1.2 History of Education: What is the scope of the History of Education?

1a ii). Explain the scope of the History of Education


The scope of the History of Education embraces the description, elaboration, and analysis of the formal, informal and non-formal aspects of education.

The formal aspect of education refers to the institutionalized form of learning found in educational institutions or schools of varying levels and organization which societies establish to be agents for the specific purposes of transmitting skills, knowledge, and values.

The informal aspect refers to the total cultural and educative context into which individuals are born, grow up in, and reach maturity. Through the process of enculturation, individuals acquire the cultural tools they need to be useful and acceptable members of their society such as language, artistic skills, attitudes, values, morals, and so on. Informal education agencies include the family, the church, the mosque, the shrine, both mass and electronic media, the state, and peer groups. All these socialize individuals and sustain them in the roles that are accepted in society.

Learning within the informal sector may occur spontaneously or in a planned manner. Included in the informal sector are the philosophical, intellectual, theological, political, aesthetic, economic, technological and artistic patterns that make up the entire cultural experience of a group of people.

The group defines the levels of competence to be acquired for effective participation by the individuals.

The non-formal aspect or third channel of education refers to planned educational activities and programs that exist outside the highly formalized institutional school structure. This sector is usually needs oriented, targets a particular out-of-school group of people, is flexible in terms of time-tabling, age and is, not competitive. It is of essence highly utilitarian and diversified to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. It is not structured in levels.

Examples of the formal, informal and non-formal education would be the 8-4-4, African Indigenous Education, and Adult Literacy Education, respectively.

In the context of both formal, informal and non-formal education processes, history of education in this unit will deal with the foundations  of modern education since the ancient times in selected regions in the World, Hebraic-Christian Education, Islamic Education, the Renaissance, Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Modern Movements in Education from the 17th Century to the Present, African Indigenous Education, and  the development of Western Education in Africa with special reference to Kenya, from the colonial to the post-colonial periods.

Note: The scope of History of Education is very wide. The topics included for study in this unit are carefully selected to represent the collective human educational experience from the earliest times to the present. They are by no means exhaustive. You, the reader, can gain much more knowledge on this subject by reading on your own or, just as a beginning, looking at the materials for further reading given at the end of each lesson.

Question: What is the scope of History Education?

Activity: By looking at the main topics in this unit, identify the main stages in the development of both Western and African education.


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