Education and Political Independence in Africa: And Other Essays

Education and Political Independence in Africa: And Other Essays

Education and Political Independence in Africa: And Other Essays

Education and Political Independence in Africa: And Other Essays

Excerpt

'It is no use rushing matters or pretending that political decisions are an adequate substitute for planning and partnership for education and economic development.' The Times , Saturday, 6 June 1960.

In the article from which the above quotation is taken the writer draws comparison between how independence was achieved in Ghana and in the Belgian Congo. It is used here because it summarises the relation between education and political development that forms the thesis of this paper.

The first point I wish to make is that whilst there is a close relationship between educational policy and the development of political independence, this does not necessarily mean that one particular educational policy is necessarily the only right one, whatever right may mean in this context. The educational policies followed in the past in Africa by the major colonial powers have differed considerably in character. Any attempt at comparing the educational policies of different countries involves generalisation, a process always open to misunderstanding and distortion. Even so it is necessary to attempt, briefly, to generalise about the policies pursued in the past by Belgium, France and Great Britain.

The French assumed that French civilisation was the best of all possible civilisations, saw the French mission in Asia and Africa as bringing other people in, and visualised France Metropolitan and France d'Outre Mer as a unity. In educational terms this was interpreted in Africans and Asians learning to be French. Education was planned, on the one hand, to provide for the vocational needs in relation to the . . .

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