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Decolonization(s) and Education

New Polities and New Men


Marcelo Caruso and Daniel Maul

New polities emerged during the processes of decolonization. The break with the colonial past was not only political, but also more general. While conventional wisdom defines education as a field of action reproducing society in time, decolo-nization placed broader and more radical demands on the field: to produce a new society. For this purpose, new forms of education and schooling were required, although the importance of inherited institutions and practices in education were still significant. This collection of chapters offers scholarly insights into this problem by covering different processes of decolonization and the challenges of education in the last two hundred years.
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Decolonization(s) and Education: New Polities and New Men (Marcelo Caruso & Daniel Maul)


Marcelo Caruso & Daniel Maul1

Decolonization(s) and Education New Polities and New Men

In “Education for self-reliance” from 1967, the now famous policy paper about the educational challenges of the young state of Tanzania, President Julius Nyerere (1922–1999) pointed out the key importance he and many other independence leaders attributed to education in their project to radically break with the colonial past. There was “no use our educational system stressing values and knowledge appropriate to the past or to the citizens in other countries” Nyerere insisted. According to him it was “wrong if it even contributes to the continuation of those inequalities and privileges that still exist in our society because of our inheritance. Let our students be educated to be members and servants of the kind of just and egalitarian future to which this country aspires”.2

When, some 150 years earlier, the Venezuelan educator Simón Rodríguez (1769–1854) published his considerations about the new “American societies” emerging from the fallen Spanish colonial order after 1808, he followed a similar rationale. Rodriguez, an early liberal and socialist thinker and one of Simón Bolivar’s most influential teachers, expressed the same sense of newness in dramatic words in his discussion about the future of politics, culture, and education in Latin America: “Where should we search for models? Hispanic America is original; her institutions and governments have to be original; and the means for establishing both have to be original as...

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