Missionary lessons for secular states
The Edinburgh World Missionary Conference, 1910
in Missionaries and modernity
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Chapter 5 examines the outcomes of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910 and in particular the report of Commission III, which was dedicated to examining ‘Education in relation to the Christianisation of National Life’. It declared that the educational work of missionaries over the century had largely failed in its aims to create a new generation of Christians. As with the Liverpool conference, at Edinburgh there was a specific focus upon women’s education, including discussions on the need to provide women in African Protectorates with low-level manual training as a form of moral education. Ideas of adaptive education were drawn from American ideas of schooling for African-Americans from the American commissioners of the report, with the inclusion of these ideas in the Commission III’s report demonstrating internationally transposable notions of race, class and morality. The chapter examines the recommendations given to ensure that missionary groups would be able to maintain their position as the self-appointed most appropriate providers of education to non-Europeans in light of three major pressures on missionary schooling: the spread of Islam, the increasing instigation of national educational systems, which in turn side-lined missionary efforts, and, finally, the increase in nationalist sentiments often expressed through anti-Western, anti-missionary stances. Through analyses of the discussions at Edinburgh, the chapter illustrates the ever-present struggle to reconcile missionary and government ideals, made all the more difficult by the necessity to compromise ideals on both sides in the face of local realities and demands.

Missionaries and modernity

Education in the British Empire, 1830–1910

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