What Can We Learn From the Past 50 Years of Education-for-Development in Africa for the Beyond 2015 Debate?


By Simon McGrath, University of Nottingham.

In all the talk about targets beyond 2015, I am particularly concerned about two things.  First, that the voices of educationalists regarding the nature of education and its role in development are being reduced to simple soundbites based on overstatement of certain effects of education. Second, that the discussion on what works is based on a focus on a narrow sense of what counts as evidence; who counts as authorities; and when matters in our telling of the story.

The occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Centre of African Studies in Edinburgh, therefore, seemed to offer a perfect opportunity to address some of these issues, and to counter the “permanent present” of much of current debate with a review of 50 years of possible lessons on the relationships between education and development in Africa. The fuller account, written with Kenneth…

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