P 02

Educational Connectedness in Africa

Panel abstract
Education connects Africa in manifold ways with other parts of the world, as education has been a transnational enterprise since early colonization. In the context of secular as well as religious education, teachers and students, as well as schoolbooks, curricula, and ideas about ‘right’ ways of learning and teaching have travelled around the globe. Moreover, the introduction of western education systems in Africa has not only connected institutions and people, but also created an imaginary connectedness. For example, mission (and boarding) schools in Africa often try to constitute a world apart from its surrounding and attempt to connect and prepare students for an imagined future. Imagined and real connections to European, Asian, or American educational spaces are often part of public and private education.
This panel seeks to understand the space of education in Africa as being made and shaped through social, economic, religious, material, medial, and epistemic connections. We would like to ask:

  • How is the space of education in Africa made through connections?
  • Which actors are connected through education?
  • How are connections in the field of education created, imagined, practiced, maintained, or terminated?
  • In which ways and for whom are these relations inclusive or exclusive?
  • What are the implications of educational connections for various actors?

Possible themes for paper contributions focus on religious, public, or private education in Africa, development cooperation, south-south cooperation, higher education, rural- urban connections, and educational migration. We appreciate papers from various disciplines, such as history, educational science, sociology, anthropology, and political science.

Time: Friday, 29/06/2018, 4.30 - 6.30 pm
Venue: Seminargebäude, S 420

Erdmute Alber (University of Bayreuth)
Sabrina Maurus (University of Bayreuth)

Linda Chisholm (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Andrea Noll (University of Hamburg)
Maria Kagan (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel)
Sabrina Maurus (University of Bayreuth)

Paper abstracts

Linda Chisholm
Connecting Historiographies of Teacher Education in South Africa

The period between 1892 and 1922 was one of major change in South Africa: the country industrialized, fought an imperial war, and unified in 1910 under a white minority dedicated to building a modern state. The state took control of education for white children, while black education remained under mission control. The way that teacher preparation developed consolidated this racial division of the system. But studies on the rise of mass schooling in South Africa have to date not examined how teacher preparation was linked to its unequal development. This paper aims to show how selective appropriation and a mix of local histories and international ideas and connections informed the development of South Africa’s racially-differentiated system of teacher preparation that emerged between 1892-1922. South African historiography of teacher preparation is as segregated as its institutional history; an integrated history of teacher preparation in South Africa does not exist. In addition, a considerable literature exists on the international ‘influences’ on South African educational developments and links with those in the wider colonial world. But how ideas and connections were selectively appropriated to develop a bifurcated, deeply unequal system of ‘white’ and ‘black’ education in the field of teacher preparation has not yet been attempted. The paper will argue that the highly unequal and divided system of teacher preparation that developed drew on transnationalization of the normal school model for white teachers, and on older transnational colonial histories of industrial education as well as ‘adapted’ education models specifically developed for African education. The paper will be based on a synthesis of secondary and primary sources.

Andrea Noll
Educational History and Connectedness of Ghanaian Families

Cape Coast, the capital of Ghana’s Central Region, has long been a centre for western-style education because of its early contacts with Europeans and the relative openness of the Fanti population towards Christianisation and formal education. Schools were already established in Cape Coast during the nineteenth century by missionaries, and the city still hosts some of Ghana’s most renowned secondary boarding schools. In this paper, I will discuss the educational history of several families originating from Cape Coast. The educational pioneers of these families already enrolled in school in the middle of the nineteenth century. Often, their descendants also went to the prestigious Cape Coast schools, but in later generations, school and university education was not only attained in Ghana but also in Europe, the USA and Asia. Many of the descendants of the educational pioneers hail from middle or even upper-middle class backgrounds. As such, they have long been highly mobile and migrated for educational purposes to Europe, North America but also other African countries. I will show how these actors as students, graduates, teachers, professors and educational entrepreneurs are connected to various parts of the world through formal education, how education created new ideas and forms of community and how they maintain their connections from around the world with various places in Africa and vice versa. In discussing my case studies, I will take the historical background of educational migration in Ghana into account and analyse different cases of educational migration for the purpose of higher education. In doing so, I will focus on the impact of political and economic turns on educational spaces in Ghana and discuss the actors’ strategies to cope with them, that is: to create new avenues for education and to terminate established ones.

Maria Kagan
Critical Pedagogy and NGO-led Teacher Training in Burundi

This paper presents findings from research I have conducted in Makamba Province, Burundi, in 2014-2015, which examined teacher training courses provided by international volunteer-based NGOs. Based on questionnaires and interviews with more than 70 Burundian teachers, I propose a critical perspective on Western-style education in postcolonial countries based on two schools of thought: one, critical pedagogy, with its recognition of the unequal power dynamics in postcolonial contexts and an emphasis on commitment to justice; and secondly, contemporary development theories that foreground the importance of local knowledge, particularly vis-à-vis the rapid spread of learner-centred pedagogies. My research question pertains to the political, economic, and cultural factors that influence the effectiveness of teacher training in Makamba and consequently the educational system itself. I start by outlining the power dynamics between different actors in Burundi’s educational arena, i.e. foreign NGOs vs. the government; volunteers vs. local educational staff; and the relationship between pupils - educators - volunteers. Further exploring questions of expertise and knowledge – e.g. the language of instruction, the grading system, and the content of teacher training courses – I propose that the current educational situation in Burundi should bring us to question the typically dichotomous relationship between local/foreign, tradition/modernization, collectivism/individualism. Consequently, this case study proposes alternative narratives to the challenges the educational system in Burundi faces, e. g. reconsidering the spaces between formal and informal education, and voicing the perspectives of both local teachers and the international volunteers as a concomitant to educational development.

Sabrina Maurus
(Dis)Connecting the Periphery – Schooling in Agro-Pastoral Southern Ethiopia

The global expansion of schooling goes along with ideas of change and the political aim to ’develop’ the periphery. Schooling in Ethiopia is strongly linked to the country’s development plan to become a middle-income country by 2025 and to ‘develop’ and ‘civilize’ pastoralist communities. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among agro-pastoralist communities in South Omo Zone in southern Ethiopia, this paper analyses the conflicts and dilemmas which the implementation of compulsory schooling evokes. The central question for this paper is: How does schooling create (dis)connections? Through schooling, young people aim to disconnect from local communities and environments, while trying to connect themselves to an imagined wider community of ‘educated’ people, the nation-state, and a global world. Looking at the ways schooling shapes daily life and the life trajectories of young people from agro-pastoralist communities, this paper shows how (dis)connections are created and maintained between schooled and un-schooled people, between rural and urban areas, as well as between ethnic minorities, the Ethiopian state, and the wider world.