Just as the Muslims of the north of the continent brought with them Koranic schools, so did the missionaries set up Christian schools. But while the Koranic schools for many centuries restricted their curriculum to religious texts, which meant working exclusively in Arabic, Christian schools taught in European languages and soon broadened their curriculum to take in more than the Bible and the liturgy of the different Christian denominations. A number of Muslims then took to attending both Koranic and Christian schools. Some Muslim schools organised broader curriculum to take in western subjects, but generally Christian and Muslim educationalists remained apart.
Everywhere, education became a key to change and self-improvement. In Angola, the Portuguese authorities took fright at the surge of ambition. In 1901, a law was passed stipulating that anyone wanting to be a telegraph operator had to pass exams in Latin and geography; Angolans were then unable to apply because these subjects were not taught in Angola.
Primary schools and universities
In 1961, African leaders met in Addis Ababa to come up with a policy for not only expanding education but making it more relevant to the African child:
"African educational authorities should revise and reform the content of education in the areas of the curricular, textbooks, and methods, so as to take account of the African environment, child development, cultural heritage, and the demands of technological progress and economic development, especially industrialisation." - UNESCO report quoted in UNESCO General History of Africa Volume VIII.
A year later delegates met to discuss higher education at university level.
Liberia College was founded in the 19th century and Fort Hare in 1916 under the name of the South African Native College.
"Our history struggled through the white man's version of the so-called Kaffir Wars, the Great Trek, the struggles for control of South Africa and we had to give back in our examination papers the answer the white man expected." - Z.K. Matthews lawyers and graduate of Fort Hare, quoted by Leonard Thomson.
In 1921, Makerere was founded as a Technical College, becoming University College Makerere in 1937. It was affiliated to London University and achieved independent university status in 1963. Lovanium College was established in 1949 in the Congo, although none was admitted until 1954. Ibadan University was opened in 1948, also affiliated to London University.
In all cases, girls' education lagged somewhat behind that of the boys. The earliest girls school on the continent was probably the Annie Walsh Memorial School founded in 1848 in Freetown Sierra Leone.
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