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Centre of African Studies: Events


Linking-in through Education? Africa's changing educational landscape in an age of global restructuring

Linking-in through Education? Africa's changing educational landscape in an age of global restructuring
Speaker: Mayke Kaag # University of Leiden
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Date and Time
16th Oct 2019 16:00 - 16th Oct 2019 17:30
Seminar rooms 1&2, Chrystal Macmillan Building

Currently a visiting fellow at the IASH Edinburgh, I would like to use this opportunity to present a research proposal I am currently working on.  It departs from the observation that education in Africa is considered an important topic by both academics and policy makers, but that most often, it is considered rather narrowly in terms of enrolment rates and curriculum development. By contrast, I focus less on these technical aspects and instead analyse the current educational landscape in Africa as a field in which flows of investment, ideas, and people influence connections between Africans and the rest of the world. As an effect of the structural adjustment programs in the 1980s, public spending on education in many African countries went down, allowing private education initiatives to spring up. These were, for a large part, financed by Western and Arab countries. Over the last fifteen years, investment flows in education from emerging global powers like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Turkey have contributed to an increasingly diversified educational landscape in Africa.  This paper argues that these investments not only allow Africans to improve their educational levels but that these diverse forms of education also have an influence on connections and social orientations in African societies. Educational programs go together with specific worldviews. In addition, people develop their social networks through educational trajectories. Both orientations and connections influence people’s choices and opportunities in their further lives, and thus individual and societal development. Interestingly, often investments in education by external parties are not isolated endeavours, but also used as a means to get linked-in in local societies for such diverse purposes as religion or business interests. Illustrating my argument with examples taken from my research on Gulf charities and on Turkish schools in Chad and Senegal, I will explore how the new connectivities that come with the changing educational landscape in Africa shape (possible) local development trajectories in the current era of intensified globalization characterized by intensified flows of capital, people, and ideas.

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