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Mass Literacy experiment in Southern Nigeria, 1944

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3011U/63-67

Scope and Contents

A series of British Official photographs (Crown Copyright Reserved). Each has the following typewritten caption on the reverse:

'Africans have a great desire to learn; in Southern Nigeria, with a population of about 9 millions, only some 276,000, children attend infant and primary schools and only a fraction of these can ever become really literate. Most of the population are entirely illiterate in both English and their own languages. In the Udi Division of South Eastern Nigeria, an experiment in mass education was made in 1944. The District Officer in charge of the Udi Division, Mr. E.R. Chadwich, who administers an area about as large as Sussex or Rhode Island, discussed the experiment with Government and the Native Authorities in the Division in May, 1944. Several members of the District Officer's African staff offered to give up part of their spare time to help. A scheme was finally prepared which would give some data as a basis for a more extensive Government mass education campaign in the future.

It was decided to teach in Ibo (the local language) and not in English. Three villages were chosen to give a variety of conditions for the experiment which in each village was limited to a family group (called an 'extended family'). The localities were:
(a) A family group at Udi near the District Officer's Station which could be given a certain amount of supervision.

(b) A family group at a village about 8 miles away where there was little teaching skill available.

(c) A third group which could hope for only periodical visits from the District Officer but which had a public spirited ex-teacher as head of the family group.

The scheme has been a success so far as it has gone. The people have shown that when the village head is keen, the will and energy for a mass education scheme is there. The assistance of experts to draw up a system and the periodical visit of senior officials to give encouragement are seen as important factors for a general scheme'.


  • Creation: 1944

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Language of Materials






Finding aid date

2003-10-24 11:56:15+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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