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The Changing Landscape of Education in Africa
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Oxford Studies in Comparative Education

The Changing Landscape of Education in Africa

quality, equality and democracy

Edited by DAVID JOHNSON

2008 paperback 188 pages, £30.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-11-3
https://doi.org/10.15730/books.64

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About the book

It is 40 years since Coombs (1967) first drew attention to the World Education Crisis, and specifically problems in the educational systems of countries in the developing world. Today, many of these problems remain, and are most visible in the educational systems of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A large number of children remain out of school and for those who do enrol, less than half complete the primary education cycle. More worrying is the fact that those who do complete primary schooling leave with unacceptably low levels of knowledge and skills. The problems of access to education, and the quality of learning opportunities and learning outcomes are unevenly spread between rural and urban areas, better- and worse-off constituencies, and between boys and girls. This raises questions about the nature of the state and its commitment to equality and equity for all. The chapters in this volume argue that quality, equity and democratic accountability are inseparable objectives in the quest to strengthen and improve educational systems in the developing world. Between them they highlight the specific problems of quality, equity and democratic accountability in a number of African educational systems, and provide useful insights into ongoing work by national governments and international donor agencies to remedy these shortcomings.

Contents

David Johnson & William Beinart. Introduction

Andriaan M. Verspoor. The Challenge of Learning: improving the quality of basic education in Sub-Sahara Africa

David Johnson. Improving the Quality of Education in Nigeria: a comparative evaluation of recent policy imperatives

Michele Schweisfurth. Education and Democracy in The Gambia: reflections on the position of development projects in a small African state

Michael Crossley. International and Comparative Research and the Quality of Education: learning from the Primary School Management Project in Kenya

Elaine Unterhalter. Remaking the Nation: changing masculinities and education in South Africa

Anthony Lemon. Redressing School Inequalities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Barbara Trudell. Language, Literacy and Equality: minority language communities in the Cameroon

Chris Low. Gatherers of Knowledge: Namibian Khoisan healers and their world of possibilities

Contributors

William Beinart, Rhodes Professor of Race Relations, specialises in southern African history and in environmental history and politics. He also teaches and supervises students on contemporary politics in South Africa. He has recently edited a volume with JoAnn McGregor, Social History and African Environments (2003) from the St Antony’s conference on African Environments: Past and Present. A second edition of Twentieth-Century South Africa (2001) and a book on The Rise of Conservation in South Africa, 1770-1950 (2003) have been published by Oxford University Press.

Michael Crossley is Professor of Comparative and International Education at the University of Bristol. He is currently Editor of the journal Comparative Education and is a former Chair of the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE). Current research interests include theoretical and methodological scholarship on the future of comparative and international education; research and evaluation capacity and international development cooperation; and educational development in small states.

David Johnson is a Lecturer in Comparative and International Education and a Fellow in African Studies at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He has conducted a number of studies into education in Africa including in Malawi, South Africa, The Gambia and recently in Nigeria.

Anthony Lemon is a Lecturer in Geography and a Tutorial Fellow of Mansfield College, University of Oxford. He is a specialist in the social and political geography of South and southern Africa. His work has sought to demonstrate the spatial character of apartheid planning and its consequences for South Africa’s social, economic and political geography, and for that of southern Africa as a whole. Since 1994 he has focused on aspects of post-apartheid reconstruction, including urban desegregation, redistribution within the school education system and electoral geography in relation to nation-building and political and economic stability in post-apartheid South Africa. Secondary research interests include small states and the foreign policy, trade and investment relations of South Africa in a changing global environment. He is currently planning a new book, co-edited with Professor C.M. Rogerson of the University of the Witwatersrand, on the economic geography of southern Africa.

Chris Low is an ESRC research fellow in African Studies, in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford. His research topic is ‘Animals in Bushman Medicine’, which examines the relationship between Bushmen, animals and medicine from pre-colonial times to the present. He completed his DPhil at Oxford in 2004 on the topic of ‘Khoisan Healing: Understandings, Ideas and Practices’.

Michele Schweisfurth is Director of the Centre for International Education and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham. Within Comparative and International Education her research interests include democratic education, global citizenship and intercultural education, and the professional identity of teachers.

Barbara Trudell has worked in community-based literacy and language development since 1982, in both South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Her current work includes consulting, training, research and advocacy on behalf of local languages across sub-Saharan Africa. Her research interests include the use of African languages in formal and non-formal learning contexts, language policy, and local processes for language development in sub-Saharan Africa

Elaine Unterhalter is a Reader in Education and International Development at the Institute of Education, Univeristy of London. Her specialist research area is gender, education and development. She is the author of Gender, Schooling and Global Social Justice (RoutledgeFalmer, 2006) and a wide range of writings on conceptual, empirical, and practice oriented themes. She has published a number of works on gender and the education transition in South Africa and has worked with colleagues at the University of Kwazulu Natal on a six-year ethnographic project looking at changes in two secondary schools.

Adriaan Verspoor is an independent education consultant specialising in policy analysis and the design and management of education development programmes. He is currently working on a report on the challenges of secondary education development in sub-Saharan Africa. He has been the coordinator and lead investigator of a taskforce on quality improvement in basic education in Africa, launched by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa. He has consulted for a variety of agencies including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Department of International Development (UK) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He has field experience in 25 countries in Africa and Asia and has authored and co-authored eight refereed books and journal articles and numerous technical papers and books on education issues in developing countries. He has written a book on the challenges of secondary education development in sub-Saharan Africa which is scheduled to be published by the World Bank in May 2008. is an independent education consultant specialising in policy analysis and the design and management of education development programmes. He is currently working on a report on the challenges of secondary education development in sub-Saharan Africa. He has been the coordinator and lead investigator of a taskforce on quality improvement in basic education in Africa, launched by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa. He has consulted for a variety of agencies including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Department of International Development (UK) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He has field experience in 25 countries in Africa and Asia and has authored and co-authored eight refereed books and journal articles and numerous technical papers and books on education issues in developing countries. He has written a book on the challenges of secondary education development in sub-Saharan Africa which is scheduled to be published by the World Bank in May 2008.

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