The Shaping of a Comparative Perspective
Edited By Peter Kallaway and Rebecca Swartz
Chapter Two: Industrial Education in Natal: The British Imperial Context, 1830–1860
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Industrial Education IN Natal
The British Imperial Context, 1830–1860
Natal passed its first legislation specifically for African education in 1856. Ordinance 2 of 1856 set aside £2,000 for the education of ‘coloured youth’ in Natal. At the time, Acting Lieutenant-Governor Henry Cooper argued that education was the ‘duty which the Government may most usefully and properly undertake’.1 Cooper and his Legislative Council decided that grants would be administered to missionaries already working in Natal, to help with their educational functions.2 The Ordinance attracted attention in the Natal media and for the first time, the education of Natal’s large African population became an official government responsibility. One newspaper article considered the Ordinance, saying:
There still remains to be discussed, the fundamental questions—Is education a part of Government’s duty? Or—May it be so under peculiar circumstances of a part of the inhabitants of this colony?—Or—If the education of the people be the duty of a Government—What will education be worth without religious truth? … Or, is secular education calculated to dispel superstition, break down native customs, and render the mind better fitted to apprehend religion, and so become her handmaiden?3
As this Natal Witness article highlighted, the role of the government in relation to education provision changed in the nineteenth century. This chapter explores the responses of settlers, missionaries and the local and imperial...
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