Learning to Be… What? Shaping Education in “Developing Societies”

  • Roger Dale
Part of the Sociology of “Developing Societies” book series (SDS)


One of the last facets of the Western impact on developing societies to be opened up to criticism or even close scrutiny and analysis has been education. It has been considered one of the few obviously valuable spinoffs of colonial and postcolonial exploitation. It is seen as self-evidently “a good thing.” First, it is held to civilize the backward peoples of the world, to remove them from the chains of ignorance and superstition in which they have been confined for centuries. This attitude often has about it a strong whiff of (usually “Christian”) duty: that it is our duty to the values of our civilization to propagate them far and wide, and bringing them to the poor and hungry people of the world is the least we can do to mitigate those intransigent material hardships they suffer. Of course, this is something of a caricature and its ethnocentric and patronizing assumptions are now widely acknowledged, but it would be a mistake not to recognize that such views continue to inform the moral dimension of educational aid.


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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1982

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  • Roger Dale

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