Agwa bu mma: Character formation as the principal goal of traditional education (toward a balanced educational framework for the Igbo people of Nigeria)

Anselm Azubike Amandikwa, Fordham University

Abstract

This study is a critical analysis of the concept and understanding of traditional education among the Igbo people of Nigeria. It explores the strengths and benefits, as well as the limitations of Igbo traditional education and examines its foundations, methods, contexts, tools, and primary goal. Because Igbo traditional education has gone through unprecedented changes following the encounter with colonialism, Christianity, and Western education, this study reviews the positive and negative impacts of these historic encounters. ^ The research shows that character formation was the primary goal of Igbo traditional education, and that any educational system devoid of religious and moral formation was considered deficient and, therefore, unworthy of the name "education." Igbo education was a common responsibility; the family and the community played prominent roles. It was holistic, intergenerational, and lasted throughout one's life. The research also suggests that Igbo traditional education flourished because it was rooted in the culture, beliefs, norms and practices of the people, and because it provided for their urgent individual and communal needs. ^ The study proposes that a balanced education for present-day Igbo society must be founded on the values of Igbo culture, beliefs and norms, and must bring these values into dialogue with contemporary challenges. Given the complex nature of Igbo society today, it is proposed that a balanced and relevant educational framework for contemporary Igbo society must integrate the positive values of Igbo traditional education with those of Western education. Finally, the study proposes significant educational principles for the formulation of a balanced educational curriculum that could bridge the gap between the current educational system and the socio-cultural and economic realities of contemporary Igbo society. It advocates a missionary spirituality based on a "border-crossing spirituality" as the best missionary approach for an incultrated education in Igbo society today. ^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Philosophy of

Recommended Citation

Anselm Azubike Amandikwa, "Agwa bu mma: Character formation as the principal goal of traditional education (toward a balanced educational framework for the Igbo people of Nigeria)" (January 1, 2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3394534.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3394534

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