Contemporary Relevance

Generational Impacts of the Biafran War


During the Biafran War, more than one million people died, mainly from starvation. Although the war ended in 1970, many people, particularly Igbo people, remain affected by the years of violence and trauma. Currently, there are still demands for the succession of the Igbos’ Southeast Region. Following the war, the Nigerian government has not invested in the Southeast Region, which many Igbos view as a punitive measure. As a result, that region has been underdeveloped, bringing suffering and economic turmoil to the Igbo people. Overall, women were impacted the most during and after the war. Women exposed to the war in their growing years appeared to have an increased likelihood of being overweight, reduced stature, and lower levels of education. The traumatic experiences of war also added immense amounts of stress during pregnancy, which caused children of the next generation to have trouble with physical growth, mental disorders, and education.

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The Impact of British Colonialism on Nigerian Education


British Colonialism negatively transformed the Nigerian education system through “divide and conquer” ideologies that stripped Nigeria of its culture and former curriculum. Currently, Nigeria has the largest number of out of school children in the world at over thirteen million children. When Christian Missionaries infiltrated the schools, Western teachings were forcibly imposed and contaminated the thought processes of many Nigerian children with binary thinking. The British believed “knowledge” should be transmitted from teacher to student via lecture, while the student had to learn the material by memorization and reproduction. When colonizing Nigeria, British officials did not have the country’s interest in mind; the British ruled through discriminatory, secular “divide and conquer” ideologies that sparked ethnic tensions and division. The political and economic disharmony Nigeria experiences as a result of colonialism has perpetuated Nigeria’s poverty and in turn the education system. Poverty and gender play the biggest roles in education; 72% of the poorest children are out of school and girls are more likely to be out of school.

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Kyna Smith 2019

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