A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present: A Critical Synthesis

A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present: A Critical Synthesis

A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present: A Critical Synthesis

A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present: A Critical Synthesis

Synopsis

Until recently, Eurocentrist history professors taught that it was the Europeans who brought higher education to the African continent. While the Europeans have indeed influenced African education in recent times, there is some vital information that most history books leave out: for centuries before the arrival of the Europeans, the vast and advanced native African civilizations already had sophisticated universities and other institutions of higher education to boast about. This book is an attempt to fill the chasm in today's literature regarding this topic. It will be of interest to those researching the accurate, non-Euro-biased history of Africa.

Excerpt

In the four main fields to which this multidisciplinary work belongs, African studies, comparative and international black studies (studies of the African diaspora), comparative and international education, and higher education, the number of books that deal exclusively with a unified continent-wide historical survey of African higher education amount to, amazingly (such have been the sorry fortunes of that continent even in the academic arena—see, for instance, Martin and West 1999), just one. That one book of course is Ashby (1966). Given this circumstance, then, any new work on the subject should be considered a welcome addition (however self-serving this may appear), regardless of the scope of its terrain—further justifications for its publication being superfluous.

Still, it would be of some service to the reader to know how this work differs from Ashby: it differs from it in three essential ways: temporally, geographically and analytically. That is, this work covers a much longer historical timeline (from antiquity to the present) than Ashby does; it brings almost the entire continent in its purview (Ashby's geographic focus is India and subSaharan Africa, but even in the case of the latter he excludes many countries); and analytically it is written from a critical perspective (by and large Ashby is an apologia for British colonial higher education policies—compare, for instance, Nwauwa "1997"). However, despite these differences, on its own terms, Ashby remains an important work; consequently this book seeks to add to Ashby, rather than to replace it.

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