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Lv3: Senior Member
Lv3: Senior Member
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PostEngineer_Joseph on Tue 13 Dec 2016, 11:16 am


The traditional system of education differs significantly from the Western type of educationin the process of transmitting knowledge, attitudes and skills. This difference is largely accounted for by the purposes each serves.

The latent aims of the traditional system of education as observed by Fafunwa (1974), which provided the bases, and process of training in the traditional education system are:

1. To develop the child’s latent physical skills.
2. To develop character.
3. To inculcate respect for elders and those in position of authority.
4. To develop intellectual skills.
5. to acquire specific vocational training and to develop a healthy attitude towards honest labour.
6. To develop a sense of belonging and to participate actively in family and community affairs.
7. To understand, appreciate and promote the cultural heritage of the community at large.

The means (process) employed to attain the goals mentioned above is mostly through a combination of theory and practice. Children learn the history of great men and women from folklores and stories narrated by the elderly members of the society. Good virtues such as valour, honesty, wisdom, respect for elders and oracy are either directly or indirectly imparted from the stories.

The vocational training starts right from the early stage of children’s life when they begin to follow their parents to the farms, rivers, forests, blacksmithing and weaving shops to learn the occupations of their forebears. Basically, there are four (4) processes through which cultural heritage are transmitted from generation to generation in a typical traditional set up. These are:

(i) Indoctrination: Good virtues and values are handed down to the children through different means possible. They are dogmas that cannot be compromised or questioned.

(ii) Imitation: Children learn the skills and norms by copying what they see their elders do.

(iii) Training: Children receive informal training to acquire skills, attitudes and values that will make them fit to live in the society is equally through the apprenticeship system.

(iv) Initiation: After receiving training, children are introduced to certain modes of behaviour that are considered acceptable by the group they belong to. This is usually marked by fanfare and ceremony at an appointed time in the community. Cultural rites and practices are usually observed during initiation.


· In the foregone discussions, you have learnt that never had a people existed the world over without a form of training to prepare their children for life. In the medieval age, man has learnt to manipulate his environment in which he lives for his benefit. And because man did not live in isolation, his actions, behaviour and competencies were inculcated in him by his immediate family members and the extended members of the society. This system of training, which was considered rigid and informal by some elites, was observed to be purposeful and comprehensive, serving the purpose it was meant for at that particular time.

The training of the young ones, which starts before youthful age was a collective responsibility of the community and was carried out in stages according to age variation as observed by different scholars. This system was not based on any
formalized structure, but carefully pursued towards realising the latent aims of the community. Fafunwa (1974) listed the seven cardinal goals of traditional education and a careful analysis of these goals revealed their relevance then, now and even for generations to come. Perhaps, this is the reason why the National Policy on Education has continued to emphasize the need for “the inculcation of the right types of values, attitudes and skills that would enable children to be useful members of the society. The functionality of the traditional education system has never been doubted.

The system has produced skill oriented community members whose contributions to the betterment of living are still being felt even now. This will continue to be experienced as long as the values of the society remain treasured, and that the process
of acquisition of these values remains adequate.

The essence of examining the past is truly reflected in the history of traditional education in Nigeria, in that a lot of the aspirations of the National Policy on Education and the discourses going on among educationists centre around those
values conceived by the traditional past. And this kind of thinking will continue to be the same most likely till the world comes to an end. The purpose may continue to be the same with some modifications in the process as time dictates.

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