Accepted Paper:

Knowledge politics in postcolonial Africa: Islam-oriented universities in Sudan  


Bakheit Nur (University of Bayreuth)

Paper long abstract:

In postcolonial Sudan, successive national governments implicitly posited Islam as the state religion while apparently regarding Islamic education as if it were at once a national plant that had struck deep roots into the Sudanese terrain, and an instrument to offset the confusion that colonialism had wrought there (Nur, 2017). This perception gained political ground during the Islamists' reign from 1989 - 2019. The Islamists took significant steps to reconfigure educational policy in accordance with their fight against "western values" and in order to (re)appropriate science and technology and inject it with their new Islamic ideology and epistemic orientation. The Islamists established new ideologically-oriented learning institutions that promote Islamo-politically oriented education and offer ideological training to those working in governmental institutions. The most prominent among the ideologically Islamic learning institutions are the University of the Holy Qur'an and Islamic Sciences (UHQIS), Omdurman Islamic University (OIU), and the International University of Africa (IUA). This massive expansion of religiously oriented higher education is accompanied by changes in educational policy in line with new laws that organize the curricula, pedagogy and enrollment of students in the Islam-oriented universities. This paper critically examines the inner workings of the Islamist education policy and epistemic orientation in Sudan, as well as their socio-religious and political impacts therefore contextualizing the three ideologically Islam-oriented universities. It investigates how these Islam-oriented universities function and uncovers the learning practices followed there. The paper undertakes a thorough examination of their internal bureaucratic functionalities, the pedagogical practices and the regulations that govern the curriculum and the enrollment of students to understand how educational policy is negotiated in practice.

Panel B07
Decolonising higher education in Africa: disciplinary and pedagogical Issues [initiated by the University of Ghana at Legon]