In the last decades one will realize that up to 1914, western education system in Nigeria didn’t have any definite philosophy or process.
The British Government as at this time happen to have not taken any decision regarding the definite shape of education in its colonies. The education ordinances only ridiculously complicated the system without reflecting the conditions and aspirations of the Nigerian people for future development.
In this unit, attempt is made at getting you acquainted with the efforts made at developing a philosophy of education based on the aspirations of Nigerians.
The reports of the two Phelps- Stoke’s committees that visited West Africa in 1920 and East and Central Africa in 1924, criticized the system of education being given to Africans as being classically book based. They accused the missionaries for following the ideals prevailing in their home countries, which might not work functionally in Africa. The reports further condemned the subjects being taught to Africans as being direct copies of the subject contents from British and America schools with little attempt to use local materials in the teaching of the subjects like history and geography.
The two distinct commissions however recommended that:
1. Education should be developed along the vocational and cultural lives of the people.
2. The needs of African societies to met through education so as to promote development.
3. Educational and Religious responsibilities of Government should be effectively organised and supervised.
These criticisms and recommendations undoubtedly laid the foundation for the evolution of the colonial educational policies in Africa, for it influenced the British Government to asses sits responsibilities on education to its colonies.
In 1923 therefore, it decided “to approve the establishment of an advisory committee on native education in tropical areas to advise the Secretary of state for the colonies on matters of native education and to assist him in advancing the progress of education in the British tropical Africa”(Adesina)The committee worked tirelessly and produced a thirteen point memorandum, which provided for the first time, a sound basis for Nigeria’s educational policies.