African Education 

African Education 

  • Education is a process of imparting knowledge, skills and attitudes by the teacher to the learners.
  • Education is in two i.e. formal and informal educations.
  • Formal education is the European type of education introduced in East Africa by the missionaries and it involves reading and writing while informal does not involve reading and writing.
Characteristics of Informal Education (African Education)
  • It was conducted outside classroom and learners were taught together without grouping them in different classes.
  • It was conduct in open places i.e. did not have schools but it was taught from home.
  • It had no trained teachers, elders, parents or any knowledgeable relative conducted it.
  • It had no teaching syllabus to be followed. The content taught was got from the environment and cultural norms.
  • It lacked a formal time table to be followed, at any time the elder felt like teaching he or she would do it.
  • It lacked formal or regular assessment and evaluation of learners.
  • It lacked exams or tests to find out whether learners had understood or not.
  • It was not literate i.e. did not involve reading and writing.
  • It was cultural in nature i.e. it promoted preservation of cultural norms by the people.
  • It was mainly practical since it involved practical skills for example cooking, digging andplanting.
  • It emphasized promotion of morals among the children in order to live a successful life.
  • It involved sexual education especially to the children at puberty.
  • It emphasized respect for one another i.e. girls were taught to be low so as to respect their husbands.
  • African education was free of charge i.e. did not involve paying of school fees like formal education.
  • There were no educational credentials to the learners, but practical outcomes were got after attaining this education e.g. circumcision of boys was a credential and qualification for adulthood among the Kikuyu of Kenya.
  • Content of this education system varied with the age of the learners. Sex education e.g. was exclusively for the adolescent and not the young.
Strength/ Advantages of an Informal Education
  • Positively, it helped to produce morally upright people in the society. This is because morals were highly appreciated.
  • It helped the young people to fit in the society in which they were born, however harsh it was.
  • It promoted equality because it did not grade learners and separated them into classes.
  • It made the youths to get to know why certain things in an area e.g. lightening, famine, earth quakes and the will get to know how to overcome them.
  • It taught young ones their historical background and made them aware of past experiences such as origin, migration pattern, battles fought.
  • It promoted unity because the content taught was the same and learners were allowed to interact with one another.
  • It promoted the spirit of social concern for one another because the spirit of brotherhood was imparted into them.
  • It equipped the young ones with practical skills for their own survival e.g. they were taught domestic work for example digging, hunting, fetching water and collecting fire wood.
  • It also prepared the young people for social responsibilities in the society as some of them became leaders while others became medicine men and women.
  • It helped youth for marriage relation, promoting stability of marriage, as every one well knew and performed required duties respectively.
  • It served to respect and preserves the African cultural beliefs and practices, since the content was got from the cultures of the communities.
Weakness of African Informal Education
  • It created inequality and classes in the society based on sex. This is because women were undermined and seen as inferior to men.
  • Content taught was not universal but societal i.e. it varied from culture to culture which created disunityamong   the people.
  • It was not literate and therefore it produced people who never knew how to read and write.
  • Since it lacked academic papers or credentials, it undermined the position of leaders since their education could not qualify them.
  • Some forms of informal education like circumcision was unfair and painful to human life.
  • It involved punishment that were unfair e.g. ex-communicating the girl who become pregnant before marriage or even killing them.
  • Since it depended on the elders as teachers, these could become tired and sick hence making the children miss their lesson.


  1. Asses the African informal type of education. (give strength and weakness)
  2. Compare the missionary education and the African traditional education.
Sex Education in Traditional Africa 

Sex education was that type of education that involved imparting of information about sex to the young people at puberty stage and were about to get married. In African traditional society, different societies taught different things to their children concerning sex as seen below: 

Content of Sex Education Taught To Children
  • Sex education was that education that involved imparting of information about sex to the young people at puberty stage.
  • It was mainly taught to the adolescent by the elders, parents, relatives and friends.
  • Boys were usually taught by their uncles who gave them marriage roles and responsibilities.
  • The girls were usually taught by their Aunties who also gave them tips on how to behave while in marriage.
  • Sex education involved separation of the learners from the rest of the public to teach them. eg among the Kikuyu, the boys were taken to the forest.
  • The adolescent boys and girls who were about to get married were taught the different sex techniques and styles which they were to use while in marriage.
  • The children were taught to be morally upright and disciplined and respect all elders in the society.
  • The girls were called upon to keep their virginity until marriage and heavy punishments were given to those who broke it before marriage.
  • The Aunties always told the girls to show respect to their husbands by kneeling while greeting and giving them anything. This was common among the Baganda.
  • In some societies, it involved mutilation of sex organs e.g. among the kikuyu of Kenya, circumcision was done in order to bring sexual satisfaction among the partners in marriage.
  • Life skills were also imparted into the young to prepare them for the future e.g. among the Baganda boys were taught how to hunt,Masai girls were taught how to build house etc.
  • The boys were also taught by the uncles to be hardworking in life in order to able to take care of their wives and children.
  • The girls in Buganda were told not to respond when their husbands were quarreling. They were told to put water in the mouth to prevent responding.
  • Sex education also involved taking the girls to the bush schools where they were taught how to elongate their Labia. This was common among the Baganda, Basoga, Batoro etc.
  • The girls were also taught not to fear sex while in marriage and to always give sex to their husbands any time they wanted 
  • The girls were made aware of their menstrual periods and they were taught how to handle/clean themselves during those periods.
  • Girls were told to Love their husbands and always be clean at home through washing the clothes, utensils and cleaning the house and the compound.
  • Both boys and girls were taught to produce as many children as possible while in marriage in order to expand the clan.
  • Girls and boys were taught to get married and not to fear getting married for their own good.
  • Both boys and girls were a lot about their culture during sex education so as to be able to pass it on to their children.
  • The children at puberty were taught to have sex as many times as they wanted while in marriage.
  • In some societies, girls were also circumcised during sex education. This was to reduce their feelings sexually in marriage e.g. among the sabiny of Eastern Uganda.

1. Discuss the major elements/characteristics and contents of sex education in African Traditional society. (15 marks) Approach:

It wants how sex education was carried out and what was actually taught to the young people at Puberty stage.

Importance of Sex Education in African Traditional Society
  • Sex education referred to the Imparting of information about sex into the young people at puberty stage.
  • It was important as shown below:
  • It provided information which helped the young to develop into healthy and responsible adults.
  • It also enabled the children to get married at the right not too early and not too late.
  • It helped to prevent sexual abuses/ misuses in the society such as fornication, rape, homosexuality etc among the youth.
  • It also helped to prevent early and unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis.
  • Sex education promoted hygiene and sanitation because children especially girls had to be clean during their menstrual periods.
  • Sex education helped the girls to keep their virginity until marriage hence attracting big bride price for their parents.
  • It promoted hard work especially among the boys because they were taught by the uncles to be hardworking people.
  • It also promoted culture because a lot of cultural norms and values were taught to the young during sex education.
  • It enabled the parents to get a lot of bride price from their daughters during marriage.
  • It brought satisfaction of both partners in marriage and made it possible for children to be produced.
  • Sex education promoted permanent marriages because they young were taught to have permanent marriage during sex education.
  • It promoted Love among married people due to the fact that the young were taught to Love their roles in case of marriage.
  • It enabled the girls to know their biological changes of menstruation before it happened hence preparing for it.
  • It promoted respect for elders in the society and respect for one another in marriage.
  • Through sex education, children became morally upright and well disciplined.

1.  Discuss the importance of sex education in the traditional African society. (13 marks) Approach:

It wants the good things that came out of teaching the young people about sex.


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