Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 October 2020
This chapter traces the transformation of the school from the site for instilling ideas about racial and class-based separate development during the colonial era into the key mechanism for ensuring African political and economic development today. Formal schooling introduced during the colonial era contributed to racial and economic divisions by promoting the idea of separate development and segregation. Missionary and colonial education institutionalized the assumptions about racial difference embedded in the development episteme. Colonial educators faced a conundrum; they sought to “civilize” Africans in Western academic traditions and at the same time to reinforce ideologies of racial difference that undergirded colonialism and the development episteme. This conflict was complicated further as schools became a place for challenging these ideas and generating African nationalist ideas of development. Some postcolonial reforms recentered African epistemologies in the schools. Today institutions and scholars of the global north still claim to be the experts in technology, science, and medicine, the sciences necessary for solving development “problems.” Nonetheless, African institutions and scholars are at the forefront of development innovations designed for their own communities including in the expansion of innovative university practices.