Opportunities and Challenges in Digitization of Indigenous Knowledge and Implication for Educational Management in the Nigerian Context

Opportunities and Challenges in Digitization of Indigenous Knowledge and Implication for Educational Management in the Nigerian Context

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7024-4.ch005
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This chapter focuses on opportunities and challenges in digitizing indigenous knowledge with implications for educational management in the Nigerian context. Digitization provides an avenue for safeguarding and sharing traditional knowledge that may be at risk of being lost or marginalized. By converting indigenous knowledge into digital formats, it can be documented, archived, and easily accessed by future generations, thereby contributing to the preservation of cultural heritage. Specifically, this chapter addresses the overview of indigenous knowledge, digitization of indigenous knowledge, management of indigenous knowledge in the digital age, opportunity in the digitization of indigenous knowledge and challenges of digitization of indigenous knowledge.
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There is no doubt that the arrival of missionaries in Nigeria was to introduce the Christian Religion and subsequently convert the indigenous people of Nigeria from their traditional practices to Christianity (Nwadialor, 2021; Akinwumi, 1988). Nigeria is naturally and culturally blessed with indigenous knowledge systems as evidenced by various practices and languages used in expressing diverse identities and cultural and historical information of people and their communities. For instance, Nigeria, as an independent country, has various native languages (Ndiribe & Aboh, 2022). Although Afolayan (1984) identified Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as the three major and majority indigenous languages in Nigeria, however, Nigeria has more than four hundred (400) indigenous languages such as Edo, Efik, Fulfude, Idoma Igala, Ijo, Kanuri, Nupe, Tiv. These are regarded as minority indigenous languages (Adegbite, 2003). From the inception of the indigenous communities in Nigeria, traditional practices remain useful in conserving cultural practices, economic activities, indigenous laws and sustainability of local empowerment (Jimoh, 2012). In addition to diverse indigenous languages in Nigeria, other traditional practices by indigenous natives of Nigeria manifest in their traditional worshipping, medicine, fishing, weaving, crafts, and masquerading (Ekpe et al., 2016). Palm wine tapping, locally made pots, doors, chairs and tools are common among the Efiks. The Efik people are known for their traditional practices, such as palm wine tapping, making locally made pots, doors, chairs, and tools. They also have a rich dance, music, and storytelling culture, passed down from generation to generation. All these were transferred from one generation to another.

It is common knowledge that each community in Nigeria is associated with one traditional practice or the other. For instance, the Calabar community in the southern region of Cross River in Nigeria is popularly known for Ekpe and Nnabo masquerades during important traditional ceremonies. Again, In the 1880s, the Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria practiced the killing of twins during the pre-colonial periods. Giving birth to twins was considered an abomination and a curse to society. The killing of twins at birth was a traditional practice in Nigeria that was eliminated by a Scottish missionary named Mary Slessor. This practice was believed to bring misfortune to the community, and Slessor worked tirelessly to convince the people that twins were not evil. The arrival of Missionaries and the emergence of the colonial government and its operations in Nigeria brought about a new way of life that influenced the Nigerian natives (Ugwu, 2017). As such, in many African countries and Nigeria in particular, educational programmes and activities are based on Western thinking and the belief system as opposed to existing indigenous knowledge (IK) (Kaya & Seleti, 2013). The predominance of foreign practices introduced by the colonizers in Nigeria tends to make the indigenous people of Nigeria foreigners in their environment. Although the foreign ideology seemed to be forced on the natives, the Nigerian natives are still conscious of the practices of their immediate environment (Eyong, 2007). It is common knowledge that, prior to the arrival of the colonial masters, indigenous knowledge in each of the various traditional and ethnic groups in various geographical areas in Nigeria had already been in existence. Man's awareness of his environment provokes him to start activities using available natural resources (Maurya, Ali, Ahmad, Zhou, Castro, Khane & Ali, 2020). The indigenous community members ' skills and knowledge in local farming, trading, craft work, fishing, wine tapping, blacksmithing, traditional medicine and animal rearing have since been attributed to the traditional ways of knowing how to carry out economic activities (Agu, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Indigenous Knowledge: Indigenous knowledge is the traditional knowledge of the natives of a given geographical area. It is evident in the culture of the indigenes of a particular community.

Educational Management: Educational management is the control of all educational resources for the purpose of improving, achieving and sustaining educational goals and objectives.

Tacit Knowledge: It is any knowledge, information, skill and ability that an individual has gained through experience which is often quite challenging to explain, communicate, or simply put into words.

Digitization: Digitization is the process of ensuring that tacit indigenous knowledge is converted to explicit indigenous knowledge and subsequently making them available on the internet or online database. With digitization, indigenous knowledge is converted into such digital items as still images, videos, audio and texts.

Traditional Practices: These are various economic, religious and sociocultural ways of doing things by indigenous community members of a particular ethnic group.

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