Advertisement

In Defence of Education That Embodies Decolonisation

  • Lester Brian ShawaEmail author
Chapter
  • 229 Downloads

Abstract

Lester Shawa argues in this chapter that meaningful decolonisation is one that goes beyond merely making over pedagogic styles and curricula content, as it is grounded in a robust re-conceptualisation of the notion of education whose enactment inevitably achieves decolonisation. Drawing on Aristotelian notions of practical reason (ethical conception of an end and appropriate deliberation in achieving the end and potentiality of people to become what they can or cannot) and the liberating power of education as espoused in the Platonic allegory of the cave, this chapter proposes a form of education that connects with decoloniality. An education grounded in these ideals develops the right attitudes in understanding oneself and the other, considering recognition and respect of others and their cultures. Ultimately, such education liberates beings from acquired and entrenched distortions about otherness, thus effectively achieving decolonisation. This chapter contends that, given the entrenchments of neo-liberalism that are perpetuating inequalities in access to higher education in many countries, the decolonisation project should be much more than effecting changes in curricula content or pedagogical styles, leaving intact the neo-liberal world view that is generating inequalities across the globe. Ultimately, Shawa argues that practical reasoning, potentiality and liberating education ought to play a central role in choosing content for a curriculum, in the establishment of styles of pedagogy and in the governance of higher education by ensuring compatibility and relevance of the university with the social dimension in a critical manner that respects otherness and promotes self-assessment and the liberative mission of higher education to the society.

References

  1. Agamben, G. (1999). Potentialities: Collected essays in philosophy (D. Heller-Roazen, Trans.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed, A. K. (2017). #RhodesMustFall: Decolonisation, praxis and disruption. Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education, 9, 8–13.Google Scholar
  3. Aristotle. (1999). Nichomachean ethics (T. Irwin, Trans.). Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  4. Austin, A. (2016). Practical reason in hard times: The effects of economic crisis on the kinds of lives people in the UK have reason to value. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 17(2), 225–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Austin, A. (2018). Turning capabilities into functionings: Practical reason as an activation factor. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 19(1), 24–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Birmingham, C. (2004). Pronesis: A model for pedagogical reflection. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(4), 313–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carr, W. (2007). Educational research as a practical science. International Journal of Research and Method Education, 30(2), 271–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. CHE (Council on Higher Education). (2017). Decolonising curricula: Stimulating debate. Pretoria.Google Scholar
  9. Dall’Alba, G., & Barnacle, R. (2007). An ontological turn for higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 32(6), 679–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Habermas, J. (1987). The theory of communicative action: Lifeworld and system: A critique of functionalist reason. Boston, MA: Beacon.Google Scholar
  11. Koma, S. (2018). The African renaissance and the impetus for transforming higher education. African Journal of Public Affairs, 10(2), 97–108.Google Scholar
  12. Le Grange, L. (2016). Decolonising the university curriculum. South African Journal of Higher Education, 30(2), 1–12.Google Scholar
  13. Luescher, T. M. (2016). Frantz Fanon and the #MustFall movements in South Africa. International Higher Education, 85, 22–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lynch, K. (2006). Neo-liberalism and marketisation: The implications for higher education. European Educational Research Journal, 5(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Makgoba, M. (1996). South African universities in transformation: Africanise or perish. Politeia, 15(2), 114–118.Google Scholar
  16. Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007). On the coloniality of being: Contributions to the development of a concept. Cultural Studies, 21(2), 240–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mbembe, A. (2016). Decolonising the university: New directions. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 15(1), 29–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Morgan, L. (2013). The potentiality principle from Aristotle to abortion. Current Anthropology, 54(7), 15–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. (2013). Why decoloniality in the 21st century. The Thinker: For Thought Leaders, 48, 10–15.Google Scholar
  20. Nkoane, M. M. (2006). The Africanisation of the university in Africa. Alternation, 13(1), 49–69.Google Scholar
  21. Nussbaum, M. (1997). Cultivating humanity: A classical defense of reform in liberal education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Nyamnjoh, A. (2017). The phenomenology of Rhodes Must Fall: Student activism and the experience of alienation at the University of Cape Town. Strategic Review for Southern Africa, 39(1), 256–277.Google Scholar
  23. Peters, M. (2012). Neoliberalism, education and the crisis of the Western Capitalism. Policy Futures in Education, 10(12), 134–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peterson, V. (2017). Plato’s allegory of the cave: Literacy and ‘the good’. Review of Communication, 17(4), 273–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Plato. (1944). The republic (F. M. Cornford, Trans.). Cambridge: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Quijano, A. (2000). Coloniality of power and social classification. Journal of World-Systems Research, 6(2), 342–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shawa, L. B. (2013). Governance in Malawian universities: The role of dialectical reasoning and communicative rationality. South African Journal of Higher Education, 27(1), 221–238.Google Scholar
  28. Taylor, C. (2016). Aristotle on practical reason. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935314.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935314-e-52
  29. Villamizar, G. E. (2013). Potentiality, sovereignty and bare life: A critical reading of Giorgio Agamben. Ideas Y Valores, LXIII(156), 79–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. von Soest, C. (2007). How does neopatrimonialism affect the African state? The case of tax collection in Zambia. Journal of Modern African Studies, 45(4), 621–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Waghid, Y. (2014). Pedagogy out of bounds. Rotterdam: Sense.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Waghid, Y., Waghid, F., & Waghid, Z. (2018). Rupturing African philosophy on teaching and learning: Ubuntu justice and education. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wa Thiong’o, N. (1986). Decolonising the mind: The politics of language in African literature. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  34. Weidman, J. C., DeAngelo, L., & Bethea, K. A. (2014). Understanding student identity from a socialisation perspective. New Directions in Higher Education, 166, 43–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations