The Mission School (sometimes called “New Folk” or “Urban Rustic”) is an art movement of the 1990s and 2000s, centered in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. Thus the missionary school can be describe as a type of school system that is own and controlled by religious institutions be it private or public which offers educational and moral services to the communities within there domain. There are two types of schools (at least) that are often called “missionary schools”. I am speaking within the context of Christian missions.
1. The most common use of the term is an elementary or high school started and run by missionaries. In some parts of the world (historically, and even to this day) there are places where education, (reading, writing, math, etc.), are not taught or taught so poorly that local children are at a disadvantage. Christian missionaries would set up schools for the children. Often they would teach, but may also utilize the services of local teachers. As missionaries, they would typically incorporate the Holy Bible into the training, as well as Christian doctrine and ethics.
2. In some cases the term can be used as a short form for “missionary training school.” In this case, it describes a school or training program designed to train people in the theory and practice of mission work.
This movement is generally considered to have emerged in the early 1990s around a core group of artists who attended (or were associated with) San Francisco Art Institute. The term “Mission School”, however, was not coined until 2002, in a San Francisco Bay Guardian article by Glen Helfand.
Some notable organizations that carried out missionary activities in the country in the pre-independence were those of the Baptist church, Methodist church, Anglican Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church.
Thus the major problems of early missionary schools in Nigeria can be highlighted below;
1. Resistance and hostility from the local communities.
2. Denominational conflicts among the Christian groups themselves.
3. Hostile weather conditions.
4. Strange and dangerous diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness.
5. Shortage of finance and other material resources.
6. Inadequate manpower to facilitate their work.
7. Difficult terrain and other hardships in transport and communication, etc.
Note that the above challenges delayed the Christian groups in their mission, not only of evangelization but also in the promotion of education.
However, to solve these problems the response of the government and other international relations can be noted below;
Note that the Christian groups in Africa were preoccupied with several activities in the area of formal education. They established schools of different grades. In many areas they were the first to venture into this field. In such cases they pioneered formal education in those communities. This entailed mobilizing there sources necessary for education, training and paying the teachers, developing the curriculum, among others. They also sensitised the masses and encouraged them to embrace formal education.
The government at the centre as well as those of the regional and local district levels provided support in form of scholarship grants and provision of text materials etc. while their international partners provided aid and grants for the continued support and strengthening of the missionary engagements.
Francis Alonge, the Bishop of Ondo in Nigeria, has called for the return of former missionary schools taken over by the government. He criticized the fall in standards of Nigerian education, claiming the decline was due to the government takeover. He further asserted that the takeover had “wiped out completely the teaching of morals which the Church is known for.”
Speaking to reporters on the 45th anniversary of his priestly ordination, he said the takeover is “the first major blow to the educational sector in this country,” the Catholic Information Service for Africa reports. Financial assistance should accompany the desired return of the schools to their original owners, Bishop Alonge argued, because of the schools’ poor infrastructure and limited manpower.
The return of moral standards set by the missionaries, he maintained, would restore the standard of education in the country.
The Nigerian government took over all private and parochial schools in the mid-1970s.however some states government have started to return some of this schools to their former original missionary owners.
Adangha owolabi (2004): missionary societies in Nigeria.
Mission schools -wikipeadia