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‘Africa must decolonise education to save generations’

By Mansur Aramide, Ilorin
07 December 2023   |   3:14 am
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Yusuf Ali, has stressed the need to decolonise Africa's education system to empower the next generation. Delivering the first Distinguished Public Lecture at Thomas Adewunmi University, Oko, Kwara State, yesterday, he stated that the nation's education was greatly impacted by British domination. Ali charged African leaders to promote local languages…

Students in class

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Yusuf Ali, has stressed the need to decolonise Africa’s education system to empower the next generation.

Delivering the first Distinguished Public Lecture at Thomas Adewunmi University, Oko, Kwara State, yesterday, he stated that the nation’s education was greatly impacted by British domination.

Ali charged African leaders to promote local languages for academic activities.

He said: “Rather than meeting the requirements of the native population, the British formal education system was designed to serve the interests of the colonial government. The curriculum reflected the customs and ideals of the colonisers and frequently Eurocentric.

“Native languages were marginalised because English became the language of instruction,” he recalled.

During the colonial era, he recalled, producing clerks, interpreters and low-level administrative staff to support the colonial administration were the main objectives of education.

“The goal of the educational system was to further the interests of the colonial authority rather than to empower the indigenous populace,” he added.

However, for future measures in decolonising African education, the legal icon saw the need to decolonise Nigerians’ thoughts, ways, actions, outlook and work ethics.

He also recommended that Africa should implement curricula revision to reflect African viewpoints that would prioritise indigenous languages in education, and foster culturally relevant pedagogy.

“It is important to de-emphasise educational certificates,” he said, urging Africans to decolonise educational assessment and evaluation.

The senior lawyer called for adequate funding to support research and policies towards decolonisation, adding that teachers and students, who are critical stakeholders in the education sector, should be empowered.

Ali asserted: “Decolonising professional development for teachers is as critical as recognising and valuing indigenous knowledge. Further, assisting teachers in incorporating technology into school is critical for modernising the learning process.

“Decolonising educational spaces requires redesigning physical learning environments, establishing inclusive and secure spaces for marginalised groups, and fostering conversation and critical thinking in classrooms.”

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