By Michael Christopher

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Extra resources for All about African Elephants (All About Series Book 85 Level K)

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35 Even after abolition, the mission of the religious schools was ambiguous: they were supposed to form new citizens but without menacing the dominant place of agriculture in the society. ”36 School was conceived of as a place of apprenticeship where new citizens would learn the rudiments necessary to assume FROM THE SUGAR PLANTATION TO THE COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION 25 their civic responsibilities. Under no condition should these responsibilities lead them astray from the agricultural world. In a letter dated August 9, 1851, and addressed to the minister, the governor of Martinique complained, “The taste for instruction is too strong and too widespread among newly freed persons.

37 Rural schools and schools in the cities were not charged with the same mission. As they targeted black and brown students, rural schools generally tended to focus on some type of vocational training and prepared students poorly for any examination. ”38 Education was a necessary evil, but it could potentially be explosive. To avoid any slip-up, it had to be controlled. It had been conceived of as a tool for preparing French Caribbean societies for emancipation, and it was understood that once slavery had been abolished, order was to be maintained.

At the Ecole Coloniale itself, this subject matter represented a significant portion of the curriculum. In the French Caribbean, besides some subsidiary training available only irregularly,79 the Ecole Préparatoire de Droit de la Martinique was the only institution to offer college-level education. Inaugurated on January 6, 1882, it trained jurists for professions such as attorney, as well as for the colonial magistracy. The specific needs of the French Caribbean colonies as well as the development of colonial administrations in France’s Asian and African colonies had generated an increasing need for civil servants.

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