Africa, Education and Development


The African continent has undergone major transformations in the last few centuries. While the most significant changes involve the shifts in the economic, cultural, and political environments, there are also areas that have been subject to drastic changes and influences. The development of African education is an issue that requires additional attention due to the influences of Western countries and the consequences that stem from the colonial era. Education art is primarily influenced because the expansion limit is dependent on the rate of globalization (Ogar, Nwoye and Bassey, 2019: 92). Significant cultural changes that have shaped the art of education include the utilization of the new technologies in the field of mass communication and the existence of new interaction environments that offer an extension on international borders.

Education and Business in Africa

Ferguson’s Main Understanding and Argument of Development from an African Perspective

In his work, Ferguson analyzes the development and the state of African regions, which leads the author to the conclusion that the region is in a deep phase of underdevelopment. As per the author’s comment, the state-and-society perspective views development as a social process that is constrained by the oppressive grip of the government rather than as the initiative of a globalist authority (Ferguson, 2006:97). Fundamental modification is required in order to allow economic forces to perform their growth magic and encourage educational and business development. Ferguson states that the majority of students’ attendance is at the lowest rate, with many individuals remaining uneducated (Ferguson, 2006:28). Consequently, due to the few opportunities and lack of scholarships to encourage education, there is a need for creative education.

Higher educational institutes are the objects of concern as well since there are not sufficient financing and conditions for students to perform. Moreover, creativity education in business may be achieved by digital learning, however, this type needs significant funding. It is formulated by the necessity to have developed technological tools, which are expensive and require particular conditions. Besides, this is how education is shaped by the development agenda, namely the transition to the digital environment. It involves applying computers, tablets, and smartphones, moreover, these tools are used to perform any educational activities.

Critiques of the Development Agenda

Ferguson’s discussion on this topic takes different views on social justice, globalization, global inequality, and modernity. He claims that there exist individuals who constantly make claims about belonging to the groups of those who have undergone globalization (Ferguson, 2006:155). These claims should be viewed or considered from various perspectives; their form of globalization should therefore be considered differently. In that view, Ferguson states how theories applied in western nations are likely irrelevant in the African continent due to various issues such as the lack of central national control of several remote regions.

When Global Shadows by James Ferguson is compared to Theorizing Community Development by Bhattacharyya, the views concerning a nation or a continent’s development differ between the two authors. While Ferguson (2006:25) believes in globalization that is not dependent on interaction, Bhattacharyya (2004: 6) believed in the definition of community development as dependent on self-help, participation, and felt needs. To Bhabha (2003:155), culture does not have a single position, it forms several identities that can be identified in a different ongoing process. The author takes a stance where he defends ways in which theories can be transformative. Therefore, cultural diversity supports the fact that one can make unique contributions to society despite differences.

Main Contradictions and Tensions Regarding the Notion of Development

In his work, Global Shadows, Ferguson illuminates the tension between the two polar notions of development. According to the state-and-society perspective, development should be seen as a social process that is constrained by the oppressive influence of the government rather than as the initiative of a globalist authority. On the other hand, the second perspective views the development issue as being one of too much government and not enough community influence, as opposed to the first’s view that it was one of too much community and insufficient government.

As per the claims of Ferguson, globalization should be recognized as less concerned with transnational flows and some connections based on unfettered images. Modern globalization should not be based on social relations that select societal regions where they are favorably and likely to occur while other regions are ignored (Dodo et al., 2018: 96). With the existing imbalanced world order, it should be considered that when the academic concept of globalization is applied, then the categorization of Africa will be thus based on biasness (Kalu, and Falola, 2018: 4). Africa as a continent that is widely known and understood to be lagging backward, should be viewed in a different form of globalization.

North/South politics, the Global South vs ‘The Third World’, and the Problem of Foreign Aid

In the Development unmoored literature work by Moffatt (2006), there is a provision on the discussion of the development of the North/South politics, the Global South vs ‘The Third World’, and the problem of foreign aid. Concerning the north/south politics, Moffatt explains how skin tone and color grant one privilege and benefits. There exists a global racial denomination from the global north individuals towards the people from the global South. The development of the third world nations in the global south has been under the control of most of the nations from the North. It is absurd to Moffatt that the lives of the Southern people are under the control of individuals with who they neither share the same lifestyle or hopes (Moffatt, 2006:212). The influence and control of the lives of the South by the North most often comes as foreign aid, this always and mostly affects the third world nations within the global South.

Links Between Colonialism, Neo-colonialism, and Development

Colonialism, and development have connections with each other. For instance, colonialism is the protracted process of foreign occupation of a region and its inhabitants. Neocolonialism, on the other hand, uses unconventional means to rule a region and its native inhabitants (Ogurlu, 2018:2). When it comes to development, it occurs within the occupied areas, which is characterized as the process of upgrading that region by growing, enlarging, or strengthening it (Ogurlu, 2018:2). In both circumstances that involve either colonialism or neo-colonialism, development is constantly present via various forces that result in economic, political, and cultural transformations.

Colonialism and Education

Impact of Colonialism on the Development of Education in Africa

Education within the African continent has been impacted in various negative ways by different creative concepts in the higher levels of learning due to a lack of proper infrastructural development. Colonialism had an impact on the development of education in Africa via suppression of indigenous culture at colonial institutions. For instance, native beliefs were denigrated as pagan or primitive, which had an impact on African cultures by trying to make the continent more European or enlightened (Fafunwa and Aisiku, 2022). Colonial governments also forced their own educational system and culture on the native peoples. Everyone was required to acquire the colonists’ language, which was linked with social standing, intelligence, and modernization (Fafunwa and Aisiku, 2022). The colonial government’s official language was almost always utilized for administrative purposes. Natives frequently attended school in the urban area because it had greater academic resources and gave them more access to the colonial state’s language and society. Thereby, there are barriers to education for those living far from cities due to the necessity to get to the institution. In some cases, it may be impossible since one may not have the necessary monetary resources to travel.

However, there are still major issues in academic field in this region. Such problems can be witnessed through the dire results of knowledge commodification and capitalism in the academic sector (Gyamera and Burke, 2018: 458). The introduction of e-learning also causes several problems in the higher levels of education. The e-learning method is only accessible to those who can afford it and not everyone within Africa (Dumford and Miller, 2018:460). According to the authors, most tertiary education levels in Africa lack the right infrastructure for such type of system.

Due to colonialism, the introduction of the Eurocentric has hindered the discussion of the problems that are faced by various intellectuals and students in the African continent (Abdi et al. (Eds.). 2006: 50). Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) that the World Bank and the IMF instituted pose several negative consequences on social development and education (Konadu-Agyemang, 2018:3). SAP led to the privatization of schools leading to the rise in the higher fees for various levels of basic primary education, this has led to increased rates of dropouts.

How Education is Currently Shaped by a Development Agenda

Currently, the development agenda is based on an array of interlinked issues encompassing social integration, education, gender equality, and human rights. The agenda is based on supporting the youths by increasing their level of awareness and increasing the interactive learning process (Kioupi and Voulvoulis, 2020:6701). The developmental agenda shapes education in a manner that enriches African students to be able to understand the world in a better way (Tikly, 2019: 225). Additionally, there will be an elevated rate of creativity and productivity among various African students (Ferrer-Estévez, and Chalmeta, 2021: 100494). With the introduction of relevant scientific and technological advancements, several nations within the African continent will be developed properly. Lastly, through the agenda, there will be a reduced brain drain rate, which will highly promote development and inventions in various sectors.

Education in Africa beyond the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Articulation of the African Development Agenda in the African Union Agenda 2063, (Position Education and how Does art Education Feature in Such Policy)

The African development agenda in the AU agenda 2063 is the master plan and blueprint that promote the transformation of Africa into a future global powerhouse. The chapter draws attention to the need to formulate conscious processes that lead to the development of the “Africa We Want” (Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. n.d). The sectors that are identified to make the goal possible are private and public institutions and ordinary individuals. Modification and radical transformation of the existing education system are among the key strategies to achieving Agenda 2063 (Agenda 2063: Africa We Want, n.d). The agenda has put forward programmed projects, primary strategic goals, and how dependent on education can play significant roles in the achievement of these strategic intentions (Boeren, 2019:284). A robust complementary educational strategy is required to build strong institutions to achieve the objectives and aspirations of a more productive education system.

Additionally, art education in the agenda 2063 is responsible for nurturing cultural awareness, creativity, and critical thinking to promote education among the neglected female gender. Arts, culture, and heritage, when embedded in education matters, there will be continuous preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of the values that aim at promoting the basic educational rights among the female gender. In addition, various artists from various parts of Africa have been playing an influential part in the fight for the promotion of education among girls and women. For the African artists’ efficiency in education, they should collaborate with the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and Citizen’s Diaspora Directorate (CIDO).

Explain the Role of Culture and Education in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Role of Culture

Different cultural contexts such as rights, heritage, creativity, and diversity were utilized to drive sustainable development in 2015. The culture was majorly reliable in the promotion of economic growth through cultural tourism, the improvement of the fisheries sectors, the agricultural, creative industries, and medicine (Verkuyten and Yogeeswaran, 2020:2). Therefore, various critical cultures should be considered as they have been necessary for achieving the SDGs.

Role of Education

Proper educational practices are known as an essential tool for achieving a more sustainable world. In the 2015 sustainable development goals, education was utilized to promote the skills, values, understanding, and knowledge required for sustainability (Eisenmenger et al., 2020: 1102). According to Chankseliani and McCowan (2021: 534) and Meier zu Selhausen (2019: 30), quality education sought improved education through greater equity and access for all learners. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) enabled various individuals to be able to carry out actions or make decisions that lead to improvement of quality of life and the planet as well.


Hence, the African region and its educational system were subject to numerous influences. The case of the African region proves that globalization affects various aspects of a given environment, from culture to political and social organizations. Various nations in the global north are advanced due to globalization compared to the African continent, which is not categorized among these regions because of the imbalance rate of development in the continent. There are theories that claim that the underdevelopment of the region is the result of colonialism. Some scholars, nevertheless, refute this, claiming that the globalization of the African continent is not based on interaction as in other regions.

Reference List

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ChalkyPapers. "Africa, Education and Development." November 10, 2023.