The Negative Effect Of Western Education On African Cultural Values: The Nigerian Experience

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The Negative Effect Of Western Education On African Cultural Values: The Nigerian Experience

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

For starters, one could say that in Africa, colonialism, the slave trade, and missionaries are the last bastions of Western education. This is true to the extent that colonialism was used to spread cultural imperialism across Africa. In this context, colonialism is defined as the imposition of foreign rule over indigenous customary political settings, as well as foreign dominance and subordination of Africans in all aspects of their social, political, cultural, economic, and religious civilizations. Western education began to infiltrate the African socio-cultural milieu, first with European engagement with Africa as a result of the Berlin Conference in the pursuit of imperial plundering of African resources, and subsequently, with the unstoppable wave of globalisation. It is critical to emphasize that colonialism distorted and slowed Africa’s cultural expansion and “civilization” trends.One of the most profound implications of colonization has been how the political and economic rapture of the colonies has resulted in what appears to be an unbridgeable cultural divide between those who benefited from colonization and those who were victims of the colonial attack. Traditional cultural pursuits in the colonies experienced relative stagnation and, in some cases, dramatic decline during the era of colonial pillage and plunder. As Africa was conquered and governed, Western civilization and European civilisation flourished, outgrowing the African cultural legacy. As Africans became fully ‘westernised,’ traditional African cultural traditions cleared the door for foreign ways of doing things. Western culture is today recognized as a forerunner in terms of civilisation. In the public sphere, African ways of doing things have become ancient, outdated, and regretfully undesirable. Not only were certain components of colonial material culture lost or destroyed, but colonial cultures also lost their power and feeling of cultural continuity, making it very hard for them to reclaim their ability to pursue cultural growth on their own terms. A new culture of violence was developed, and the social fabric was entirely destroyed. Traditional African dispute resolution methods were demolished, and nothing was supplied in their place. The democratic process, basic as it was, but full of promise as it accompanied every human institution, was forcibly uprooted and replaced by colonialism’s despotism. A new generation of elites was born, raised, and weaned on the altars of violence and colonialism, armed with the structures of the modern state in order to continue the art and act of enslaving the masses in the service of colonialism (Mimiko,2010:641-42). Kasongo (2010:314) backs up the preceding argument, saying, “One could assume that when westernisation was imported to African countries, the hidden side of modernism was materialist concerns.””Civilisation was simply another form of dominance: the imposition of a new culture on ancient cultural values. It is critical to stress the importance of taking immediate and decisive action in order to rearrange and reverse this ephemeral trend of cultural emptiness, without which Africa may face seasons of cultural extinction and a drought of African values. It is shocking to learn that two centuries of colonisation were not only destructive to Africa’s cultural heritage and values, but also precariously retrogressive in that the continent was robbed of decades of opportunities—opportunities for self-development, self-government, and, yes, self-styled technological development. In order for policymakers to realize the need to reappraise their policies that contribute to Africa’s cultural scarcity or that reject the ideas of cultural revival, there is a need to expose the harmful impact of Western education on Africa in all forms. The goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive assessment of culture and Western civilisation in terms of the distortions and delays it has caused to Africa’s development, as well as to shed light on the possibilities that remain for Africa.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Our African customs, as well as our fine morals and qualities, appear to be fading away with the passage of time. Morals such as good taste in clothing, politeness in conversation, honesty, and hard labor are examples of good morals. Obscene clothing has become a part of us as a result of the advent of western education, which our forefathers strongly resisted. Furthermore, materialism has overtaken Nigerians’ reputation for honesty and hard labor. As a result, one of our positive values is the respect that Nigerian youths have for their elders. Previously, some sections of Nigeria, namely the Yoruba, would prostrate to greet their old relatives. That is slowly becoming a fairy tale these days, as some teenagers find it difficult to welcome, and even when they do, respect is lacking. Even our African method of marriage is gradually fading away with time. All, all of these and more, are the negative effects of western education on African traditional beliefs.

1.3 Objective Of Study

The study’s main goal is to look into the impact of western education on African traditional beliefs. The study’s primary objectives are as follows:

  1. To determine the significance of history education in Nigeria.
  2. To determine the current state of history teaching in Nigeria.
  3. To see how western education affects African traditional values.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the significance of history education in Nigeria?
  2. What is the current state of history teaching in Nigeria?
  3. How has western education affected African traditional values?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The purpose of this research is to educate, inform, sensitize, and enlighten the general public, government officials, and policymakers on the impact of western education on African traditional values. The general public must be made aware that our African traditional values are being gradually phased out in favor of European culture, which is a mistake. As a result, it is incumbent on all African countries, developed and developing, large and small, to do what is necessary to restore our continent’s historic values. The government has a significant role to play since it can implement meaningful programs to address such disparities. Also included are policymakers, who must design policies that will reappraise Africa’s traditional values. This research will be extremely useful to other researchers who want to learn more about this topic, and it can also be utilized by non-researchers to expand on their own work. This research adds to the body of knowledge and could be used as a model for future research.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The research is limited to the impact of Western education on African traditional values, with Ibadan North East, Ibadan state, Nigeria, as a case study.

1.7 Limitation Of Study

Financial Constraints:

A lack of funds tends to restrict the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data gathering procedure (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time Limitation:

This investigation will be conducted while the researcher is also working on other academic projects. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Western Education:

It is a system that started in the west and spread around the world following the introduction of Islamic education in the early 15th century. Its principal strategy was to modernize social life through scientific and technical progress (Farid, 2005).

Traditional Values:

Traditional values stem from a two- to four-thousand-year-old religious tradition that often takes a complementarian approach to gender roles. For example, men and women have different and complementary roles. They tend to construct a somewhat organized, albeit constrained, social structure by focusing on fidelity in marriage or marriage. In most cases, abandoning traditional beliefs leads to exile from the group.


Knowledge transmission, including academic education and professional training.


This refers to the most advanced level of human social development and organization.


is the policy or practice of gaining full or partial governmental control of another country, settling it, and exploiting it economically.

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