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Alternative Histories of Education and International Development #004 – Unterhalter

utnvmab11 January 2021

Sol Plaatje and UCL

by Elaine Unterhalter 

Sol Plaatje’s name is probably unknown to all but a handful of people at UCL. Yet his scholarship in his lifetime,  was partly linked with UCL,  and his scholarly legacy is highly significant for thinking about education and international development as a field  of inquiry.

Solomon Tshekisho  Plaatje (1876-1932) was a South African whose whole life was an engagement with different aspects of education and  a negotiation with what we call today international development, but what was, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, framed by Empire and colonial relationships . Sol Plaatje was born in 1876 in what is today the Free State province of South Africa. Educated by German missionaries he was fluent in Setswana, English,  Dutch, and four other languages. He worked as a teacher, a telegraph messenger, a clerk, a court interpreter, a journalist, newspaper owner, editor,  a translator,  a  researcher, a political organiser and  lobbyist, a negotiator, an actor, a singer, a novelist and an academic researcher. His life story brims with so many  incidents, and highlights so many different kinds of educational relationships in South Africa, England and the USA, that it is a clear education and international development can never be only about one kind of formation of human capital, a single kind of accumulation of social capital or a one-dimensional form of subordination to colonial rule.

Plaatje was  immersed in, but always critically engaged with,  colonial cultures. His dialogues, disputes, and demands came through his religion, his education, his  nuanced responses, for example with translating and performing Shakespeare, or writing political commentaries to be read by colonial rulers and their critics. But, for all his dress and bearing in the style of a Victorian and Edwardian gentleman,  he was also, keenly aware of the dispossessions colonial relations brought – the denial of the vote to the majority of people in South Africa,  the dispossession of land rights that had been established under Colonial law, and the ways in which the experience of colonial subjects, viewed primarily in terms of their  race,  were overlooked in what was documented and published about South Africa. He wrote about much of this in his widely circulated book Native Life in South Africa , published in 1916, which generated much discussion when it first came out and continues to excite debate. He was a founding member of the SANNC (South African Native National Congress), which became  the ANC. His contribution to literature, art and politics has now been acknowledged in South Africa and beyond.

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Alternative Histories of Education and International Development #003 – Ejegi & Torbayeva

utnvmab3 December 2020

‘Can the subaltern speak?’

Decolonising Education and International Development Event launched by staff and students at UCL’s Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) 

by Shola Ejegi & Albina Tortbayeva

Dr Laila Kadiwal from CEID opened the event with this famous postcolonial question ‘Can the subaltern speak?’. In answer, she shared the words of her Dalit academic-activist friend, Mahitosh, who is the first Dalit lecturer/professor of English literature in India, who responded: ‘They can, but their voice remains under represented even in the Subaltern Studies literature’. Laila also told us that she grew up in a rural conflict-affected periphery of postcolonial India. Albina remembers her words that were powerful for her in both their openness and boldness: “I’m here because the East India Company and the Queen Victoria were there.  Of course, my class privileges also made it possible for me to be here”. In this very statement, she highlighted the continuing colonial legacies in the present through the university setting, and its intersections with issues of class.  Coloniality continues to echo in our society, and particularly in the education field which needs to work to transform and not to reproduce social inequalities.

Stories both personal and impressive came from other participants too –  professors, students and activists interested in researching the colonial entanglements underpinning the field of education and development joined this online event from a range of global locations. Professors Elaine Unterhalter and Moses Oketch – co-directors of the Centre for Education and International Development at UCL – shared their perspectives on the significance of decolonising the field of education and even the centre itself, inviting us on a brave journey to start questioning and naming colonial logics and uneven power dynamics in the field. We particularly felt brave being a part of the discussion cafe as it is a direct rejection of the ‘status quo.’ It felt eye opening to intentionally explore the meanings and history of discourses and practices that have been deemed universal, which are in fact are a reflection of Eurocentric norms at the expense of the voice and cultures of former colonised populations.

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Alternative Histories of Education and International Development #001- Unterhalter & Oketch

utnvmab12 November 2020

Alternative Histories of Education and International Development: An Invitation 

by Elaine Unterhalter and Moses Oketch 

Like many who work in international development, we are acutely aware of the ways in which this field of policy, research and practice links with a colonial past which continues to resonate in the present. In CEID (Centre for Education and International Development) this is a history we feel we need to understand and critique, in order to support thinking better about education and a future which overturns colonial relationships of hierarchy, dispossession, exclusion and subordination.

The early links with colonialism at the Institution of Education (IoE) are clear and this is a history we need to acknowledge in order to think how to change our current forms of practice. IoE was initially founded in 1902 as the London Day Training College for teachers. In 1927 the Director accepted appointment to a body with clear links with a number of colonial projects, the British Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa. As part of the work for this committee, he was invited by the Colonial Office to establish a course at IoE to prepare students for work as education officers in Africa, and to support missionaries preparing to work in teacher training colleges in what was then Tanganyika (now Tanzania). A Colonial Department was established at IoE in 1934, with a lecturer appointed to specialize in the comparative education of ‘primitive peoples’. Thus institutionally the teaching and research of IoE were clearly bound in with colonial education projects. In the 1950s there was a change of name, when the Colonial Department at IoE became the Department of Education in Tropical Areas (ETA). Only in 1973 was some distance from colonialism signaled in a new name, the Department of Education in Developing Countries (EDC). In 1995 this became the Department of Education and International Development (EID).

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Constructing a Decolonial Space #002- Kadiwal, et al.

utnvmab12 November 2020

Constructing a Decolonial Space

by Laila Kadiwal, Mai Abu Moghli, Colleen Howell, Charlotte Nussey and Lynsey Robinson

In this post, we lay out our emerging thoughts on how a decolonial space looks, sounds or feels to us. The aim of the initiative, ‘Alternative Histories of Education and International Development’, is, as our co-directors explain, ‘to support thinking better about education and a future which overturns colonial relationships of hierarchy, dispossession, exclusion and subordination’ (Unterhalter & Oketch). Doing so requires asking ourselves challenging questions about our work and position within the academy, as well as about how to ensure this initiative contributes to deepening decolonial thinking and practices that reflect it. (more…)

School violence – what works to address the global challenge?

CEID Admin25 February 2019

School violence – what works to address the global challenge?

Professor Jenny Parkes, Professor of Gender, Education and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education, speaks in this video from DFID’s Research and Evidence Division.

To read the IOE study authored by Prof Parkes and referenced at 01:31 by DFID in this video, visit: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/rigorous-review-global-research-evidence-policy-and-practice-school-related-gender-based

The review is an output from the ‘End Gender Violence in Schools’ research project undertaken at the IOE. For further details see www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe-egvs

CEID Seminar Series 2018/19

CEID Admin8 November 2018

CEID Seminar Series 2018/19

The CEID Seminar series is hosted by the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) at the UCL Institute of Education. Initiated in the 2017/18 academic year, following the launch of the Centre in June 2017, the CEID seminar series is a forum for academics, doctoral students, practitioners and invited speakers to present and open discussion on issues, ideas and debates in the field of Education and International Development. See the full series listing here.

 

Seminar 7: Gender and Teacher Education in Nigeria, October 18th 2018

Speakers – Professor Elaine Unterhalter, UCL Institute of Education, Dr Amy North, UCL Institute of Education and Yvette Hutchinson, British Council

Chair – Professor Moses Oketch, UCL Institute of Education

Abstract – In the first CEID seminar in the 2018/19 academic year, Elaine Unterhalter and Amy North will present findings from their research in Nigeria on Gender and Teacher education in five Nigerian states. The research took place between 2014 and 2016, and was funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the British Council Nigeria. Yvette Hutchinson, British Council, completes the panel and will present on the British Council’s involvement with the project, its work in Nigeria and in teacher capacity development and gender in particular. Following the panel presentations and discussion, questions will be invited from the audience.

Watch the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okupVsuv1WM

 

Seminar 8: Violent extremism and the political economy of education in Afghanista, November 8th 2018

Speaker: Dr Tejendra Pherali, UCL Institute of Education

Chair: Professor Moses Oketch, UCL Institute of Education

Abstract

As global attention is concentrated on Islamic State (IS) activities in Syria and Iraq, IS fighters seem to be exploiting the conditions of state fragility in Afghanistan to expand their influence in several districts. It has been reported that IS has a significant dominance in 11 out of 24 districts in the eastern province of Nangarhar where, they control all aspects of community life including, education. Drawing upon qualitative interviews and focus group discussions (N=31) in Kabul and Nagarhar which is considered the IS headquarters in the region, this paper explores the multitude of ways IS is controlling educational processes in Afghanistan. We find that both state and non-state actors compete for control over education, both formal institutions as well as social and cultural discourses about learning. Unlike Taliban who have the nationalist agenda against Western interventions (of all kinds including, education), the IS approach to radicalisation seems to be much more strategic, ideologically broad and aimed at long term political gains in the form of a ‘Caliphate’. Through their brutal tactics, IS fighters influence access, contents and pedagogies to establish their Jihadist ideology, which underpins a wider religious and political justification of the ‘struggle’ against the West and production of a new generation of jihadists. Our research finds that rural communities in Afghanistan play a critical role in shaping the political terrain such as, establishing the conditions under which state sovereignty is contested, negotiated and challenged. As such, they serve the dual purpose: strengthening state authority by sustaining public services including, education; and creating a space for non-state actors to promote alternative ideologies. Finally, we argue that understanding the latter can contribute to critical reflection of the existing education policies and reclaim educational spaces for Afghanistan’s peaceful future.

Livestreaming – This session will be livestreamed via this link: https://youtu.be/wCs8cL9idcI

Access the seminar slides here: Violent extremism and political economy of education in Afghanistan – CEID Seminar 8 slides.

 

CEID Seminar 9: In service of dominant elites? Nation, Education and Peacebuilding in Post (civil) War Tajikistan, January 16th 2019

Speaker: Dr Laila Kadiwal, Fellow in Education and International Development, UCL Institute of Education

Chair: Professor Moses Oketch, UCL Institute of Education

Following the cessation of the Soviet Union over two decades ago, Tajikistan grapples with ramifications of the civil war, global geopolitics, Soviet legacies and the revival of religious and ethnolinguistic identities– all of which influence identity formation and peacebuilding through contemporary discourses around education and development in Tajikistan. This seminar presents on the ways global and local political, economic, military, social and cultural agendas intersect with people’s identities, and the ways in which these are mirrored in education, fuelling conflict. The seminar draws upon the theories of ‘discourse,’ ‘global governmentality’ and ‘new imperialism’ concerning education, to explore dominant conceptions of national identity and peacebuilding and what implications these have for normalising unequal power relations and social cohesion. With reference to Gorno-Badakhshan, an ethnolinguistic and religious minority province, the session also investigates how local communities are responding to the interrelationships of the local, national and global. The paper argues that global-national-local discourses cast populations as politically compliant and polarised global market-based citizens in a globalised authoritarian state that serves dominant global and local elite interests. Recommendations include ways forward for challenging dominant discourses and for rethinking  issues of inequities, social cohesion and sustainable peacebuilding in education policy.

Livestream – This session will be livestreamed via this link:: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3zeD7KaUH8&feature=youtu.be Join the discussion with #CEIDSeminars

Access the seminar slides here: CEID Seminar_Jan 16_2019_Tajikistan

Dr. Tejendra Pherali gives keynote address at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia

CEID Admin12 January 2018

Tejendra Pherali, Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development and the research theme leader for Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding in CEID delivered a keynote adress on 15th November at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia.

Dr. Pherali at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia, 15th Nov 2017.

His presentation – ‘Understanding the nexus between education and peace in conflict-affected societies’ focused on the role of education in promoting peace with social justice in conflict-affected societies. He argued that universities in conflict-affected societies such as Colombia could play a civic role by connecting communities with academic research and knowledge production and by creating access for young people who have been left out of higher education because of violent conflict. His presentation further argued that education could support sustainable peace by promoting equitable access to quality education; through curriculum reforms, reflecting diverse identities of learners; educational decisions that involve inclusive processes; and educational policies, learning and teaching are that geared towards bringing people together from across dividing lines. Drawing upon his research in Nepal, Lebanon and Somalia, he proposed pathways to impact for higher education and peace which could be of relevance for Colombian universities as the country undergoes the peace process.

Dr. Pherali presents at the Faculty of Human Sciences at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia, 15th Nov 2017.

Dr. Tejendra Pherali leads workshop on Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, 6-9 November 2017

CEID Admin10 January 2018

Dr. Tejendra Pherali, Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development and the research theme leader for Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) led a workshop on Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand from 6-9 November 2017.

Chulalongkorn UniversityFaculty and graduate students who participated in the workshop

The workshop was hosted by the Institute of Thai Studies at Thailand’s leading Chulalongkorn University, which is conducting a research study to design a peace education curriculum for schools in conflict-affected Southern provinces of Thailand. The workshop aimed to develop researchers’ theoretical knowledge about the interrelationship between education, violence and peace and participatory approaches to curriculum design and implementation in Thai schools.

Reflecting on the workshop, Dr Pherali said, ‘Colleagues in Chulalongkorn University were very keen to design an effective peace education curriculum which could promote a culture of peace in Southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. The workshop was instrumental in exploring issues around learners’ cultural identities, language of instruction and processes of educational decision-making which need to be accounted for while designing a peace education curriculum. We were also able to draw upon few examples from other conflict-affected contexts which I hope would provide useful insights into Chula’s important work in this area.’

Dr. Pherali with workshop participants and Peace education researchers in Chulalongkorn University

Dr. Pherali speaking at the workshop

 

 

 

 

Dr Alexandra Lewis awarded LIDC Interdisciplinary Seed funding for research in Somalialand

CEID Admin20 December 2017

Imagining Somaliland: An investigation into the relationship between nation-building, citizenship and education in a contested space, written from a peacebuilding perspective

Dr Alexandra Lewis of the Centre of Education and International development, UCL Institute of Education, and Dr Idil Osman, SOAS Development Studies Department, have been awarded funding from the London International Development Centre (LIDC) Interdisciplinary Seed Fund for the project ‘Imagining Somaliland: An investigation into the relationship between nation-building, citizenship and education in a contested space, written from a peacebuilding perspective’. The research will investigate dynamics between citizenship, nation-building & educational provision from a peacebuilding perspective. The exploratory study will take place between January and August 2018, including fieldwork in March and April 2018.

Research project aims

In 2017, Somaliland published a new textbook on civic education for secondary school students. Although this textbook was released as part of a Somali-wide curriculum consolidation process, Somaliland retained the right in this process to develop its own education policy: their framework refers to Somaliland as a nation state, without integrating its education within any broader state system (Republic of Somaliland, 2017). One of the stated goals of the new curriculum is to promote a ‘National consciousness and unity in the minds of children at an early age and enhancement of a spirit of patriotism for Somaliland as well as a desire for its sustained integration, stability and prosperity’ (Ibid). Another goal is to assist the Somaliland people to develop ‘Skills and attitudes which foster the growth of social justice, responsibility and the value and virtues of peace’. There is a need to understand the degree to which these goals of nationalism and peacebuilding are compatible within a wider Somali educational context.

This exploratory research will investigate how nationalism and citizenship are “imagined” in Somaliland context, exploring both formal educational institutions and linked media content using Anderson’s Imagined Communities framework (1983). It will evaluate the potential for education to engage with these topics from a peacebuilding perspective. Further, it will investigate the degree to which peaceful citizenship values underpin the new curriculum, and the potential for that content to be accepted, based on the extent to which dominant public discourses, elite perspectives, media and media producers transmit compatible values of peacebuilding and citizenship.

Please contact ceid@ucl.ac.uk or Dr Alexandra Lewis a.lewis@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions about the project.

The Hair, Skin, and Education of Black Girls

CEID Admin11 June 2017

STUDENT BLOG #2 | Gender Equality Stream | June 11, 2017

By Veronique L. Porter

The Hair, Skin, and Education of Black Girls

gender blog picture3

Photo credit Devin Trent

I wrote this blog post in high anticipation of the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) symposium on June 15th, and the discussions to follow around the CEID’s thematic areas including gender equality and women’s rights.

As I struggled to write this blog post, my classmate suggested I write about something I am passionate about. She is familiar with my social media, and knows my interests run wide and deep from my various posts. While my interests range across many areas, subjects, and themes, people of color are at the center. As an Education, Gender, and International Development student at UCL’s Institute of Education, right now I am keen to take a deeper look at Black girl’s education.

Despite my formal and informal studies and my life long experience, I somehow felt underqualified as I began to write. This is not an unfamiliar or irrational feeling. Rather it’s a response to subtle and obvious conditioning that my kinky hair and dark skin are not the features associated with educated, qualified people. And this reaction is not my unique struggle.

Black girls get these cues every day, often within the school environment. Schools in the United States often punish and suspend Black girls for being loud and aggressive at much higher rates than their peers, consistent with the perception of dark skinned women being angry and defiant. One ten-year-old student in the United States faced bullying at two schools over her dark complexion. To make matters worse, her teacher handed her a black crayon, instead of a brown one, during an assignment to draw self-portraits.

On an institutional level, many school policies regulate Black hair. Another US student was told her textured hair was “out of control and all over the place.” She was threatened with expulsion from the school if her hair was not “fixed or styled,” as her textured hair was considered a fad, which is against school policy. A school in South Africa told a student that she could not take her exams if she did not straighten her hair or make it “more beautiful.” A Black university student was barred from entering the university building in Brazil, because her “Black Power” hairstyle was too political. These are not policies that restrict styles but the texture as it naturally grows from these students’ heads.

The instances mentioned above are only a few examples of the intolerance that Black girls face based on their physical features. Stories like these regularly appear on news websites, in the content podcasts and blogs, and in my social media feeds, usually from sources that purposefully include Black news, events, and culture. The prevalence of these policies send clear messages to Black girls that they are not welcome in the learning environment without altering themselves. They should have a docile demeanor and be sure not to voice their opinion for fear of being perceived as being disruptive or defying authority. Highly textured hair needs to be altered for the classroom otherwise it is distracting or unkempt.

I say “Black” knowing that this is a very American way to label dark skinned people. Yet this is the most authentic way for me to describe the common denominator of the groups of people identified by their dark skin, and who face various types of oppression and discrimination in communities all over the world on the basis of their dark complexion.

My feelings of inadequacy, while sometimes frequent, are often brief. I know that I am knowledgeable and equally capable as my peers from other nationalities and of other complexions. But Black girls all over the world are shaping their personalities, their lives, their futures based on the information we give them in society and especially in school. There should not be an association with students’ physical characteristics and their learning. Schools can create and reinforce standards that make it more difficult for Black girls to learn by making them uncomfortable in their own bodies. But schools can also create a setting that values learning over appearance. The first step in creating a welcoming and equitable learning environment in schools is to allow Black girls to be Black students and eliminate policies that target their innate features.

I am looking forward to the ways the new Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) gender equality and women’s rights will contribute to girls’ education for girls of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities. But selfishly, I want more focus on the education of Black girls, so the Black girls of tomorrow don’t have to face the same oppression and inequality as the Black girls of today. I hope to discuss this topic more with my classmates and education experts during the CEID launch event, Thursday, June 15th.

Written by: Veronique L. Porter

Veronique has years of professional experience working in West Africa on education, youth development, and health, and supporting various USAID development programming from Washington, DC. At the time of writing, Veronique is studying the MA in Education, Gender and International Development (EGID) at the IOE.