Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

This dissertation is a historical comparative education study that revisits colonial education in Cameroon. The purpose of the study is to undertake a broad, documentary, synthetic analysis of the colonial policies of the three formidable Western powers that colonized the country: the Germans (1884-1914), the British (1914-19621), and the French (1914-1960). This study focuses on the interactions that these Western colonial governments had with various Western Christian missionary organizations; these interactions and collaborations led to the establishment of the German, British, and French colonial formal schools in Cameroon up until Independence from colonial rule in 1960 and 1961. The official languages of the country have been German and, currently, English and French. This is an indication that Cameroon has been the most Western-colonized country on the African continent, the one that has had the greatest number of foreign powers exerting colonial rule over it. Colonial government documents and documents from the League of Nations and the United Nations have been for the most part the central sources that this study is based upon.

The conceptual framework of the study is the center/periphery dynamic that is used in colonial and comparative education. This concept is used to analyze the colonial policies and practices that the Western European powers (center), as colonizers, and Christian missions used in formulating and implementing colonial education schemes based on the colonial education and language policies in their colonies (peripheries). This

was done to establish colonial formal schools for acculturating the natives in order to achieve the colonial objectives, such as training natives specifically for colonial manpower needs and Christian objectives of evangelism for mission expansion. The study also counters some of the arguments by Bassey (1999), specifically in the case of the Cameroon colonial education experience. The study addresses the advertent or inadvertent exclusion of the Bambui Fondom by Gumne (1987, p. 13) that is and has always been a major Tikar group in the grassland region of Cameroon that hosted early German explorers such as Zintgraff, according to Chilver (1966). The study further explains why certain aspects of British education, such as English, are still popular globally as the official international language of aviation. The study also uncovers my personal academic interest as well as how some of my personal oral ancestral family history is embedded in the history of colonialism and colonial education in Cameroon. Finally, the study also reveals some of the significant aspects of colonial education legacies in Cameroon. Again, as a review of colonial education scholarship, this study will illuminate possibilities for further scholarship in the field of comparative and international education.

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