The Colonial Era in the Gambian Secondary School History Teaching

University essay from Växjö universitet/Institutionen för humaniora


The aim of this thesis is to study and analyse how the manifestation of the British colonial era is presented and interpreted in Gambian secondary school history teaching. The sources used in this study are the history syllabus, history textbooks and a few teachers. The research questions are: To what extent is the colonial era projected in the history teaching, if so, why is so much emphasis focused on the colonial times? What attitudes do the people have regarding the colonial era and the British; what is positive and what is negative with the strong focus on the colonial times?

The reason why I have chosen to study the colonial era and its magnitude and impact in the history teaching in the Gambia, is that this is an unexplored subject and I found it interesting to focus on this subject and put it in relation to such a small country as the Gambia. The reasons mentioned above is what it makes it interesting to study how the colonial era is viewed in the history teaching in the Gambia and how teachers handle this subject. How do they handle this period of history in a former colony?

In this study I have used the qualitative method. My empirical material has been collected through history schoolbook analysis, interviews with three teachers and participated classroom observations in the history subject. My theoretical framework includes concepts like learning procedure, learning dilemmas and attitudes about colonialism, which are described and discussed.

The colonial era is frequently emphasised in the history teaching in the Gambia, almost all the history teaching consist of this subject area. Furthermore, the attitude towards this era and the British colonisers varies among interviewed teachers. One conclusion is that it is important to convey both a positive and a negative view about this matter.

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