n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Indigenous cultural practices as precursors to social work education in Nigeria

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



This paper examines indigenous cultural practices as precursors to social work education in Nigeria. Charitable service, mutual care and concern for needy kinsmen are not new in the age-long tradition of communal care. There are also the traditional mechanisms of mutual aid and community education through the observance of cultural norms, which inhibit socially undesirable behaviour, facilitate acceptable social behaviour and promote self-help. The advent of Christian missionaries set in motion the establishment of a number of social service institutions. Indigenous knowledge, particularly in the Nigerian context, has long been ignored and maligned by outsiders. Educational frameworks in indigenous communities are fundamentally based on the trans-generational transmission of culture and knowledge, which are carefully regulated by elders and transmitted through a variety of forms of communication. One striking revelation of this paper is that indigenous technology and knowledge cannot be easily wiped away because they are deeply rooted in people's culture. This paper concludes that African governments and international development agencies should recognize that local-level knowledge and organizations provide the foundation for participatory approaches to development that are both cost-effective and sustainable. The paper recommends that governments establish a global network of regional and national indigenous knowledge resource centres that document the historical and contemporary indigenous knowledge of numerous ethnic groups.

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