The role of higher education for knowledge on and for Africa: A historical critique

Adelino Chissale (2009). The role of higher education for knowledge on and for Africa: A historical critique MPhil Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Adelino Chissale
Thesis Title The role of higher education for knowledge on and for Africa: A historical critique
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-03-01
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Pam Christie
Dr. Ravinder Sidhu
Total pages 120
Total colour pages 4
Total black and white pages 116
Subjects 13 Education
Abstract/Summary This thesis investigates the ways in which higher education in Africa has been construing its mission for Africa’s development and how such constructions are shaped by particular global regimes of knowledge on development. The thesis unpacks the ways in which such regimes are deployed using specific technologies: neo-liberal precepts on economic development. To that end, I pose a set of questions which can be summarized in these two: How has higher education in Africa discursively construed Africa’s experiences? Second, in which terms such constructions have helped responding to Africa’s problems of development? Taking Mozambican higher education as a unit of analysis, I used postcolonial theory to unsettle neo-liberal regimes of development and to show how contingent they are. Methodologically, a historical critique was carried out to historize neo-liberal globalization as a contingent process and to understand multiple possibilities of construing Africa’s experiences. My data consisted of texts discussing ways in which Africa is discursively understood by both, African and Western scholarship, higher education policy in Mozambique, interviews with senior administrators of some Mozambican higher education institutions and text materials from higher education institutions’ websites in Mozambique. The findings suggest that, on the one hand, constructions of Africa as being in crisis are not new. In fact, for centuries Africa has always been a subject of knowledge from which the West constructs its differences. It is from such differences that the West assumed a civilizing mission in order to integrate African peoples in the world order. On the other hand, African scholars’ responses to Western constructions of Africa’s experiences end up building another crisis at the theoretical level: the difficulties of thinking effectively on Africa so as to solve its problems. The second finding is that Mozambican higher education’s responses to the crisis have been marked by a development agenda within the broader context of Mozambique’s history from late the 1970s onwards: first, within the socialist model of central planning economy and, second, within the international agenda of global neo-liberal market economy. My analysis suggests that both development practices reflect, to some extent, continuities of colonial regimes of development which did not take into account the contextualities of the colonized. Finally, my investigation found that higher education institutions in Mozambique are responding to development challenges based on very technological conceptions of development following global trends. The thesis contends that an engagement with the ethics of knowledge and development would lead to a development model more preoccupied with the social contexts beyond market rationalities.
Keyword Africa, developmentalist discourses, higher education, historical critique, neo-liberal globalization, postcolonial theory, post-independent Mozambique, regimes of knowledge.
Additional Notes 53, 72, 99, 100

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Created: Thu, 10 Dec 2009, 14:21:10 EST by Mr Adelino Chissale on behalf of Library - Information Access Service