AFRICA’S EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SINCE INDEPENDENCE

The courses presently offered by the Department, particularly at the undergraduate levels, are designed to, in accordance with the policy of the Department, give:

“The student a thorough grasp of Nigerian history and historiography placed firmly in the context of African history and historiography and of historical movements of world significance from other continents. The purpose of this is to make the student comprehend the historical forces and developments which have shaped and are shaping the lives of the peoples of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world”.

The Department has over 80 courses with at least half of them being taught at any one time. These cover the histories of various parts of the world in addition to Africa and Nigeria. A significant dimension to research and teaching in the Department is the local facilitation of the development of African perspectives on the history of Nigeria and Africa as much as on the history of the rest of the world.

Given its academic engagements the Department also greatly promotes interdisciplinary cooperation through the kind of courses, programmes and projects it pursues at several levels. Like most other academic departments, in general, and history departments in particular, the Department faces the challenge of how best to respond to the need for local, national and international relevance through its various programmes.

The earlier nationalist demands for formal research and training in history is greatly being expanded and modified through new demands for programmes that greatly contribute to finding solutions to contemporary developmental needs. This is a challenge the Department is already taking seriously. In this regard it is to be noted that historical research in Africa, in general, is already inclining towards developmental studies in various ways. Courses and research topics that address developmental needs, and contribute to the generation of historical themes, evidence and theories on key development issues are increasingly dominating the field. Some of such concerns, and perspectives, are greatly represented in the variety of research works being undertaken in the Department. To provide an insight into the scope of research projects being handled by the Department we append the abstracts of a few selected PhD projects that are yet to be published.

CONCLUSION

Historical scholarship in Africa’s universities has greatly advanced since its early beginnings in many of the institutions of higher learning established immediately after independence. Its preoccupations have gone far beyond ascertaining the simple existence of African history to the task of establishing, and demonstrating, its relevance to the need for a self-sustaining social, political and economic development of the continent and its peoples. Present day perspectives of available historical researches indicate that there is a lot in Africa’s pre-colonial history that is of immense and indispensable value to its present day attempts at independent development. They similarly indicate that there is a good deal of both old and new forms of colonial relations that are currently hindering Africa’s development drive.

Because the study of history is critical to the generation of knowledge in general, and the process of socialization and identity formation in particular, its contributions to the political, socio-cultural and economic development of the continent will continue to be significant in many ways. The task before the new generation of historians is to ensure that the discipline is properly steered towards fulfilling such important tasks. In this regard the role of African history as a major resource for the reorientation, re-articulation and revitalization of Africa’s politics, education, science and technology, among other things, will be very significant in the coming decades.

 

Posted on: October 13, 2019Site Admin
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