On Tuesday, July 14th, members of the ALA community took part in meaningful discussions around the topic of decolonizing education on the African continent. The ALforGovernance network has scheduled four Masterclasses for the ALA community until the end of 2020. The goal of the series is to display how global challenges pertaining to people navigating a dynamic world can be successfully addressed in the governance and development sector. The virtual classrooms of 20-25 participants will bring together industry experts from around the world with experience in conflict management, peacebuilding, government, diplomacy, education, politics and humanitarian work and will teach on practical ways for the community to sharpen their skills and build their understanding on each topic.
The first Masterclass held by the ALforGovernance team centered on understanding and learning more about the role of government in decolonizing education. The guest expert, Busiswe Catherine Seabe, inspired discussion and thought provoking ideas. Busisiwe is an activist, entrepreneur, national #FeesMustFall student leader and an advocate for social justice.
She currently works at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in South Africa and previously worked for the Department of Basic Education, the United Nations International Children’s Fund as well as the Department of Arts and Culture on the Girls and Boys education movement (Gem/Bem) as the National Chairperson.
Tanatsei Gambura ’17, who is currently studying Intermedia and Studio Arts at the University of Edinburgh moderated the session .
Busisiwe’s lecture addressed four key questions within the Decolonial School of Thought and Education including 1) What does it mean to decolonize education and knowledge systems? 2) How can public policy assist in informing institutional racial discrimination in schools? 3) Has knowledge been decolonized at all or is a culture of recolonizing replacing older thought problems? 4) What is the role of the government in this? Should this be something that government and policy addresses or the work of academic institutions or both? After the thought-provoking presentation, which answered these four main questions and pushed the participants to think critically using the tangible example of China’s role on the African continent, the participants broke into groups to discuss different topics of debate.
The breakout groups were each assigned a short reading, topic question, and position on the topic to debate in front of the wider group. The first topic concentrated on the role gender studies should play in decolonizing education – “Should Gender studies be recognized as the primary way of achieving the decolonization of education in schools across the continent?” The second topic focused on the argument around diversity and decolonization – “Should African schools decolonize instead of diversifying their education systems?” The final group was set the most complex challenge of coming up with an approach to answer – “How can governments and academic institutions decolonize the education curriculum?” The intention of the debates was to spark conversation, challenge preconceived notions on the topic, and provide opportunity for the participants to articulate their thoughts. A successful exercise, the discussions proved to be thought provoking and provided key perspectives on the three separate topics.
Busiswe closed the evening’s session with four separate calls to actions for the participants. The first focused on African literature, imploring the participants to “Rethink, Relook, and Restructure” what African literature means. The second was an important learning from the session that encouraged the participants to get involved in politics. Without great leadership in governments in the African continent, public policy around education cannot and will not change. The third was to push the participants to study a variety of African scholars to inform perspectives around different ideas. The final call to action encouraged the participants to continue documenting their thoughts and aspirations as it is through this practice that these thoughts and ideas can implemented in the future.
We welcome professionals from all walks of life to serve as guest speakers at the Academy each year. Send us an email about your work as we continue to build our roster of speakers.