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The origins of formal education in sub-Saharan Africa: was British rule more benign?

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  • Ewout H.P. Frankema

Abstract

British colonial rule has often been praised for its comparatively benign features, such as its support of local educational development. This study argues that the impact of British educational policies and investments on the supply of schooling in British Africa should not be overstated. Until 1940, mission schools, mainly run by African converts, provided the bulk of education at extremely low costs. Given the limited financial capacity of missionary societies, the Africanization of the mission was a prerequisite for rising enrolment rates and this only occurred in areas where the demand for Western education was high. The British happened to control most of these 'fertile' areas. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ewout H.P. Frankema, 2012. "The origins of formal education in sub-Saharan Africa: was British rule more benign?," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 335-355, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:16:y:2012:i:4:p:335-355
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    1. Frankema, Ewout, 2009. "The Expansion of Mass Education in Twentieth Century Latin America: A Global Comparative Perspective," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(03), pages 359-396, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Baten, Jörg & Cappelli, Gabriele, 2016. "The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730 -1970: A Colonial Legacy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Asongu, Simplice & Cinyabuguma, Matthias, 2016. "The White Man’s Burden: On the Effect of African Resistance to European Domination," MPRA Paper 74228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    4. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    5. Cogneau, Denis & Moradi, Alexander, 2014. "Borders That Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo Since Colonial Times," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 694-729, September.
    6. Buzasi, Katalin, 2012. "Does colonialism have an impact on the current language situation in Sub-Saharan Africa?," MPRA Paper 42791, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Cappelli, Gabriele & Baten, Joerg, 2017. "European Trade, Colonialism, and Human Capital Accumulation in Senegal, Gambia and Western Mali, 1770–1900," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(03), pages 920-951, September.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Francisco A. Gallego & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Institutions, Human Capital, and Development ," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 875-912, August.
    9. Okoye, Dozie & Pongou, Roland, 2015. "Sea Change: The Competing Long-Run Impacts of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Missionary Activity in Africa," MPRA Paper 66221, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.
    11. repec:ucg:wpaper:0054 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Henderson, Morgan & Whatley, Warren, 2014. "Pacification and Gender in Colonial Africa: Evidence from the Ethnographic Atlas," MPRA Paper 61203, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2015. "World Human Development: 1870–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 220-247, June.
    14. Johan Fourie & Robert Ross & Russel Viljoen, 2012. "Literacy at South African Mission Stations," Working Papers 284, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    15. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix P. & van Leeuwen, Marco H.D. & Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2015. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Ugandan Marriage Registers 1895-2011," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 239, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    16. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12675 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Van Leeuwen, Bas & van Leeuwen-Li, Jieli & Foldvari, Peter, 2012. "Education as a driver of income inequality in twentieth-century Africa," MPRA Paper 43574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Dupraz, Yannick, 2017. "French and British Colonial Legacies in Education: Evidence from the Partition of Cameroon," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 333, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    19. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix & van Leeuwen, Marco & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2017. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Anglican Marriage Registers in Uganda, 1895-2011," CEPR Discussion Papers 11767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Okoye, Dozie & Pongou, Roland, 2014. "Historical Missionary Activity, Schooling, and the Reversal of Fortunes: Evidence from Nigeria," MPRA Paper 58052, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson, 2012. "Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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