George J. Sefa Dei: Post-Colonial Education in West Africa: The Relevance of Local Cultural Teachings for Understanding School, Community, and Society Interface
Post-Colonial Education in West Africa: The Relevance of Local Cultural Teachings for Understanding School, Community, and Society Interface George J. Sefa Dei, University of Toronto, Canada A contemporary challenge for African education is how schooling can respond to the needs and challenges of a diverse student body (Dei et al. 2006). How we are to deal with the systemic fragmentation that dislocates and alienates African learners from their own histories, cultures, knowledge, languages, and sense of place is an equally critical concern. ‘Coloniality’ and colonial relations of power dissociate many learners from their own local cultural and experiential knowl- edge and the authenticity of local voice. When I speak of ‘coloniality’ I am not referring to the Eurocentric theorizations of colonialisms. Rather I speak of the colonial as anything that is imposed or dominating – not simply alien or foreign (Dei 2000, Dei & Asgharzadeh 2001). It is important to see coloniality and co- lonial power relations as a process mediated through the hierarchization of the notion of social difference. The concept of difference is about knowing selves, cultures and histories, as much as about our spiritual, racial, gender, class, sex- ual identities, etc. The making of difference should also be seen as a historical signifying process tied to the idea of identity. However, there is a limitation when identity is simply understood as a signifier of difference. We must under- stand social difference as a process of thought as well as a mode of being. Dealing with social difference in schooling...
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