Education in West Africa as a contested space between global politics and local cultures: an exploration through critical discourse analysis
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This research contributes to the discourse on resolving some of the challenges facing contemporary education-formal schooling across West Africa, particularly the challenge of resentment toward formal schooling in the region. Applying Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as a methodological framework, this research explores the nature of the challenge of resentment toward formal schooling at a macro level in West Africa. It focuses specifically on two identified elements that may be contributing to this formidability of this challenge in the region, namely, the dominant perception of pre-colonial indigenous cultures and knowledge systems in contemporary discourse on education, and global education policies and strategies being issued by agencies such as UNESCO, UNDP, and the World Bank. This research argues that contemporary education-formal schooling across West Africa is a contested space between global politics and local cultures. It also highlights, among other things, the contentions which exist within and between decolonisation on the one hand, and globalisation on the other, by first, highlighting the dominant discourse within each of the two strands of knowledge systems, and the principles that underpin them. Second, it highlights the form of power and injustices these dominant discourse reproduce and legitimise within each of the epistemic communities. This research concludes by arguing that a resolution to the formidable challenge of resentment facing formal schooling across West Africa can be found through a critical understanding that highlights the misconceptions and fabrications in the ideologies that underpin discourse within both strands of knowledge systems. Bringing such critical understanding to bear in a dialogic relation between global politics and local cultures can potentially play an important role in resolving the challenge of resentment toward formal schooling in the region.
KeywordsWest African education
Pre-colonial indigenous knowledge systems
Global educational policies and strategies