Anglophone Africa: Education, religion, and nation building, 1960s-1990s


This chapter provides evidence from a range of Anglophone African national curriculums developed between the 1960s and 1980s that demonstrate Christianity’s integration in the new national curriculum to assist in the development of nationhood. The use of Christian Western education systems by newly independent African nations as a tool of national assimilation is a major part of any discussion on “Christianity and Politics in an Age of African Liberation.” As African nation-states took over the colonial education systems, Africanization of the curriculum was the immediate demand of the people and the promise of the new administration. In reality, Christianity and neocolonial sentiments of Western modernity kept much of the curriculum Western and Christian with few exceptions. A new twist on this continued integration of Christianity and formal education developed within Anglophone Africa that resulted in nationalized curriculums embedded with religious, most often Christian, doctrine. On the one hand, education was a necessary tool to create a unified national identity. On the other hand, due to the long history of missionary Christian influences in the imposed Western education system, it proved impossible to separate education and religion. Christian religion took on a different tone in new African nation-states. It was no longer a means to discipline and assimilate African Indigenous societies to a European colonial ruler. It was now part and parcel of the new national identity used to promote and enforce nation making and national citizenship. This chapter argues that while African leaders spoke of Pan African liberation, much of what developed on the ground was a neocolonial Christian model of nationhood that kept Indigenous ethno-national identities, their religions, and education systems in the margins.



Document Type





Africa education, Africa history of education, Anglophone education, Colonial education, Ghana education, Kenya education, Neocolonial education, Nigeria education, Postcolonial education, Religion and education, Western education in africa

Publication Date


Journal Title

The Palgrave Handbook of African Education and Indigenous Knowledge