Educational reform in Nigeria: the case of Multicultural Education for Peace, Love, and Tolerance


SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, vol.33, no.1, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier


The cohesion of our multicultural societies depends on mutual understanding, engaging proactively in co-operation between different communities and respecting one another. This paper deals with the educational philosophy of a well-known Turkish Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen and its application to schools in Nigeria. Gulen-inspired schools in Nigeria are peace islands in the ocean of violence, and promote love, greater empathy, tolerance and peace in a society deeply divided along ethnic, religious, tribal and geographical lines. Following Gulen's example, the schools promote respect for other cultures and the trains of thought of various well-known scholars. Students, throughout their education, learn to appreciate other faiths, ethnicities and cultures, as well as their own. This article reports on a 2010 qualitative field study conducted at the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges (NTICs) in Abuja, Nigeria. In this qualitative inquiry, the researchers used observations, in-depth individual interviews and focus groups to elicit the lived experience of four identified groups of stakeholders (administrators, teachers, students and parents). Participants in this study comprised 22 adults, of which 9 were females and 13 males, aged 16 to 61 (M = 28.9). The findings indicate that the Gulenian style of education, as it is implemented in Nigeria, and according to the reflections of those participants involved with NTICs, exposes students to people from different parts of Nigeria, as well as people who often are from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. The organisation of the school and the school activities allow students to experience those differences in a safe setting, resulting in their learning to appreciate one another.