Changing the Traditional Education of Igbo Females: The Role of Religion in Colonial Education

Changing the Traditional Education of Igbo Females: The Role of Religion in Colonial Education

Flora Igah (Public Health Department for Dayton and Montgomery County, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8772-1.ch013
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Abstract

Over the years, education has been defined by different people, according to their perceptual values. Education has also been perceived by many scholars as an abstract term. In the Nigerian pre colonial era, in Igbo-Nigerian Culture, people consulted and worshiped multiple deities or entities. This belief system (higher power) is often referred to as Oracle; for answers or consultations in difficult areas such as in higher education towards achieving their goals and objectives. Some cultures in Igbo land presently, maintain this practice of education.Often in life, people pursue and attain education in many ways. Hence, many adopted whatever notion the culture they were born into teaches about life's processes. This is true especially in disciplines such as education and language. Ultimately, the outcome of culture and education as well as the part female gender plays are inevitable in the long run and is the focus of discussion in this chapter.
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Background

According to Achebe (1994), the Igbo society is based in the southeastern part of Nigeria, in West Africa. The main Igbo states include Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Delta, and Ebonyi. While all Igbos speak the same language there are small differences in dialect. Generally, when there are histories of West African nations, scant information about the pre-colonial daily life, religions, and educational practices are presented. What one is most likely to encounter are histories authored by Europeans. The problematic nature of that situation should be evident. Such histories are presented predominantly through the cultural lens of white, Christian colonizers who inherently believed that any history before their arrival on the continent of Africa is non-existent or not worth telling. Not surprisingly, the history of the traditional manner by which Igbo females were educated is not well known. Yet, the cultural richness of Igbo female education contains the threads that help hold the social order in place.

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