Accepted Paper:

has pdf download A Quest for Decolonizing African universities  


Biruk Shewadeg Dessalegn (Addis Ababa Science and Technology University)

Paper long abstract:

African universities have largely been dominated and shaped by the colonial enterprise and organized in accordance with the Western model. With remaining epistemologically subservient to the Western hegemony, and unduly unmaking of the local, they played a great deal in the practice of epistimicide in the continent. Their history of establishment, as an institute facilitating the smooth functioning of the colonial enterprise, have still kept defining their essence in another form, i.e., alienation. Characterized by its dismantlement of everything that is local, it pronounced the modernization discourse that made Africa lose specificity rather an entity that need to be studied by analogy. Moreover, for its intrinsically alienated underpinning, the type of university that many African countries inherited and developed anew have only used them for being a periphery at the global stage of knowledge generation. Overcoming such a challenge, this piece, with the help of analyzing intensive literature and deployment of a discursive reasoning approach, embarked on the idea of decolonization. Fundamental to the notion of decolonization here is the epistemological decolonization of the continent via its institutions of higher learning and finding a discursive space where the universities may harness the local context and respond the demands thereof. To this effect, Philosophy, and perhaps African philosophy specifically, despite an endless debate of proving its existence, have assumed an indispensable role in empowering Africans through articulating a philosophical locus that take the context and cultural specificities of African places into account. It is further tasked in broadening the horizons of decolonization and independence of the continent which still remained at the flag level.

Key Words: African Universities, Alienation, Decolonization, Philosophy.

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