The role and function of missionary education: the case of Newala district 1919-1960

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study was intended to f ind out the role and function of Christian missionary education in Newala district during the British colonial rule, 1919 - 1960. During the British rule, just as was the case during the German rule, much of the educational work in the country was undertaken by Christian missionary societies. In Newala district, mast of the schools were built and run by the missionaries of the Universities Mission to Central Africa and the Roman Catholic Benedictine Fathers. The first mission school was built at Newala Bondeni in 1878 when the U.M.C.A. missionaries established a station there, Other schools were opened as the missionaries established more stations in the district. The purpose of this historical study was to examine the manner in which western type of education was institutionalized and the extent to which the curriculum was instrumental in the economic, political and social development of the community in the district. The study is organized into seven chapters. The first chapter gives the background, the problem and the purpose of the study. It further gives the significance of the study and the choice of the area of study. Chapter two presents literature review. It discusses major contributions by scholars on subjects related to the christian missionary education. Chapter three is concerned with the methodology of study. It reviews the techniques used in obtaining information for this study from different sources. Chapter four is concerned with the background to the area of study. It first considers the geographical setting, discusses its people, their traditions and activities. Further the chapter looks at the coming and spreading of Christian missionaries, and the establishment of mission stations in different parts of the district. Chapters five and six present the findings from the analysis of data obtained. In chapter five, the process of the establishment of the mission schools and the curriculum.used in such schools are discussed. The number of schools and their enrolment is given. In chapter six the contribution of christian missionary education to the development of manpower, and the general impact of that education on the community in the district is presented. Chapter seven is concerned with summary, conclusions and recommendations. It was found from the study that christian mission education facilities ranged from catechetical centres, bush village, district and later middle schools. The missionaries taught 3Rs and Religious instruction in the catechetical centres. Gradually other subjects were added in the bush, village, district and middle schools. These included Arithmetic, General knowledge, Kiswahili, English Hygiene, Agriculture and Civics. Agricultural skills were given prominence in district and middle schools, by emphasising agriculture in district and middle schools it was expected to produce an educated peasant class which was to produce food and cash crops for the benefit of the colonial masters. But the programme failed at both levels because of non-involvement of local people in planning stage, and because of its discriminatory nature. Theprogramme had excluded urban, European and Asian schools. It was further observed that other skills such as carpentry, masonry, weaving and other local crafts, were taught. These skills enabled some of the people in the district to get employment in mission stat ions and government offices. The study further revealed that some mission educated people became teachers, nurses, clerks or forest guards. Yet others who went beyond middle school level became loaders or administrators at both local and national level. This was a positive contribution by the missionaries although the aim of providing education to the African was not to enable him advance materially, but to enable him serve them and the colonial administrators better. Finally it was observed that missionary education failed to change some of the traditional beliefs and values. This was clearly shown in the failure by the missionaries to completely convince the majority of the people to accept Christianized Jando. The majority of the people, including some christians, continued to follow the traditional Unyago and other customs which the missionaries had sought to up root missionary education had also failed to have a lasting irnpact on the community in that the majority of the people in the district remained moslems or traditionalists. These had refused to send their children, especially girls, to school because they did not want them to become christians. They refused to accept christianity because its influence disintegrated tribal customs and values. The consequence was that women from moslem and traditionalist community were illiterate. Only girls from areas near long established mission stations benefited from the educational facilities which were available. All this shows that christian missionary education had partial impact on the community.
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Education, Church and education, Social conditions, Newala, Tanganyika, Tanganyika
Adamu, E.S (1981) The role and function of missionary education: the case of Newala district 1919-1960, masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, available at (