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Education Corner: The history of education

Filed under: Education,Latest News |

with Prof Nyanga

The mind of man is capable of holding tons of learning, scientists though have over the years struggled to explain how the human mind works, they have concluded that it is has the capacity to process and store huge volumes of information.

A good education is said to have the power to change a life, influence the future of the society and the world at large.

It is for this reason that history of education is of primal importance to everyone, including parents, community, professionals and those who would be, the past is intimately and directly related to the present and ultimately influences the future.

Studying the history of education, one will be able to understand the process of it and how it has developed up to present time.

In this way, the present becomes meaningfully clear and helps to shape and brighten the future.

The history of education is in many aspects taking into account the history of reform movements and ideas.

Since Plato elucidates that ‘education’ could be regarded as the cause or ground for the change of society, culture, and individuals.

In the late Roman empire and early Christian times, education was viewed as a voice of God and thus as the voice of mission; in the Middle Ages it also became the special force for movements of heresy (Oelkers, 2001).

In wanting to have more skilled labour, educated labour and workforce that would provide required production in industries and also caring of the children while parents were at work, and purpose of communication, the formal education systems were put across by different governments.

After the Reformation, education was regarded as the cause for ‘inner’ belief and personal salvation.

The reform movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries mixed all these motives and made them powerful as reactions against the model of education that was developed by state power in the nineteenth century (Monzwe,2016).

Modern reform movements have at least three different tendencies. There are movements of reform of educational institutions, of forms of life, and of society.

Education has its stint way back during the first civilizational phase (3000–1500 BCE) in The middle East (Mesopotamian) and Egyptian civilizations.

Although these civilizations differed, they shared monumental literary achievements (Oelkers, 2001).

The need for the perpetuation of these highly developed civilizations made writing and formal education necessary.

In the culture of Egypt and middle east, education was preserved and controlled chiefly by the priests, a powerful intellectual elite in the theocracy (political system) who also served as the political barriers by preventing cultural diversity.

The humanities as well as such practical subjects as science, medicine, mathematics and geomatics were in the hands of the priests, who taught in formal schools.

Vocational skills relating to such fields as architecture, engineering and sculpture were generally transmitted outside the context of formal education.

This is where two types of education was developed where one was supervised by government and the other by priests (Monzwe,2016).

As time and civilisation went far and wide, through skilled labour requirements, communication purposes and populations were increasing, the communities thought for a formal system of ensuring that there was sanity in their particular communities.

This was the development of systems that were specifically aimed at harmonising everything in relation to education.

Migration due to wars and in search for fertile lands, treks and explorers missionary works also played a major role introducing education spreading in different countries worldwide.

Ivory, timber and minerals played role in advancing education and formalising it in many different countries, especially in India and Africa and other surrounding islands. Slave trade also had a strong impact on the spreading of education as buyers and sellers needed to have a common.

Gradually, the world has seen significant development in education, especially with the innovations of technology where now the whole world is considered as a global village.

The education system has been standardised globally and it has been made formal to the extent that almost same standards are followed. This has been achieved through measures and standards that have been put across.

In Zambia, formal education was much influenced the British South African Company which controlled the Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (present day, Malawi) in the early 1900s.

Missionaries and explorers such as David Livingstone have had a fair influence on the introduction of education in Zambia as already mentioned above the reason for introducing it.

From the time Zambia got independence in 1964, Zambia has achieved much development in terms of education. From having one public university (University of Zambia) to more 60 both public and private universities.

There are also a lot of colleges both public and private for anyone to choose from unlike the way it was during the and immediate past independence.

Secondary and primary schools are as well many compared to the time before and after independence.

Professor Edgar Nyanga can be contacted on…


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