Obafemi Awolowo’s Philosophy of Education and its Importance for Postcolonial Development in Africa
Needless but irrelevant attention has been given to the forms of educational curriculum and syllabuses that were given to African colonies by their administrators, as the most plausible route for the emergence of competent and upright minds that will occupy posterity to initiate and activate their development. There is hardly any part of Africa that is not a recipient of this unenviable colonial legacy. This is the case for Nigeria, a country that was a former colony of Britain. In 21st century Nigeria however, this admission no longer seems plausible perhaps owing to the upsurge in corruption, ethnicity, nepotism, lack of implementation of good policies, to name a few. Granted, these worrisome situations are not limited to Nigeria, they have served as the motivation for the emphasis to using indigenous ideals for pedagogy. The present research deduces its aim from this call, via the method of philosophical analysis to an aspect of Obafemi Awolowo’s philosophy which has been given minimal attention – his thoughts on education. Assuming the method of philosophical analysis, this study argues for the contemporary relevance of Awolowo’s pedagogy for Nigeria which could also be applicable in places that face challenges similar to Nigeria’s. It agrees with Awolowo that the intellectual enormity of the people is most important because when a person is educated, his mind and body would be developed and transformed; hence such a person would approach issues correctly, rightly and timely. These unfortunately are qualities that are on the downswing in recent times. The entire gauge of this research is therefore aimed at unpacking this philosophy with recommendations for application. It is the fervent conviction of this study that assuming Awolowo’s proposals, there are indigenous African legacies that may assist in charting the right course for the continent’s humans and educational developments.
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