The administrative redrawing of
territories by colonial power as well as the pyramidal structure of the school
system led to a new relationship between the populations and the territory. From
his village in the bush to the federal capital, from elementary school to the école
normale, the pupil initiated new social and political networks. During his
training, the pupil would rediscover the local territory (the “petite patrie”
celebrated by the school system), the teacher would teach local tales and
legends, local folklore, histories of the village or district. This trend
emerged in the thirties through the “ruralisation” of school and would continue
after independence, fostered by African states notably backed by UNESCO.
Presentations could focus on
associations of alumni, the formation of an “AOFian” identity in federal
schools, the weight of the different scales of territory in the school programs
(especially in history and geography), from the local to the national level. One
might think of a presentation on the role of school in the emergence of a
national consciousness at the time of independence.