Continued from last edition
The inter tribal wars and slave-raids, which constituted the early history of Nigeria, had resulted in fragments of tribes being herded together, so that to-day it is said that in one single province over sixty different languages have been identified. In Yola, Fulani (the original language of the conquering caste) is still spoken. Nupe is the language of a very large tribe, and Munshi is spoken by fully 10,000 people. Kanuri, the tongue of the aboriginal population of Boruu, is said to be impossible for a European to acquire. Some of these various languages have been studied, and reduced to writing by missionaries, but they present great difficulties and text books are not in existence. They will, no doubt, gradually be replaced by Hausa.
In the Southern Provinces, Yoruba, though a very difficult language, in which few Europeans have acquired fluency, is spoken (it is said) by three million people, and cannot be displaced; Ibo is said to be spoken by over two millions, but its dialects differ so greatly that for practical purposes they are separate languages, and the attempt to create a standard Ibo has so far had little success. For the vest there are said to be sixty-five different languages in the Southern Provinces, which have hitherto only been explored by the philologist or by an occasional missionary.
It will be realised how immensely these conditions complicate the problem of education, compared with Colonies in which there is a single vernacular with a literature of its own. In the circumstances the three languages Hausa. Yoruba and Arabic (Shuwa dialect) should. I think, alone be recognised as media of instruction, and with this exception I venture to agree with Lord Kimberley that English must be the medium, and ” though instruction in English must be given through the medium of the vernacular, instruction in the native languages may safely he left to the stimulus of self interest, and Government subsidies are not required for its encouragement.” Mission schools naturally take a different view, since their aim is to teach pupils: to read the Bible in the vulgar tongue. The education officers—and especially the native staff—must acquire sufficient knowledge of the vernacular to enable them to teach elementary-school pupils the language which will form the medium of their later instruction.
Another difficulty which presents itself in Africa is the value attached to child-labour, which manifests itself also in the kidnapping and enslaving of children. Parents, especially among the primitive tribes, are apt to consider that instead of paying school fees they should themselves be paid for allowing their children to attend school. On the other hand, the African is especially liable to undervalue what costs him nothing. I therefore attach much importance to the principle of school fees (not from a revenue point of view), and their payment is insisted on, even though they may be compounded under the guise of scholarships granted by Government or by the Native Administration.
The rapid expansion of the country, and in particular the development of railways, has created an enormous and an increasing demand for clerks, accountants, commercial agents, dispensers, drovers, sanitary mid other inspectors, guards, station masters, and others with a good knowledge of English and accounting, and an increase in the supply has become a matter of vital and pressing necessity. There are about 2,500 posts under Government with salaries between £00 and £300 per annum, and about 2,000 from £24 to £00, with perhaps an additional 1,000 among commercial firms, aggregating in salaries about £500,000 a year. Yet the number of candidates who succeed in passing the easy entrance examination for clerical appointments steadily decreases, and fell from 51 in 1910 to 17 only in 1914, and these figures include boys from other colonies. Mr Carr estimates that the output of the secondary schools is from 200 to 1100 at the most.
The result of this demand and inadequate supply has been not merely to raise the pay disproportionately to the qualifications of the candidates, but to tempt boys who can neither read nor write properly to leave school for lucrative employ, and withdraw them from parental discipline. (I have in paragraph 39 referred to a scheme of “Clerical Cadets” by which it is hoped to combat this evil). The standard of the native official service was thus permanently lowered, and the majority of the candidates were unfitted for posts of responsibility.
The teaching profession, which could not (especially in mission schools) Compete with the salaries offered to good clerks, was thus placed at so serious a disadvantage, that Mr. Carr was driven to advocate the wholesale importation of foreign teachers, who are. however, in any case, unobtainable. The attempt to introduce West Indians he admits to haw had ” no satisfactory results.” The paucity of teachers had indeed become the chief difficulty alike in Government and in mission schools.
The demand for trained mechanics in the rapidly expanding industries was no less than that for the clerical class. It has been met on the whole with considerable success by agencies entirely dissociated from the Education Department or mission schools. The Railway, Marine, Public Works, Telegraphs, Survey and Printing Departments had for many years taken an increasing number of apprentices into their shops and establishments, and had trained them with much success. There were 500 apprentices in the shops at the end of 1916. The departments owed it, however, to the mission schools, that there was a class of young boys, with some rudiments of education, upon which they could draw. These departments had also now begun to feel the difficulty of obtaining suitable candidates.
Such was the nature of the problem, and such were the results achieved. In the South the rudiments of education were fairly widely distributed, if such a phrase is permissible when probably not more than one in every 180 children of school age had any sort of education whatever. Its results were evident in the decay of family and social discipline, and too often in discontent and hostility to any constituted authority, masquerading as racial or national patriotism, or as the vindication of rights unjustly ignored. In the North a well-defined student class looked eastwards for the language and literature of its classics, while the first small beginnings of modern teaching were groping their way amid suspicion and dislike.
The questions which demanded immediate solution were :—
How to promote a better standard of discipline, self-control and integrity, combined with educational qualifications more adequate to the demands of the State and of commerce.
How to increase the output so as to keep pace with the demand.
The New Ordinance, with its Regulations, which superseded the Grant Code, sought to lay down principles, alike for Government and for assisted schools, which it was hoped would in course of time produce better results. It was drafted early in 1914, and after circulation to ail school managers \vas-submitted to the Secretary of State in No\ember of that year. After much delay it became law in December. 1010. It embodied the following general principles:—
(a) That the primary object of ail schools should be the formation of character and habits of discipline; and that the grant in aid should be in part based on success in this direction.
(b) That the value of religion, irrespective of creed or sect, and the sanction and incentive it affords, should be recognised and utilised as an agent for this purpose, together with secular moral instruction.
(c) That the proportion of teachers to pupils should be adequate, and that they should be properly qualified, and their status improved, and made equal to that of clerks. Adequate grants must be given to assisted schools (from which Government and commercial clerks are also drawn) to enable them to pay adequate salaries to their staff.
(d) That educational agencies, whether controlled by Government or by missions, should co-operate with a common object, and as far as possible by similar methods of discipline and instruction.
(e) That continuation and evening classes, and institutions and classes for the training of teachers, should receive special encouragement.
(f) That Government should exercise some measure of control overall schools, even though not assisted by grants, and endeavour to bring them into line with the general policy.
(g) Finally, it was sought to adapt the teaching to the needs of the pupils, whether they were intending to qualify for clerical or other like service, or desired to become artisans and mechanics, or on the other hand had no desire to leave their village, and the pursuits their fathers had followed.
These principles are applicable to both North and South, in both of which there are large Pagan populations and large numbers of Mohammedans.
The Ordinance set up Boards of Education in the North and South, of which the Lieutenant-Governor was President and the Pi rector of Education a member. Their object was” to facilitate co-operation between Government and non-Government educational agencies—selected representatives of which would be given seats on the Board-lo ventilate and focus the difficulties which surround the problem of education in Africa, and to assist the Governor in solving those problems with the good will and assistance of those who have daily experience of the practical work of education.” School Committees were also set up in every province which would include local chiefs of influence as members.
In order to check any tendency to set up rival schools in the same town, the Governor may exclude any new school from the Grant List, i f he considers it superfluous on this account.
The Regulations prescribe that the grant to assisted schools should no longer be based on fixed percentages of marks obtained in an annual examination in certain set subjects, but should be awarded approximately as to 30 per cent, for tone, discipline, organisation and moral instruction, ns to 20 per cent, for adequacy and efficiency of staff, as to 40 per cent, on the result of periodical examinations and general progress, and as to 10 per cent, for buildings, equipment and sanitation. ^-Special grants are made for the teaching staff, for training institutes, and for residential pupils; the different grades of masters and teachers are defined in regard to their qualifications; the minimum requirements of staff in proportion to pupils are laid down; the subjects Tor instruction (with a new syllabus) are prescribed; and the grant of scholarships organised.
The Ordinance anticipated the British Education Act in providing that every manager of non government school must submit certain particulars annually to government, and power to close a school in certain circumstances was added later.
In tie fending my proposal In introduce moral instruction, I write: “I conceive, that ii a short period daily be devoted to placing before children in an attractive way, the social and other incentives to gentlemanly conduct, the success which rewards self control and industry, with similar lessons by the aid of illustration and anecdotal biography, it would form a valuable adjunct to the inculcation of the same ideals of right living as enforced by religions precept and sanction.” Moral instruction forms an item in the ordinary curriculum and demonstrates the necessity of moral standards in social intercourse, and for success in secular affair.
The draft Bill and Regulations were submitted to (he criticism of managers of assisted schools, whose suggest ions wore as far as possible accepted, and the new code met with an almost unanimous approval.
It was, of course, most, desirable that Government should take the lead in the application of these principles to the education provided under its direct control. A clear distinction must, in-the first place, he drawn between the three objects for which educational agencies are employed, viz., the literary training required for appointments in which a good knowledge of English and arithmetic is required: the technical and manual training of mechanic, and other workshop hands; and the leaching of crafts, and the very elementary schooling, suitable to those who purpose to live their own village life.
For the benefit of the first-class, from which the almost unlimited demand for teachers, clerks, accountants. &co., must be met, it was proposed to se! up at the capital of every province, a Government school, comprising in the Southern Provinces, and later on in the Northern Provinces, all the “standards ” of the code, with the object of not only increasing the output greatly, but of serving as a model. They would include an industrial class for the training of teachers for “rural schools” (vide infra). The ordinary curriculum of these schools would be reinforced by continuation and evening classes, in which more advanced teaching in school subjects would be given to pupils who had attained the highest standards. The instruction would include such special subjects as are not comprised in (lie curriculum of the school, and for which a sufficient number of candidates are forthcoming to form a class, such as agriculture, forestry, survey, &c. and in particular they would provide a “normal class” for the training of teachers in school method, and the imparting of knowledge.
In order that these schools should subserve the primary object of training character, and inculcating discipline, it is an essential feature of the new organisation that each should he under the continuous control of a “British master, that the pupils should, as far as possible, be boarders, and that the school should he situated at some distance from the native town, so as to detach the boys from undesirable Influences, and in order that the Force of example and influence should he exerted in social intercourse and recreation, no less than in the class room, flames are encouraged as conducive to health and manliness and ideas of fair play. The time of the pupils would .not ha wasted in manual or industrial training, which would be of no use to boys whose sole aim is a clerical or “literary” “appointment. There would be an age limit, and a considerate number of free scholarships would be offered.
For the third-class the peasantry who do not seek either a literary education to qualify ms clerks, &e., or a technical training for power-driven workshops, “rural schools” are provided. The pupils in these will not be boarders, and the head will be a native schoolmaster, but they will be affiliated to the central provincial school, which will supply the teaching staff and exercise such control as may be possible in addition to the supervision of the Administrative staff, and the Inspectors of the Education Department The number of those schools in a province is not limited, The education afforded will be restricted to the teaching of native arts and crafts, practical agriculture (and the marketing of produce), carpentry and black smiting, with elementary hygiene and local geography, colloquial English and the rudiments of arithmetic, and in the Northern Provinces colloquial Hausa. Their object is to train character and promote habits of discipline, industry and truthfulness by moral and religions instruction (whether Christian or Moslem), and to fit the pupils for life in their own villages, and the improvement of the standard of that life. Promising pupil– may obtain scholarships to the provincial school, or may, if they so desire, he indentured as apprentices.
The second-class, to which I have referred, includes those who seek a technical or manual training. Most of the openings for such boys are in the Railway, Marine. Public Works, or Printing Departments, where machinery driven by strain or electricity is used. Carpenters, no doubt, can earn a good living without a knowledge of power driven lathes, but it is only in the large workshops that the making of high-class furniture and house-building can be efficiently taught. I have already said that the Government shops haw-long afforded very efficient instruction for apprentices, but many of these being illiterate could never make first-class workmen. Others had wasted several years in a manual training in schools which was adapted rather to village life, than as a serious preliminary to the education of n skilled mechanic.
The object in view is to improve the apprentice system. Boys who have passed the fourth or fifth standard in a provincial (or in a mm Government) school, will be accepted as apprentices and trained in batches, their pay rising with each completed year of service, if passed as efficient Instructors are provided in the shops, whose sole duty it .is to train these apprentices. They will no longer lie left to the casual attention of fellow workers. Opportunities will be afforded for their attendance at continuation classes, where they may improve their “literary” education, and also learn something of the theory of their profession and how to draw and work to scale plans It is the desire of (lie Government to improve the status of the apprentice and artisan so that he may be recognised as being on the same social level as the clerk-
The new system of inspection and award of grants to assisted schools has been in operation for two years with success. There were 32 new applications from mission schools winch formerly preferred to forgo the grant rather than submit to the code, and I ‘-now of none which dissents from them. The Ordinance and Regulations have required practically no alteration since, their publication, except to strengthen the control of government over non-assisted schools.
King’s College, Lagos, with its staff of three “British masters, and the, esprit de corps which animates the school, already conforms to the main principles, except that the pupils should he boarders, and it should have lower classes to feed its upper forms.
Unfortunately the demand made by the War for every available man who was not essential to the carrying on of the machinery of Government, has rendered it impossible to obtain the masters for the new provincial schools. The schools at Bonny and Warn will alone of existing schools become “‘ Provincial Schools/’ the former being moved to the headquarters at Owerri, where, under the Resident’s eye, it will be removed from the harmful influences of the past. The three Moslem schools in the Colony proper do not, exactly fit into either of the designations. They may, later, be incorporated in one school with the characteristics of a provincial school, and the native staff improved by better teachers from the North. Many Moslem youths attend the Christian schools.
The remaining 46 Government schools are classed as “Rural.” Their native teaching staff requires to be enlarged and improved. Under the supervision of the Inspectorate and of Residents, they will gradually conform to the new policy and system. Their number may be substantially reduced in view of mission activity, and the creation of the provincial schools. The improvements proposed in regard to apprentices will be gradually introduced. The new ear pen try shop at Lagos has, under Mr. Peet, Director of Public Works, been an entire success. Furniture is made from local limber sawn in the Government mills for the whole of the Government requirements of Nigeria, and some very handsome articles have been produced from English designs, the workmanship of which rivals that of a first-class cabinet maker in England. The lathes are driven by electricity, and the apprentices are taught to undertake house construction, so that when they have served their articles they will he fully qualified in all branches. Admission to the school is eagerly sought.
The immediate needs are an increase of nine masters (including reliefs) for the provincial schools, and three more Inspectors for the increased work caused by the addition of many schools to the Assisted List, the more frequent inspection under the new system, and the reorganisation of the Government schools. These with the native staff and other expenses may add £8,000 to the cost of the Education Department of the South, a sum which is negligible in comparison to the importance of the object in view.
The British staff, numbering 26 in the Northern Provinces, is adequate for the provincial schools, but requires one or two Inspectors for the mission schools. The great difficulty here is to train native teachers, for it is of essential importance that the.se- should he drawn from the local population, and that in the Moslem Provinces they should be Mohammedans. This task must take precedence of the training of clerks and others urgently as those latter also are needed—for the Northern Province does not at present supply a single clerk or artisan for the Government service from its intelligent populations. The education also of the sons of chiefs, and of the officials of the Native Administration, is a matter of great importance.
The scope of the provincial .schools in Pagan areas is at present limited to training teachers for the rural schools, and scribes for the local Native Courts. Moslem teachers are not employed in these schools. The medium of instruction in the lowest classes must of necessity be in the local vernacular, but Hausa, which is quickly learnt, will be substituted in the higher classes.
As it became possible to supply teachers from the ranks of the pupils in the existing schools, new schools were opened in different provinces, so that by the end of 1917 all but two provinces had a provincial school, while two additional schools were opened in the important emirates of Gando and Katsina, in the Sokoto and Kano Provinces. The total average attendance in 1916 was 750, with a native staff numbering 03. The number of pupils in each school is at present limited to 100.
To be continued