Who wouldn’t agree that education is important? Important for the individual, for society, for development? After years of focusing on access, the Sustainable Development Goals have brought a renewed and welcome focus on the quality of education. Children shouldn’t just attend school, but actually learn while being there. But what kind of education is good education? And who has the power to decide? Whose knowledge(s) should children learn, where should they learn and who should teach? And to what kind of “development” should quality education contribute? How can we disrupt internalised colonial notions of education equalling European Education? These are some of the questions that motivate both my work and my blog. In the blog I write – and invite others to write – about the decolonisation of education systems in Southern Africa, of knowledge production, theoretical frameworks and research methodologies. Being European, white and privileged, a central question for me is also how to decolonise my own research practice and how to be a good ally in the decolonial struggles in the global South.
The above photograph is taken out of a South African classroom in Makhanda, Eastern Cape Province. It shows the beautiful hill that is home to many of the school’s students. These students’ indigenous knowledge is usually neither taught nor acknowledged in school. In my doctoral project, a participatory action research study, five Makhanda science teachers explored the integration of local indigenous knowledges into some of their regular teaching. Here is a short filmed documentary of our study. Our learnings from this study can be found on this site’s publication list.