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


The central argument of this research stems from the submission that colonialism, slave trade and missionary are the platform upon which Western education thrive and are sustained. While insisting that Western education has precariously contaminated the traditional values of Africa, the paper contends that Africa had established, well before the advent of colonialism, a pattern of home-grown political systems, governance process and generally acceptable institutional rule-making arrangement, such that there was progression in the pace of civilization of Africa and self-styled tempo of technological development. This study further submits that the dynamism and significance of Africa on the global continuum tends to support the argument that Africa would have evolved and sustained level of development and civilization without the retrogressive contact with imperial forces. The study adopted descriptive analytic model to drive home its points and relies on neoliberalism, liberal democracy, colonialism and missionary to prove the effects of Western education on Africa. It concludes by putting forth viable options as a panacea for Africa to come out of its cultural logjam.

Table of Content

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
  • 4.5 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

For a start, someone might argue that colonialism, slave trade and missionaries are the bastion of Western education in Africa. This is true to the extent that colonialism serves as a vehicle of implantation of cultural imperialism in Africa. Colonialism, perceived in this context, is an imposition of foreign rule over indigenous traditional political setting and foreign dominance and subjugation of African people in all spheres of their social, political, cultural, economic and religious civilizations.

Western education began to creep into African socio-cultural milieu, first, with the contact of Europeans with Africa, a consequence of Berlin conference in the quest for imperial pilfering of African resources and, later, consolidated by the unstoppable wave of globalisation. It is important to stress that colonialism distorted and retarded the pace and tempo of cultural growth and trend of civilisation in Africa. One of the most profound consequences of colonization has been how the political and economic rape of the colonies has also led to what sometimes seem to be an unbridgeable cultural gap between the nations that were the beneficiaries of colonization and those that were the victims of the colonial assault.

The era of colonial pillage and plunder led to the relative stagnation and often precipitous decline of traditional cultural pursuits in the colonies. With Africa subjugated and dominated, the Western culture and European mode of civilisation began to thrive and outgrow African cultural heritage. Traditional African cultural practices paved the way for foreign way of doing things as Africans became fully ‘westernised’. Western culture now is regarded as front line civilisation. African ways of doing things became primitive, archaic and regrettably unacceptable in public domain. Not only were certain aspects of the material culture in the colonies lost or destroyed, colonial societies also lost the power and sense of cultural continuity, such that it became practically impossible to recover the ability to strive for cultural progress on their own terms.

The social fabric was completely devastated and a new culture of violence was implanted. Traditional African systems of conflict resolution were destroyed and, in their places, nothing was given. The democratic process, rudimentary though it was, but with great potential as accompanies every human institution, was brutally uprooted and replaced by the authoritarianism of colonialism. A new crop of elites was created, nurtured, and weaned on the altar of violence and colonialism armed with the structures of the modern state to continue to carry out the art and act of subjugation of the mass of the people in the service of colonialism (Mimiko, 2010:641-42).

The above assertion was corroborated by Kasongo (2010:314) when he submits that “one could infer that when westernisation was imported to African countries, the hidden side of modernism was materialist interests.

Civilisation was just another concept of domination: imposition of incoming new culture over traditional cultural values”. It is important to emphasise fundamentally that urgent and more decisive steps need to be taken in order to reorder and reverse this evanescent trend of cultural emptiness, without which Africa may experience seasons of cultural extinction and drought of African values. It is appalling o note that two hundred years or so of colonisation were not only destructive in terms of cultural heritage and values for which Africa was famous before colonialism but also precariously retrogressive as the continent was robbed of decades of opportunities- opportunities of self-development, opportunities of self-government and, indeed, opportunities of self-styled technological developmental pace.

There is need, therefore, for the flogging of the negative impact of Western education on Africa in all fora; so that policy makers can begin to see the need to reappraise their policies that contribute to the cultural dearth of Africa or the ones that negate the principles of cultural revival. The focus of this paper, therefore, is to have a holistic appraisal of culture and Western Civilisation to the extent of distortions and retardation it caused to Africa and its pace of development, and also, by the same measure, illuminate into the options that are left for Africa.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Over time, our African traditions seem to be going into extinction, our good morals and virtues are being relegated as well. Good morals like good sense of dressing, respectful manner of speech, honesty and hard work. With the advent of western education, obscene dressing has now become a part of us which our forefathers greatly opposed. Also, materialism has overshadowed honesty and hard work which Nigerians were known for.

Consequently, one of our good morals was the respect Nigerian youth’s accord to their elderly ones. Before now, some parts of Nigeria, the Yoruba’s to be precise prostrate to greet their elderly ones. These days, that is gradually becoming a fairy tale as some youths find it difficult to greet and even when they try, respect will be lacking in it. Even our African mode of marriage is gradually phasing off with time, all these and more are the disadvantages of the western education on our Africa traditional values.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major aim of the study is to examine the negative effect of western education on African cultural values: the Nigerian experience. Other specific objectives of the study include;

  1. To determine the importance of history education in Nigeria.
  2. To assess the developmental level of history education in Nigeria.
  3. To determine the effect of western education on the Africa traditional value.
  4. To examine the possible ways we can revive our Africa tradition.
  5. To determine the mean difference between western education and the Africa tradition.
  6. To make recommendations on ways to promote our Africa tradition.
  7. To recommend ways of improving the study of history education in our institute of learning.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the general effects of civilization on the Africa traditional value?
  2. What are the possible ways to revive our Africa traditional value?
  3. What is the importance of history education in Nigeria?
  4. What is the developmental level of history education in Nigeria?
  5. What are the ways of improving the study of history education in secondary schools?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • H0: There are no impacts of western education on Africa tradition.
  • H1: There are impacts of western education on Africa tradition.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is meant to educate, inform, sensitize and enlighten the general public, the government and policy makers on the effect of western education on Africa traditional values.

The general public need to be aware that our Africa traditional values is gradually phasing off for the European culture and this is an error. It therefore beholds on every African countries developed and undeveloped, great and mighty to do the needful in other to revitalize our Africa traditional values. The government has a great part to play as it can put meaningful programmes in place to correct such discrepancies.Also, policy makers are not left out as they need to formulate policies that will reappraise our Africa traditional values. This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.

1.1. Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study is restricted to the negative effect of western education on African cultural values: the Nigerian experience using Ampang east of Kanke LGA Plateau state as a case study.

1.2. Limitation of the Study

Financial Constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time Constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.9 Definition of Terms

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).

Traditional Values:

Traditional values derive from a two to four thousand year old religious tradition that will typically adopt a complementian view, for instance, of genders: men and women have different and complementary roles. They focus on fidelity in marriage or marriages and tend to establish a fairly orderly albeit constrained social structure. Abandoning traditional values usually means expulsion from the community.


Imparting of knowledge; academic instruction and professional training.


This is the stage of human social development and organization which is considered most advanced.


This is the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study focused on effect of Western Education on African Traditional values. The study was set to address three objectives and one research hypotheses.

The objectives which include:

  1. To examine the effect of Western Education on African Traditional values
  2. To investigate the possible ways, we can revive our African tradition
  3. To find out the difference between western education and the African Traditional values

Based on the above stated objective and the study carried out, the following findings were made:

  1. That the effect of Western Education on African Traditional values include but not limited to liberal democracy, progressive integration of Nigeria into the world capitalist system; extended family giving way to nuclear family system; individualism and building pattern.
  2. That the possible ways we can revive our African tradition is by introducing cultural studies in the school curriculum; by making use of our local languages in public gatherings; by cultural reorientation; by introducing cultural tourism in the polity and encouraging cultural signals.
  3. That the difference between western education and African traditional values is that it led to rural exodus and the displacement of large segments of the population; western education promoted corruption in most African countries; sexuality has changed completely; proficiency in our language is declining and information asymmetry.

5.2. Conclusion

The main purpose of this study is to study the effect of western education on African traditional values. Three research questions and one research hypothesis guided the study.

In this study, a survey research design was adopted, the population comprises respondents from Ampang east, Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria, a simple random sampling technique was used to select 28 respondents for the study and a questionnaire was the instrument for data collection. Relevant literatures were reviewed which guided the objectives and methodology of this study.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. That cultural studies should be made compulsory in the schools’ curriculum.
  2. Efforts should be made by the government to encourage the use of traditional signals in public functions.
  3. Government should enlighten the citizens on the need to promote our traditional values.

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