Insights from "Decolonizing University" Analytics


Oppression & Power: local demand versus colonial “brainwashing”

A quick review of the literature on colonial education policy in Africa reveals two starkly divergent perspectives. Some scholars (see Mwiria and Okoth) hold that colonial education was deliberately planned with the aim to perpetuate colonial rule by colonizing the African mind (see Ngugi’s “Decolonizing the Mind” which emerges from this vein later). Others (see Whitehead) argued that it is clear that colonial education policy on Africa was fraught with much confusion of purpose and lack of resources. These scholars argued that in fact Africans desired and pushed for access to Western education (Whitehead).

Contextualization of Curriculum

An interesting thread that emerged from my review of the literature was the continued reemergence of the idea that education has to be tailored for a particular context. I noted this both in British colonial ideas about adapting the curriculum for African needs and also in the anti-colonial frameworks offered by "Afrocentric" scholars. PENDING question: how are the technologists thinking about this?

This seems to also tie back into a long-standing question about universal standards vis a vis localized (societal?) needs. What type of education is considered necessary to be a competitive "global" worker and what other kinds of knowledges are considered necesssary for other work (that is not "global"?).

"Relevance" vs "Ideology" / Activism vs Ideas

A continued theme that Mamdani (2018) articulates well is the ongoing tension between what he labels the "academic freedom" camp and the "relevance" camp. The dichotomy between whose interests are served through the production and application of knowledge and whose empirical realities are used to generate theory and application continues to be an ongoing debate and theme.