Mission to Educate: A History of the Educational Work of the Scottish Presbyterian Mission in East Nigeria, 1846-1960

Article excerpt

Mission to Educate: A History of the Educational Work of the Scottish Presbyterian Mission in East Nigeria, 1846-1960.

By William H. Taylor. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996. Pp. 281. Gld. 154/$99.50.

William Taylor is currently teaching educational studies at Exeter, but he has also taught in Tanzania, India, and Nigeria. He therefore comes to his subject with something of a feel for the country of which he is writing. His intent is to provide a case study that can "raise wider issues of policy and strategy about the place of church schools in society, especially Nigeria" (p. 5). He then takes us through the stages of the Presbyterian mission's educational endeavor, from the improvisations of the pioneers in Calabar during the 1840s to the extensive system that covered most of the middle and lower Cross River Valley a century later. His conclusion is quite balanced: missionaries are by definition cultural imperialists, some more so than others. The Presbyterians, however, were consistent in believing that "concerns about equality of opportunity and about the rights of individuals, not least the rights of the child, are fully consistent with the ideals that are at the heart of Christianity" (p. …