While Islamic education started from the Northern parts of Nigeria, Christian missionary education system started from the Southern parts of Nigeria and spread into the hinterland and gradually northwards. It form of education was traditional. The dual responsibility of bringing to Nigeria the Christian religion and Western education fell upon the Christian missionaries from Europe, America and Sierra Leone.
            By 1515 missionary activities had started in Benin when some catholic missionaries set up a school in the Oba’s palace to serve the Oba’s children and the sons of his palace chiefs in 1485, the first Portuguese traders landed at Benin and these schools were short- lived for the slave trade wiped them off.
            The second missionary journey yielded better result in the 1840’s some of the rescued slaves from their new homes in Sierra Leone found their way back to Egbaland their ancestral home. Some moved up to the new capital Abeokuta and met some of their kith and kin and told the baffling stores about their experiences as slaves, their miraculous freedom, the white man’s religion, his schools and culture. After hearing these moving stores some Egba people became eager to experience some of the white man’s way of life. The freed slaves who came back to their home felt that they had come back to a place of darkness. They therefore sent frantic messages to the missionary headquarters in Freetown, Sierra Leone to said their men to bring light to them.
            In response to these appeals and calls from Egbaland, the Methodist missionary sent, Rev. Thomas B. Freeman to Badagry in 1842. With the help of the local people, he built a mission house and started prayer meetings on Sundays. The missionaries had discovered that they would not successfully carry on their work of Christian evangelism without the help of western-type of education. So, wherever the missionaries opened a mission, that centre or house was used both as school and as a church. Other missionaries that contributed in spreading this education include. Henry Townsend of the church missionary society (CMS) land in Badagry in 1845. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ajayi Crowther. The Church of Scotland Mission (CSM) based in Jamaica in the west indices, sent Rev. Hope Masterton Waddell to Calabar for missionary work. He established a mission school called Hop Waddell Training Institute, Calabar. Thomas Bowen of the American Baptist mission in 1850 arrived Badagry. He opened mission schools at Lagos, Oyo, Shaki, Igboho and Ilorin.
            Brazilian ex-slaves who had settled in Lagos also wanted a catholic mission school in Lagos. In 1868 the Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) granted the requests of the ex-slaves and a mission school was opened in Lagos.

            The aim of the Christian missionary education was to convert the heathen and win souls for Christ. The converts were to be literate in order to be able to read the bible.
            The main purpose of the Christian missionaries was to convert the heathen to the Christian faith. Another was to “civilize” them. They sooner or later found out that they could accomplish these through the establishment of schools so, they set out to lure people into accepting their Christian doctrines. These centred on the belief in one God though his son Jesus Christ as well as what to them amounted to good living habits. Their philosophy was “the Bible and the plough or the church and the school”. In some areas, particularly at the early stages, they encouraged plantation farms alongside with Christianity. In the majority of places, the school went hand-in-hand with the church.
            To be able to communicate with the local inhabitants the missionaries had to teach the natives their English language. Nigerians had to learn how to read and write the white man’s language. Since not all would benefit by the knowledge of the English language missionaries also undertook the study of local languages which were taught in local schools. Thus, many adherents learned how to read the Bible and sing the church hymns in their languages. The missionaries were therefore forced by circumstances to establish schools including Sunday Schools.
            An underlying philosophy of Christian education was that salvation came through understanding and accepting the word of God. this understanding is facilitated by the ability to read the Bible, hence to read was a basic feature of Christian missionary education.   
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