Edward H. Berman, “Christian Missions in Africa” in African Reactions to Missionary Education (New York, 1975), 10.

64 E. A. Ayandele, The Educated Elite in the Nigerian Society (Ibadan, Nigeria, 1974).

65 Ibid. Edward Berman believes that the Commission was also handicapped because it chose to work with J. E. K Aggrey, who was “little known” outside the United States; see “American Influence on African Education,” 143-45; and Sylvia M. Jacobs, “James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey: An African Intellectual in the United States,” The Journal of Negro History 80 (Spring-Fall 1996): 47-61.

66 See, Colonial Office List, “Report on Nigeria,” 1910-20, National Archives, Ibadan.

67 E. A. Speed to Lord Lugard, 3 July 1914, Manuscripts of the British Empire (Mss. Brit. Emp.) 8. 74, Rhodes House Library, Lord Fredrick Lugard Papers, Oxford, England.

68 Martin Carnoy, Education and Cultural Imperialism (New York, 1974); see also, A. Fajana, “Colonial Control and Education: The Development of Higher Education in Nigeria, 1900-1950,” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria 6 (December 1972): 323-40. B. O. OIoruntimehin notes that during this period the French were also debating the need for “adaptation” in the education of their colonial subjects for similar reasons. For a discussion on French colonial education, see B. O. OIoruntimehin, “Education for Colonial Dominance in French West Africa from 1900 to the second World War,” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria 7 (June 1974): 347-56.

69 Ben N. Azikiwe, “How Shall We Educate the African?” Journal of the African Society, 33 (April 1934), 144.

70 Walter R. Miller, Have WeFailed in Nigeria? (London, 1947), 3. This was the broad view of the colonial education officers, with few exceptions. see, for example, Hans N. Weiler, ed., Erziehung und Politike en Nigeria (Education and Politics in Nigeria) (Freiburg, Switzerland, 1964).

71 Frederick Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, 5th Edition, with a new introduction by Margery Perham (London, 1965), 428.

72 J. H. Driberg, At Home with the Savage (London, 1932), 234- 35.

73 Address delivered at the British Commonwealth Education Conference on July 27, 1931, by Sir Percy Nunn. For the report of the proceedings of this conference and the text of Sir Percy’s address, see Overseas Education 3 (October 1931): 1-11.

74 A. Mayhew, Education in the Colonial Empire (London, 1938), 3.

75 E. R. J. Hussey, Memorandum on Educational Policy in Nigeria (London, 1930).

76 W. H. McLean, Memorandum on Colonial Education Instit