chapter  12
14 Pages

Lugard and Education in Nigeria, 1900–18

An anatomy of Lugard as an educationist in the context of 1900-18 Nigeria should start with the portrait of him by his biographer.1 According to Margery Perham, this British empire builder was a strong believer in Western-style education for Nigeria, whose ideas and vision would have done the country incalculable good, had he a free hand, a buoyant treasury, and a clean slate before him. But alas his effort was thwarted by hardliner Indirect Rulers in the North and by what he regarded as the miseducating system of Christian missions in the South. In the North, by their iron-cast inflexibility, the Burdons, the Girouards, and the Temples made a mockery of Western-style education by holding it out to the Emirs as a dormant volcano which only the Colonial Government could prevent exploding by controlling and making it available exclusively to the sons of patricians. In the South the schools, mostly owned by Christian missions, were nurseries of a discontented and disloyal elite, rather than of responsible and grateful citizens of the British Empire. Nevertheless Lugard did the best possible in the circumstances and in 1916 promulgated an Education Ordinance of considerable significance.2