By Francis Nyamnjoh
(A revised version of this paper is published by the Journal of Asian and African Studies (15 February 2012, DOI: 10 1177/002190961141724) under the title: "Potted Plants in Greenhouses: A Critical Reflection on the Resilience of Colonial Education in Africa")
This paper argues that education in Africa is victim of a colonial and colonising epistemology. Whatever appellation we give it, this epistemology takes the form of science as ideology and hegemony. With rhetoric on the need to be competitive internationally, the elite have modelled education in Africa after educational institutions in Europe and North America, with little attempt at domestication. This journey, endowed with the mission of annihilation or devaluation of African creativity, agency and value systems, leads to an internalised sense of inadequacy. It has compelled Africans to “lighten their darkness” both physically and metaphorically for the gratification of colonising and hegemonic others. The paper argues that the future of education in Africa can be hopeful through a meticulous and systematic creative process of cultural restoration and endogenisation, in tune with the negotiation and navigation of myriad possibilities in the lives of Africans small and big, poor and rich, rural and urban, and in between. If Africa is to be party in a global conversation on knowledge production and consumption, it is appropriate that it does so with the interests and concerns of Africans as guiding principle.
Click here to download or read the article.