Colonization and Epistemic Injustice in Higher Education: Precursors to Decolonization 2022036715, 2022036716, 9781032014968, 9781032018911, 9781003180890

Providing coherence in understanding the role that education and higher education played in the colonizing purposes of t

233 15 1MB

English Pages 181 [182] Year 2023

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Colonization and Epistemic Injustice in Higher Education: Precursors to Decolonization
 2022036715, 2022036716, 9781032014968, 9781032018911, 9781003180890

Citation preview


Providing coherence in understanding the role that education and higher education played in the colonizing purposes of the rich nations of the North, this book draws from multiple geopolitical spaces across the world to consider how epistemic injustice has characterized colonial higher education systems. Within this text, carefully chosen international contributors explore how colonialism, coloniality, and colonization have impacted indigenous people’s ways of knowing, feeling, behaving, valuing, being, and becoming in fundamental ways and how the West’s idea of education and schooling have been used as key instruments in the project of world domination and subjugation. Beyond these key entry concepts, chapters use ideas of modernity, post-modernism, globalization, internationalization, and neo-liberalism to examine how higher education in colonial and post-colonial societies still answers to a colonial narrative and what can be done to decolonize the system. Unpacking the historical and philosophical antecedents of higher education and critically examining the intentions and impact of colonial assumptions behind higher education in different parts of the world, this is suitable reading for postgraduates and scholars in the field of higher education, as well as senior management teams in universities and practitioners who work directly in the field of transformation in government, and university departments. Felix Maringe is Professor of Higher Education and Head of the Wits School of Education, South Africa.

Global Debates on the Decolonialization of Higher Education Series Editor: Felix Maringe

Titles in the series: Colonization and Epistemic Injustice in Higher Education Precursors to Decolonization Edited by Felix Maringe For more information about this series, please visit: Global-Debates-on-the-Decolonialization-of-Higher-Education/book-series/ GDDHE


Edited by Felix Maringe

First published 2023 by Routledge 4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Felix Maringe; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Felix Maringe to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Maringe, Felix, editor. Title: Colonization and epistemic injustice in higher education : precursors to decolonization / edited by Felix Maringe. Description: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2023. | Series: Global debates on the decolonialization of higher education | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2022036715 (print) | LCCN 2022036716 (ebook) | ISBN 9781032014968 (hardback) | ISBN 9781032018911 (paperback) | ISBN 9781003180890 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Indigenous peoples--Education (Higher) | Education, Higher--Social aspects. | Postcolonialism. Classification: LCC LC3727 .C625 2023 (print) | LCC LC3727 (ebook) | DDC 378.1/982--dc23/eng/20220921 LC record available at https://lccn LC ebook record available at https://lccn ISBN: 978-1-032-01496-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-032-01891-1 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-18089-0 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890 Typeset in Bembo by SPi Technologies India Pvt Ltd (Straive)


List of contributors 1 The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education: Contestations, contradictions and opportunities Felix Maringe



2 Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies? 23 Michael Kariwo 3 Long road to decolonization of neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education Savo Heleta


4 Cwélelep: Dissonance and new learning at the University of Victoria 55 Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall 5 Decolonization and internationalization of higher education in Vietnam: A historical perspective Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran


6 The politics of knowing in African universities: A search for decolonised epistemologies Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe


vi  Contents

7 The Decolonization of History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore: Historical and Philosophical Antecedents Kevin Peter Blackburn 8 Australian higher education: God bless you if it’s good to you Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

98 114

9 From the ideal to non-ideal: Towards decolonized higher education in Africa Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu


10 Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited: A ref lection on emerging themes Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba





Kevin Peter Blackburn (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) Kevin Blackburn is an associate professor in History at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He researches on the history of education in Southeast Asia. Huyen Bui (University of Deakin) Huyen Bui is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Education at Deakin University, Australia. Her research interests include internationalisation of higher education, international student acculturation, student mobility and international graduate employability. Otilia Chiramba (University of Johannesburg) Otilia is a postdoctoral fellow in the SARCHi chair on Teaching and Learning at the University of Johannesburg. She researches in areas of education for marginalised communities, international education and decolonisation of higher education. Runyararo Sihle Chivaura (University of Adelaide) Runyararo is a principal research consultant researching in the area of Living Cultural Studies at Adelaide, South Australia. Budd Hall (University of Victoria, Canada) Budd Hall is co-chair, UNESCO chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education. His research is on decolonisation of knowledge and higher education.

viii  Contributors

Savo Heleta (Durban University of Technology, South Africa) Savo Heleta is a researcher and internationalisation specialist at Durban University of Technology in South Africa. His research focuses on decolonisation of knowledge and higher education internationalisation. Joseph P. Hungwe (University of South Africa) Joseph is a research fellow at UNISA and his research areas include decolonisation and internationalisation of higher education in Africa. He also publishes on the politics of land in Africa. Michael Kariwo (University of Alberta, Canada) Michael is an instructor in the Faculty of Education and research associate in the Faculty of Nursing. His interests are in educational policy analysis and social justice issues. Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu (University of Malawi) Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu is a senior lecturer in the School of Education, University of Malawi. His research interests include decolonisation, education for social and global justice, and democratic citizenship. Felix Maringe (University of the Witwatersrand, University of South Africa, University of Kigali) Felix is affiliated to three institutions, currently in the role of deputy vice chancellor at University of Kigali. He researches in areas of international education, leadership and decolonisation of higher education. Amasa P. Ndofirepi (Sol Plaatje University South Africa) Amasa is a full professor of African Philosophy at Sol Plaatje University and researches in areas of philosophy and decolonisation of education. Ly Thi Tran (University of Deakin) Ly Thi Tran is a professor in the School of Education at Deakin University, Australia, and an Australian Research Council Future fellow. Her research focuses on internationalisation of education, international students, international graduate employability, learning abroad and Vietnamese higher education. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams (University of Victoria, Canada) Lorna is professor emerita in Indigenous Education from the University of Victoria and is current chair of First Peoples Cultural Foundation. She has been an Indigenous languages and Indigenous knowledge advocate all her life.

1 THE CONCEPTUAL ‘JUNGLE’ OF THE DECOLONISATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION Contestations, contradictions, and opportunities Felix Maringe

Introduction The term ‘jungle’ is used deliberately as opposed to the tamer term of a ‘field’. We think a field suggests order, progress, and clarity which we argue does not yet exist around this concept. However, we recognise that more has been achieved already in the post-colonial geo-spatial areas of the Latin Americas than any other part of the world. We are signalling our presence into what still seems a jungle to us to join forces with our brothers and sisters who have made significant roads already on this subject. The call for the decolonisation of higher education has been increasing in intensity in many post-colonial nations across the world (Heleta 2016). Although the term was not used in the immediate wake of independence and the attainment of democracy in many countries in Africa, much of the intended, though not fully realised post-colonial transformation in higher education, bears symptoms of the hallmarks of decolonisation. As the nations of Europe and North America were industrialising and modernising their economies in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the need for manpower to work on the plantations, factories, and industries together with cheap resources to propel productivity planted the seed which resulted in the slave trade, the forcible occupation and subsequent colonisation of indigenous people and their land. The crusade for colonisation rode on two fatalistic assumptions and practices: deception/falsehoods and greed. Deception was a three-pronged tirade: that convincing indigenous populations that they had to be saved from their backwardness and barbarism through being civilised and Christianised; that indigenous identities and blackness were inferior and cursed and that whiteness was a more superior state of being; that blacks could only make progress by aspiring to everything that whiteness represented, including their education, their religion, their socio/cultural being, their food, medicines and DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-1

2  Felix Maringe

vaccines, and their forms of entertainment, clothing and family practices. Deception was embedded in all forms and at all levels of life (see, e.g. Ramantswana 2017). Greed manifested in the extent of pillage and exploitation supported by sets of rules, laws and regulations. Once a country was brought under colonial influence, the indigenous people lost their freedom and became subjects of the empire. They lost their land, minerals, their livestock, their spouses and children and, above all, their dignity. Anything perceived to be of value to the empire became the property of the empire (see, e.g. Mkono 2019). Equally, greed also manifested in the disproportionate extraction of resources from the country and the subhuman and often cruel treatment of indigenous people in the workplaces, mines, farms and factories. The excessive extraction and expropriation of the countries’ resources accompanied by minimal reinvestment in the country except that which benefited the settlers was evidence of this greed. Despite the attainment of political independence and/or democracy, there appears to be abundant evidence that more symbolic transformation (Carini 1969) has taken place in the higher education sectors in post-colonial countries than fundamental changes especially in terms of changes to the curricula. We use the term ‘curriculum’, not in the narrow sense of syllabuses and courses, but more broadly in the sense of the total experience, including the impact of an educational experience in the post-colonial context. This chapter attempts to provide a broad-brush analysis of the conceptual field in which decolonisation is located. We would like to clarify that the purpose of this is not to demarcate and calcify meanings of concepts in the conceptual field. Firstly, it is aimed at clarifying our entry understanding of the ideas, which we hope will change by the time we finish writing this book. For the reader, it is always important to appreciate the way authors understand the field as a basis for making their own judgements, when they themselves take this work further. Secondly, we cannot pretend to be aiming for a comprehensive conceptualisation of the field as the field is so broad and encompassing and tends to draw from multiple disciplinary perspectives. In this chapter, we briefly but critically discuss the following conceptual ideas: the pre-colonial condition; the industrial revolutions in Europe; the growth of Christianity; modernity; the scramble for resources by the industrialising nations; Marxism as a precursor of decolonisation and as an early critique of capitalism; colonisation; coloniality, decolonisation, and decoloniality.

The pre-colonial condition Most of what we know, and which has been presented and sadly accepted as truth about the pre-colonial world, including Africa, was written by the colonialists themselves (Davies 2021). It was a view developed through the lens of white settlers and which mostly selected what the world needed to know about the pre-colonial condition and was aimed mainly at justifying the project of colonisation and colonialism. Although writing originated in Africa, it was rapidly developed in the western nations to support the communication needs of an industrialising world.

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  3

Much of Africa and the pre-colonial world did not develop any writing until the settlers came in. There are therefore two competing views of the pre-colonial condition. One view is that which is proffered through the lens of the colonisers. The other is the largely invisible understanding harboured in the blemished minds of indigenous people (Fanon 1961) and which has undergone substantial corruption, following hundreds of years of being told lies about themselves and, more profoundly, about the settlers themselves. Until this version is rediscovered and rewritten, the truth about the pre-colonial condition is at best a sanitised version and at worst a total fabrication which supported the purposes of colonisation. Seen, for example, as a Dark Continent, in comparison to the one in the west from where the colonisers came, which was experiencing the benefits of newly discovered electricity, darkness was used metaphorically as well to depict a backward, unsafe, disease-ridden, and heathen world based on superstition, the worship of spirits and witchcraft. One prominent reverend, Wilder, stationed at Mt Selinda (corrupted from Chirinda) mission in Zimbabwe, noted that the purpose of educating Africans was to teach them that there is more to life than drinking beer and having sex (Maravanyika 1985). What the settlers did not say about the Africans was that they lived peacefully with nature without overhunting and overplanting; were not engaged in as many wars as were happening in Europe; had a deep relationship with their mineral wealth, administered carefully through their kings and queens who were the custodians of the wealth of their nations; had excellent warfare skills and were experts at constructing fortresses for the safety of their citizens; and had an intricate understanding of traditional herbal medication through which they could treat most diseases and keep their citizens healthy. Pre-colonial mineral wealth in Africa was largely untapped and undiscovered and the only role of the locals was to help bring this wealth out of the bellies of Mother Africa into the gleeful hands of the settlers. Education in pre-colonial societies (Seroto 2011) tended to be family driven and organised around the skills of the elders in the community. Hunting communities had a hunting curriculum; agrarian communities taught agricultural skills to their children; it was a practical/vocational education, survivalist oriented but also packed with ideas for conservation, preservation and co-existence, an education for sustainable living, which has become a key UN sustainable development goal. What seems important is the need to invest substantially in rediscovering the wisdom of the pre-colonial world and to embed that into new developmental goals in reimagined post-colonial world.

The industrial revolution in Europe and North America Pre-industrial societies were essentially agrarian and labour intensive (Miller 1966). With the discovery of the steam engine, a lot of human labour could be undertaken by machines, increasing productivity quite substantially. The second industrial revolution came on the back of the discovery of electricity, which substantially increased production through mechanisation of labour and improvement of transportation.

4  Felix Maringe

This was also enhanced by the discovery of the telegraph and telephone which meant that partners in distant places could plan business synchronously rather than wait for a trans-Atlantic ship which took several months to travel between the UK and America. The third industrial revolution was based on enhanced technologies and digitalisation. Currently, the fourth industrialisation is an intensification of the digitalising world, with accompanying robotisation of workplaces, the expanded and accessible internet with huge knowledge resources which require the so-called twenty-first-century skills to be embedded in curricula across all phases of learning. Industrialisation though requires raw materials, and these were not always available in the industrialising nations of the west. Africa, South America, and Asia were targeted as providers of raw materials. Mineral-rich African countries, for example, were exploited for gold, diamonds, iron, steel, copper, and cobalt to manufacture industrial equipment and create infrastructures such as bridges and buildings, amongst others. Following are the ten most significant raw materials colonisers were prepared to die or kill for.

Opium According to the Britannica Encyclopedia (2021), China supplied tea, silk, and porcelain to the UK, and, in exchange, the UK supplied China with opium from India, leading to multiple health disorders among the Chinese people. The Chinese emperor at the time banned the use of opium by the citizens, and this led to two UK-China wars, which caused the death of millions of Chinese and the loss of Hong Kong to the British.

Potatoes Originating in South America, potatoes became staple diet in Europe, the UK, and Ireland. The great famine of 1845–49, caused partly by the potato blight, resulted in millions of deaths and emigration of the Irish people to settle in America.

Cocoa Cocoa first came to Europe from South America but was discovered in West Africa, where the natives were used either as slaves or as poorly paid laborers on the cocoa plantations. It was used as a beverage or turned to chocolate in European factories to produce the famous Swiss and Belgian chocolates. In this process, the real producer of the cocoa beans is struck out of the equation in true capitalist production mechanisms.

Maize Used as a staple diet in South America and many parts of Africa, maize became a product of choice in Europe and North America as an alternative animal feed, oil, plastic, biomass fuel, and artificial sweetener.

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  5

Cocaine Produced largely in Latin American countries, it has found its way to lucrative markets in the USA and Europe. Its legalisation in some parts of the world has been associated with increase in mental health issues amongst citizens, mafia gang wars, and expensive and futile policies for drug control in many parts of the world.

Diamonds Africa is host to more than 70% of the world’s deposits of diamonds, a mineral used to make gemstones, industrial abrasives for cutting hard metals and, more recently, in the treatment of cancer and for eye implants for the visually impaired. In Africa, diamonds have been associated with wars in places such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ivory Coast. There wars are frequently sponsored by rich western countries who capitalise on the social and political chaos to siphon the minerals to their countries.

Human beings For many years, human beings were forcibly taken away to industrialising nations to work in factories, industries, and plantations and as domestic servants for meagre or no pay at all. This trade in slaves eventually ended, but many people from poor countries continue to flock to the rich nations of the north where they become voluntary slaves in some of the lowliest paid jobs which the locals do not want to do. Stories abound too of illegal migrants who work for below minimum wages in exchange for the silence of employers about their illegal status.

Rubber The growth of the car industry has meant that more and more rubber produced in South America, India and Africa must find its way to these car-producing countries for the tyre and rubberised parts of motor vehicles.

Agar Originating in Japan where it was first discovered, the product has now found multiple uses as a culinary food and in the production of plasticine and, more importantly, in the culturing of bacteria and yeasts used for baking and brewing, amongst others.

Uranium This radioactive metal is used mainly in the military industry and as an energy source. Niger has one of the largest reserves of this metal. Its use in nuclear warheads

6  Felix Maringe

and bombs has made it a most desired metal in countries which could change the world in many ways. The previously colonised countries of the global south have rich reserves of some of the raw materials needed in the countries of the global north. Although slavery was abolished across the world, other means such as creating regional instability, sponsoring local wars, assassinations of uncooperative leaders, causing artificial food shortages, and supporting opposition parties to foment social and political unrest, cause enough confusion and chaos which allow raw materials to be siphoned out of the poor countries. Not only have the resources of the poor nations of the south enhanced the wealth of the countries of the north, but they have also significantly altered the patterns of life and internal relations. Colonialism not only extended international trade relations but also completely changed the southern part of our planet. Asia, South America, and Africa were substantially reinvented by European and American greed (Gbedoah 2018). Now, as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, the needs for the inevitable technologisation and digitisation of the economies will mean that Africa with its large reserves of the mineral tantalum will probably become a bloodbath yet again. Tantalum is widely used in cell phones, laptops, and other electronic gadgets. Some (see, e.g. Mukwakwa 2020) suggest that the war that is escalating in Mozambique (with 24% of the world reserves of the mineral) is already a symbol of the struggle for tantalum. Other minerals such as coltan, also used in the manufacture of computer gadgets, are widely available in the DRC, yet another flash point on the continent. The DRC holds about 80% of the world’s reserves in coltan (Mancheri et al., 2018).

The growth of Christianity Christianity contributed substantially to the colonisation of nations of the global south. It served as a major force in both the partition and eventual colonisation of Africa and other parts of the world Bevans (2013). Catholicism and Protestantism almost became state religions of the European colonial powers (see Page and Sonnenburg 2003). In Zimbabwe, for example, the Anglican church represented the state religion just as it did and continues to do in England. In many ways, the relationship between church and state was an entanglement of conflicting ways of working with the establishment and with the indigenous people. On the one hand, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase that the church came with the bible in one hand and the gun in another. The primary mission of the church was to evangelise and convert the indigenous people from what was seen as barbarism, backwardness, and heathenism. Based on the fundamental law of the church that we should love our neighbours as God loves us, the indigenous people were thus prepared for a life of piety, unquestioning attitude and behaviour which contributed and continues to contribute to the passivity of local populations and the readiness to accept anything and everything that the church pronounced. The indigenous people were stripped of their religions, their traditional practices, and their belief systems. For example, their traditional marriages were dismissed as improper and replaced by the

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  7

dominant white wedding solemnised by church ministers. Once children became schoolgoing age, their traditional names were changed to European ones as traditional names were considered to maintain a link with the supposedly bad influences of traditional practices and beliefs. Religion taught two great lessons, obedience and an unquestioning attitude, attributes which served colonial masters well.

Modernity and the period of Enlightenment in Europe Industrialisation of Europe led to the development of modern societies, which enjoyed better food, better health services, readily available information and transportation, and homes with internal heating and lighting, among other trappings linked to being powerful nations (Mouzakitis 2017). The discovery of gunpowder also became a source of enhanced power for the colonialists. Settlers espoused all these trappings, and it became very easy to sell the image of the white man/woman as better human beings compared to indigenous populations who had not begun to experience these developments of modernity in their lives. The fact that whites in industrialising Europe had experienced modernity ahead of global south nations was fully exploited in converting hearts and minds. Almost at the same time, was the age of reason, of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which gave rise to several ideological beliefs which were also exported to the colonised lands. For example, the idea of the nation state became prominent in the period of Enlightenment. When the settlers arrived, the idea of the nation state was not in existence on the continent. At best, we had kingdoms and queendoms and monarchies. Using various methods, especially the divide and rule tactic (Wesseling 1996), the several kingdoms were pitted against each other paving the way for the establishment of nation states under settler rule. Tolerance was also associated with the period of Enlightenment, although this was used more to the benefit of settlers who needed to be tolerated and accepted by the local indigenous populations. Another important dimension to arise from this period was the idea of representative democracy (van Wessel 2009), which led to the establishment of state parliaments with representatives from various communities. The list is long, but these few examples clearly show how traditional life was thoroughly disrupted and effectively replaced by the modern practices of the empires responsible for the settlers who occupied our lands.

The scramble for Africa and the colonies To prevent wars and conflict between and among European nations which wanted to extend their empires for purposes of extracting resources to fuel the industrial revolution back home, the Berlin Conference of 1884–85 met to partition the continent accordingly (Wesseling 1996). Thirteen European countries and the USA met in Berlin to agree on the rules for the colonisation. Key amongst the agreement was the redrawing of a new map of Africa, and different nations in Europe agreed to settle and exploit different parts of the continent. For example,

8  Felix Maringe

England was allocated most of the Southern African region, while the French occupied most of West Africa. The notion of the Dark Continent meant a continent largely unknown to the European settlers, but it was also used pejoratively to imply a backward, uncivilised, dangerous continent waiting to be exploited. Religion and the language of the coloniser were usually the immediate interventions used to capture the attention and complicity of the indigenous populations in the colonising process (Pakenham 1991).

Marxism Marxism, a political and economic theory of society and means of production, grew essentially as a critique of the capitalism that underpinned mechanisms of wealth creation and social relations especially during the industrial revolution. Under capitalism, wealth and economic development are controlled by those who own businesses and industries and who become excessively rich, while the people who work on the production lines are rewarded with barely living wages, and especially in relation to the amounts of skill and knowledge they bring to the production processes. Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels argued that the real value of an economy and hence its wealth should instead be measured in terms of and in relation to the amount of labour deployed in the production process. Essentially, this meant that the factory and industrial workers are the real wealth creators and should therefore be rewarded accordingly. The workers are the real wealth creators, although they are the least recognised in the wealth creation processes. Thus, Marx and Engels created the basis for socialism and communism, ideologies which seek to put wealth into the hands of the workers rather than the factory owners. Marxism is thus seen as a precursor to the idea of decolonisation, largely because the capitalism it seeks to destroy is essentially the other half of the colonial project. When settlers settled on the continent, because of the economic, social, and military capital they brought, they assumed immediate ownership of the resources of the occupied territories, though sometimes through long and protracted negotiation including use of force. From then on, the history of colonialism is intricately intertwined with capitalism through which locals were valued/exploited for their labour while the actual wealth was accumulated disproportionately by the white settlers and externalised to the empires. The history of colonialism, just as the capitalism which underpins it, is thus a story of exploitation, dehumanisation, impoverishment, deculturation, and peripheralisation of local indigenous people. Crucially, although capitalism is a distasteful ideology, it has been kept on life support especially by the new keepers of the post-colonial nations. Even the bulwarks of socialism and communism such as China and Russia have effectively turned towards capitalism as China is now estimated to overtake the USA as an economic power in the next decade or so (see, e.g. Weidenbaum 1996). Today the most frequently repeated idea by students who protest for the decolonisation of higher education is the notion of white monopoly capital, a phrase used to rally people against the continued economic dominance of whites over blacks (Manyi 2017).

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  9

However, while this is happening, the young people are said to be increasingly attracted to Marxist ideologies as sales of Des Capital and the Communist Manifesto are said to be soaring in the biggest metropoles of the world such as in London and New York ( Jeffries 2012 and Holgersen 2020). In a world of incredible wealth in the hands of a few, and an increase in abject poverty amongst working-class communities, Marxism continues to provide relevant analytical tools which support the ideas of decolonisation in our universities.

Colonisation, colonialism, and decolonisation We treat these terms in the same space as each of them cannot be understood properly without the others. In a sense, we have already dealt adequately with the notions of colonialism and colonisation in the preceding sections of this chapter. World relations are created on the bases of power and influence. Economic power is the most important of all the other power bases. The richer nations become, the more power and influence they wield in world politics and relations. Economic power enables such nations as the USA, the countries of the EU, and China to have a big voice at World Economic and UN forums. The notion of empire-building (Gantchev et al. 2020) is instructive in the context of colonisation and colonialism. Empire-building refers to the collective and individual actions of nations or international organisations in terms of expanding their territorial influence through coercive acquisition of resources, land, and people, aimed at expanding their economies, power, and influence on the world stage. During industrial times, trade was largely based on the export of excess goods in Europe to other nations in exchange for what the other nations could provide. However, with industrialisation, two things happened. Industrialising countries now needed to stimulate demand in otherwise unprepared nations of the global south in Africa and South America, for example. This required influencing other nations to adopt alien cultural values, beliefs, and practices. Education and religion were suitable vehicles for this cultural transformation. This led to the export of western educational models through which indigenous populations were trained to accept the values of the colonisers and hence their goods, thus creating expanded markets for the goods produced on industrial scales in Europe and America. The second dimension was related to the ‘discovery’ of minerals and other products in the colonised nations. Through combinations of forced labour and severely underpaid work, local people were coerced into the hard labour activities of digging up valuable minerals from the ground, supporting agricultural production and construction activities as the employment economy became a more and more attractive option for eking out livelihoods on the continent. Local people thus were absorbed into colonial economies in which they traded their labour for miniscule financial reward. This exploitative relationship has persisted for hundreds of years over the colonial period to the present, despite some changes following the attainment of political independence and sovereignty (Raftopoulos 2017).

10  Felix Maringe

Therefore, while colonisation is the act of exercising power and subjugating indigenous people into servitude to the empire, colonialism is the phenomenon, the ideology which is based on a belief of the superiority of the white races over the indigenous races which facilitated exploitative relationships designed to transfer economic resources from the natives to the settlers and their empires. Effectively, indigenous populations were subjected to several injustices including cognitive, cultural, social, and economic injustices. Many post-colonial writers deal with these injustices in various ways, such as in poetry and other literary forms, in novels and plays, and in other forms of scholarly texts. There is limited space in this chapter to deal only with cognitive violence as it is most closely connected with colonial education and higher education.

Colonial education: A relentless experience of cognitive violence We briefly describe ten educational injustices associated with the education of indigenous people under colonialism: 1. Colonial education systems are essentially bifurcated systems (LeVasseur 2015) based on racially motivated differentiated provision. The system that served white kids was substantially well resourced and taught a different curriculum which prepared the young white kids for leadership in the economy. 2. Indigenous populations were subjected to inferior forms of education based on memorisation and indoctrination designed to create unquestioning and uncritical servants in largely menial occupations. The most well-educated local kids would at best become teachers, policemen/women, or nurses. 3. English or other foreign languages, depending on the coloniser, was used as the medium of instruction and communication in schools. This took away the advantage of cognitive access and development from local kids who lacked the linguistic and cultural capital to understand concepts in class. 4. Local languages were effectively banned from the curriculum, and when they were transmitted, these were taught as subjects and not as means of instruction. In many cases, local languages were taught in foreign languages, thus stripping them of their nuances and cultural intricacies as they were made to conform to the dictates of foreign language learning and understanding. 5. School leaders and principals of local children’s schools were not trained professionally as leaders. In many cases, school headmasters were selected because of their demonstrated strength of religious faith. This meant that schools for local children were not properly led and leaders could not transmit the needed value to promote cognitive learning in children. 6. Because of poor teaching and pedagogical training of teachers, including pervasive lack of educational resources, learners usually exited phases of learning with severe reading and literacy deficits which rendered them virtually non-functional in the modern society that was being created by the settlers. 7. Most schools for the indigenous children had high levels of educational wastage in the form of non-completion of educational cycles, dropping out of school,

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  11

poor learning outcomes for most learners, poor progression statistics and low levels of uptake in the employment sectors. 8. Most summative or terminal examinations for the local children were designed, set, and administered by national governments while white kids had options available to sit international examinations which would allow them to progress to international institutions upon completion. 9. Indigenous children were subjected to an arts-dominated curriculum with learning in science limited to studies in hygiene and drawing of insects and their life cycles; while mathematical knowledge was largely delivered through watered-down courses in Arithmetic where kids essentially learnt to add and subtract and rarely to divide and multiply. Local kids were thus excluded from the economically powerful subjects such as in the STEM curricula. 10. Resources for disabled children of all forms were severely underdeveloped in the poor schools of the local children, thus making schooling an exercise in discrimination and exclusion for the disadvantaged local learners. While many changes have occurred to schooling in post-colonial nations, studies show that in countries such as South Africa, for example, the patterns of disadvantage in education continue to trace the contours of race, privilege, and class. Calls to decolonise education in post-colonial nations often cite these persistent injustices, among others, emanating from the economy and the condition of poverty that continues to blight most of the indigenous populations.

Decolonisation ‘Decolonisation’ is an amorphous term with meanings ranging widely from attempts to indigenise the curriculum; to making education a basic human right which is fee free; to Africanising the curriculum; to removing all colonial vestiges and symbols from education; to centralising the use of local languages as official languages of communication and as the medium of instruction; to creating pedagogic and epistemic justice in education and to promoting inclusivity in education. In the specific area of research and knowledge production, decolonisation also calls for equitable partnerships and collaboration; new patterns of knowledge dissemination; transformed ethical processes which take account of research subjects as co-producers of knowledge rather than anonymised and peripheralised subjects; and different ways of conceptualising research leadership and management especially in NorthSouth collaborative formations. Each of these perspectives is based on different sets of assumptions and rationales. Our analysis however shows four clear dimensions around which the decolonisation of higher education seems to be premised: 1.

Transforming the physical elements of the academy: this includes renaming of buildings, university roads, laboratories, libraries and lecture rooms, bringing down colonial artefacts such as statues and signages and reforming university ceremonies and celebrations to embrace traditional values and processes amongst others. This is well underway within many post-colonial universities

12  Felix Maringe


and has largely been enabled by new university transformation committees and senior management structures created to oversee this important dimension of the decolonisation of universities in these parts of the world. While the physical dimension of transformation in higher education is important, it is not the be-all and end-all the sectors transformational agenda. Transforming university funding mechanisms: in many post-colonial societies, as a direct result of years of the colonial legacies, the existence of classes remains deeply entrenched as the differences widen and strengthen. In South Africa, four such classes co-exist precariously. On the upper end are the supper rich, comprising largely of whites who own almost 95% of the country’s wealth. Below this group are what may be called the upper middle class, comprising of professionals and captains of industry and with an increasing representation of blacks, whose children attend some of the best schools in the country. Then a third layer comprises lower-middle-class citizens, most of who are blacks, often referred to as the missing middle whose financial resources hover precariously on the margins. At the bottom is the largest group of working/non-working class who earn minimum living wages and survive on government support to supplement costs of living. While the top two classes can afford university fees, the two lower groups are generally unable to afford university fees for their children. While there has been a raft of policies for funding the poor students (Naidoo and McKay 2018), the missing middle are often left struggling under the burden of debt and usually are unable to register for courses because of mounting debt to the universities. In South Africa, the missing middle students owe tens of billions of Rands to the universities and are always facing deregistration from their programmes of study at the start of each academic year. In 2015–2016, during the Rhodes and Fees Must Fall protests (Heleta 2016), students made it clear they wanted a fee-free university education for all. Government responded by offering a ‘learn now, pay later’ scheme to all students whose family met the means-tested criteria for financial support. Students who could pay were required to do so, and this was done on the belief that providing government support to all students would widen the opportunity gap between the poor and the rich students. It seems as if there is need for a fresh look at the efficacy of the means-tested model and especially how it adversely affects the missing middle students. In a country with the widest wealth differentials in the world, university funding mechanisms have the tendency to exacerbate rather than narrow the opportunity gap between the rich and the poor. We think that the funding formula for university education should not just be between government, students, and parents; it must include business, commerce and industry including the public service who draw directly from the skills and knowledge of university graduates. Depending on historical and current needs, these organisations should be required to contribute to the education of university students on whose contribution they depend for business success.

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  13



Transforming the knowledge production dimension: by knowledge production, we specifically refer to the critical area of research as the cornerstone of the purpose of the university. There are three major obstacles which have made it difficult to reform research and knowledge production in universities. The first obstacle is an almost-universal acceptance that science is the only way through which truth and reality can be built and understood (Mazzocchi 2006). Anything else that is shown to be unscientific is scoffed at as mere hearsay, fiction, and incredulous. This has pushed away other forms of meaning making into obscure and often irretrievable spaces. The second obstacle, which is closely related to the first, is the dominance of western epistemic models, especially the position of eminence that quantitative research occupies over other ways of knowing. If you cannot put a number to it, then the knowledge is only second rate and cannot be used to generalise. However, generalisation is not the be-all and end-all of knowledge. Much of what has gone wrong in the world, especially in the post-colonial world, has been the uncritical acceptance of western prescriptions as a one-size-fits-all solution to all the world’s problems. A current case in point is the adoption of western-manufactured vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic with little or no tests conducted to measure contextual efficacy of the vaccines. Similarly, the adoption of online teaching as a strategy for ensuring the continuity of learning following university closures, in early 2020, happened with no due consideration to the adverse impact of this strategy on poor students (Maringe, Chiramba, Pournara, Ndlovu and Magabane 2020). The third obstacle is the uncritical acceptance of the research ethics protocols which effectively anonymises and pushes research participants out of the equation of knowledge production. We think this is blatant knowledge capitalism, through which the real knowledge producers are not given due recognition in the advances in knowledge and knowledge production scientists make. Much work also needs to be done in research partnerships, where important knowledge production always seems to require policing by western scholars. Even South-South Partnerships almost always need a northern partner to qualify for funding. Transforming university curricula dimension: teaching and learning constitute a significant dimension of the role of universities. University undergraduate programmes, which cater for between 60% and 85% of students on most campuses are largely teaching oriented while postgraduate programmes are more research oriented.

We adopt a broad conceptualisation of the notion of curriculum to mean the entirety of the educational experience of students undertaking university programmes of instruction and not just the syllabuses and course materials, which are however an important part of this experience. We also identify, along with Tyler (1949), the curriculum as a four-dimensional process comprising purposes, content, teaching and learning/pedagogies, and assessment, and argue that decolonised

14  Felix Maringe

curricula need to interrogate, as a starting point, these four critical dimensions. Such an interrogation must be based on guiding questions and principles such as the following: What worthwhile knowledge is important or worth including in the curriculum and why? What pedagogical principles will meet the needs for epistemic justice especially given the diverse backgrounds of the students? How will the curriculum and assessment be designed to meet the requirements for equity of outcomes across all student groups? The inherited discipline-focused teaching and learning, still prevalent in our universities, must be interrogated. While disciplines should not be abandoned, they only provide partially educated future citizens who are not well placed to grapple with the very complex nature of life, relations, and issues of co-existence (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2013). As a bare minimum, decolonised curricula should allow students to study courses beyond the confines of their major disciplines and obtain credits for knowledge developed in problem-solving and entrepreneurial cross-disciplinary formations in the universities (Heleta 2016). These ideas need to be tried and tested in our universities to elevate them from the status of utopia to working models through which we can transform university curricula in the period of the decolonial turn (Tlostanova & Mignolo 2009 and Grosfoguel 2007). Without trying these new ideas and without deliberately using a subaltern lens (see Mallon 1994 and Escobar 2007) to interrogate the status of the university curricula, there is ever a sense in which the status quo will not be transformed. The notion of the preservation of the status quo is at the heart of the notions of coloniality and decoloniality to which we now turn.

Coloniality and decoloniality The terms ‘coloniality’ and ‘decoloniality’ were brought into the lexicon by Maldonado-Torres (2006), who outlined ten theses of coloniality and decoloniality. We shall not repeat these here as they are well covered and illustrated in the work cited above. Essentially, coloniality happens at individual, organisational, and systemic levels where these entities, despite an acknowledgement for the need to transform, exhibit a stubborn resistance towards transforming the colonial conditions. It is thus a tendency to revert to the former colonial status. We propose six important reasons the three entities show tendencies towards the maintenance of the colonial condition: 1. Firstly, individuals, organisations, and systems are generally most productive in conditions of stability rather than in conditions of change (Fagerberg 2000), which tends to threaten the integrity of the production system. The inherited systems and processes, despite having been designed to serve the needs of minority segregated groups, are generally accepted as having the capacity to deliver the same excellence with minor tweaks here and there but not with wholesale fundamental changes. 2. Secondly, individuals, organisations, and systems generally do not prioritise budgets for transformation as they do for enhanced productivity. They would

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  15





rather spend money tinkering on the edges of change and especially invest in processes that are deemed to yield more profits both in the short term and in the long term (Fagerberg 2000). Thirdly, individuals, organisations, and systems are generally fearful of change as it requires them to de/deskill and reskill which tend to require time and financial investment of their part (Hagman and Glimskog 2015). Fourthly, intended changes often have generalised support from employees who see these as progressive and, in the case of decolonising organisations, liberating and identity restoring. However, the details and intricacies of the proposed changes are often very unclear and so tend to increase people’s apprehension about what and how to change. While there is support for the why of change, there is often less clarity, agreement, and support about the how of change (Albertus 2019). Fifthly, the simple fact of the hegemony and attractiveness of the western canon bears heavily on people’s minds and sense of being in the world and constitutes what is seen and understood to deliver the highest quality in the higher education sector. This is reinforced by the annual university league tables on which the best universities in the world are those which represent the best of the western tradition and practices in higher education (Masaka 2018). Sixthly, there is also substantial ambivalence amongst western sectors of higher education about how transformation in global south institutions will impact their own systems. The tendency to dismiss transformational aspirations in the global south translates in inertia and unwillingness to collaborate in knowledge production. Sardar (2010) has eloquently written that the discourses emanating from the west work to ensure the entrenchment of structural dominance over other emerging discourses.

Three dimensions of coloniality have been recognised in the scholarship of decolonisation. The first dimension is the coloniality of power (Quijano 2000), a mechanism to control four aspects of our lives: the economy, so that it always behaves in ways which benefits some people more than others; control of authority, including military power, seen in ways in which world supremacy in the structures is designed to maintain world peace and where the possession of nuclear arsenals is strictly controlled in the hands of world superpowers and denied to others considered as undeserving of wielding this kind of power and influence; control of gender and sexuality, through which institutions such as the family are defined including the right of passage to positions of power and influence of different genders and sexualities; and finally, control of subjectivity and knowledge, which includes the centrality of epistemological dominance which ensures the peripheralisation of other ways of knowing including post-colonial epistemes (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2012). The second dimension is the coloniality of knowledge, which includes systematised ways of entrenching the dominance of western ways of knowing and understanding through which the world can be constructed and deconstructed. Anything else which does not conform to the western canon is kept out of the way

16  Felix Maringe

in peripheral and obscure storage, far away from the gaze of the civilised world and those who wield power in the academy (Maldonado-Torres 2006). The third dimension is the coloniality of being in the sense of hierarchies of human identities and in the sense of how other identities should be perceived and understood. This is expressed at multiple levels. Within the microcosm of the nation state, taking South Africa as an example, whiteness represents the highest form of being, followed by a darker shade of white amongst the Asian beings; the coloureds, who, by origin are hybrids of whiteness and blackness and endowed with a lighter shade of black, occupy the third rung in the hierarchies of being. The indigenous black people always occupy the bottom rungs in the hierarchies of being. This was reinforced not only by racial laws but also by where these groups lived, went to school, went to worship, and were entertained and in the types of employment roles they played in society. New hierarchies also play out at the level of nationalities in South Africa as elsewhere. For example, being anything other than South African is frequently seen as undesirable and has often been a source of the vagaries of xenophobia. On a more global level, being European and North American automatically places one in a privileged place. Asians tend to be more acceptable than Africans, who are frequently seen as a burden and curse in the world, as Fanon puts it (Fanon (1961)). Coloniality thus works rather subtly but systematically and effectively to slow down the momentum of change and transformation in post-colonial institutions while always maintaining the dominance of the western canon as the preferred and legitimate lens for viewing issues of educational change and development, of power, of knowledge and of being. Decoloniality is the hardest thing to do. It represents attempts to deal with the barriers to decolonisation. It specifically interrogates the three dimensions of coloniality of power, of knowledge and of being. It represents the highest form of struggle against the powers that have dug in so deeply and firmly and which are determined to entrench the matrices of power and exert their dominance in the world. It seeks to deconstruct and to critique the perceived universality of western knowledge and western culture. It represents a real uphill struggle against a force which has risen like a phoenix, appealing and accepted by many, and often uncritically. It embraces plural forms of liberatory thinking which seek to burst out of the bubble of the western canon. In the geopolitics of knowledge and the colonial difference, Mignolo (2000) notes that decoloniality focuses on attempts to bring a sense of parity in alternative ways of knowing rather than the hierarchisation and privileging of the western canon as the only authentic way of knowing.

Conclusion The conceptual field of decolonisation of higher education is wide and highly contested. At its root is the call for a socially just higher education system, one which is not just open and free to all deserving students, but which, by design and purpose, seeks to level up the field for all to benefit and to access the opportunities

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  17

that it creates. A socially just higher education (Case 2017) is one which, at its very heart, prioritises the conceptualisation and delivery of education as a public good, creating equal opportunities for all who participate in it to access its intended benefits, including the opportunities to succeed, to progress, and to transition in the world of work. Based on principles of distributive and redistributive justice (Fraser 1998), a socially just higher education in the era of the post-colony (Mbembe 2001) seeks to dismantle the edifices of colonialism as it establishes a more equal and fair system which is based on principles of the restoration of people’s pride and identity including a capacity to deliver on their dreams as democratic and productive citizens. At their very heart, decolonised higher education systems have a liberatory intent (Kromydas 2017). They seek to dismantle the chains which violated people’s cognitive talents and which channelled these talents to perfecting social performativity as uncritical, unthinking, and obedient servants of the white masters. It seeks too to free people from the bondage of powerlessness under a dominating and overbearing philosophy which creates in them a mindset of second-class citizenship of dependence and unending poverty and of seeing whiteness as the ultimate destination in human development. Contestations and contradictions in the field of the decolonisation of higher education often relate to the lack of an operational definition of the idea, its emergence and setting on the timelines of historical events, its varied impacts on the lives of indigenous peoples in different geospatial spaces, the absence of models to inform institutional or systemic strategic ambitions and choices, the slipperiness between the various concepts in the field, whether the field should utilise its own lenses to determine its developmental trajectories, and whether critique on its own is a sufficient basis for creating a field of studies. Yet huge opportunities abound too. First is opportunity to fill the gap of understanding in this conceptual jungle. This will however not be achieved by attempting to beat the ideas into some uniform shape but by bringing the different understandings into a space where they can be further refined and where they can begin to demonstrate a much-needed coherence. Secondly, recognising that our compatriots in Latin America have already brought substantial understanding into this field, we hope to contribute to a refinement of contextualised understandings not necessarily to homogenise the field, but to increase its breadth of understanding from wider geospatial spaces. Thirdly, these understandings will become a useful basis for beginning to model the field through which serious institutional and systemic strategies can be developed around the area of decolonising higher education. And finally, if we do not engage ourselves in the contested spaces dominated by the western canon by bringing something to the table, we shall have been fully defeated as perpetual imitators and surrogates of a system that has always sought its dominance and superiority and our servitude and dependence. The ten chapters in this book deal with these aspects from widely distributed geospatial locations, which bring richness and diversity due to the global reach and because of the inherent quality of the analyses they bring to the topic of the precursors to decolonisation.

18  Felix Maringe

As indicated earlier in this chapter, the aim has never been to provide a comprehensive analysis of the conceptual field of decolonisation. More than anything else, the chapter has exposed our limited understanding of this vastly expansive conceptual field. We however argue, a limited understanding is better that no understanding at all. As the authors of the different chapters pour into these ideas in different ways, we hope to have shed more light on this complex and contested idea of the decolonisation of higher education. We hope readers will enjoy this instalment.

A synopsis of the chapters in the book Chapter 2 is titled ‘Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?’. Kariwo argues that recently Canadian higher education has been shifting from a liberal education to a more neoliberal one. He therefore sets out to examine the values and purposes of higher education in Canada and the changes that have been taking place. The study is framed within two theories of neoliberalism and post-structuralism. Findings show that academic capitalism is apparent in higher education institutions and suggested new models that prioritise multicultural ­policy and ideology. Chapter 3 is titled Long road to decolonization of neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education. Heleta argues that the post-apartheid university has shifted its focus from redress, social and epistemic justice and decolonisation, to commodification, profit-making and chasing a place in the global knowledge economy. He further argues that in order to shift back the focus to the original plan of transforming and decolonising higher education, there is a need to interrogate neoliberalisation and corporatisation of higher education and the Eurocentric epistemic hegemony. Chapter 4 is titled Cwélelep: Dissonance and new learning at the University of Victoria. Williams and Hall argue that all over the world there is a domination of Western European knowledge over all other knowledge systems. As a result, they focus on the need to redress the legacy of epistemicide relating to Indigenous knowledge systems and world-views. They provided contextual examples of what Victoria University has been able to do in creating several innovative and unique Indigenous academic programmes in their quest to move forward the decolonial agenda. Recommendations and implications are drawn from experiences shared by stakeholders from the university. Chapter 5 is titled Decolonization and internationalization of higher education in Vietnam: A historical perspective. Bui and Tran argue that although Vietnam has made notable changes in transforming higher education, its internationalisation activities are still fragmented and unsustainable. They further argue that there are various complexities that hinder progress and development and propose that there is need for an appropriately tailored model of internationalisation for the country. Chapter 6 is titled The politics of knowing in African universities: A search for decolonised epistemologies. In this chapter, Ndofirepi argues that universities have been dragged into the challenges of the politics of knowledge including contestations

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  19

around development, empowerment, transformation and democracy. Given this, he seeks to theorise the challenges and opportunities of the politics of knowledge in the context of post-colonial states in the South and contextualise the discourse in the realm of African universities’ endeavour to transform epistemologies in higher education in the twenty-first century. He concluded that if African universities are to hold their name in esteem, there is a need for them to re-contextualise and transform to emancipate knowledge systems and curricula in the post-colonial African university. Chapter 7 is titled The decolonization of history at the universities of Malaysia and Singapore: Historical and philosophical antecedents. Blackburn discusses decolonisation in the context of Malaysia and Singapore. He argues that the two countries underwent two forms of decolonisation at the same time, and these are political and intellectual decolonisation. Political decolonisation had definite ending when they attained independence, but intellectual decolonisation is still ongoing. A new lens that tried to write and teach history so that history was seen through the eyes of people of the region was developed and considered as a positive move to intellectual decolonisation. Chapter 8 is titled Australian higher education: God bless you if it’s good to you. Chivaura seeks to present an informed twenty-first-century view of the state of racial affairs in Australian academia, research communities and the wider education landscape. In doing so, she deploys the theories of Stuart Hall and Franz Fanon as her theoretical framework. She argues that there are racial disparities in academia, and although she acknowledges the impactful research done, she argues that individuals from black African backgrounds are discriminated against and sparsely placed in academic research. Chapter 9 is titled From the ideal to non-ideal: Towards decolonized higher education in Africa. Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu deploys a perspective critical of ‘hybridization’ approaches to decolonisation that generally caution against centring and emphasising African elements in the name of averting essentialism. The author argues that meaningful and practical decolonisation of African higher education should necessarily involve the centring of commonly shared but presently marginalised elements of African-ness, such as vernacular languages, that have normative and utilitarian value that ought to be actively affirmed. He further argues that successful and meaningful centring of African epistemologies and pedagogy cannot be achieved by the African university alone but through engaging regional cooperation under which regional universities should collaborate and make up for the deficiencies that make coloniality thrive in modern higher education. Ultimately, decolonisation of higher education is as much an epistemological as it is a regional politics matter. Chapter 10 is the last chapter and is titled Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited: A reflection on emerging themes. Maringe and Chiramba synthesise the evidence that cut across the preceding nine chapters and explore further six themes which they thought were significant but usually used in a taken-for-granted way in the existing literature. They argue that further and in-depth interrogation of these

20  Felix Maringe

significant themes will not only expand our understanding of the idea of decolonisation but will also bring new ways of seeking knowledge in the field of higher education.

References Achebe, C. (2000). Africa’s tarnished name. Multiculturalism and Hybridity in African Literatures: Annual Selected Papers of the ALA, 7, 13–24. Albertus, M. (2019). The fate of former authoritarian elites under democracy. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 63(3), 727–759. Bevans, S. (2013). A century of catholic mission: Roman Catholic missiology 1910 to the present (Vol. 15). Regnum. Britannica Encyclopedia (2021), Opium trade at opium-trade accessed 20 September 2021. Carini, L. (1969). The theory of symbolic transformations. Acta Psychologica, 31, 1–44. Case, J. M. (2017). Higher education and social justice: Engaging the normative with the analytical. London. Centre for Global Higher Education. Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The Building of the Democratic Tradition in South Africa’s mocratisation, 11(3), 133–158. Davies, L. (2021). Yaba housing scheme and the colonial ‘re-planning’ of Lagos, 1917–1952. Planning Perspectives, 37, 267–292. DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2021.1936139 Dubois, N. (Ed.). (2003). A sociocognitive approach to social norms (pp. 978–0415257268). London: Routledge. Escobar, A. (2007). Worlds and knowledges otherwise: The Latin American modernity/ coloniality research program. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 179–210. Fagerberg, J. (2000). Technological progress, structural change and productivity growth: A comparative study. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 11(4), 393–411. Fanon, F. (1961). The wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove. Fraser, N. (1998). Social justice in the age of identity politics: redistribution, recognition and participation. Salt Lake City: The Tanner Lectures in Human Values. Retrieved May 18 2006 from [Google Scholar]. Gantchev, N., Sevilir, M., & Shivdasani, A. (2020). Activism and empire building. Journal of Financial Economics, 138(2), 526–548. Gbedoah, R. (2018) On Colonialism and development- why underdevelopment of the south cannot be delinked from the experience of the past, African Journal of Governance and Development, 7(1) June 2018. Grosfoguel, R. (2007). The epistemic decolonial turn: Beyond political-economy paradigms. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 211–223. Hagman, J., & Glimskog, G. (2015). Scrutinizing the Barriers to Organizational Change: Analyzing the Soft Barriers to Change from an External Change Agent Perspective. Heleta, S. (2016). Decolonisation of higher education: Dismantling epistemic violence and Eurocentrism in South Africa. Transformation in Higher Education, 1(1), 1–8. Holgersen, S. (2020). On spatial planning and Marxism: Looking back, going forward. Antipode, 52(3), 800–824. Jeffries, I. (2012). North Korea, 2009-2012: a guide to economic and political developments. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Kromydas, T. (2017). Rethinking higher education and its relationship with social inequalities: past knowledge, present state and future potential. Palgrave Communications, 3(1), 1–12.

The conceptual ‘jungle’ of the decolonisation of higher education  21

LeVasseur, T. (2015). Decentering whiteness, growing racial equity, and rethinking the call to “Decolonize” sustainability in higher education. Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. RESJ-2021-Anthology-Essay-2.pdf Maldonado-Torres, N. (2006). Cesaire’s gift and the decolonial turn. Radical Philosophy Review, 9(2), 111–138. Mallon, F. E. (1994). The promise and dilemma of subaltern studies: perspectives from Latin American history. The American Historical Review, 99(5), 1491–1515. Mancheri, N. A., Sprecher, B., Deetman, S., Young, S. B., Bleischwitz, R., Dong, L., … & Tukker, A. (2018). Resilience in the tantalum supply chain. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 129, 56–69. Manyi, W. (2017). Role of Parliamentary Institutions in International Relations: the Case of Parliament of Kenya (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nairobi). Maravanyika, O.E. (1985) The preparation of secondary school teachers at the University of Zimbabwe. In C. Chikombah, E. Johnston, A. Schneller & J. Schwille (Eds.), Education in the new Zimbabwe (pp. 97–105). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press. Maringe, F., Chiramba, O., Pournara, C., Ndlovu, N. & Magabane, A. (2020). The quality of home learning in low-income family households, unpublished commissioned report for the ZENEX Foundation, Johannesburg. Masaka, D. (2018). The prospects of ending epistemicide in Africa: Some thoughts. Journal of Black Studies, 49(3), 284–301. Mazzocchi, F. (2006). Western science and traditional knowledge: Despite their variations, different forms of knowledge can learn from each other. EMBO reports, 7(5), 463–466. Mbembe, A. (2001). On the post-colony. California: University of California Press. Mbembe, A. (2015). Decolonizing knowledge and the question of the archive, Witwatersrand: Wits University. Mignolo W 2000 Local histories/global designs: coloniality, subaltern knowledges and border thinking, Princeton NJ: University of Princeton Press. Miller, R. G. (1966). Simultaneous statistical inference. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. Mkono, M. (2019). Neo-colonialism and greed: Africans’ views on trophy hunting in social media. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(5), 689–704. Mouzakitis, A. (2017). Modernity and the Idea of Progress. Frontiers in Sociology, 2, 3. Mukwakwa, P. C. (2020). Mozambique: Conflict insight. Naidoo, A., & McKay, T. J. M. (2018). Student funding and student success: A case study of a South African university. South African Journal of Higher Education, 32(5), 158–172. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2012). Coloniality of power in development studies and the impact of global imperial designs on Africa. Australasian Review of African Studies, The, 33(2), 48–73. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2013). Coloniality of power in postcolonial Africa: African Books Collective. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 55(3), 429–445. Page, M. E., & Sonnenburg, P. M. (2003). Colonialism: an international, social, cultural, and political encyclopedia (Vol. 1). Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. Pakenham, T. 1991. The scramble for Africa, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Quijano, A. (2000). Coloniality of power and Eurocentrism in Latin America. International Sociology, 15(2), 215–232. Raftopoulos, M. (2017). Contemporary debates on social-environmental conflicts, extractivism and human rights in Latin America. The International Journal of Human Rights, 21(4), 387–404. Ramantswana, H. (2017). Decolonial reflection on the landlessness of the Levites. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 158, 72–91.

22  Felix Maringe

Sardar, Z. (2010). The Namesake: Futures; futures studies; futurology; futuristic; foresight— What’s in a name?. Futures, 42(3), 177–184. Seroto, J. (2011). Indigenous education during the pre-colonial period in southern Africa. Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, 10(1), 77–88. Tlostanova, M., & Mignolo, W. (2009). Global coloniality and the decolonial option. Kult, 6(Special Issue), 130–147. Tyler, R. W. (1949). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. [Twenty-ninth impression, 1969] Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Van Wessel, M. (2009, April). Citizens and Problems of Representative Democracy. In PSA Conference (pp. 7–9), Manchester. wa Thiong’o, N. (1997). Enactments of power: The politics of performance space. TDR, 41(3), 11–30. Weidenbaum, M. (1996). Greater China: The next economic superpower. In The dynamic American firm (pp. 79–87). Boston, MA: Springer. Wesseling, H. L. (1996). Divide and rule: the partition of Africa, 1880–1914. Manchester, UP: Praeger Publishers, Williams, Patric. Ngugi waThiong’o: Contemporary World Writers. 1999.


Introduction If we consider the role of higher education from a functionalist perspective, then we will be evaluating it using values and purposes of higher education in a country. One is tempted to use an economics approach and therefore consider costs and benefits. However, this approach negates a fundamental essence of higher education which I discuss later in the chapter under the classical and liberal view of higher education. It also negates the realities in terms of social justice by failing to provide reasonable access to marginalized groups. Canada is a federalist nation and is made up of ten provinces and three territories, of which Alberta is the fourth largest province. The British North American Act of 1867 became the constitutional document that determined federal and provincial government areas of responsibility and gave the provinces jurisdiction for the administration of education. Historically and presently, the federal government has channelled money to post-secondary programmes, but the administration of higher education has remained the responsibility of the provinces. Because of the constitutional division of powers that have maintained the right of the provinces to control education, Canada remains one of the few countries in the world that does not have a national office of education (Hauserman & Stick, 2005). Higher education in Canada is very much decentralized and institutions are autonomous. The system is very diverse and includes a range of post-secondary institutions from colleges to universities. There are marked differences between the large research-intensive institutions and the smaller ones that focus mainly on teaching. Whether large or small, all institutions face increasingly tighter budgets and reduced revenues. In 2017, 68% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 attained some form of post-secondary education, which is 24% above the OECD average of 44%. It is in this context that I discuss the role of higher education in Canada. DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-2

24  Michael Kariwo

Giroux (2009) noted that in the age of money and profit, academic subjects gain stature almost exclusively through their exchange value on the market. This trend is evident in Canadian higher education where the provincial governments are gaining more control; they are cutting university budgets, resulting in higher tuition fees. Higher education is becoming a privilege rather than a right. Many working-class students either find it impossible financially to enter college or have to drop out because of increased costs. Those students who have the resources to stay in school are feeling the tight pressures of the job market, and they rush to take courses and receive professional credentials in business and the biosciences as the humanities lose majors and downsize. Not surprisingly, students are now referred to as ‘customers,’ while some university presidents even argue that professors be labeled as ‘academic entrepreneurs’. (p. 16) As higher education is corporatized, young people find themselves on campuses that look more like malls, and they are increasingly taught by professors who are hired on a contractual basis, have obscene workloads and can barely make enough money to pay the loans for their cars. Tenured faculty are now called upon to generate grants, establish close partnerships with corporations and teach courses that have practical value in the marketplace. There is little in this vision of the university that imagines young people as anything other than fodder for the corporation or an appendage of the national security state. What was once the hidden curriculum of many universities – the subordination of higher education to capital – has now become an open and much celebrated policy of both public and private higher education (Table 2.1). Harris (1976) described Canadian higher education as sui generis. It has characteristics that distinguishes it from other higher education systems such as those in the USA and Great Britain or Australia. Having made the claim that Canadian TABLE 2.1 Number of students enrolled in post-secondary

institutions in Canada in 2018–19, by province Province

Number of Students

Alberta Manitoba Saskatchewan Prince Edward Island Ontario Nova Scotia British Columbia New Brunswick Quebec NewFoundland and Labrador Territories Total

200,391 63,186 59,130 7,455 889,269 54,495 295,294 26,790 530,367 24,795 4,047 2,155,219

Source: Statista (2021).

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  25

Universities are sui generis, he goes on to acknowledge the functions of a university which include teaching, research and service. This leads me to conclude that any definition of higher education hinges upon these main functions. Harris also acknowledges that the early Canadian universities were transplants from England, Scotland and France. Indirectly he was admitting that universities do not reinvent themselves but imitate each other in some isomorphic way. Jones (2014) reported that the first colleges were created by colonial legislatures. The first King’s College was founded in Windsor (Nova Scotia) in 1789, and the College of New Brunswick was created in Fredericton in 1800. McGill College emerged in Montreal in 1821, supported by funds from the estate of James McGill. King’s College at York (later Toronto) was awarded a charter from the British Crown in 1827. Jones also reported on the establishment of non-public institutions. In the 1840s, a number of colleges with direct denominational affiliations were created, including Queen’s College (Presbyterian), Acadia College (Baptist) and Victoria College (Methodist) in 1841. Private denominational colleges, created and supported by specific church organizations, became the dominant institutional model for higher education until the end of the century.

Classical view of higher education The traditional university had as its values and purposes the training of students to “ascend” into the higher echelons of knowledge formation. Funding was not an issue as this was bone by the state. Some scholars have described this phase as one of the “ivory towers”. It was pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

Theoretical framework I use an intersection of neoliberalism and post-structuralism as a theoretical framework and basis of analysis. Neoliberalism has pillars in globalization and market-driven, as well as commodification of, education. Post-structuralism is useful in capturing sites of resistance. There is evidence of forms of academic capitalism. The implications suggest more inequity and marginalization of those who are marginalized and those from low-income families including new immigrants and First Nations and Aboriginal people A structuralist explanation can account for both the centralist and the decentralist direction of change in Western democracies. In Canada, decentralization has been the strategy in institutional changes. Canada is a diverse country, and centralization would not be advantageous. Using Marxism, one finds an explanation that relies on the dichotomy between the social base and the institutional superstructure (Erk and Koning, 2010). They argue that a linguistic social base is the key to understanding and explaining how institutions change. “Put simply, it is our contention that institutions change to reach a better fit with the underlying structural base. The direction for institutional change in federal systems with territorially based linguistic heterogeneity is decentralization” (Erk and Konong, p. 355).

26  Michael Kariwo

Marx, Weber and Durkheim are sociologists who analyse change or resistance to change in institutions. Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist and literary critic. Foucault’s theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions. His work falls under “structuralism”. Higher education policies emanate from the influence of governments since they control the budget. Implementation influences the behaviour and performance of institutions. Employing structuralism or post-structuralism to the analysis is therefore relevant. Higher education policy involves regulation “all regulation involves the suppression, marginalization, or repudiation of alternative ways of being, while ‘encouraging’ other realities” (Hunt 1993, p. 314). Further, regulation is constitutive or productive, following Foucault’s arguments about the nature of power relations: it actively constitutes aspects of our subjective and social reality that we take to be unproblematic (Frauley, 2012). Giroux states that part of the challenge in higher education is to rethink and affirm the important presuppositions that higher education is integral to fostering the imperatives of inclusive democracy and that the crisis of higher education must be understood as part of the wider crisis of politics, power and culture (p. 19). Jacques Derrida argued that democracy contains a promise of what is to come and that it is precisely in the tension between the dream and the reality of democracy that a space of agency, critique and education opens up and signals both the normative and the political character of democracy. But democracy also demands a pedagogical intervention organized around the need to create the conditions for educating citizens who have the knowledge and skills to participate in public life, question institutional authority and engage the contradiction between the reality and promise of a global democracy. There are interrelated concepts including accountability of post-secondary institutions, interests of students and parents and other stakeholders and their value of post-secondary education. Other overarching factors are globalization and marketization. Marketization is a shift in post-secondary education from state or government dependence to private sponsorship of education. The user pays. The assumption is that students will shop around for the universities and programmes that suit them best and will be willing to pay the price. The claim that neoliberalism has contributed to the decline, retreat or disappearance of the state previously held is no longer sustainable. Evidence shows that the state or government remains in control of post-secondary education through funding.

The role of the Welfare State In Keynesian Economics, the Welfare State or the government was supposed to be active in intervention in the marketplace and monetary policy to ensure

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  27

economic growth and stability. There are merits in the market model but there are also advantages in state intervention. Both models have significant contributions to development. Keynes’s view that governments should play a major role in economic management marked a break with the laissez-faire economics of Adam Smith, which held that economies function best when markets are left free of state intervention. The role of the state cannot be ignored in democracies because citizens have rights to be protected. In many African countries, tertiary education was primarily funded by the state in the form of grants and scholarships as well as infrastructural development and running expenses.

Neoliberalism vs liberalism Liberalism in higher education embodies Newman’s idea of a university. It is a place where students are trained to be self-directed learners that are independent and confident, and will go out into society and give to society through leadership or through civic duties. The focus was not on skills training but rather on intellectual ascendance to higher education. Neoliberalism has its origins in eighteenth-century liberal political theory and political economy, from where it derives its touchstones. It has been revamped and reworked to be appropriate to these times and geographies, and it is multiple in form in reflection of these expanded geographies. But its core propositions, of the free possessive individual engaging with others through market transactions, remain the touchstone (Hall, Massey & Rustin, 2013). Neoliberalism embodies strategies for economic liberalizations, free trade and open markets. As a concept, it supports the privatization of nationalized industries, deregulation and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society. This paradigm has now been transferred to education systems. The neoliberal state is a new type of state which succeeded the Welfare State. It is based on the assumption that markets are more effective in the production of an efficient education system. The market models increase accountability. The emergence of neoliberalism in higher education has left both the north and south asking questions on the role of higher education. What are the new values and purpose? In the UK, neoliberalism is associated with the Thatcher regime in the mid-1970s. In the USA, the Regan government is linked with the change and in Canada the government of Brian Mulroney. McChesney (1999) stated that neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time – it refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit. It was associated initially with Reagan and Thatcher but has since been adopted in many countries. It is a dominant global political economic trend adopted by political parties of the centre and much of the traditional left as well as the right. These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors. Dougherty and Natow (2019) state that neoliberalism has been a long-standing concern of higher education policymakers and scholars, with many championing

28  Michael Kariwo

it and just as many decrying it. This concern has been due to the fact that neoliberal theory is not just a description of a situation but also a prescription for action. Hence, it has provided the rationale for sweeping reforms in the governance and operation of higher education. Education has been colonized by marketization. The jargon in higher education is characterized by commercial terms such as “products, efficiency and accountability” to cite a few. Students are described as “consumers”. There is a growing tighter link between education and the economic goals of any country. Apple (2000) observes, “Education is seen as a product to be evaluated for its economic utility and as a commodity to be bought and sold like anything else ion the free market” (p. 111). Neoliberalism is a paradigm in which students are considered a form of capital whose role in the shaping of a country’s economy is crucial. Students are therefore prepared for their future role in a market environment marked by competition. Having adopted such a premise, the way universities and colleges are organized has to change. The vice chancellor is now called chief executive officer. His traditional role as an academic with administrative responsibilities has been transformed to an executive role with powers to run the institution without having to depend on the collegium. They are no longer “first among equals”. Salaries of university presidents in Canada are around $300–500K per annum. There is no doubt that the market model in higher education is working in their favour. The administrative hierarchy has also changed with the appointment of executive deans with contracts that have attractive perks. Universities are now required to produce strategic plans which highlight their vision and mission statements and how they will maintain a competitive edge. Public funding is aligned to the value of these plans within a national context. They are also used for evaluation.

Problematizing the market model Issues of equity, gender and minorities are central to accessing higher education. It is therefore essential that a balance is maintained by any country purporting to move into the knowledge economy. Neoliberalism tends to promote individualism yet governments in democratic states are expected to uphold the notion that all citizens have public responsibilities. If markets are aggregates of individual preferences, then tension is created in a democracy where the state is the moderator of public goods. Originally, universities served as public good.

Case studies: Alberta and Ontario Alberta The Alberta provincial government released its 2021 Budget. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic meant less of an austerity budget than many had feared. The coming year will see post-secondary education lose another

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  29

$135 million in provincial government spending on post-secondary operations, with an additional $113 million reduction in 2022–23. This is on top of the $182 million cuts already implemented last year (Alberta Advanced Education, 2021, p. 104). Following the drastic budget cuts by government, the University of Alberta responded by reorganizing its organizational structure. On December 11, 2020, in a historic decision, the Board of Governors adopted the recommendation of General Faculties Council (GFC) to establish three new colleges effective July 1, 2021. These colleges will group 13 of the faculties in a way that will help achieve significant savings in administrative costs. Of equal importance, these new colleges will deepen and diversify the university’s ability to enrich teaching, research and community engagement, especially along interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary lines. The colleges will enhance the university’s ability to address some of the most pressing challenges of this time, including advancing human health and wellness, science that advances knowledge and improves lives, and building a society with justice, equity and opportunity for all. Although grouped, the faculties within each of the colleges will remain, preserving their unique identity and history, with faculty deans having authority over all academic decisions.

The new structure The are three executive deans to lead the colleges, and they will be supported by academic faculty deans in each faculty. The three colleges are Health Sciences; Natural and Applied Sciences; and Social Sciences and Humanities. The three stand-alone faculties are led by academic deans. The new College of Health Sciences will bring together the combined strength of all our health sciences faculties, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, public health, rehabilitation medicine and kinesiology, sport and recreation. This new college will include a total of over 750 faculty members and 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, enabling a new level of interdisciplinary research and teaching that can advance the whole spectrum of human health and wellness in our local communities and around the world. The new College of Natural and Applied Sciences will bring together the combined strength of our faculties of science, engineering, agricultural, life and environmental sciences. This new College will include a total of over 600 faculty members and 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students, spanning the entire range of scientific teaching and research, from pure and fundamental discovery that advances our understanding of the world around us to the direct application of science in a way that can touch and improve all of our lives. The new College of Social Sciences and Humanities will bring together the combined strength of our faculties of arts, education, business and law. This new

30  Michael Kariwo

college will represent a total of 500 faculty members and 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students. From the creative arts and the humanities to education, law and business, this college can take the lead in teaching and research on all dimensions of fostering an inclusive, creative, equitable, just, prosperous, free and democratic society, with opportunity and well-being for all (Figure 2.1). In creating these new colleges, there was care to preserve the unique mission of each of the community-focused faculties, namely the Campus Saint-Jean, Augustana and the Faculty of Native Studies. They will remain as autonomous faculties to preserve and enhance their connections to key communities and partners and, at the same time, will be meaningfully and thoughtfully integrated into the larger vision for the University of Alberta for Tomorrow. As the only Frenchlanguage university-degree programme west of Manitoba, Campus Saint-Jean is at the crossroads of a unique academic, linguistic and cultural life, and will continue to enrich the teaching and research mission of the university. Providing high-quality teaching in an intimate, residence-based setting in Camrose, Augustana, provides a distinctive liberal arts undergraduate experience as a valued part of the university’s offerings. Producing graduates with respect for Indigenous knowledges and educated in Indigenous histories and contemporary issues, the Faculty of Native Studies plays a key role in advancing the university’s core commitment to advancing College of Health

College of Natural and

College of Social Sciences and

Stand alone


Applied Sciences



Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Faculty of Pharmacy Faculty of Nursing

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Arts

Augustana campus

Faculty of Engineering

Faculty of Education

Campus St. Jean

Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences

School of Business

Faculty of Native Studies

School of Public Health Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation FIGURE 2.1 

University of Alberta College model 

Source: University of Alberta

Faculty of Law

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  31

Indigenous teaching and research. As autonomous faculties, each can continue to fulfil its unique community mission and at the same time contribute meaningfully to the larger university mission and vision.

Management structure: new college deans Along with the creation of the colleges, the board approved a management model for the college where it will be led by a collegial Council of Deans, and each college plan will be implemented by a college dean, seconded from and by the existing deans. The college dean will be responsible for the administration of the college and will work closely with and regularly report to the Council of Deans on the progress in implementing the new college. The college deans have been mandated to start the planning process to create the new colleges, including developing shared administrative services and a strategic plan to foster interdisciplinary teaching and research within and between the three colleges. It was anticipated that the new colleges will be in place by July 1, 2021.

Performance-based funding In Alberta, performance-based funding (PBF) in post-secondary was introduced in 1996 (Sharma, 2004). Canadian experiences with performance indicators and their application to PBF in tertiary education tend to vary from province to province. They also vary according to level of institution, that is, community college or university. All public post-secondary institutions in Alberta report annually on a series of 13 indicators including enrolments, graduate satisfaction, graduate employment, administrative expenditures, enterprise revenue, programme completion rates, university transfer success, transferability of courses, programme costs, cost per graduate, enrolment demand and capacity, academic instructional load and space utilization. However, not all 13 measures are used for PBF in Alberta’s community colleges. Only five of the indicators are used to determine the size of the performance-related and annual government grants to the institutions. These five indicators include credit enrolment, graduate satisfaction, graduate employment outcomes, the percentage of all expenditures that support instruction-related activities and the proportion of all revenues that is obtained from sources other than government grants (known as “enterprise revenue”).

Federal funding In Alberta, in the period (1951–52), recommendations from the Massey Commission led to legislation in which the federal government provided grants directly to Canadian post-secondary institutes at a rate of 50 cents per capita. The process of direct funding bypassed provincial administrative hierarchies, and some provinces, most notably Quebec, disagreed with funds flowing directly to institutions that were under provincial control. In response to the issue about autonomy, the federal

32  Michael Kariwo

government’s direct grants for operating expenses shifted to a cost sharing of operating expenses in the 1960s. Transfer and cash payments were channelled through respective provinces, which allowed the federal government to maintain a presence in post-secondary education (Hauserman & Stick, 2005). Federal government cash transfers for post-secondary education in Canada, when measured as a proportion of GDP, have declined from 0.5% of GDP in 1983–84 to 0.19% in 2018–19. Despite significant student enrolment growth over the past decade, federal funding has remained stagnant (CAUT, n.d.). An adaptive mechanism adopted by some provinces in Canada as a response to changes in government funding practices is the emergence of the so-called entrepreneurial university (Clark, 1998). In this model, universities seek to become more self-reliant in nature. A number of university systems and individual institutions have moved to embrace PBF in order to encourage this entrepreneurial shift; however, there is some resistance from both faculty and students in some universities because of the inequity issues that arise. Typically, an institution that fully achieves on the performance standards set by the government can receive an additional amount of approximately CAD$1.5 million annually. Thus, the performance funding is only marginal in nature. Although British Columbia does not currently allocate funds to tertiary education institutions on the basis of performance, nevertheless it is moving in that direction. The province has been routinely collecting information on a number of key performance indicators of tertiary education for a number of years and is proposing to reallocate monies between tertiary education institutions using performance measures. The shape of this new PBF system is unknown but a number of tertiary education institutional researchers believe that the provincial government is likely to take a percentage of funds (likely to be less than 10%) from tertiary institutions and allocate them on the basis of performance as is customary in other North American states and provinces. In Alberta, the provincial government decided to scale down on the requirements set for performance funding due to the pandemic. Starting this fall in 2021, 5% of provincial funding to polytechnics, colleges and universities will be contingent on their ability to meet one target. The performance agreements will be for one year instead of multiple years in the original plan. Schools collectively saw a 6.2% public funding drop this year, and expect to lose about 20% of provincial grant money over four years. Nelson (2020) reoted that on 20 January 2020, Advanced Education minister announced that his government will be moving forward with the implementation of a PBF model for post-secondary institutions. He also announced that the government will be negotiating three-year funding agreements with institutions. This briefing summarizes and analyses the referenced announcement. Alberta’s new PBF model will partially come into effect for the 2020–21 fiscal year, and will reach full implementation by the 2022–23 fiscal year. Below are the key specifications that are known about the model at this time: Beginning in 2020–21, 15% of an institution’s funding from the Campus Alberta Grant will be based on performance according to the chosen indicators.

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  33

By 2022–23, this will increase to 40%. At University of Alberta in 2018–19, for example, the Campus Alberta Grant was $671.3 million, or 34% of the university’s revenue. Other grants from the provincial government provided another $275.3 million, or 14% of revenue. At full implementation, 15–20 metrics will be used as indicators. These will be phased in over the course of three years, and not all will be considered immediately on Day 1 of implementation. The following metrics were cited as examples by the government: (1) graduate employment rate, (2) median graduate income, (3) graduate skills and competencies, (4) work-integrated learning opportunities, (5) administrative expense ratio, (6) sponsored research revenue, (7) enrolment (including potential targets for domestic students, international students and under-represented learners). A portion of the PBF will be tied to each metric. If an institution falls short of its targets for a given metric, a portion of the funding tied to that metric will be taken away. Metrics will be weighted differently for each institution, depending on their mandates and areas of focus. For example, research-based metrics are likely to be given more weighting at universities than at polytechnic institutions At each institution, administration and students will each be able to identify a metric that they would like to see included in Investment Management Agreements alongside PBF. The government will also introduce three-year investment management agreements. Each institution will enter into a unique agreement with the government, which will detail the amount of funding that will be provided in provincial grants over the specified three-year period. This is in contrast to the current approach, wherein funding is announced on a year-by-year basis in conjunction with the unveiling of each year’s provincial budget. Some metrics may give institutions an incentive to “game the system”: e.g., being more selective in admissions, with the assumption that top applicants will be more likely to finish their degrees on time and earn more post-graduation. This model can only result in system-wide funding to post-secondary institutions going down; even if an institution can be judged as being “deserving” of a funding clawback, there is no mechanism to keep the lost funding within the post-secondary system (e.g. recirculating to other institutions, or financial aid). The “all stick, no carrot” approach means that institutions will be incentivized to “play it safe” and not take chances by innovating in pedagogy, service delivery and so on, out of fear of losing funding. Some proposed metrics are already effectively incentivized by existing systems, making parts of the proposed model redundant: e.g., institutions commonly compete for applicants by showing off their graduate employment and income rates, amongst other things, so they already have an incentive to do what they can to excel here. Inclusion of any metric along the lines of time-to-completion or graduation rates will greatly reduce institutions’ willingness to accommodate students’ transfers between programmes or institutions (Usher, 2020). Automatically punishing underperforming institutions will leave them without resources to address their shortfalls, leading to a death spiral of further performance declines and resulting cuts. Data sources and calculations for metrics are unclear; without fair metrics, which allow institutions to contextualize results, some are at

34  Michael Kariwo

risk of being severely disadvantaged. While the announcement was presented as providing more predictability for institutions, the lack of clarity and detail means that predictability has actually decreased compared to what previously existed (Usher, 2020).

Ontario Ontario has the largest university system in Canada making up about 43% of the total student population. The Ontario government, like Alberta, is also in the process of tying post-secondary funding to performance. Although the ten new metrics are already in place, none of the funding will be at risk until fall 2022. The new models are being driven by politics rather than economics of education. “It’s a macho thing, okay? We’re going to bring these guys to heel. We’re going to make them perform. They’ve been living off the public teat for too long” (Usher, 2020). The Ontario government has signed historic agreements with public colleges and universities that will revolutionize the province’s public post-secondary educational institutions. The move will help students get the education, skills and experience they need to find good jobs by ensuring post-secondary institutions offer programmes that align with labour market demands. In News Ontario (2021), the minister of colleges and universities stated, “Our government believes in making institutions accountable for student success. That’s why we are making sure Ontario’s publicly-assisted postsecondary institutions have a clear mandate that is focused on meeting the needs of students and equipping them to succeed in rewarding careers.” He further observed that the province recognizes that students and their families make tremendous sacrifices to attend college or university, and they make these sacrifices in order to find stable, high-quality jobs. Under the previous funding agreement, however, students were graduating with world-class degrees but were finding it difficult to secure stable employment in their field of study. The previous system was not working for students and needed to be driven by results. He claimed that the government is now embracing changes to its post-­secondary education sector that are modern, are forward-thinking, and will lead to the high-quality jobs that Ontario’s graduates deserve. That is why we are ensuring that funding for Ontario’s colleges and universities will now be more dependent on student outcomes. The agreements, which are in effect from 2020 to 2025, introduce a new “madein-Ontario” PBF model that places a higher weighting on student and economic outcomes – making the province a national leader in PBF. By tying a portion of government funding to performance, Ontario is encouraging institutions to focus on their institutional strengths, to ensure that students and graduates have the realworld skills they need for rewarding careers. “Placing a greater emphasis on outcomes will encourage colleges and universities to be more efficient and specialized, and to focus on what they do best”, said

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  35

Minister Romano. “The new agreements will also encourage transparency and accountability by ensuring that the spending of public dollars results in positive economic outcomes for Ontario.” The government will measure performance against a set of ten metrics. Institutions will report on indicators such as graduate employment rates in related fields, experiential learning and graduate earnings. The Ontario government recognizes that COVID-19 has caused challenges throughout the post-secondary sector. Knowing that post-secondary institutions are vital to Ontario’s economic recovery, the government has decided to delay the link of institutions funding to the performance metrics for two years (2020–21 and 2021–22). All other aspects of the agreements, including data collection, evaluation and publication, will continue as planned. Regarding performance funding, the minister stated that Ontario’s colleges and universities are key to Ontario’s economic recovery. The new 2020–25 PBF agreements take effect retroactively. Through these new agreements, college and university operating funding will be increasingly tied to performance on ten measures, rather than based on enrolment. By 2024–25, it is anticipated that 60% of operating funding will be based on performance. The government provides about $5.2 billion in operating funding annually to support Ontario’s 21 publicly assisted universities and 24 publicly assisted colleges. The minister of colleges and universities deferred the deadline to sign the new agreements so that colleges and universities can focus their resources on addressing the extraordinary challenges that have emerged due to COVID-19. The performance metrics include the following: (a) graduate employment earnings; (b) the proportion of graduates employed full-time in a related or partially related field to their programme of study; (c) graduate rate. Institutions would be able to weight the metrics based on their academic priorities and the past success of certain faculties and research fields. Spooner (2020), a faculty of education professor at the University of Regina, said that performance measures tied to funding distort the purpose of a university to foster creative thinking and create well-rounded citizens by encouraging universities to act more like job training centres. Spooner said that the COVID-19 crisis has exposed the “utter folly” of the indicators. “They’re mostly based on the labor market, and other economic indicators, which the university has little control over.” He also said that the metrics that reward privately funded research risk turning a university into “a corporate-style research and development centre” rather than a centre doing research for the public interest.

Discussion The neoliberal movement in post-secondary institutions is not without conflict or challenge as seen from various opposition groups. By engaging the conflict theory, one can understand the reasons for the current hostile post-secondary environment. Conflict theory seeks to explain the general contours of conflict in society or

36  Michael Kariwo

institutions. The central tenets of the theory are on power and distribution of scarce resources. My analysis is guided by the work by Dahrendorf. He saw a number of stakeholders’ interests in the process of change. In post-secondary institutions, these would include academics, students and administrators each striving to hold some power. In the cases presented above, it is evident that this neoliberal movement has a right centre in terms of politics. According to Giroux (2002), neoliberalism has become the most dangerous ideology of the current historical moment. “It assaults all things public, mystifies the basic contradiction between democratic values and market fundamentalism” (p. 428). Education is used as the most effective mechanism of social ordering in most advanced countries including Canada. It plays a key role in the process of societal reproduction. The “neoliberalization” of education within capitalist states entails restructuring systems of education. This process does not always lead to improved and better institutions at promoting learning and intellectual curiosity but towards boosting economic productivity (Frauley, 2012). Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, experienced radical education reforms during the “common sense revolution” of the Progressive Conservative government from 1995 to 2003. According to Frauley, this was driven from the perspective that employability was necessary in making economic change in a country. “Viewed through the concept of employability, students are reconceptualized as active, entrepreneurial, and (future) market dependent subjects who organize their daily practices around commercial norms. Thus, the aim of restructuring around employability is to better prepare graduates for seemingly new economic realities in order to increase economic productivity and economic security” (Frauley, p. 220). Barnett (1994) discusses four purposes of higher education: (1) The production of highly qualified manpower, where graduates need training as a product in order to participate in a career; (2) when higher education is focused on a research career, the focus is on the output of staff and students; (3) the efficient management of teaching, where the indicators are completion rates, unit cost, student staff ratio and other financial data; (4) the idea of extending life chances, which is focused on participation in higher education from under-represented backgrounds. What is missing from current discourses is Barnett’s idea on the social justice dimension of higher education. For example, performance funding models do not address such problems as compliance costs and drops in output quality. They fail to anticipate other unintended impacts as reduced admission of less advantaged students, narrowing of institutional missions, rising inequality among higher education institutions and the creation of vicious-cycle mechanisms, growing stratification of the academic labour force, and damaged motivation on the part of higher education personnel. These unintended impacts are important because they indicate a movement by higher education institutions away from egalitarian ideals such as broad access to higher education and higher education as a democratizing force (Dougherty & Natow, 2019).

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  37

Finally, with regard to outcomes of neoliberal policymaking, the performance funding experience raises many questions about the claims of neoliberal theory. The higher education outcomes that fit the neoliberal focus on organizational effectiveness and efficiency – such as improved instruction, higher rates of graduation and enhanced faculty research productivity – are rather weakly related to performance funding. Although performance funding does appear to produce improvements in instructional practice and faculty research productivity, there is little evidence that it produces increases in graduation rates (Dougherty, & Natow, 2019).

Conclusion From the foregoing, higher education in Canada is getting very expensive for the ordinary citizen and more out of reach for international students. The access for students from low-income families is very limited. The Aboriginal students remain marginalized despite efforts to create safe spaces in post-secondary institutions. Education must be treated as a public good. This was the ethos of higher education for centuries. Giroux (2009) states that given the seriousness of the current attack on higher education by an alliance of diverse right-wing forces, it is difficult to understand why liberals, progressives and left-oriented educators have been relatively silent in the face of this assault. According to Giroux, democracy must do more than contain the structure of a promise; it must also be nurtured in those public spaces in which “the unconditional freedom to question” (p. 19) becomes central to any viable definition of individual and social agency. He argues that there is lack of recognition that if democracy is to become vital, then it needs to create citizens who are critical, interrogate authority, hold existing institutions accountable for their actions and assume public responsibility through the very process of governing. Higher education is one of the few public spaces left in which unconditional resistance can be both produced and subjected to critical analysis. That is, the university should be “a place in which nothing is beyond question, not even the current and determined figure of democracy, and not even the traditional idea of critique” (Giroux, p. 19). In the way forward, I agree with those advocating for a critical stance by universities, for example humanities should be able to create a culture of questioning and resistance aimed at those ideologies, institutions, social practices and powers that limit democracy. One continues to see a culture of compliance with new government policies on neoliberalism. The idea of the new university should revisit important questions about the purpose of higher education and the kinds of strategies needed for academics to address what the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls “taking responsibility for our responsibility” (Giroux, p. 19). The challenge for the Canadian university is to accept the changing environment politically, socially and economically. This situation is eroding the university institution as a democratic public sphere and as a site of resistance against the growing corporatism and neoconservatism. This situation also demands a new understanding of

38  Michael Kariwo

what it means to be a public intellectual with academic freedom. Canadian universities must strike a balance between full marketization and government subsidies. In this way, higher education will be accessible to most people.

References Alberta Advanced Education (2021) The 2021–2024 Fiscal plan: Protecting lives and livelihoods. resource/ec1d42ee-ecca-48a9-b450-6b18352b58d3/downloaProtectingd/budget-2021fiscal-plan-2021-24.pdf Apple, M. W. (2000) Official Knowledge (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. Barnett, R. (1994) The Limits of Competence, Knowledge, Higher Education and Society. Buckingham: SRHE and The Open University Press. CAUT (n.d.) Clark, B.R. (1998) The Entrepreneurial University: Demand and Response. Tertiary Education and Management, 4(1), 5–16. Dougherty, K.J., & Natow, R.S., (2019) The case of performance-based funding for higher education, Centre for Global Higher Education working paper series Analysing neoliberalism in theory and practice: Erk, J. & Koning, E. (2010). New structuralism and institutional change: Federalism between centralization and decentralization. Comparative Political Studies, 43(3), 353–378. Frauley, J. (2012) Post-Social politics, employability, and the security effects of higher education. Journal of Pedagogy, 3(2), 219–241. Giroux, H. A. (2009) The attack on higher education and the necessity of critical pedagogy. In Sheila L. Macrine (ed). Critical Pedagogy in Uncertain Times. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Hall, S., Massey, D, & Rustin, M (2013) After neoliberalism: Analysing the present, project museproject muse. A Journal of Politics and Culture, 53(53), 8–22. Harris, R. (1976) A History of Higher Education in Canada (1663–1960). Toronto and Buffalo University of Toronto Press. Hauserman, C. P. & Stick, S. L. (2005). The history of post-secondary finance in Alberta – An analysis. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 42, June 9. Henry, A. Giroux (2002) Neoliberalism, corporate culture, and the promise of higher education: The university as a democratic public sphere. Harvard Educational Review, 72(4), 425–464. Hunt, A. (1993). Explorations in Law and Society: Towards a Constitutive Theory of Law. New York: Routledge. Jones, G. A. (2014). An introduction to higher education in Canada. In K. M. Joshi & Saee Paivandi (eds.), Higher Education Across Nations (vol. 1, pp. 1–38). Delhi: B. R. Publishing. McChesney, Robert W. 1999. Introduction. In Noam Chomsky (ed.), Profit over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order (p. 7). New York: Seven Stories Press. Nelson, R. University of Alberta Students’ Union (2020). media/uploads/1143/2020%2001%2020%20AB%20PBF%20Model%20Briefing.pdf News Ontario (2021) Sharma, R. (2004) Performance based funding in Entrepreneurial North American and Australian Universities. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 26(1), 109–118.

Is Canadian higher education under attack by neoliberal policies?  39

Spooner, M (2020). The Plain truth about performance -based funding. https://www.caut. ca/bulletin/2020/03/commentary-plain-truth-about-performance-based-funding Statista (2021) Usher, A. (2020) Ontario’s Performance – Based Funding. A much ado about nothing, Higher Education Strategy Associates.


Radical visions of higher education [must] continue to challenge efforts to maintain the status quo university – be that in support of colonialism, apartheid or a “global knowledge economy.” – Kamola (2016: 57)

Introduction South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world, with inequality based on race and rooted in colonial and apartheid white supremacist policies. The majority of black people remain poor, while the economy is largely in the hands of the whites (Clark 2014; Gibson 2017; World Bank 2018). The lives of the millions of primarily black and coloured South Africans remain trapped and constrained by the legacies of colonial and apartheid political, economic, social, educational and geospatial racist policies and impositions (Staeheli & Hammett 2013). It should not come as a surprise that higher education in such an unequal and untransformed country is ‘a mirror of the broader society and reflects the deep-seated social and economic inequalities inherited from apartheid, which endure and continue to act as a blight on the democratic foundations based on social justice established in 1994’ (Essop 2020: 69). Colonial and apartheid education and knowledge systems have played a key role in the centuries of subjugation, racist oppression, dehumanization and exploitation in South Africa. After the transition from apartheid to democracy, it was expected that the country’s universities would fundamentally transform, decolonize and be accessible to all who qualify. However, the hegemonic Eurocentric knowledge, rooted in colonial and apartheid racism, remains the norm in South African higher education, displacing all other knowledges, epistemologies and schools of thought DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-3

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  41

at universities. At the same time, higher education is out of reach of many black students who cannot afford high fees. Underfunded by the state and largely untransformed since the end of apartheid, South African higher education, ‘previously a vital cog in the reproduction of racial capitalism… continues to entrench inequality by embracing a neoliberal, market-oriented ideology’ (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012: 139). For many black students, lack of funding remains a ‘barrier to access and success at institutions of higher learning’ (South African Human Rights Commission 2016: 52). This became particularly evident during the #FeesMustFall protests in 2015 and 2016. One of the key aspects of the #FeesMustFall was the resistance to the neoliberal economic model that sees higher education as a commodity out of reach of those who cannot afford it. According to Connell (2013: 105), ‘to create a market you have to restrict the service in some way. In this case you have to ration education. What you sell, then, is a privilege – something that other people cannot get’. In post-apartheid South Africa, this has been done through the high price tag of higher education, with limited support for disadvantaged black youth from the state. Apart from neoliberalization and commodification of higher education, the #FeesMustFall movement also resisted the epistemic violence and Eurocentric hegemony in higher education, calling for decolonization of universities, curriculum and knowledge. Eurocentric education is rooted in the epistemologies and pedagogies of alienation of the people and places outside the global north (NdlovuGatsheni 2019) and is based on white supremacist thinking and world-views. The Eurocentric epistemic hegemony is intertwined with neoliberalization and commodification of higher education (Mabasa 2017), with the aim to keep South African universities neocolonial and Western outposts (McKaiser 2016). Students who participated in #FeesMustFall protests understood that the challenges they were facing in the untransformed post-apartheid university were due to racism, whiteness and Eurocentrism, as well as the exploitative neoliberal and capitalist economic structures in the society and in commodified higher education (Mabasa 2017; Heleta, Fatyela & Nkala 2018). Morreira et al. (2020) highlight that the activism by the students during #FeesMustFall was driven by the need to resist epistemic violence and racism, as well as the neoliberal ideological prescriptions that shape the governance and policymaking at South African universities. In order to critically engage with transformation and decolonization in South African higher education, it is important to interrogate neoliberalization of the higher education system and institutions. Neoliberalization and commodification of higher education have, in part, prevented epistemic transformation. In the post-apartheid university, the focus of university leaders and administrators shifted from redress, social and epistemic justice and decolonization, to commodification, profit-making and chasing a place in the ‘global knowledge economy’. This chapter will show that neoliberalism and Eurocentrism are the two sides of the same coin that represents coloniality, which refers to the structures of power and influence that survived the formal end of colonialism, or apartheid in the case of South Africa in the 1990s. Fundamental transformation and decolonization of higher education

42  Savo Heleta

will require tackling neoliberalization and corporatization, on the one side, and the Eurocentric hegemony and epistemic violence on the other. The first section of the chapter will briefly unpack neoliberalism as a phenomenon and hegemonic economic model. The next section will focus on the impact of neoliberalism on higher education. The third section will discuss the emergence of neoliberalism as an economic policy and its impact on governance and higher education in South Africa. The following section will reflect on the lack of higher education transformation in post-apartheid South Africa. The conclusion will touch on the possibilities, hopes and challenges on the long road to decolonization in South African higher education.

Neoliberalism Since the early 1980s, neoliberalism has been the most dominant economic and development ideology. During this time, neoliberalism has been aggressively promoted, advocated and imposed in the developing world by Western governments, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organization and other Western-controlled organizations. As Hursh and Henderson (2011: 171) point out, neoliberalism is promoted and imposed by powerful Western countries and organizations which ‘control public debate and present neoliberalism as both the inevitable evolution of capitalism and as a technical and apolitical response to economic and political issues’. Over the past few decades, neoliberalism has become a ‘hegemonic system within global capitalism’ (Harvey 2007: 27). Most countries around the world had no choice but to adopt the neoliberal economic model – some voluntarily and many due to coercion by international financial institutions (IFIs) and Western governments (Harvey 2007; Hursh & Henderson 2011). Mac Ginty and Williams (2009: 14) write that the ‘structures of the contemporary international political economy have been captured by neoliberal forces’ capable of eliminating any alternative ideas from the public discourse. Willis (2011: 232–33) adds that due to the ‘global inequalities in economic and political power and relationships of dependence, the scope for autonomous development decisions’ in the global south is limited. Neoliberalism, globalization and the capital accumulation that accompanies these phenomena are rooted in and have been built on the past colonial and white supremacist conquests, ideas, visions, world-views and practices (Rizvi, Lingard & Lavia 2006; Chakravartty & Silva 2012; Stein & Andreotti 2017). The neoliberal discourse represents a ‘white/Anglo/European standpoint… the unmarked norm of Western rationality providing a naturalizing device for its regulation of others of all sort and kinds’ (Luke 2010: 44). Neoliberalization has revived and further entrenched coloniality (Boughey & McKenna 2021), building on the structures of power and control developed over centuries of European colonial conquest, oppression and exploitation in most parts of the world. In the late 1980s, proponents of neoliberalism came up with a universal blueprint for development and growth known as the ‘Washington Consensus’.

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  43

Stiglitz (2002: 16) writes that the Washington Consensus is a ‘consensus between the IMF, World Bank and the United States Treasury about the “right” policies’ for developing and low-income countries. Proponents of the Washington Consensus argued that universal neoliberal prescriptions were the only hope for the developing world, claiming that the neoliberal framework was incontestably positive and ‘immune to reasonable questioning’ (Payne & Phillips 2010: 94). Key features of this framework were the promotion of free markets, economic and trade liberalization, deregulation, privatization, fiscal austerity (Barbara 2008) and abolition of barriers that prevent foreign corporations from entering domestic markets (Klein 2007). Another important feature is the marginalization of the state apparatus in both the economic and public spheres (Willis 2011; Staeheli & Hammett 2013). As a set of economic and political ideas, neoliberalism ‘preaches restraint on state intervention and social spending and the prominence of the market’ (McEwan 2009: 30) and is based on the ‘assumption that the market can replace the democratic state as the primary producer of cultural logic and value’ (Lynch 2006: 4). The role of the state, according to the neoliberal ideology, is to create the conditions for the markets to flourish. Key factors in the neoliberal approach are limited government, private sector as the driver of growth, prices determined by the markets and lack of protection for inefficient industries (Payne and Phillips 2010). This approach sees unregulated markets as engines of growth and development, which would ‘trickle down’ and benefit all members of societies that follow the neoliberal agenda (Mac Ginty & Williams 2009). Markets and profits are above everything else (Hursh & Henderson 2011; Ha & Barnawi 2015), including above the well-being of the vulnerable members of societies. The neoliberal model demands that the state withdraws or scales down from the sectors such as health, education and welfare, considering them to be services that should be purchased instead of being basic rights (Alcántara et al. 2013). Despite its dominance and promises, neoliberalism has failed to address poverty, underdevelopment and social exclusion in the developing world. The poor hardly saw any meaningful benefits from neoliberal prescriptions and universal ‘solutions’. Worldwide, poverty, inequality, instability and social injustices have further increased (Milanovic 2003; Harvey 2007; Haynes 2008; Willis 2011; Alcántara et al. 2013), leading to suffering and hardships experienced by millions of people (Binns, Dixon & Nel 2012). Stiglitz (2002) adds that the neoliberal policies have destroyed jobs and created economic, social and political instability on a large-scale around the globe; in most cases, the rich got richer, the poor got poorer and the middle class all but disappeared.

Neoliberalism and higher education Since neoliberalism came to dominate the economic and development thinking, the mainstream thinking in higher education has also been dominated by neoliberalization and capitalist market logic (Marginson 2011; Stein & Andreotti 2017; Gyamera & Burke 2018). Neoliberal orthodoxies, rules and market competition

44  Savo Heleta

have been applied to universities in most parts of the world (Olssen 2016). Under the neoliberal economic model, higher education has become a commodity in the global, regional and local ‘marketplace’, with universities seen as factories producing degrees, graduates and research outputs to feed local and global market demands (Connell 2013; Boughey & McKenna 2021). According to the neoliberal model, public universities should not expect extensive support from the state. They need to focus on serving their customers – the students – the skills that are in demand in the marketplace while charging them often exorbitant fees for the services and end products (diplomas/degrees) (Boughey & McKenna 2021). The institutional capacity and funding often go to the educational programs that are demanded by the markets, corporations and the private sector. Education that has little or no market value according to the markets – such as humanities, arts and many other disciplines – are frequently trivialized, phased out, downsized or left behind with dwindling support (Lynch 2006; Vally 2007), despite the fact that this is negatively impacting the development of critical thinkers and good and ethical citizens. Neoliberalization has led to significant reduction of per capita state funding in many countries, application of managerialism and business principles in university and academic administrations, and ‘narrowly economistic purposes of student learning and faculty research’ (Stein & Andreotti 2017: 174). Reduction of public spending is a key aspect of neoliberalism and free-market ideology in higher education. In turn, universities around the world have embraced the ‘market mechanisms and profits generation practices more aggressively’ (Ha & Barnawi 2015: 547), charging students the shortfall from the government cuts. Lynch (2006: 5) stresses that when the government ‘absolves itself of the responsibility to educate, rights become more contingent – contingent on the ability to pay’. Those who cannot afford are in most cases left out. Declining support for higher education from governments worldwide has led to a growth of the for-profit education industry, massive increases in student debt, precarious employment conditions for many academics and staff members at universities, dependence on links with the corporate world, funding and donations from corporations, commercialization of research and managerialism (Shrivastava & Shrivastava 2014). Many institutions see profits, market share and global rankings as the main drivers of their management focus. Universities are not only looking to recuperate the shortfall from the dwindling government subsidies; many have been transformed into ‘powerful consumer-oriented corporate networks, whose public interest values have been seriously challenged’ (Lynch 2006: 2). In this environment, higher education tends to be treated ‘as just another service to be delivered on the market to those who can afford to buy it’ (Ibid.).

Neoliberalism in South Africa and its impact on higher education In South Africa, racialized exploitation and oppression are not a thing of the past; they are key features of the contemporary socio-economic structures and relations (Staeheli & Hammett 2013). Postma, Spreen and Vally (2015) argue that the

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  45

neoliberalization of governance, economy and education have perpetuated inequalities in the post-apartheid period. While the political regime has changed and the country has since 1994 been a democracy, the capitalist and neoliberal organization of the economy remain intact (Mabasa 2017; Heleta 2021). The economic choices that were made during the negotiations to end apartheid ‘have trapped the poor in a situation of systemic exclusion’ (Terreblanche 2002: 419). The irony of the post-apartheid ruling elites is that they often talk the talk of the ‘left’ while implementing the policies of the ‘right’. Despite all the rhetoric by the African National Congress (ANC) and its Communist and union allies, the governing party has kept with the neoliberal restructuring of the economy, society and the institutions of higher learning (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012). The timing of the negotiated settlement that ended apartheid had a major influence on the post-1994 economic policy in South Africa. The most profound change took place within the ANC, which moved away from the leftist and socialist ideology to the capitalist and neoliberal policy model (Boughey 2007; Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012). A number of factors drove the ANC to adopt the neoliberal economic model. The first factor was the end of the Cold War and collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. The ANC, which has historically been linked to the Communist bloc, lost its key international ally. The second factor was the resistance by the powerful white business community in South Africa to any talk of socialism, state control or nationalization of the economy. The third factor was the pressure and influence from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and their powerful Western backers. This pressure started in the early 1990s during the negotiations between the ANC and the apartheid regime. The ANC needed support and loans from Western governments and IFIs in order to kick-start the economy, deal with the fiscal crisis and repay the debt left behind by the apartheid regime (Waldmeir 1998; Habib, Pillay & Desai 1998; Terreblanche 2002; Heleta 2021). Through engagements and negotiations between the South African white capital, multinational capital and the Western governments on one side, and the black political elites and their allies on the other side, neoliberalism became the policy choice in the post-apartheid period (Gibson 2017). The choices made during the negotiations and in the first years of democracy ensured that the post-apartheid government’s socio-economic policies would systematically neglect more than half of the country’s population living in extreme poverty (Terreblanche 2002). Soon after the 1994 transition from apartheid to democracy, the ANC-led government began implementing macroeconomic policies influenced by the neoliberal orthodoxy and advice from the IFIs. For almost three decades after the end of apartheid, South Africa’s neoliberal project has never subsided. Instead, it continues to aggressively promote ‘corporatization, marketization and privatization in both the economic and social spheres’ (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012: 144). Mabasa (2017: 97) calls the post-apartheid economic model neo-apartheid capitalism, describing it as the ‘reproduction of apartheid economic relations with two key alterations: the co-option of an aspirant black bourgeoisie and South Africa’s accelerated integration into a neo-colonial global

46  Savo Heleta

political economy’. This allowed little room for much needed transformation of the economy and society (Habib, Pillay, & Desai 1998; Terreblanche 2002). The rhetoric of radical socio-economic transformation, redress and redistribution, promised during the anti-apartheid struggle and contained in the Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP) of 1994, was undermined and replaced in 1996 with the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR), sidelining state-centred development and instituting a neoliberal economic model (Terreblanche 2002; Bond 2005; Kamola 2016). The shift from the RDP to GEAR had a profound impact on higher education. The policy debates shifted from fundamental transformation and the state support for higher education in order to contribute to democratization, reconstruction and redress, to the need for development of human capital for the global markets. The epistemic legacies of colonial and apartheid racism, oppression and exclusion were moved aside in order to focus on incorporating South African higher education into the ‘global knowledge economy’ (Kamola 2016) and prioritizing technical skills over critical and analytical knowledge and skills, exploratory enquiry and transformative aspects of higher education (Chachage 1999; Vally 2007). Lynch (2006: 4) writes that ‘in economically unequal societies, only those with sufficient resources can make choices and those who are poor have no choices at all’. South Africa, as one of the most unequal countries in the world, is a case in point, where higher education is a commodity ‘out of reach of many who desire it’ (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012: 147). The country has followed global trends over the last two decades, with students becoming ‘consumers and staff [acting] as sales consultants’ (Vally 2007: 20). At universities, ‘individual and social agency… are defined largely through market-driven notions, fiscal parsimony, corporate values and corporate planning frameworks’ (Ibid. 19). Country’s public universities are public largely in the name only due to the lack of adequate support from the state. Without student fees and private endowments, most institutions would cease to function (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012). The impact of neoliberalization of higher education is evident when we look at the government spending on higher education over the years. Between 2000 and 2010, South Africa saw a decline of 1.1% in government funding per student annually. During the same time period, student tuition fees increased by 2.5% annually (Council on higher education 2016). The trends of decline in government spending and the increases in tuition costs culminated in 2015 and 2016, leading to the #FeesMustFall student protests. In the financial year 2015/2016, South African government spent 0.72% of the GDP on higher education, which was less than the average spent across the world (0.84%) and in the OECD countries (1.21%). In addition, the university subsidy from the government has declined in real terms from R15.93 billion (49% of total university income) in 2000 to R22.9 billion (40.9% of university income) in 2014. Over the years, universities have raised tuition fees to offset the decline in government funding. The contribution of student fees to university income rose from R7.8 billion (24%) in 2000 to R19.6 billion (35% of university income) in 2014 (Nxasana 2016). The neoliberalization

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  47

of higher education has also led to blatant exploitation of black labour by universities through outsourcing and underpaying of cleaning and security staff (Mabasa 2017), and to a culture of performativity, managerialism and casualization of academic employment. The underfunding of higher education by the government has contributed to a situation where 63% of the academic staff in South African higher education are employed on temporary contracts (Badat 2020: 29). In such an environment, it is hard to imagine progressive changes and necessary transformation and decolonization of knowledge and curriculum taking place. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis facing South Africa, we are likely to see further state funding cuts and austerity measures at the universities in the years to come. According to the Department of higher education and Training (2020: 20), ‘the dire fiscal situation dims prospects for the immediate future’ of the higher education sector. This will negatively impact the expansion of access for all who qualify to study at universities, and new staff appointments (Badat 2020).

Post-apartheid status quo in South African higher education As a settler colony that has seen racist oppression and exploitation against the majority black population for centuries, South Africa remains deeply and structurally impacted by colonialism, apartheid and coloniality. Coloniality is a ‘power structure that affects various aspects of the lives of colonized subjects, including their ways of knowing, seeing and imagining the world’ (Ndlovu 2018: 99). Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2013) highlights that in post-apartheid South Africa, coloniality has been normalized as the way the world is. Coloniality influences and shapes social, economic, geopolitical, knowledge-related and all other phenomena. Through coloniality, the oppressive socio-economic and educational structures, developed during colonialism and apartheid, have survived the formal end of apartheid in 1994. Today, racial capitalism continues unabated through neoliberal economics, while the Eurocentric hegemony continues to be propagated at South African universities. Coloniality of knowledge, in particular, is a key part in the ‘structural system of [neo]colonial domination’ (Ndlovu 2018: 110). Its main aim is to ‘control the minds and ways of knowing’ of the former colonial subjects in order to maintain the neocolonial project (Ibid. 96). Since the colonial times, education in South Africa was used to subjugate the black majority and propagate Eurocentrism and white domination. Since their inception, South African universities have played a key role in maintaining racist oppression, exclusion and dehumanization of black people (Kamola 2016; Mabasa 2017). As soon as South Africa reconnected with the world in 1994, country’s universities – and particularly the historically white institutions – already epistemically Eurocentric, with predominantly white academia (Heleta 2018) and with institutional models and cultures rooted in colonial Dutch and British higher education systems and institutions (Sehoole 2006) – took this opportunity to reconnect and expand collaborations and engagement with the institutions in the global north, while largely ignoring the African continent and the rest of the global south

48  Savo Heleta

(Sehoole 2006; Maringe & Ojo 2017). The purpose of this has been the submission of the South African higher education to the Euro-American neocolonial and neoliberal ‘game’ (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2021) and maintenance of the status quo. The exploitative racialized capitalist social order that continues to dominate South African social and economic relations ‘relies on both economic and ideational dominance’ (Mabasa 2017: 112) of the Western neocolonial project and coloniality. Mabasa (2017: 95) argues that the ‘neo-colonial corporatized higher education model’ that emerged after 1994 has prevented meaningful transformation in South African higher education and academia. It has entrenched the Eurocentric hegemonic canon and coloniality (Ibid. 100) while corporatizing and commodifying the academic project and university education (Ibid. 103). In this environment, critical engagements with the epistemic justice and decolonization have been sidelined, with corporatization, commodification, managerialism and profits becoming key institutional priorities at universities (Badat 2020). Thus, more than two decades after the end of apartheid, education and knowledge production continue to be dominated by the Western and Eurocentric thinking. Much of South African academia continues to attribute ‘truth only to the Western way of knowledge production’ (Mbembe 2016: 32). Universities remain ‘conduits in the reproduction of Eurocentric development canons that fortify the neocolonial epistemic project’ (Mabasa 2017: 102) and custodians of coloniality, reproducing epistemic violence (Makhubela 2018) and propagating Eurocentric knowledge and ideas ‘in an imitative and uncritical manner’ (Lebakeng, Phalane & Dalindjebo 2006: 73). Instead of focusing on epistemic transformation from Eurocentric domination, South African higher education system has since 1994 chosen to integrate itself in the ‘global knowledge economy’, which meant continuing with the Eurocentric ‘business-as-usual’. The integration into the global knowledge economy has changed the envisaged transformational priorities of post-apartheid higher education system and institutions from a genuine focus on social justice, redress, epistemic justice and decolonization, to the integration in the Western-dominated knowledge economy and development of human capital for the capitalist and neoliberal globalization (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012; Kamola 2016; Mabasa 2017). This was a policy choice of post-apartheid governments despite the fact that the global knowledge economy and the Eurocentric geopolitics of knowledge that underpin it privilege Western knowledge systems which are seen as universal and relevant for all contexts (Shahjahan & Morgan 2016). Kamola (2012: 200) adds that the global knowledge economy is a ‘highly asymmetrical political economy of higher education’, where colonial and neocolonial power relations and inequalities persist and shape contemporary realities and possibilities, and where the Eurocentric hegemonic canon continues to dominate thinking, knowledge and curriculum. Essop (2020: 8) highlights that the South African higher education system and institutions remain trapped in the ‘inherited inequalities and legacy of the [colonial and] apartheid past’. While all universities have been ‘formally “deracialized,” formerly white universities remain institutionally white and alien places’ (Gibson 2017: 585) for black students, staff and academics. At the same time, formerly black

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  49

universities remain disadvantaged (Badat 2007; Heleta, Fatyela & Nkala 2018). Even with the demographic changes on the senior leadership levels at the universities, the institutional cultures and university governance structures and systems have largely remained the same as they were before 1994 (Maringe & Ojo 2017). The main transformation goal in post-apartheid higher education has been the expansion of access for the historically disadvantaged people. While the figures show that demographic changes have been a relative success, with black students constituting 84.8% of the enrolments in 2017, compared to 74.5% in 2005 (Essop 2020), looking at the participation rate, which shows the ‘extent to which past inequalities have been redressed’ (Ibid. 23), complicates the transformation story. Even though the participation rate of black students has increased from 12% in 2005 to 18% in 2017, it is still below the overall participation rate of 21% and far below the participation rate of white (56%) and Indian (47%) students in 2017. This means that, while black students are in the majority in South African higher education, white and Indian students continue to ‘benefit disproportionately’ when it comes to access to university (Ibid. 23). This can be directly linked to neoliberalization, which prevents thousands of young black South Africans from going to university due to the lack of funding. In addition, while the universities have been focusing on transforming student demographics, there has been much less effort to transform academia and the epistemological and pedagogical principles that inform and shape the academic project. The universities have failed to interrogate and dismantle the hegemonic epistemologies, knowledges, theories and methodologies, whose decentring is a critical condition for fundamental transformation and decolonization (Badat 2020). The outcome of this incomplete transformation process is that the universities claim to be different when compared to their apartheid past, ‘while the people [academics] and the knowledge construction process remain untransformed’ (Fomunyam 2017: 173). Shilliam (2015: 32) highlights that, while ‘the doors to higher education have been opened’ to black South Africans who can afford it or are lucky to get funding or bursaries, ‘the architecture of the building has hardly changed’. The neoliberalization and commodification of higher education is contrary to the role universities should be playing in addressing the past and current inequalities and injustices in South Africa. What really matters in the marketplace are the profits or the bottom line in tough times, not socio-economic and epistemic transformation (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012). Neoliberalization has sidelined the need to address historical and contemporary inequalities and injustices in order to focus on economic imperatives (Gyamera & Burke 2018). To be part of the global knowledge economy and benefit from globalization, universities have had to follow and embrace the neoliberal and neocolonial logic and the Eurocentric and Western ideas, norms, models, practices and knowledge as universal and applicable to all settings. Neoliberal higher education has not been interested in decolonization of knowledge, redress and development of indigenous knowledges and languages (Ibid.), as these do not sell in the global marketplace dominated by the Eurocentric hegemony.

50  Savo Heleta

Conclusion: Long road to decolonization in South African higher education Maringe and Ojo (2017: 38) argue that in countries such as South Africa, the higher education system and institutions have two choices: continue to be dominated by the Eurocentric canon and ‘play the role of a sub-imperial accessory to the imperial ambitions of the West’. Or, dismantle the Eurocentric hegemony, decolonize knowledge and curriculum, expand access to education and develop future generations that can meaningfully contribute to social justice, redress, development and progress in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. Decolonization of knowledge, curriculum and pedagogy refers to an ‘inherently plural set of practices that aim to interrupt the dominant power/knowledge matrix in educational practices in higher education’ (Morreira et al. 2020: 2). Decolonization is about envisaging, struggling and fighting for a new, better world – a world where justice and equality matter (da Silva,2018) and are not just used for rhetorical purposes. Decolonization of knowledge needed to be one of the key priorities after 1994 if higher education were to contribute to fundamental transformation, social cohesion and addressing the difficult past in South Africa (Heleta 2018). This, however, did not happen. Whiteness, white curriculum, Eurocentric hegemony and domination of Western epistemological traditions at universities continue largely unabated (Mbembe 2016; Heleta 2018). In the same way, after 1994, South Africa needed fundamental economic transformation, from racial capitalism to an economic system and policies aimed at redress and justice after centuries of racist oppression and exploitation (Farkash 2015). When it comes to the economy, the economic structures, rooted in colonial and apartheid policies and racial capitalism and perpetuated by the neoliberal orthodoxy, have persisted after the formal end of apartheid (Terreblanche 2002; Mabasa 2017). The post-1994 economic policies and the embrace of the neoliberal economic model have prevented fundamental changes and decolonization in the society and in higher education. The neoliberal policies and their impact on universities have impeded the access to higher education for underprivileged black students (Badat 2020). The neoliberalization and commodification of higher education have been contrary to the role the universities needed to play after 1994 to address past and current inequalities and injustices. However, the focus on commodification, managerialism and profit-making was prioritized over socio-economic transformation (Baatjes, Spreen & Vally 2012) and dismantling of the Eurocentric epistemic hegemony. While the past few years saw student protests and vibrant intellectual and scholarly engagement about decolonization of knowledge and higher education in South Africa, it is important to remember that universities cannot be decolonized while the country remains trapped in coloniality and neoliberal hegemony. So much has to change in the society to even begin to genuinely decolonize universities and knowledge. The society and the economy have to be transformed and decolonized – what Mukoma Wa Ngugi (2020) calls ‘material decolonization’.

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  51

He adds that ‘the point of decolonizing the mind has always been in the service of material decolonization, in the same way that Black Consciousness in South Africa was not an end in itself but a necessary step in the struggle against apartheid’. Thus, unless decolonization is a ‘revolutionary act’ that leads to radical transformation of the society and the economy, it will remain symbolic, metaphorical and largely empty of any real meaning (Ibid.). Neoliberalization, corporatization, commodification and maintenance of Euro­ centric hegemony in higher education have been the leadership, policy and institutional choices by the government and the higher education sector since the end of apartheid. Despite all the rhetoric about the need to transform and decolonize since the #FeesMustFall protests in 2016, South African universities still lack progressive institutional cultures, structures and leadership for meaningful transformation and decolonization to take place any time soon (Fomunyam 2017). Decolonization is also not the priority of the Department of higher education and Training (DHET), whose new Strategic Plan 2020–2025 mentions decolonization only once, in passing, as a possible outcome of DHET’s and institutional efforts (2020). Similarly, DHET does not envision higher education as a space where critical, ethical and progressive thinkers are developed. Rather, in a true neoliberal fashion, the purpose of higher education in South Africa, according to DHET, remains the ‘provision of education and training relevant to the needs of employers’ (Ibid. 30). While it is easy to despair, given the enormous challenges and resistance to change in the country and at the universities, radical and progressive visions of South African higher education must continue to challenge and disrupt the oppressive status quo (Kamola 2016; Heleta, Fatyela & Nkala 2018). Progressive students, academics and movements must also hold the government to account for the failures to provide visionary leadership and support for decolonization of higher education. Most importantly, fundamental transformation and decolonization require tackling neoliberalization and corporatization of higher education and the Eurocentric epistemic hegemony at the same time, as these are two sides of the same coin that represents coloniality.

References Alcántara, A., Llomovatte, S. & Romão, J. E. (2013) Resisting neoliberal common sense in higher education: experiences from Latin America, International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 127–151. Baatjes, I., Spreen, C. A. & Vally, S. (2012) ‘The broken promise of neoliberal restructuring of South African higher education’, in B. Pusser, K. Kempner, S. Marginson & I. Ordorika (eds.) Universities and the public sphere: Knowledge creation and state-building in the era of globalization, New York: Routledge, pp. 139–58. Badat, S. (2007) Higher education transformation in South Africa post 1994: Towards a critical assessment. Solomon Mahlangu Education Lecture. Constitutional Hill, 12 June 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa: Centre for Education and Policy Development. Badat, S. (2020) Reproduction, transformation and public South African higher education during and beyond Covid-19, Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern, Africa, vol. 104, pp. 24–42.

52  Savo Heleta

Barbara, J. (2008) Rethinking neo-liberal state building: Building post-conflict development states, Development in Practice, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 307–318. Binns, T., Dixon, A. & Nel, E. (2012) Africa: Diversity and development. London: Routledge. Bond, P. (2005) Elite transition: From apartheid to neoliberalism in South Africa, Scottsville: University of KwaZulu Natal Press. Boughey, C. (2007) Educational development in South Africa: From social reproduction to capitalist expansion? Higher Education Policy, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 5–18. Boughey, C. & McKenna, S. (2021) Understanding higher education: Alternative perspectives, Cape Town: African Minds. Chachage, C.L.S. (1999) Higher education transformation and academic exterminism, Cape Town: Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town. Chakravartty, P. & Silva, D.F.D. (2012) Accumulation, dispossession, and debt: The racial logic of global capitalism – An introduction, American Quarterly, vol. 64, pp. 361–385. Clark, N.L. (2014) Structured inequality: Historical realities of the post-apartheid economy. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 93–118. Connell, R. (2013) The neoliberal cascade and education: an essay on the market agenda and its consequences. Critical Studies in Education, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 99–112. Council on Higher Education. (2016) South African higher education reviewed – Two decades of democracy. Pretoria: Council on Higher Education. da Silva, F. (2018) Hacking the subject: Black feminism and refusal beyond the limits of critique, PhiloSOPHIA, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 19–41. Department of Higher Education and Training. (2020) Strategic Plan 2020–2025. Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training. Essop, A. (2020) The changing size and shape of the higher education system in South Africa, 2005–2017. Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies. Johannesburg: University of Johannesburg. Farkash, A.T. (2015) The ghosts of colonialism: Economic inequity in post-apartheid South Africa, Global Societies Journal, vol. 3, pp. 12–19. Fomunyam, K.G. (2017) Decolonising the future in the untransformed present in South African higher education, Perspectives in Education, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 168–180. Gibson, N.C. (2017) The specter of Fanon: The student movements and the rationality of revolt in South Africa, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 579–99. Gyamera, G.O. & Burke, P.J. (2018) Neoliberalism and curriculum in higher education: a post-colonial analyses, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 450–467. Ha, P. L. & Barnawi, O. Z. (2015) Where English, neoliberalism, desire and internationalization are alive and kicking: higher education in Saudi Arabia today, Language and Education, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 545–565. Habib, A., Pillay, D. & Desai, A. (1998) South Africa and the global order: The structural conditioning of a transition to democracy, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 95–115. Harvey, D. (2007) Neoliberalism as creative destruction, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 610, pp. 22–44. Haynes, J. (2008) Development studies. Cambridge: Polity. Heleta, S. (2018) Decolonizing knowledge in South Africa: Dismantling the ‘pedagogy of big lies’, Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 47–65. Heleta, S. (2021) ‘Coloniality, knowledge production and racialized socio-economic inequality in South Africa’, in M.E. Ruprecht Fadem and M. O’Sullivan (eds.), The economics of empire: Genealogies of capital and the colonial encounter, New York: Routledge, pp. 181–197.

Neoliberal and Eurocentric South African higher education  53

Heleta, S., Fatyela, A. & Nkala, T. (2018) ‘Disrupting coloniality: Student-led resistance to the oppressive status-quo in South Africa’, in J Millican (ed.) Universities and conflict: The role of higher education in peacebuilding and resistance, New York: Routledge, pp. 191–204. Hursh, D. W. & Henderson, J. A. (2011) Contesting global neoliberalism and creating alternative futures, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 171–185. Kamola, I. (2012) ‘Reading the global in the absence of Africa’, in A.B. Tickner & D.L. Blaney (eds.) Thinking international relations differently, New York: Routledge, pp. 183–204. Kamola, I. (2016) ‘Situating the “global university” in South Africa’, in M. Chou, I. Kamola & T. Pietsch (eds.), The Transnational Politics of Higher Education: Contesting the Global/ Transforming the Local, New York: Routledge, pp. 42–62. Klein, N. (2007) The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. New York: Metropolitan Books. Lebakeng, J.T., Phalane, M.M. & Dalindjebo, N. (2006) Epistemicide, institutional cultures and the imperative for the Africanisation of universities in South Africa, Alternation, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 70–87. Luke, A. (2010) ‘Educating the “other:” Standpoint and internationalization of higher education’, in V. Carpentier & E. Unterhaler (eds.) Global inequalities in higher education: Whose interests are you serving?, London: Palgrave/Macmillan, pp. 1–25. Lynch, K. (2006) Neo-liberalism and marketization: The implications for higher education, European Educational Research Journal, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1–17. Mabasa, K. (2017) The rebellion of the born unfrees: Fallism and the neo-colonial corporate university, Strategic Review for Southern Africa, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 94–116. Mac Ginty, R. & Williams, A. 2009. Conflict and development. New York: Routledge. Makhubela, M. (2018) ‘Decolonise, don’t diversify’: Discounting diversity in the South African academe as a tool for ideological pacification, Education as Change, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 1–21. Marginson, S. (2011) ‘Imagining the global’, in R. King, S. Marginson & R. Naidoo (eds.), Handbook on globalisation and higher education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 10–39. Maringe, F. & Ojo, E. (2017) ‘Sustainable transformation in a rapidly globalising and decolonising world: African higher education on the brink’, in F. Maringe & E. Ojo (eds.) Sustainable transformation in African higher education, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 25–39. Mbembe, A. (2016) Decolonising the university: New directions, Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 29–45. McEwan, C. (2009) Postcolonialism and development. New York: Routledge. McKaiser, E. (2016) Epistemic injustices: The dark side of academic freedom, 2016 DCS Oosthuizen Academic Freedom Memorial Lecture, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 30 May 2016, viewed 20 July 2011, Milanovic, B. (2003) The two faces of globalization: Against globalization as we know it, World Development, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 667–683. Morreira, S., Luckett, K., Kumalo, S.H. & Ramgotra, M. (2020) Confronting the complexities of decolonising curricula and pedagogy in higher education, Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, vol. 5. no. 1-2, pp. 1–18. doi: 10.1080/23802014.2020.1798278 Ndlovu, M. (2018) Coloniality of knowledge and the challenge of creating African futures. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 95–112. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S.J. (2013) Why decoloniality in the 21st century?, The Thinker, vol. 48, pp. 11–15.

54  Savo Heleta

Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S.J. (2019) Discourses of decolonization/decoloniality, Papers on Language and Literature, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 201–226. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S.J. (2021) Internationalisation of higher education for pluriversity: a decolonial reflection, Journal of the British Academy, vol. 9, no. s1, pp. 77–98. Ngugi, W.M. (2020) The pitfalls of symbolic decolonization, Africa is a Country, 17 January 2020. viewed 10 August 2021, Nxasana, S. (2016) SA has the means to make higher education more accessible, Business Day, 24 March 2016, viewed 20 October 2018, sa-has-the-means-to-make-higher-education-more-accessible Olssen, M. (2016) Neoliberal competition in higher education today: research, accountability and impact, British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 129–148. Payne, A. & Phillips, N. (2010) Development. Cambridge: Polity Press. Postma, D., Spreen, C.A. & Vally, S. (2015) Education for social change and critical praxis in South Africa, Education as Change, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 1–8. Rizvi, F., Lingard, B. & Lavia, J. (2006) Postcolonialism and education: negotiating a contested terrain, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 249–262. Sehoole, C. (2006) Internationalisation of higher education in South Africa: A historical review, Perspectives in Education, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 1–13. Shahjahan, R.A. & Morgan, C. (2016) Global competition, coloniality, and the geopolitics of knowledge in higher education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 92–109. Shilliam, R. (2015) ‘Black academia: The doors have been opened but the architecture remains the same’, in C. Alexander & J. Arday (eds.), Aiming higher: Race, inequality and diversity in the academy, London: Runnymede, pp. 32–34. Shrivastava, M. & Shrivastava, S. (2014) Political economy of higher education: Comparing South Africa to trends in the world, Higher Education. vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 809–822. South African Human Rights Commission. (2016) Transformation at public universities in South Africa. SAHRC Report. Cape Town: South African Human Rights Commission. Staeheli, L. A. & Hammett, D. (2013) ‘For the future of the nation’: Citizenship, nation, and education in South Africa, Political Geography, vol. 32, pp. 32–41. Stein, S. & Andreotti, V.D.O. (2017) Higher education and the modern/colonial global imaginary. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 173–181. Stiglitz, J. (2002) Globalization and its discontents. London: Penguin Books. Terreblanche, S. (2002) A history of inequality in South Africa, 1652–2002. Scottsville: University of Natal Press. Vally, S. (2007) Higher education in South Africa: Market mill or public good?, Journal of Higher Education in Africa, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 17–28. Waldmeir, P. (1998) Anatomy of a miracle: The end of apartheid and the birth of the new South Africa. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Willis, K. (2011) Theories and practices of development. Oxon: Routledge. World Bank. (2018) Overcoming poverty and inequality in South Africa: An assessment of drivers, constraints and opportunities. Washington, DC: World Bank.

4 CWÉLELEP Dissonance and new learning at the University of Victoria1 Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

We know the power of education, its power to destroy and its power to heal and thrive. We are still here because we continue to practice our powerful traditional forms of learning and teaching to be a good contributing member of community. – Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams

Territorial acknowledgement The authors give thanks for the privilege of living and working on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen- and Sencothen-speaking peoples, the Songhees, Esquimalt and the W̱ SÁNEĆ First Nations, whose historic connection to these lands continues to this day.

Introduction Canada is a settler colonial nation. European incursion into this part of the world remains in terms of world history fairly recent. Indigenous peoples have lived in all parts of what today is called Canada. European settlers have been here for around 550 years. But during these relatively few years of settler colonialism, a virtually endless path of cultural genocide, confiscation of Indigenous land, violence against Indigenous women and destruction of Indigenous languages and knowledge has taken place. In 2015, a national report on the impact of residential schooling on the destruction of culture, knowledge, language and family connections of Indigenous young people, The Truth and Reconciliation Report was released (2015). The report notes, ‘For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-4

56  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide”’ (TRC, 2015: 1). As part of the TRC report, a call to action was issued to redress the legacy of the residential schools to support a process of reconciliation. The call to action made several references to higher education: 16. We call upon post-secondary institutions to create university and college degree and diploma programs in Aboriginal languages. 62. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms. 65. We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation. We situate our chapter not only within a historic context of national systematic epistemicide and linguicide but also within a context of increased public attention to historic atrocities and, more specifically, some recent experiences as one Canadian University, the University of Victoria, has approached putting a decolonizing agenda into action.

About the authors Dr Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria and Canada Research Chair in Education and Linguistics. She is an Officer in the Order of Canada. She built her career on the principle that quality education for Indigenous children must be characterized by strong cultural teachings alongside a Euro-Western education. As a child, Wanosts’a7 was sent to Indian Day School and then to residential school at St Joseph’s Mission, where her Lil’wat language was lost. Shortly after returning home from residential school, she was hospitalized for hepatitis and other ailments for four months where she learned to speak English; upon her return home, community elders assisted her recovery and relearning of her Lil’wat language. In turn, she became an English interpreter for the elders in her community. Lorna helped to develop the writing system for Lil’wat and co-authored the first curriculum and learning resources for teachers to teach the language in school. These materials continue to be used to teach today. At the University of Victoria, Dr Williams initiated and led the development of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and a master’s in Counseling in Indigenous Communities. She also

Cwélelep  57

initiated, designed and implemented a mandatory course in Indigenous Education for all teacher education students, leading to the requirement that all teacher education programmes in British Columbia include an Indigenous Education course. Dr Budd L Hall is Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and the Co-Chair of the UNESCO Chair in CommunityBased Research and Social Responsibility in higher education. He is a descendent of English immigrants whose great grandparents, Lewis and Elizabeth Beardmore Hall, immigrated to Vancouver Island on the West Coast of Canada in the 1860s. As a white farm family, they obtained rich agricultural land stolen from the Halalt First Nations of the Chemainus River Valley. The acquisition of this land transformed his family into the middle class. The taking of this land and similar land by other settlers rendered the Halalt First Nations families impoverished, depriving them of ancient hunting and gathering territory. His career began in Tanzania where he first developed the ideas of participatory research, a decolonial approach to knowledge construction inspired by the thoughts of the late President Julius K Nyerere. He has been an ally in the struggles for Indigenous self-determination, language retention and the decolonization of higher education for nearly 50 years.

Why we are writing together We have known each other for 20 years. We met when Budd was the dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria and when Lorna was hired as the first professor of Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria. We have worked together as friends and colleagues in the initial work of decolonizing and indigenizing the Faculty of Education, in influencing the field of education in British Colombia and Canada and in supporting numerous decolonizing initiatives globally. From our Indigenous and settler heritages, we have found that we share a common vision of a world and a university where the languages, cultures, ways of knowing and being of Indigenous peoples should be centred in institutions of learning, law, health, child welfare, music, theatre and more. We honour those who began this work before us. We acknowledge the staggering challenge of reimaging a university after 500 years of colonial knowledge monopoly. But we also want to share these stories about our experiences in decolonization at the University of Victoria.

Understanding decolonization The concept of decolonization of higher education has arisen in several parts of the world and as a practice refers to a diversity of approaches. From South Africa, the decolonisation of the African academy remains one of the biggest challenges, not only in terms of the curriculum, teaching strategies, and text books, but also in terms of the democratisation of knowledge, and the regeneration and adaptation of old epistemologies to suit new postcolonial realities. (Emeagwali and Dei 2014: 4)

58  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

The case is made that the Euro-centric curriculum of South African Universities differs from the cultural capital of the majority of South African students. So, while formal political apartheid structures may have given way, a dominant apartheid knowledge structure has hardly been touched. Important to note that even UK universities are beginning to recognize that ‘the content of university knowledge remains principally governed by the West for the West’ (Bhambra et al. 2018: 6). The ‘Rhodes must fall’ student movement starting in South Africa has been picked up by students in Oxford, the School of Oriental and African studies and elsewhere. At a symposium on Colonization of the Curriculum held at Birkbeck College in London in 2019, William Ackah from Birkbeck drew on the poetry of Audre Lorde, the fiction of Ralph Ellison and the lyrics of Bob Marley to speak of the ‘Ambush in the night’, that is, the domination of white Eurocentric knowledge in a world where the majority are black and brown people. The contemporary university curriculum is, according to Ackah, ‘affirmative action for the white middle class’ (Hall, 2019). The call for decolonization of higher education is turning up in every part of the world as the reality of the domination of Eurocentric knowledge over all other forms of knowledge in our universities becomes increasingly obvious. But the nature of the conversations about what the practice of decolonization means differs based on the nature of those colonial histories. Our discussions within Canada refer to the broader domination of Western European knowledge over all other knowledge systems globally, but our focus is most firmly on the need to redress the legacy of epistemicide relating to Indigenous knowledge systems and world-views. From De Leeuw and Hunt, ‘Decolonization demands acknowledging multiple ways of knowing and being, especially those of Indigenous peoples and systems. It espouses efforts of undoing the privileging of non-Indigenous settler ways of knowing above those of Indigenous peoples’ (De Leeuw and Hunt, 2018). Tuck and Yang note, ‘Decolonization offers a different perspective to human and civil rights-based approaches to justice, an unsettling one, rather than a complementary one. Decolonization is not an “and”. It is an elsewhere’ (Tuck and Yang, 2012: 40).

Decolonial scaffolding at the University of Victoria Our purpose is not to put the University of Victoria forward as an institution that fully understands all of the implications of a decolonizing higher education practice. It is rather to share stories about several examples of what the university has been able to do in creating several innovative and unique Indigenous academic programmes. We begin by sharing some of the policies that have been put in place to support a decolonizing effort. The University of Victoria created its first Indigenous Plan (2017) in consultation with First Nations communities in our region, with Indigenous students, staff and faculty and with others wanting to advance Indigenous-centred work (UVic 2017). Among the points made in the Indigenous Plan are the following:

Cwélelep  59

• The University of Victoria makes a commitment to education that redresses the historical and continued barriers that Indigenous peoples have faced in accessing and participating in postsecondary education. • The cultural wisdom of Elders defines and informs the manner in which Indigenous people live in the modern world. • The University of Victoria will offer faculty professional development opportunities about how to indigenize and decolonize pedagogy and curricula.

Lorna’s story I came to the University of Victoria at the end of my working career, an important factor because bringing about change in a university is challenging especially for new faculty establishing merit and tenure. Bringing my lifetime of work in language revitalization, Indigenous education and institutional change was critical in leading the developments of Indigenous Education and Indigenous languages at the university. The university had a history of innovation in Indigenous programmes but it failed at sustaining those programmes like most universities at the time. For example, they developed and offered a programme for those working with Indigenous languages in communities throughout the province. This programme was a partnership between the Linguistics department and Education, to support people to teach their languages and also to gain the linguistic knowledge necessary for work on their languages. My work with language communities over the years revealed how the communities benefited from the knowledge of those students. At my recruitment interview, I presented what I intended to do and made it clear that if I was offered the position the university was making a commitment to change. In the Lil’wat world as in most Indigenous cultural worlds when people come together to begin work, it is a time to voice clearly what the intention is for working together. I used my time with the faculty and students to present my ideas and why I thought the University of Victoria was a good place to bring Indigenous knowledge and languages into the academic world. In this chapter, I will briefly describe the developments in the Indigenizing of the Faculty of Education and the lessons we learned in the process. My first tasks were to establish the Indigenous Education office, not yet a department, and to manage the Developmental Standard Term Certificate (DSTC). A new development in the province between First Nations Steering Committee, Ministry of Education and participating universities was to prepare Indigenous language teachers. The University of Victoria was partnering with two First Nations languages/four dialects. Students were learning their languages, learning literacy in their languages, learning to teach their languages and mobilizing their community language learners. This programme clearly revealed the complex needs of language revitalization in communities beginning this work, and the students needed interdisciplinary academic support in education, linguistics, second language learning, community development and policy development. It also revealed that the programme would not give the students a teaching credential after all their study nor

60  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

was there a provision for them to be recognized as teachers in school districts. But like in the previous UVIC Indigenous language programme, the students in the DSTC were able to make good use of their learning. They became the leaders for the developments of their languages in their home communities. The second effort was to develop a mandatory course on Indigenous Education in Teacher Education. There were optional courses on Indigenous Education offered that students could select to take but there wasn’t a course on Indigenous Education required in any BC teacher education programme. At the University of Victoria, it began with the meeting between the Faculty Indigenous Education Advisory Committee, Teacher Education, the student’s association and interested faculty. A course was designed and implemented. At the same time, there were efforts to make this province wide. To achieve this, the Ministry of Advanced Education, UVIC Faculty of Education, First Nations Education Steering Committee, College of Teachers and the Ministry of Education came together to plan. We had to justify and to be clear about why the course needed to be mandatory rather than Indigenous knowledge being included into existing courses, or why there were no proposals for a mandatory course for other cultural populations. In BC data on student school performance, it was clear that Indigenous students were not served by education; it was vital for teachers to be prepared to meet the challenges of providing educational service to this population. It had to begin with their teacher education. The first of the courses that I offered under the title of Learning and Teaching in an Indigenous World was a course on the carving of a welcome pole for the lobby of the Faculty of Education, the Thunderbird/Whale Protection and Welcoming Pole. Before I came to the Faculty of Education, there was no cultural image anywhere that would tell an Indigenous student that they would be welcome here. Grey institutional walls shouted out the architecture of exclusion. It was a course built on the Lil’wat principles of teaching and learning (Sanford et al. 2012). The course included students from Teacher Education, which meant providing exceptional permissions to student who were not in year 4 or 5 of the programme; faculty; Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities; both undergraduate and graduate students from across the university also requiring exceptional provisions by the graduate school because the course was non-graded. The course was experiential and involved Indigenous knowledge keepers. The lead carvers were from two First Nations communities, Songhees and Liekwelthout; one was an elder carver and the other a young carver, and they modelled how mentorship in the Indigenous community takes place. No one explained; they just went about the task of sharing and working together. Offering the course revealed the operational areas that needed to be addressed, policies on grading, the differences in undergraduate and graduate programmes, time and scheduling the habits that had evolved in the number of hours for each class, and the designated hours for the course. An experiential course did not stay within the hours assigned. There were opportunities to share and reflect on the experience throughout the course. More information on the courses can be found in a number of articles (Williams, 2007, 2012;

Cwélelep  61

Tanaka, 2016). Working together to carve the wood from a Cedar log to reveal the figure of the old man, Schalay’nung Szweg’qa, who would welcome all students to a place where they would be welcome. Over a period of 12 weeks, the figure of the old man was revealed. Students learned about carving, about ceremony, about respect for the skills being taught them and about why an act of physical creation of a welcoming figure was so important. A ceremony was organized in Salish Liekwelthout, Nuuchanulth and University traditions. First Nations community members came to see what was new at the University. The late chief Andy Thomas of the Esquimalt First Nations was the Guest of Honour. He witnessed the ceremony, saw the new welcoming figure and listened to a poem that had been written by Budd Hall the dean of the faculty. Chief Thomas was moved to speak acknowledging that at long last a real change was happening in the Faculty of Education in a respectful way:

Schalay’nung Szweg’qa Welcome back to the fields of camas lilies that your people harvested each season Welcome back to the hill by the bay where your people collected clams and mussels for at least 12000 years Welcome back to the lands where pine and Arbutus trees stood for 500 generations Welcome back to the shady places where the medicines have grown We welcome your stories We welcome your wisdom We welcome your return from your journeys You have seen my ancestors come to this Island’s shores not so many years ago You have seen your people die from the illnesses that my ancestors brought You have seen your lands taken through both administrative slight-of-hand and guns You have seen my great grandparents be given land of your Halalt Peoples by persons who were not of that land You have seen your people crying, alone in the residential schools You have seen your people standing at the barricades in protection of the land and forests You have seen your people starting their own schools to stop the destruction of your children in the schools of others You have seen the Aunties teaching young people the language You have seen Uncles teaching the songs and the dances And now you have come You have come to protect all of your people as they seek to learn within our walls

62  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

You have come with your other ways of knowing You have come to say that never again will your young people be treated badly simply because they are the children of this land You have come to help us, all of us, create a space where all people, young and old can learn and be respected and recognized for who they are And we welcome you We receive you with respect We receive you with open arms We thank all those who have made it possible for you to come to this house Those who dreamed of your story Those who removed the wood that had held and protected you for years Those who cleansed and sang for you Those who learned from you even as they helped to set you free again Those who recorded this re-birth Those who will take this story to all the places in the land and share it with others Those who are the teachers Those who are the elders Those from your communities who encouraged you to come Those from this house of learning who have longed for and supported your journey home Those who are here today, both young and old, to welcome you and to accept you Welcome, Schalay’nung Sxweg’qa This is your home A lunch meeting between the chair of the EPLS department and Lorna led to the development of a master’s degree in Counselling in Indigenous Communities. The Counseling department had a counselling programme for Indigenous students that they offered but it was not as successful in attracting or retaining Indigenous students. We planned a retreat to a local small island, inviting the faculty in the counselling department, dean, past counselling students and Indigenous people involved in counselling and healing in communities. We spent three days and evenings learning from one another; looking at the existing counselling programme; listening to and telling stories; talking about the counselling needs of Indigenous people; learning and teaching needs; learning about existing counselling services both helpful and not helpful in schools and communities including in urban off-reserve communities. This was the beginning of many more gatherings to dream, plan, design and revise. We looked at other examples of programmes and research. A very important and active partner was the Canadian Counselling Association as they play a key role in the credentialing of counsellors. It was decided that the master’s degree would be open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Non-Indigenous people

Cwélelep  63

work in Indigenous communities, and it is crucial that that they have the knowledge base to support their work. An Indigenous counselling scholar was engaged to deliver the opening course with Lorna. At the first course, there was a no-book, no-computer requirement. Instead, the students were required to bring their knowledge of counselling, wellness, healing to the learning circle. This was a critical step because education and schools generally did not allow Indigenous knowledge. Indigenous people become socialized to leave their knowledge outside, and the learning materials and research in programmes are based on the Western world-view (Arnett, 2008). At the beginning, it was painful for the students; these students had been successful in the EuroWestern schooling system, and some of them felt that they did not know enough about their Indigenous world. But with time in a safe, open, supportive environment facilitated by experiences and knowledgeable leaders, the students began to bring their life experiences and memories to light. It was so beautiful to watch the students share and uncover the knowledge about healing that they carried from their communities. Although the degree was developed and was successful in graduating students and they have made a positive impact in communities, it is not yet a part of the offerings in the counselling programme. Two other degrees were being developed at the time: a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization, a partnership between Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education and Linguistics in the Faculty of Humanities. I approached another faculty responsible for Early Childhood education, community policy and governance to join the partnership but interdisciplinary partnerships at universities are not easy to form due to resource competition. Those partnerships would have been ideal as Indigenous language revitalization is a lifelong endeavour and requires knowledge in community mobilization, policy and intergovernmental relationships. For the bachelor’s degree, I chose to work with one-language community; to build the degree based on their needs, meetings were held in the community, looking at the language revitalization needs, both public and band school needs and academic learning needs. It was decided to design a cohort-based, laddered programme leading to a degree because students are usually key members in both the family and the community, and if they needed to interrupt their studies, they could still have gained credits. The ladders were language fluency and literacy development; this part of the programme was critical to creating the excitement for language learning in the communities, necessary for mobilizing the language work across the entire community; understanding effects of colonization on language disruption, necessary to understand the challenges to revitalizing a language in a colonial environment; and Indigenous language teacher development, learning to teach both in a public school environment and a community-based school, teaching to all ages and language abilities. The master’s degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization was designed in conversations with Indigenous Language champions throughout the province, based on their needs for their language work. All the Indigenous languages in BC are categorized as Endangered according to scales developed by linguists.

64  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

Every language is in a different state along those scales (Fishman, 1990). The degree is cohort based. Indigenous language workers are often very isolated, and a cohort model would serve to forge a strong network. The degree would bring the cohort together on campus for short, intense periods and also use distance learning for coursework. The students are often the key to the language work in communities and can’t leave their communities for extended periods of time; at the same time, there are resources at universities that would be helpful to their work so learning about those resources and accessing them is key; it is also an opportunity for the university to learn how to serve this population. The most critical feature of this master’s degree was to post five seats for students who did not hold a bachelor’s degree, necessary because so many of the people working in Indigenous language communities do so based on their own study. At the time, there were no university programmes where they could study and gain the knowledge that they required to do their work. People attended workshops, classes and conferences and were mentored by those in the field. Most valuable, the students learned from the fluent speakers, who are the language keepers in their communities. This provision was developed in partnership between the graduate school, linguistics department and Indigenous Education. A survey of the language study of Indigenous language champions was conducted that assisted in the decision to incorporate this feature. It has been demonstrated that these students contribute to the learning of the group; they bring a deep knowledge of the traditions and culture of language communities. The student research work is contributing to the accumulated knowledge of Indigenous language revitalization in an Indigenous community voice.

Conclusions Writing about our experience at the University of Victoria has given us a chance to think back on what has been accomplished and what might be learned from these decolonizing actions. We hope that these reflections might be helpful to others at the University of Victoria working on decolonizing the curriculum, to others in Canada or Turtle Island, and hopefully for readers in Africa and other parts of the majority world wherever the call for decolonization arises. Decolonization inevitably involves a clash of cultures. The formal academic world is dominated by a white Eurocentric knowledge system. The introduction of Indigenous world-views, whether those from Turtle Island, Africa, Latin America, Asia or the Pacific islands, creates a culture clash. This is to be expected. It is important that all those who enter into decolonial projects from any side of diverse cultures accept that there will be clashes. It is important that people commit themselves to the resolution of clashes that arise. Conflict commonly arises, and conflict is a way that we break through to new learning. We need to acknowledge that we can resolve conflicts and clashes collectively. Secondly, ceremony and protocols serve a key function of bringing people together in a respectful and thoughtful way. Efforts are required to respect all the traditions and to bring them together. The cultural ways of working and learning

Cwélelep  65

amongst the Coast and Straits Salish Peoples of British Colombia were incorporated into our work at the University of Victoria. Ceremonies which celebrate the creation of new Indigenous-centred courses and achievements were conducted according to cultural protocols of the First Nations Peoples on whose land the university stands and who are still living here and looking after the land. According to our local protocols, individuals are called upon to serve as witnesses to what has transpired and tell the stories about what has happened. Drumming, dancing and singing is a central part of cultural ways. You will have different cultural practices, protocols and ceremonial practices wherever you live. But if your goal is to decolonize and indigenize your higher education spaces, practices of the various cultures which are interacting with each other are important ways of working. Thirdly, the dominant socialization process of Eurocentric higher education systems is powerful. Those of us who work in higher education learn our roles as scholars, students and leaders through the historic construction of what it means to excel in Western colonized universities. We learn what forms of knowledge fit or are appropriate within a university setting. This means that the introduction of Indigenous and other decolonized ways of knowing often just does not feel like it belongs in a university. But decolonization means de-centring European or Western knowledge systems and perhaps moving beyond the concept of university with its emphasis on a single, universal, monopoly of knowledges. It calls on us to examine concepts such as a ‘multiversity’ as the Ugandan intellectual Wangoola has done with his creation of Mpambo, the Afrikan multiversity (Wangoola, 2013) or a pluriversity (Ndlovu-Gatsheini 2020) as other decolonial thinkers have suggested. No university anywhere in the world has the right to exclude Indigenous, landbased or other subaltern ways of knowing. Finally, The decolonization process in not only a matter of curriculum changes. It is not a matter of simply adding African, Tribal or Indigenous knowledge to existing curricula. Decolonizing extends to the ways that we learn and teach. The courses in Indigenous ways of learning that were put into place in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria incorporated Indigenous principles of teaching and learning, Indigenous pedagogy, into each of the courses offered. Decolonizing higher education extends to the way that research is understood and carried out. Smith’s powerful writings on decolonizing research show us a way forward in Indigenous-centred research (2012). But decolonizing higher education goes still further’ it means changing the very architecture by which academic careers are valued and acknowledged. Career progress from a decolonial lens means going beyond the counting of research grant monies and numbers of academic articles published in journal and read only by a few other academics. Impact and value to communities needs to be taken into account. We close by acknowledging the positive work being done by so many African, Indigenous and previously excluded scholars and their allies in the part of the world where we live and throughout the world. We salute all who are on the canoe journey of decolonization, all who have joined the dance of hope and all who beat the drums of change. We will not be turned around.

66  Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams and Budd Hall

Note 1 Cwélelep is a Lil’wat Indigenous language concept about learning. It recognises the need to sometimes be in a place of dissonance and uncertainty, heightened awareness, so as to be open to new learning.

References Arnett, J. J. (2008). The Neglected 95 per cent: Why American Psychology Needs to Become Less American. American Psychologist, 63(7), 602–614. https://doi-org.ezproxy. Bhambra, G. K., D. Gebrial and K. Nisancioslu (2018) Decolonising the University. Pluto Press De Leeuw, S. and S. Hunt (2018) Unsettling Decolonizing Geographies. Geography Compass, 12(7), 1–14. Emeagwali, G. and G. J. S. Dei (2014). African Indigenous Knowledge and the Disciplines. Springer. Fishman, J. (1990) What is Reversing Language Shift (RLS) and How Can It Succeed?. Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development, 11(1–2), 5–36, To link to this article: Hall, B (2019) “Decolonization: Not just a Buzzword” Blog from UNESCO Chair web site Marshall, A., Emerson, L., Williams, L., Antoine, A., MacDougall, C. and Peterson, R. (2017) A’tola’nw: Indigenous-centred learning in a counselling graduate program. In Indigenous Culture and Mental Health Counselling, S.L. Stewart, R. Moodley, and A. Hyatt, eds. Routledge, 182–198. Ndlovu-Gatsheini, S. J. (2020) Global Economy of Knowledge in Transformative Global Studies: Decoloniality, Ecologies of Knowledges and Pluriversity. In Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies, H. Housseini et al., ed. Routledge. Sanford, K., L. Williams, T. Hopper, and C. McGregor. (2012) Indigenous Principles Decolonizing Teacher Education: What We Have Learned. Education 182). https:// Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2nd ed.). Zed Books. Tanaka, M.T. D. (2016) Learning and Teaching Together: Weaving Indigenous Ways of Knowing into Education. UBC Press. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) Honoring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Tuck, E. and K. W. Yang (2012) Decolonization is not a Metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society, 1(1), 1–40. University of Victoria (2017) Indigenous Plan 2017–2022. docs/indigenous-plan.pdf Wangoola, N. (2013) Mpambo Afrikan Multiversity. Inclusion Press. Williams, L. and Tanaka, M. (2007) Schalay’nung Sxwey’ga Emerging cross-cultural pedagogy in the academy. Educational Insights, 11(3). insights/v11n03/articles/williams/williams.html Williams, L., M. Tanaka, V. Leik, and T. Riecken (2014) Walking side by side: Living Indigenous ways in the Academy. In Learning and Teaching Community Based research: Linking Pedagogy to Practice, H. Etmanski and T. Dawson eds. University of Toronto Press.


Introduction Internationalization of higher education (IHE) has been increasingly emphasized upon in a range of countries around the globe. With few exceptions, it is likely that “no corner of the globe or institutional type has proven itself immune to the call to ‘internationalize’ in some fashion” (Rumbley et al., 2012, p. 3). Although the practice of IHE greatly varies according to the specific local context characterized by different IHE rationales and orientations. Most developed countries are education export-oriented, developing countries or countries with colonial experiences are import-oriented, and non-English-speaking developed countries embrace both import and export orientations (Huang, 2007a). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, IHE was characterized by a Centre-Periphery dichotomy. That is, IHE in developed countries is placed at the international academic centre thanks to their financial resources to produce and distribute new knowledge, whereas developing countries are in the periphery as they are unlikely to be in a strong financial position to invest in HE, and, accordingly, IHE in these countries requires more effort and deliberate strategies (Uzhegova and Baik, 2020). However, the current financial and health crisis has laid bare the vulnerability and unsustainability of the transactional model underpinning IHE in developed Anglophone countries, which rely heavily on the export of education and recruitment of international students to subsidize institutional operations (Tran, 2020). At the same time, COVID-19 has presented the opportunity for Asian countries to continue to build a resilient IHE model that creatively and flexibly relies on national strengths and values, internationalization at home, regional cooperation, and international engagement (ibid). In the existing literature on IHE, IHE in Asian countries has been regarded as peripheral in relation to Western countries as it is seen to look for the West models, to quest for the West knowledge and modernity and to appreciate the DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-5

68  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

West credentials (Altbach, 1989). Every academic institution in Asia has its roots in one or more Western academic models with academic aspects such as institutional governance, academic professions, academic life, assessment and examination, and language of instruction (in some countries) being patterned like that of the West through transplanting the Western education standards and practices in Asia (ibid). This indicates how higher education practices in many parts of Asia have been shaped and continue to perpetuate by Western forms of knowledge, rationalities, and experiences, suggesting the critical attention paid to decolonization of higher education in Asia. On the other hand, the practice of IHE in the region is highly diverse as each Asian country possesses distinctive traditions, culture, political agenda, and its own historical and contemporary interactions with the West. Most Asian countries were colonized, and different colonial powers determined their own approach to education during the colonial period that also affects their post-colonial relationships. While Japan, China, and Thailand have never had colonial experiences, the Philippine, India, and Singapore were British colonies and ruled by them; other countries such as Laos and Cambodia were colonized by the French (Altbach, 1989). Vietnam was ruled by Chinese colonial power for a thousand years, followed by French colony and the long-lasting war by multiple military forces, including America and Japan, that left their imprints even in the contemporary society. These historical and contextual peculiarities greatly impact the country’s higher education reform agendas as the interplay between the country political agenda, colonial legacies, decolonization of HE, IHE, and national identity preservation creates a complex picture and context where HE reform operates. Discussions of education reform in Vietnam have evolved in the aftermath of the country’s reunification in 1975, especially since the country embraced the Đổi Mớ i (economic and social reform) policy, which is often referred to as the country’s transition from a subsidized centralized economy to a socialist-oriented multiple-sectored market economy. Launched in 1986, Doi Moi aimed to foster the country’s modernization and development as well as increase its regional and international integration. Issues around policy, ideology, structure, and politics in higher education reforms as well as theories, models, and practices of IHE and associated opportunities and challenges have been discussed against the backdrop of the country’s endeavours to profoundly transform socioculturally, politically, and economically (e.g. Nguyen and Tran, 2019, Ba Ngoc and Le Ha, 2020, Tran et al., 2014). However, the discussion of Asian higher education needs to take into consideration the impact of the colonial experience (Altbach, 1989) and to view it from a historical and contextual standpoint but, at the same time, situate it within the local, regional and global contexts. The objective of this chapter is, therefore, to situate the discussion of Vietnam’s IHE within a historical frame to analyse how different colonial legacies affect the country’s education reform. This chapter begins with an overview of decolonization and IHE, followed by a brief on Chinese and French colonial legacies and their influence in the Vietnamese society and education. Subsequently, Vietnam’s higher education reform and IHE were discussed from a historical and contextual perspective. It analyses how the

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  69

interplay between Vietnam’s political agenda, colonial legacies, decolonization, IHE and the preservation of national identity affects the country’s education reform agenda and its implementation.

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education Decolonization is critical to the process of reforming higher education in a former colony like Vietnam as it opens up the possibility for modernization and transformation of the national higher education system on the basis of blending the national and international principles while at the same time embracing indigenous values and national identity, self-determination, and aspiration. At the heart of decolonization is not only an attempt to challenge the dominance of the colonizer’s and “Western” knowledge, perspectives and ways of meaning making but also a process to localize the curriculum and validate indigenous knowledge systems, languages, and experiences. There are however a range of definitions of decolonization of higher education. The concept is viewed by Woldegiorgis et al. (2020, p. 1) as “a radical process of redefining and re-designing systems and standards, which ensure that teaching and learning occur in and emerge from appropriate local contexts of relevance”. It involves the recognition and prioritization of indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing with regards to the indigenous contributions to the “production, dissemination, application, promotion, protection, control, and utilization of knowledge” (Woldegiorgis et al., 2020, p. 1). There has been a repeated call for decolonization of higher education, especially in post-colonial contexts, because scholars have argued that the perpetuating legitimation and superiority of legacies of a Western imperialism has resulted in the ignorance, suppression, or eradication of local knowledge and perspectives (e.g. Monzó and SooHoo, 2014; Le Grange, 2016; Mignolo, 2009). Another salient theme in the literature on decolonization of higher education is to bring to the fore and interrupt the colonial roots that dominate educational rationalities and practices in higher education (du Preez, 2018). Accordingly, decolonization of higher education is characterized as an uncentring and deconstructing process which entails epistemic hybridity, respect of difference, multiple frames of reference and diverse rationalities and, at the same time, validates, and pays more attention to the marginalized, the indigenous and the non-West to enrich the HE system and curriculum (Le Grange, 2016; Seats, 2020). IHE has been centred in education reform agenda in many countries around the globe. IHE is often described as the process of incorporating an international and cultural dimension into the educational system and making it central and sustainable (Knight, 2015, De Wit, 2015). It is an ongoing and continuous process that can be achieved through international cooperation and development projects; institutional agreements and networks; internationalization of the teaching/learning process, curriculum, and research; campus-based extracurricular clubs and activities; mobility of academics through exchange, field work, sabbaticals, and consultancy work; recruitment of international students; inbound and outbound student mobilities; joint/double-degree programmes; twinning partnerships; and branch campuses

70  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

(Chatterjee and Barber, 2020). Even though IHE is a contested concept, most definitions of IHE have been conceived by Western scholars in Western contexts (see, e.g. De Wit (2015), Knight (2015)). There has therefore been a call to consider the extent to which IHE is a Western and neocolonial concept (e.g. Teferra, 2019). In particular, scholars have called for disrupting the normal and existing hierarchies in knowledge construction and practice of IHE. Singh and colleagues, in particular, underscore the importance to learn from non-Western systems and their languages and banks of knowledge to enrich our understanding and ways of reforming higher education (Singh, 2011; Singh & Huang, 2013). In addition, the emergence of China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, and Mexico as powerful actors and/or regional hubs for international education (Wen & Hu, 2019) has the potential to challenge a Western-dominated order of IHE and open up a multipolar world system of knowledge and practice related to internationalization.

Colonization, decolonization, and internationalization of higher education in Vietnam Chinese colonial influence Vietnam experienced more than a thousand years of pre-modern Chinese invasion back from 179 BC until the national independence was restored in AD 938 (Ashwill, 2011). During this colonial period, Confucian ideology was used by Chinese officials to serve the purpose of domination and assimilation through culture, education, and politics (Tran et al., 2014, Huong and Fry, 2004, Tho, 2016). Together with Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism were also introduced to Vietnam but Confucian thought significantly dominated as it was forced to be adopted by the Chinese invader in the old days and voluntarily adopted when Vietnam fought and gained independence in the Dai Viet dynasties due to the need of an efficient sociopolitical ideology (Tho, 2016). Confucianism with the emphasis on harmony, dignity, and morality has been ingrained in almost all aspects of the Vietnamese life and underpinned Vietnamese social structure, educational philosophy, and education system (Tho, 2016, Welch, 2010). The establishment of HE in the colonies often aims to facilitate a smooth running of the colonial administration system and serves the broader colonial ambitions of domination and assimilation. Since its inception, Vietnam’s early higher education system resembled China’s education model driven by Confucian philosophy (Pham and Fry, 2004, Marginson, 2011, Dang, 2009). The establishment of Quốc Tử Giám (Imperial Academy) in 1076 marked the Vietnam’s first national university that was dedicated to Confucius, sages, and scholars and that catered the needs of training children of royal officials (Ba Ngoc and Le Ha, 2020). Students at the Imperial Academy were taught Confucian philosophy and different subjects including history, poetry, ethics, and political science in Chinese Mandarin as the medium of instruction (Do, 1995), highlighting the use of language as an instrument to expand colonial power. Despite the introduction of Chu Nom, a script for the Vietnamese language based on Chinese characters, in the thirteenth century,

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  71

Chinese writing and characters were still the primary language used in the country education system (Huong and Fry, 2004). Chinese was used as the written and official language for law and government, whereas Chu Nom was used in written form for Vietnamese culture, literature as well as the various dialects in spoken language (Wright, 2002, Bianco, 1994). While the Chinese invasion lasted until 939, the Mandarin education system dominated in the country until the early twentieth century, when the French colonial power was instituted (Huong and Fry, 2004, Bianco, 1994). The core values of Confucianism during the Chinese colonial power remain rooted in and have certain influences on the modern country’s philosophy, culture, society, economy, and politics which are enduring and are not easy to be altered or replaced (Ashwill, 2011, Thanh, 2014). These include the hierarchical organization structure both in family and in society (Tho, 2016); the elitism of higher education system (Do, 1995); the rote learning system; the belief that teachers are a rich source of knowledge and are responsible for constructing knowledge for their students; and the superior and highly respected position of teachers in society (Thanh, 2014, Do, 1995). Confucian philosophy emphasizes the importance of education in improving an individual’s life and their society and refers to education as the primary mechanism of building an individual’s social status and transmitting social status between a family’s generations (Shin, 2015). This philosophical approach is also related to the notion of social reward systems where resources are located to people based on their levels of education (Shin, 2015). Therefore, the influence of Confucian philosophy is manifested in Vietnamese parents’ willingness to invest in their children’s education as acknowledged by Professor Phung Xuan Nha, Vietnam’s former minister of education and training, “Vietnamese parents can sacrifice everything, sell their houses and land just to give their children an education” (Ashwill, 2017, para. 15), reinforcing the priority of education in the Vietnamese families and its primary position in the Vietnamese society.

French colonial influence The first French troop stepped in Vietnam in 1858 and marked the beginning of a colonial era until 1954. The aim of the French colonization was to source raw materials from the land of the colonized, turned them into manufactured goods and distributed to the European market (Fanon, 1983). Although the French colonial regime was initially driven by economic motivation, their colonial philosophy was to assimilate the colony with the mission of civilizing Vietnamese, whom they claimed as “backward and primitive”, by making them familiarize with “French ideas, morality, industry, science, and economics” (Leconfield, 1933, p. 173, cited in Huong & Fry, 2004) and converting them into French-like men. Access to education in general and higher education in particular during the French colony was limited as the French colonizer followed the policy of keeping the natives ignorant (chính sách ngu dân) to be easy to rule (Malarney, 2012). There were also debates of whether a wide exposure to higher education could make Vietnamese “talented collaborators or more committed rebels” (McConnell, 1988, p. 36) as colonial

72  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

authorities were significantly concerned about the loyalty of local graduates, students, and universities and made great effort to control it (Altbach, 1989). Therefore, instead of investing in education in their colonies, the French colonizer often sent selected colonized students to France to learn the French language, culture, and way of life (Woldegiorgis et al., 2020) with the goal to have them back to serve the colonial regime. Some of these scholars, however, had become activists of nationalism who later formed a national force to fight against the French colonizer (Tran et al., 2021). Under the French colony, the feudal education system as a colonial legacy of the Chinese invader was gradually replaced by the centralized and elite public French-style education system that aimed to teach children of local French colons and develop human resources to serve the colonial aspirations of the French government (Nguyen, 2014, Huong and Fry, 2004). This centralization of education with participation of only a privileged few prevented the mass population from schooling, resulting in the vast majority of Vietnamese people who could neither read nor write and in 90% of the population being illiterate (Nguyen, 2018). The striking movement during the French colony was the development of Romanized Vietnamese script known as “Chữ quốc ngữ ”, meaning the national language (hereafter referred to as Vietnamese language), with the assistance of Alexandre de Rhodes, a French missionary and scholar (Huong and Fry, 2004). The creation of Vietnamese language had profound impacts on the evolution of education in Vietnam. While French was learnt by a small elite group, the Vietnamese language as a new writing system was more accessible to ordinary Vietnamese with its increasing popularity in the public that fostered political and social change (Huong and Fry, 2004). The Vietnamese language was introduced in 1861 initially as a foreign language alongside with French as the main language in school and the language of general instructions. This binary language system led to linguistic division of society between French-speaking elites and Vietnamese-speaking ordinary people. The Vietnamese language as a mother tongue gradually took over the French’s dominant position and became the official language of instruction in the country since 1945 (Bianco, 1994). Vietnam’s victory over the French army and the signing of the Geneva Agreement in 1954 marked the country’s new chapter and division into two regions governed by different regimes: the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the North with the assistance from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), China, and the Eastern bloc, whereas in the South, the Republic of Vietnam was under the protection of the US military (Pham & Fry, 2004). The impact of these two distinctive political regimes on the country’s higher education system is discussed in the following sections through the lens of decolonization and IHE.

Decolonization and Internationalization of higher education The period between 1954 and 1986 The internationalization of Vietnamese higher education has significantly been affected by the country’s historical, economic, and political circumstances and

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  73

occurred when it was colonized, controlled, or strongly affected by foreign forces (Tran et al., 2014) as well as in the aftermath of independence. During the period between 1945 and 1980s, internationalization of tertiary education in Asia was influenced by the Cold War and countries in the region split into two groups. One group followed the former Soviet Union model, and the other accepted American model (Huang, 2007b). However, both models existed in Vietnam as a result of the enduring war and the signing of the Geneva Accords in 1954 that divided the country into two regions. The North was governed by the Communist Party and education system resembled the Soviet model driven by a commitment to non-market socialism, while the South was under the American incursion with education shaped by market capitalism ideology (Pham, 2020). These two conflicting education systems existed in one country and created significant challenges for the country’s education reform in the aftermath of reunification due to its disparity in education ideologies, philosophies, and structures. The process of decolonization of HE in Vietnam after the fall of the French colony first started in the North during the war with the US. Due to the state’s alliance with the Soviet Union, decolonization took place by the government’s efforts to eliminate French colonial influence and develop foreign cooperation with the socialist world, adopt the Soviet education model, curricula and materials, and send students to the Eastern Bloc countries in the former USSR such as Romania, the German Democratic Republic, Hungry and Czechoslovakia (Welch, 2010, Hayden and Chinh, 2020). In total, between 1955 and 1975, there were 30,775 Vietnamese students studying overseas, of whom 55% were in the USSR (Dang, 1997, p. 11, cited in Welch, 2010, p. 201). The period between the country’s reunification in 1975 until the Doi Moi in 1986 saw the process of decolonization of HE in the South as the Vietnamese government dismantled all the South Vietnam’s colleges and universities and replaced them with the education system patterned on the Soviet model which had been being used in the North with all higher education institutions owned and centrally managed by the state (Pham, 2020). Education system during this period was characterized by highly specialized and monodisciplinary model that was largely oriented towards teaching, whereas research institutions were treated as a separate body (Tran et al., 2014). Apart from adopting the Soviet education model, the effort of eliminating the influence of the American education with the emphasis on shifting the ideologies of capitalism as the American legacies to communism was manifested in the government’s sending US-trained intellectuals to re-education camps (Ba Ngoc and Le Ha, 2020), sending teachers from the South to the North to supervise the process of transition (Cima, 2004), and replacing English regarded as the language of the enemy by Russian and Chinese as foreign languages in HE curricula (Bui and Nguyen, 2016). During the colonial era, the Vietnam’s education system was developed to serve the colonial purpose with little relevant to support native people and the country’s development. Altbach (1989) posits that countries that experienced colonialism encountered different realities than non-colonized countries as the later was able

74  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

to have independent judgement in adopting foreign models. Decolonization as a process that “challenges and disrupts assumptions of colonial superiority” (Pratt et al., 2018, p. 3) and redefines and redesigns systems and standards to incorporate appropriate local contexts of relevance (Woldegiorgis et al., 2020) was not an easy adventure for Vietnam. This is because the colonial legacies and the consequences of the long-lasting war had left the country with a chaotic, fragmented, and underdeveloped education system. The disruption of the colonial education legacies (left by the Chinese and French colonies and the American incursion) and replacement with the Soviet Union’s education model with little inputs from local perspectives represented another form of colonization rather than decolonization. Language is a powerful tool used to exert colonial powers in different aspects including ideology, cultures, and values in the colonies (Shakib, 2011, Altbach, 1989). Thus, decolonization process often entails linguistic decolonization as “the actions taken in postcolonial contexts to undo the social, political, and cultural effects of the dominance of colonial languages” (Jaffe, 2009, p. 534). What makes Vietnam’s colonization and the process of decolonization peculiar has much to do with the fact that Vietnamese language was not endangered and driven to extinction by the colonial French language. It was an official language of instruction in higher education, used by ordinary Vietnamese as well as by Vietnamese patriots and intellectuals as a weapon to fight against the French power in the later stage of the French colonial period. Vietnamese intellectuals during this period tended to break from both Vietnam’s Confucian heritage and French imperialism and grasp the opportunity to expand literacy using Vietnamese language (Marklein and Van Tinh, 2020). In a sense, during the French colony, Vietnam was not fully linguistically colonized because French was replaced by Vietnamese language as a manifestation of decolonization that occurred during the colonial time instead of post-colonization as normally seen in other colonized countries and regions. Unlike some other countries in the region colonized by the British such as Hong Kong, India, and the Philippines where English was the official language of instruction and later becomes an advantaged colonial legacy in their IHE, colonial French language in Vietnam was not that influential and the Vietnamese language has dominated in the country since its introduction during the French colony and thus has contemporary implications in the country’s education reform and IHE. Therefore, despite being a colonized country, the starting point of the country’s internationalization in terms of language is similar to non-colonial countries such as Japan and China where the national language has been dominant and embedded in the national cultural identity, literature, history and arts as well as intellectual traditions. This has created a dynamic and complex picture of IHE with tensions between national identity preservation and internationalization.

After the “Doi Moi” 1986 The collapse of the communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe socialist systems in 1991 coupled with the “Doi moi” policy in 1986 driven by the transition from a

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  75

centrally planned economy to socialist-oriented market economy marked a dramatic change in the Vietnam’s sociocultural and economic development. Education has also been profoundly reformed based on three fundamental pillars: the socialization, diversification and democratization of education (Tran et al., 2014). The number of universities has increased dramatically from 86 universities in 1998 (Hayden and Chinh, 2020) to 224 universities in 2018 (Thuy Linh, 2018). Although the need for the country’s international integration was first mentioned in the eighth national congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1996 after a decade of Doi moi, it was not until the tenth party congress in 2006 where the international integration was expanded to other areas including education (Hoang et al., 2018). The higher education Reform Agenda (HERA) launched in 2005 aims at massification and privatization of higher education, increase of student and staff mobility, internationalization of curricula and teaching methods, decentralization and integration of research and teaching practices (Government of Vietnam, 2005). In particular, the HERA driven by the socialist-oriented market mechanism sought to advance the country’s education to meet international standards and become highly competitive (Government of Vietnam, 2005). While internationliaztion of higher education in some countries in the region is to serve their positiong of becoming an education hub such as Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore mainly to attract international students and strenthening their standing in the region (Ng, 2012), IHE in Vietnam is to boost the international integration and the quality of the national education that is lagging behind. The Soviet education model had been significantly abandoned during this period, and education reform was driven by five key principles: changing from narrow specification to broader academic fields and related professions; tuition fee charge and cost recovery possibilities; foreign language study shifted from French, Chinese, and Russian to English; giving universities more autonomy; and expanding the privatization of higher education (Huong and Fry, 2004). The country also fostered international collaboration from multiple aspects including encouraging and attracting foreign investment in education in Vietnam. In 2018, the government issued the Decree No. 86/2018/ND-CP to regulate and increase foreign investments and cooperation in education in the country (Government of Vietnam, 2018). As of December 2019, Vietnam has cooperated with partners from more than 100 countries and territories, and had 500 foreign investment projects in education worth US$4.4 billion, 05 foreign campuses set up in the country and more that 450 joint programmes delivered by 70 local HE providers (Huynh, 2020). In the context of increasing globalization and internationalization, English language has a pervasive influence in different aspects of a modern society including education. The critical role of English has been emphasized as a means for the citizens to access to a range of knowledge, professions, and advanced technology, contributing to nation-building and integrating Vietnam into the global world (Bui and Nguyen, 2016). In the early 2000, the Vietnamese government made English a compulsory foreign language subject for all students across the country which was previously dominated by Russian (Bui and Nguyen, 2016). English language

76  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

has been used as a gear to foster the country’s IHE and education reform, manifested in the government’s launch of the national project in 2008 entitled Teach and Learning foreign languages in the national education system for the period 2008–2020 (Decision No. 1400/QĐ-TTg) with an emphasis on teaching English in the state schools. In the latest foreign language reform, the National Foreign Language Project 2020, implemented in 2008, has been described as the most notable language reform of the nation, highlighting the government’s urgent need and prioritization of increasing English capacity of the citizens as one of the national missions. The ambition of this costly project of VND 9.4 trillion equivalent to US$443 million was that most Vietnamese students graduating from secondary, vocational schools, colleges and universities will be able to use a foreign language confidently in their daily communication, their study and work in an integrated, multicultural and multilingual environment, making foreign languages a competitive advantage for Vietnamese people (Dien Luong, 2016).

Internationalization of tertiary education at institutional level At the institutional level, during the period between 2008 and 2015, Vietnam has fostered internationalization of education at home through internationalizing curricula, using English as a medium of instruction, forging international collaboration, and increasing transnational education. The internationalization of curricula has been exercised through developing and implementing Chưo n̛ g trình tiên tiêń (advanced programme) at selected universities (Tran et al., 2014). The Decree 1505/QĐ-TTg (Prime Minister, 2008) stated that the overall goal of the advanced programme is to develop selected training programmes that help improve regional and international ranking of some elite universities with the target that by 2020, these participating universities would reach the top 200 universities in the world. Particularly, by 2015, there would be 30 advanced programmes that had trained 4,000 university graduates and 600 postgraduates. These programmes would involve 700 international staff to teach and research, 1,000 academic staff who meet regional and international criteria, and 100% teaching staff with a PhD degree. The main mechanism of these programmes is the importation of the training curricula and pedagogical practices from foreign partnered universities with some modifications to suit the local context (Nghia et al., 2019). However, Tran et al. (2018) argued while the programme had some achievements, the impacts on curriculum reform and graduate capacity have been fragmented and narrow because it has been selectively implemented with a small proportion of students attended and in a number of elite universities only. One of the main challenges associated with the advanced programmes is the low level of English proficiency of both teaching staff and students that affects the quality and sustainability of the programmes (Tran et al., 2018). In addition, employment prospect for graduates from these programmes is not significant as the advanced programmes are not localized enough to incorporate local sociocultural and political context as well as educational ideologies and values (Nghia et al., 2019) because these programmes are imported without incorporating the local epistemology and knowledge system.

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  77

Another programme that aims to contribute to internationalizing curricula and improving HE education quality in Vietnam is Chưo n̛ g trình chât́ lượ ng cao (high-quality programmes) that has its root in Chưo n̛ g trình đại trà (mass education programme). These programmes currently delivered by most HE providers are operated on full cost recovery basis with tuition fees being the main source of income as a form of exercising institutional autonomy. The high-quality programmes are positioned as high quality by delivering at least 20% of professional subjects in English, teaching staff with high English proficiency and qualifications, small class size, and modern facilities (MOET, 2014). This is a locally developed programme that draws on selected syllabus, content and assessment from foreign programmes but situated within the national curriculum framework regulated by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). Therefore, all students of the high-quality programmes still have to study Ho Chi Minh Thought, Marxism– Leninism, and History of Communist Party in Vietnamese as mandatary subjects. Nguyen et al. (2017) documented several issues of the programmes including unclear guidelines for practice, inconsistent institutional policy on English language requirements, challenges associated with implementing imported curricula, limited English proficiency of certain groups of students and staff, and the unfamiliarity of pedagogy with English as a medium language of instruction among teaching staff. With regard to transnational education, the Vietnamese government has encouraged Vietnamese universities to increase international collaboration, and develop and deliver joint programmes in Vietnam as an implementation of IHE. Vietnam currently has 70 education intuitions that provide international programmes with 352 activated programmes (Diep, 2020). The inequality in relationship with foreign partners as peripheral versus dominant has improved, and the negotiation power of local institutions has also increased. They have also gradually built their own international brand instead of relying on international partners. Until 2020, Vietnam has 3 universities ranked in the top 1,000 universities in the world and 8 universities in the top 500 universities in Asia (Vietnamnet, 2021). While there have been certain achievements in this IHE dimension, there have also been some drawbacks in strategic and tactical approach including issues with quality assurance (Nguyen et al., 2021, Nhan and Nguyen, 2018), the lack of appropriate governance and regulatory framework (Nguyen and Shillabeer, 2013), the mismatch between imported content, pedagogy and expectations, and poorly suited course delivery in a learning environment which is heavily impacted by Confucianism (Nhan and Nguyen, 2018). Capacity building for tertiary academic staff is another strategic component of the country’s IHE. To tackle the issue of shortage of high-qualified university academic staff, in 2000, MOET launched “Project 322” to send 4,590 young talented students abroad to study with the hope that they will become the core of future academic staff for the country’s education (Pham, 2013). In 2010, MOET launched “project 911” with a budget of VND 14,000 billion (equivalent to $AUD 865,500,000) allocated to training 23,000 PhD students of which 64% of the funding was for overseas training, 20% for domestic training, 14% for joint-training

78  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

programmes with foreign partners and 2% was reserved for foreign language training and other skills training in Vietnam (Vietnamnet, 2017). However, after five years of implementation 2012–2016, there were only 3,800 PhD students trained under this project, an extremely small figure compared to the set target of 23,000 PhD students (Vietnamnet, 2017). One of the causes was the candidates’ low English proficiency as while the annual capacity to enrol PhD students was 500–600, only around 200 were able to satisfy admission criteria each year during the implementation period of 2012–2016. In addition, budget constraints, demanding selection criteria and uncertain employment prospect after graduation were among the factors that hindered a successful implementation of the project (Vietnamnet, 2017). The IHE in Vietnam as part of the country’s education reform occurs with little preparation and unrealistic target set. The implementation of English-medium instruction programmes such as the advanced programmes, the high-quality programmes and joint programmes is mainly to cope with a sudden increase in demand of qualified teaching staff without a long-term strategy, resulting in many local universities rushing out to borrow training programmes from abroad and recruit academic staff who can teach in English. They are unlikely to satisfy many necessary requirements such as teacher’s English proficiency, materials and resources, teacher training, as well as a pedagogical environment that enables expected learning outcomes (Nguyen et al., 2016). Therefore, in the context of internationalization of HE with English as a driver, the country’s foreign linguistic capital of low level of English proficiency has been a significant challenge for programmes that used English as a medium of instruction to be implemented successfully. In addition, Vietnam education is strongly influenced by Confucian philosophy manifested by moral education in school education. In most primary schools, moral teaching, and learning are emphasized in all aspects of the training curriculum. The motto “Tien hoc le, hau hoc van” often appears on the entrance banner of most of the schools, meaning that morality and proper manners are the first thing to learn in school while knowledge is secondary (Doan, 2005). In higher education, the objectives of higher education are defined by the Education Law as “to equip learners with political, moral qualities and willingness to serve people; with knowledge and professional ability consistent with the level of education received, with good health essential to meet the demand of building and protecting the nation” (SRV MOET, 2004c, Chapter 2, Article 35, p. 38, cited in Doan, 2005). Subjects such as military education, Marxism–Leninism, and History of Communist Party are made mandatory to inculcate national patriotism and socialist principles. The influence of Confucianism can also be observed through public attitude towards and investment in education, the support of the prominent role of the government in managing the sector, the rote learning system that leaves little space for developing critical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity typically embedded in Western education model. The pursuit of the two conflicting internationalization and nationalist agendas reflected in market-oriented HE ruled by socialist ideology presents a paradoxical and contradictory values in Vietnam HE agenda (Ba Ngoc and Le Ha, 2020) that creates challenges in the country’s education reforms.

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  79

Conclusion This chapter discussed the colonization and IHE in Vietnam from a historical and contextual perspective. It argues that the process of decolonization and IHE intertwines and is affected by the country’s history of multiple colonies and long-lasting wars. It challenges the simplistic and dualistic approach towards decolonization that emphasizes the replacement of colonial knowledge and ideology with local ones by holding that decolonization is a hybridized process involving a multitude of players and taking into account the complexity and entanglements of colonization, decolonization and internationalization within the country’s historical and political context and against the backdrop of a wider regionalization and globalization process. That is, decolonization of higher education in Vietnam took place at different stages associated with the country’s history of being colonized by multiple forces starting by the Chinese invasion whose education legacies were dismantled and replaced by the French education system. The education legacies by the French colony and the Americans in the South during the wartime were subsequently removed, and the country’s education was developed patterning the Soviet Union education model due to the Vietnamese government’s alliance with the USSR during the Cold War, which was then challenged since the collapse of the USSR. The post-Đổi mớ i period has seen the country enjoying more independence in education reforms to the extent that there is less geopolitical impact on the country’s education development strategies. However, like other Asian countries, the process of education reform and internationalization of HE in Vietnam has been strongly affected by external forces through the appreciation of the Western knowledge, modernity and advancement. Therefore, the country’s education reform and internationalization have been executed by adopting different education models from abroad with little inputs from local knowledge and epistemologies against the backdrop of colonial legacies that raise an issue of local relevancy. This represents a process of recolonization of education in Vietnam. While the country’s education reform and IHE have made some achievements, there are areas for improvement. In the current situation where the COVID-19 health crisis has challenged the international education in Western countries, especially those that have been driven by education export and revenue generation, there is an emerging opportunity for developing countries to reimagine and re-examine their education model and employ a more resilient approach to IHE. Among them are an increasing opportunity in internationalization at home and in-country joint programmes to cater Vietnamese overseas students who have been stranded in the country, and those who had an overseas study plan that has been abandoned due to the pandemic. There is also an opportunity to transform binary mindset of “indigenous” versus “Western” to a pluralistic approach that accommodates diverse epistemologies by fostering regional collaboration opportunities, looking inwardly for the country’s strengths and values to reduce the Centre-Periphery dichotomy gap in the relationship with the Western education and partners, and continuing to engage regionally and internationally.

80  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

References Altbach, P. G. 1989. Twisted roots: The Western impact on Asian higher education. From dependence to autonomy. Dordrecht: Springer. Ashwill, M. 2017. To many Vietnamese, US still a top overseas study destination in spite of Donald Trump [Online]. VNexpress. Available: [Accessed 06 January 2021]. Ashwill, M. A. 2011. Vietnam today: a guide to a nation at a crossroads, Yarmouth: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Ba Ngoc, D. & Le Ha, P. 2020. Higher education in market-oriented socialist vietnam: New players, discourses, and practices. Cham: Springer International Publishing. Bianco, J. L. 1994. Issues and Aspects of Vietnam’s language policy: Some reflections after a brief visit. Vietnamese Studies in a multicultural world. Victoria: Vietnamese Language and Culture Publication. Bui, T. T. N. & Nguyen, H. T. M. 2016. Standardizing English for Educational and Socio-economic Betterment- A Critical Analysis of English Language Policy Reforms in Vietnam. In: Kirkpatrick, R. (ed.) English Language Education Policy in Asia. Cham: Springer International Publishing. Chatterjee, S. & Barber, K. 2020. Between ‘here-now’ and ‘there-then’: The West and Asia’s colonial entanglements in international higher education. Higher Education, 81, 221–239. Cima, R. J. 2004. Vietnam: A Country Study, Washington, DC: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Dang, Q. A. 2009. Recent higher education reforms in Vietnam: The role of the world. De Wit, H. 2015. Internationalization misconceptions. International Higher Education. Doi: 10.6017/ihe.2011.64.8556 Dien Luong. 2016. Vietnam’s costly foreign language program declared a failure, but to little surprise [Online]. Vietnaemnet. Available: [Accessed 08 January 2021]. Diep, N. 2020. Bộ GD-ĐT dừ ng hơ n 200 chư ơ ng trình liên kết đào tạo quốc tế [Online]. Tuoi Tre Newspaper. Available: [Accessed 01 January 2021]. Do, K. B. 1995. The difficult path toward an integrated university and community college system in Vietnam. East Asian Higher Education: Traditions and Transformations. New York: Pergamon. Doan, D. H. 2005. Moral education or political education in the Vietnamese educational system? Journal of Moral Education, 34, 451–463. du Preez, P. (2018). On decolonisation and internationalisation of university curricula: What can we learn from Rosi Braidotti?. Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal), 74, 19–31. Fanon, F. 1983. The wretched of the earth, New York: Penguin. Government of Vietnam. (2005). Resolution No. 14/2005/NQ-CP on “Substantial and comprehensive reform of Vietnam’s higher education in 2006–2020 period”. Hanoi: The Government. Government of Vietnam. (2018). Decree No. 86/2018/ND-CP on foreign cooperation and investment in education. Hanoi: The Government. Hayden, M. & Chinh, L.-N. D. 2020. A Review of the Reform Agenda for Higher Education in Vietnam. In: Phan, H. L. & Doan, N. B. N. (eds.) Higher education in market-oriented socialist Vietnam: New players, discourses, and practices. Springer. Hoang, L., Tran, L. T. & Pham, H.-H. 2018. Vietnamese Government Policies and Practices in Internationalisation of Higher Education. In: Tran, Ly Thi & Marginson, Simon (eds.) Internationalisation in Vietnamese higher education. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  81

Huang, F. 2007a. Internationalisation of higher education in the era of globalisation: What have been its implications in China and Japan? Higher Education Management and Policy, 19, 1–15. Huang, F. 2007b. Internationalization of higher education in the developing and emerging countries: A focus on transnational higher education in Asia. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11, 421–432. Huong, P. L., & Fry, G. W. 2004. Education and Economic, Political, and Social Change in Vietnam. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 3, 199–222. Huynh, T. 2020. Đâù tu ̛ nu ớ c̛ ngoài vào giáo dục Việt Nam còn chiêḿ tı ̉ lệ nho ̉ [Online]. Tuoi Tre Newspaper. Available: [Accessed 02 January 2021]. Jaffe, Alexandra. 2009. Linguistic decolonialization. In: Mey, Jacob L. (ed.), Concise encyclopedia of pragmatics, 2nd edn., 534–535. Amsterdam: Elsevier Ltd. Knight, J. 2015. Updated definition of internationalization. International Higher Education, 33, 2–3. Le Grange, L. (2016). Decolonising the university curriculum: Leading article. South African Journal of Higher Education, 30(2), 1–12. Malarney, S. K. 2012. Literacy for the masses: The conduct and consequences of the literacy campaign in Revolutionary Vietnam. Literacy for Dialogue in Multilingual Societies, 83. Marginson, S. 2011. Higher education in East Asia and Singapore: rise of the Confucian Model. Higher Education, 61, 587–611. Marklein, M. B. & Van Tinh, M. 2020. The Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction of Academic Freedom in Vietnamese Universities. In Phan, Le Ha & Ngoc, Doan Ba (eds.) Higher education in market-oriented socialist Vietnam. Cham: Springer. McConnell, S. 1988. Leftward journey: Education of Vietnamese students in France. Somerset, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis Group. Mignolo, W. D. (2009). Epistemic disobedience, independent thought and decolonial free­dom. Theory, Culture & Society, 26(7–8), 159–181. 0263276409349275 MOET. (2014). Thông tư sô ́ 23/2014/TT-BGDĐT “Ban hành quy định vê ̀ đào tạo chât́ lượ ng cao trình độ đại học”. Hanoi: Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). Monzó, L. D., & SooHoo, S. (2014). Translating the academy: Learning the racialized languages of academia. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 7(3), 147–165. https://doi. org/10.1037/a0037400 Ng, S. W. 2012. Rethinking the mission of internationalization of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 42, 439–459. Nghia, T. L. H., Giang, H. T. & Quyen, V. P. 2019. At-home international education in Vietnamese universities: impact on graduates’ employability and career prospects. Higher Education, 78, 817–834. Nguyen, C. H., Nhan, T. T. & Ta, H. T. T. 2021. Joint-training programs in Vietnam: operation and quality management aspects gathered from institutional practices. Asia Pacific Education Review, 22, 333–347. Nguyen, G. & Shillabeer, A. 2013. Issues in Transnational Higher Education Regulation in Vietnam. In: Mandal, P., ed. Proceedings of the International Conference on Managing the Asian Century, 2013//2013 Singapore: Springer Singapore, 637–644. Nguyen, H. T., Hamid, M. O. & Moni, K. 2016. English-medium instruction and selfgovernance in higher education: The journey of a Vietnamese university through the institutional autonomy regime. Higher Education, 72, 669–683.

82  Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran

Nguyen, H. T., Walkinshaw, I. & Pham, H. H. 2017. EMI Programs in a Vietnamese University: Language, Pedagogy and Policy Issues. In: Fenton-Smith, B., Humphreys, P. & Walkinshaw, I. (eds.) English medium instruction in higher education in Asia-Pacific: From policy to pedagogy. Cham: Springer International Publishing. Nguyen, N. 2018. Transnational education in the Vietnamese market: Paradoxes and possibilities. In: Tran, Ly Thi & Marginson, Simon (eds.) Internationalisation in Vietnamese higher education. Cham: Springer. Nguyen, N. T. & Tran, L. T. 2019. Reforming Vietnamese higher education: Global forces and local demands. Singapore: Springer Nature. Nguyen, T.-P. 2014. The rivalry of the French and American educational missions during the Vietnam War. Paedagogica Historica, 50, 27–41. Nhan, T. T. & Nguyen, H. C. 2018. Quality challenges in transnational higher education under profit-driven motives: The Vietnamese experience. Issues in Educational Research, 28, 138–152. Pham, H. 2013. Tackling a serious shortage of lecturers with PhDs [Online]. University World News. Available: [Accessed]. Pham, H. L. & Fry, G. W. 2004. Universities in Vietnam: Legacies, Challenges and Prospects, hi Asian Universities: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges, eds. Altbach, Philip G. & Umakoshi, Tom. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Pham, L. T. 2020. The Emergence of Mergers and Acquisitions in the Private Higher Education Sector in Vietnam. In: Phan, H. L. & Doan, B. N. (eds.) Higher education in market-oriented socialist vietnam: new players, discourses, and practices. Cham: Springer. Pratt, Y. P., Louie, D. W., Hanson, A. J. & Ottmann, J. 2018. Indigenous education and decolonization. New York: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Prime Minister 2008. Quyêt́ định sô ́1505/QĐ-TTG của Thủ tưó n̛ g Chính phủ : Phê duyệt Đê ̀ án “Đào tạo theo chu ơ n̛ g trình tiên tiêń tại một sô ́ tru ờ n̛ g đại học Việt Nam giai đoạn 2008 – 2015. Government Portal. Rumbley, L. E., Altbach, P. G. & Reisberg, L. 2012. Internationalization within the higher education context. In: Deardorff, Darla K., de Wit, Hans, Heyl, John D. & Adams, Tony (eds.) The SAGE handbook of international higher education, 3–26. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. Seats, M. R. (2020). The voice (s) of reason: conceptual challenges for the decolonization of knowledge in global higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 27, 678–694. Shakib, M. K. 2011. The position of language in development of colonization. Journal of Languages and Culture, 2, 117–123. Shin, J. (2013). The university as an institution of higher learning: Evolution or devolution? In: J. Shin & U. Teichler (Eds.), The future of the post-massifi ed university at the crossroads . Dordrecht: Springer. Shin, J. C. 2015. Mass Higher Education and Its Challenges for Rapidly Growing East Asian Higher Education. In: Shin, J. C., Postiglione, G. A. & Huang, F. (eds.) Mass Higher Education Development in East Asia: Strategy, Quality, and Challenges. Cham: Springer International Publishing. Singh, M. (2011). The place of social justice in higher education and social change discourses. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 41(4), 481–494. Singh, M., & Huang, X. (2013). Bourdieu’s lessons for internationalising Anglophone education: Declassifying Sino-Anglo divisions over critical theorising. Compare: a Journal of Comparative and International Education, 43(2), 203–223. Teferra, D. 2019. Defining internationalisation – Intention versus coercion. University World News, 23 August, 2019.

Decolonization and internationalization of higher education  83

Thanh, P. T. H. 2014. Implementing cross-culture pedagogies: cooperative learning at Confucian heritage cultures. Singapore: Springer. Tho, N. N. 2016. Confucianism and humane education in contemporary Vietnam. International Communication of Chinese Culture, 3, 645–671. Thuy Linh. 2018. Việt Nam đã vư ợ t số lư ợ ng trư ờ ng đại học theo mục tiêu đề ra [Online]. Giao Duc Viet Nam. Available: [Accessed]. Tran, L.T., 2020. Teaching and engaging international students: People-to-people empathy and people-to-people connections. Journal of International Students, 10(3), xii–xvii. Tran, L. T., Margison, S. & Nguyen, N. T. 2014. Internationalization. In: Tran, L. T. & Margison, S. (eds.) Higher education in vietnam: Flexibility, mobility and practicality in the global knowledge economy. Cham: Springer. Tran, L. T., Phan, H. L. T. & Marginsion, S. 2018. The ‘Advanced Programmes’ in Vietnam: Internationalising the Curriculum or Importing the ‘Best Curriculum’ of the West? In: Tran, L. T. (ed.) Internationalisation in Vietnamese Education. Springer. Uzhegova, D. & Baik, C. 2020. Internationalisation of higher education in an uneven world: an integrated approach to internationalisation of universities in the academic periphery. Studies in Higher Education, 47, 1–13. Vietnamnet. 2017. Project 911 on PhD training ‘dies’, new plan proposed [Online]. Available: [Accessed 08 January 2021]. Vietnamnet. 2021. Vietnam's university education moving up in international rankings [Online]. Available: [Accessed]. Welch, A. R. 2010. Internationalisation of Vietnamese Higher Education: Retrospect and Prospect. In: Harman, G., Hayden, M. & Nghi, P. T. (eds.) Reforming Higher Education in Vietnam: Challenges and Priorities. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. Wen, W., & Hu, D. (2019). The emergence of a regional education hub: Rationales of international students’ choice of China as the study destination. Journal of Studies in International Education, 23(3), 303–325. Woldegiorgis, E. T., Turner, I., & Brahima, A. 2020. Decolonisation of Higher Education in Africa: Perspectives from Hybrid Knowledge Production, Milton, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis Group. Wright, S. 2002. Language education and foreign relations in Vietnam. Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues, 225–244.

6 THE POLITICS OF KNOWING IN AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES A search for decolonised epistemologies Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

Introduction Societies have allocated the unequivocal role of the production of highly skilled labour and research output to the university sector of higher education to satisfy their socio-economic needs. The university is thus in the business of producing (through ongoing research) and disseminating (through teaching) relevant knowledge. Besides, universities are commonly deemed key driver institutions in the processes of social change and development (Brennan, King, & Lebeau, 2004). To this end, the knowledge enterprise of universities is recognised worldwide. In this chapter, I analyse three assertions: 1) The production and mediation of knowledge is a genuine political process (Weiler, 2011b). 2) Universities are the most political institutions in society (Ordorika, 1999). 3) The recontextualisation and transformation of university epistemologies (Weiler, 2011a) is a prerequisite for an authentic post-colonial African university and a way “to reinvent the African university” (Juma, 2005) by producing knowledge and creating institutions that can translate that knowledge effectively in African communities (Wilson-Tagoe, 2007). In line with these propositions, I note an absence of any mention by scholars of the African predicament of the need for an epistemological break concerning the present university curriculum to give service to African priorities and challenges. As Bloom, Canning and Chan (2006, p. 31) put it, “[…] African universities have not made large efforts to reform their curriculum in response to rapidly expanding scientific knowledge and changing economic opportunities”. This draws me to

DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-6

The politics of knowing in African universities  85

debate the formulation of epistemologies and the bosom link between knowledge and power in the African university. In this chapter, I engage post-colonial and transformation discourses to interrogate the power constructions entrenched in knowledge production, dissemination and consumption based on the understanding that some knowledges are marginalised by more powerful and dominant scholars especially informed by economic superpowers of the world. I will argue that the notion of transformation is a basic ingredient of post-colonial theory whose anti-colonial framework is a theorisation of issues, concerns and social practices evolving from colonial relations and their aftermath (Dei, 2014). I acknowledge the presence of a clear divide between what is researched, taught and exercised as worthwhile knowledges in contemporary African universities. This is evidenced by the sharp binary divide between those in control of the knowledge processes and those who resist the knowledges. In this debate, I cross-examine the polemic interchange between those who direct knowledge production, on the one hand, and those who defy the control of epistemologies in the African university on the other. I am cautious, nonetheless, about the sometimes-inhibiting conversations and dogmatic arguments that repeatedly symbolise the intellectual discussions on transforming the knowledge topography of African universities. I will argue for a sincere amalgamation of all existing knowledges, in which faculty found the various, shared and joint dimensions of knowledge for authentic epistemologies in the twenty-first-century post-colonial African university to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, I admit that essentialising a continent as gigantic and plural as Africa is makes overgeneralisation indefensible, although I am conscious of the manifestation of common epistemological threads and encounters that universities on the continent share. In this critical exposé, I project an undertaking towards a reinvented and refashioned space, where epistemologies in the African university offer a diversity of both local and alien human ideas. We call for a break by repulsing universal, fundamental definitions of knowledge in the African university that convey displaced and overglorified experiences of Western traditions. We centre the debate on the transformation of knowledge production and dissemination by situating the African university in the intricacies of the lived experiences of the Africans. This discussion emerges from Ashis Nandy’s assertion that universities should “[…] begin to act as sources of scepticism toward the victorious systems of knowledge, and as the means of recovering and transmitting knowledge that has been cornered, marginalized or even defeated” (Nandy, 2000a, p. 118). Based on such an understanding, I debate and defend an African epistemology detached from and exclusive to the epistemology of the West presently dictating research, teaching and learning in African universities. In my attempt to fulfil the above assertions, I interrogate and engage the following fascinating, though controversial, questions: • •

Is an African university distinct from a university in Africa? Is there a correlation between knowledge and politics?

86  Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

• Whose knowledge matters in the African university? • What choices for research, teaching and learning exist for the twenty-first-­ century African university? This conceptual/theoretical paper commences by conceptualising the notions of an African university vis-à-vis a university in Africa in an attempt to prepare the ground for debate. I follow this up by dialoguing on the dynamics of the relationship between knowledge, power and politics. This brings me to enter into the politics of knowledge within the African university. The chapter concludes by theorising some of the different alternatives for the transformation of epistemologies in the African university and the challenges within.

University in Africa or African university? Universities are regarded as central institutions for the production, application and dissemination of knowledge and are deemed to be sites for the supply of high-level skills and knowledge relevant to both the private and public domains to contribute to national development. We note, however, how education and the curriculum therein in contemporary universities on the African continent are products of a complex mix of past experiences and influences from their European colonial origins and have advanced their dependence on the ideas and practices in higher education in Europe and North America in the post-independence era (Ng’ethe, Assié-Lumumba, Subotzky, & Sutheland-Addy, 2003). However, given this historical background, is there any distinction between a university in Africa and an African university? To further elaborate on the question, we engage Magkoba’s puzzle: Is an African university in an African country or an Africanised outpost of the West (Magkoba, 2005, p. 13)? This draws us to an African identity question. To address the controversial question, it would be important to clarify what African is. One can first argue that some product can be said to be African if it is produced or promoted by people who originate and inhabit within the borders of Africa, the second largest continent. To this can be added the cultural criterion in which something is said to be African if it pays special attention to issues concerning the theoretical or conceptual underpinnings of African culture or is “grounded in cultural experience” (Gyekye, 1987, p. 72) of the people of Africa. I can further posit that African designates ways of doing cultures and traditions, or things unique to Africa. Mudimbe (1988) and Hountondji (1983, 1985) hold that an intellectual product is African simply because it is produced or promoted by Africans. However, how can we distinguish between an African university and a university in Africa in an era when most universities around the world are consciously remaking themselves into ‘global’ institutions (Kamola, 2011, p. 148)? I acknowledge George Sefa Dei’s (2008) conception of what is African by distinguishing between the Eurocentric conception of a university and an African sense of the role and function of the university in society, although some common threads are running between them. In his view, if it is permissible to use ideas such

The politics of knowing in African universities  87

as ‘African’, ‘European’, ‘American’ or ‘Asian’, we can acknowledge the presence of an ‘African’, ‘European’, ‘American’ or ‘Asian’ university. This begs the question: “can we distinguish between an ‘African’, ‘European’, or ‘American’ university and those located in Africa, Europe, or America?” (Dei, Hall & Rosenberg, 2000, p. 61) For me, an African university is one that is located in Africa but, most importantly, has a mission to recover noticeably African modalities and traditions with an attendant focus on contemporary African conditions, challenges and priorities. Hence, the African university has to provide a service to the continent and its people […] concerning the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity that characterizes the people who live in its various parts […] to improve the quality of the lives of all those who inhabit this continent. (Dei et al., 2000, p. 70) In addition to the above and without it being is a narrow-minded entity, an African University, in Magkoba’s words, is […] an institution that has the consciousness of an African identity from which it derives and celebrates its strengths and uses these strengths to its own comparative and competitive advantage on the international stage […] draws its inspiration from its environment, as an indigenous tree growing from a seed that is planted and nurtured in African soil. (Magkoba, 2005, p. 14) This definition of an African university draws from Africa’s heroic nationalist leader Kwame Nkrumah’s declaration that “We must in the development of our universities bear in mind that once it has been planted in the African soil it must take root amidst African traditions and cultures” (in Magkoba, 2005, p. 14). The above attributes equally qualify for a university in Africa. In this sense, a university in Africa serves the interests and needs and is tethered to the missions and visions, of the former colonisers. In return, the ‘mother’ university provides funding for research and therefore dictates knowledge production and distribution processes to the institutions domiciled on the African continent. Universities in Africa are thus insufficiently responsive to the needs of their people; neither do they reflect the identity of the African people. Despite being in Africa, they unmistakably are American, English or French with little of the African experience as “[…] the ‘foundation’ of all forms of knowledge or the ‘source’ for the construction of that knowledge” (Ramose, 1998). Hence, universities in Africa are “[…] satellite universities of other universities outside the African continent serving outside interests and agendas instead of serving the African people” (Nabudere, 2003, p. 6). However, whether an African university or a university in Africa, we argue that universities on the continent are confronted with the political exigency to be adaptive to Africa and the African people. We question the relationship between

88  Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

knowledge and power as a political process. In the next section, we define the parameters of the politics of knowledge from a generalised point of view.

The politics of knowledge redefined Knowledge is a tool with which individuals negotiate the complexities of everyday life (Barnett, 2009). It is generated within political structures and when produced and distributed, it chronicles the lines and patterns of power existing in society (Wills, 2014). When we debate issues regarding the politics of knowledge and consider the intimacy of politics and knowledge, we take for granted that there is an element of the hierarchy of authority. Authority in matters of knowledge originates from some supreme action. Concomitantly, knowledge can be fashioned in confrontation with what is socially dominant, in an attempt to change those power structures. However, this knowledge is shaped around and through power structures, and determines precise political contacts between the knower, the known and the knowledge itself as well as the legitimacy that is accorded to, and usage that is made of, it by the different social categories. To this end, I submit to the view that “[…] the linkage between knowledge and power is both very intimate and very consequential, and that arriving at a better understanding of this linkage is crucial to any attempt to formulate a political theory of knowledge and its production” (Weiler, 2011a, p. 209). In the context of this debate, can we justify the presence of some knowledge hierarchies in which the dominant knowledges can impose their presence on the supposed weaker ones? Emanating from the foregoing, I engage, in brief, Hans Weiler’s delineation of four facets of the knowledge-power dynamic to define the nature and character of the politics of knowledge, namely: 1 ) 2) 3) 4)

The paramount importance of hierarchies in the existing knowledge order, The relationship of reciprocal legitimation between knowledge and power, The transnational division of labour in the contemporary knowledge order, and The political economy of the commercialisation of knowledge (see Weiler, 2011b, p. 2).

Hierarchies denote manifestations of power marking the presence of the dominant and the dominated, the exalted and the trivial, and the assumed or actual superior and inferior power in a given situation. They signify the structural nature of power and authority, thereby ratifying the substance of politics. In the epistemological sphere, hierarchies permeate themselves in the form of the disparities of status across knowledge domains as is demonstrated by the exaltation of the empirical sciences and the natural sciences over the humanities in a variety of situations in academia, social life, industry and commerce. Equally, in terms of institutional understanding of the production of knowledge, elite think tanks from specialised knowledge domains among the faculty sit at the peak of the academic pyramid demonstrating again the reality of clear and more or less recognised hierarchies (see Weiler, 2003,

The politics of knowing in African universities  89

Weiler, 2011b, Weiler, 2011a). Hence, it is a matter of the play of some disciplines in the knowledge economy wielding dominant power over others. Knowledge and power legitimate each other, as they exist in a universe of “reciprocal legitimation” with knowledge legitimating power and, conversely, knowledge being legitimated by power (Weiler, 2011a, p. 210). This scenario can best be illustrated by the level to which many policy decisions are informed by theory and practice generated in the university while the political institutions confirm or disapprove some research projects in universities. In affirmation, Nandy writes: As more and more areas of life are “scientised” and taken out of the reach of participatory politics to be handed over to experts, the universities as the final depository of expertise have become a major global political actor of our times. In addition to their other tasks, they legitimize the “expertisation” of public affairs and the reign of the professionals. (Nandy, 2000b, p. 116) Going beyond the local and national interests, the politics of knowledge is observed in the cast of “the transnational knowledge system and the international division of labour” (Weiler, 2011a, p. 2011). The global knowledge systems allocate key intellectual tasks for institutions of higher learning, particularly universities, to research and disseminate knowledge. For instance, dominant institutions such as the World Bank, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations, with their headquarters in the North, have conveniently placed themselves in privileged positions of not only influencing but also determining whose knowledge matters and what knowledge is worthwhile and to whom. This is best explained in the culture of eurocentrism “expressed in the most varied of areas: day-to-day relationships between individuals, political formations and opinion, general views concerning society and culture, social science […]” (Amin, 2009, p. 179). It also reveals how the global division of labour is expressed in the reciprocal relationship between the pyramids of economic control and political power and knowledge production and distribution. To the above scenario of the politics of knowledge, Weiler includes the place of the commoditisation of knowledge in the modern world with knowledge production regarded universally in economic and commercial footings. Some knowledge domains are esteemed with greater commercial efficiency than others while consumers of such knowledge determine their utility (also see Tilak, 2008a, Tilak, 2008b, Slaughter and Leslie, 1997, Singh, 2014, Sawyerr, 2004). It is not uncommon for university faculties to enter into joint projects with industry as a way of luring investment into the university. This is usually characteristic of the natural and empirical sciences to the detriment of other knowledge producers, especially in the humanities. In this section, I have depicted how the politics of knowledge represents the power relations that prevail in epistemologies in universities globally. While I

90  Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

concede that the production of knowledge is unquestionably a political process, it is a truism that knowledge and power are in reciprocal legitimation. However, I present a counter-argument that proposes a reversal of the above relationships by arguing for the transformation of epistemologies in the context of the post-colonial African universities. Following from the above highlights to clarify the central themes in the title, I proceed to discuss the nature and character of university knowledge systems in Africa. In the next section, I focus on the above in the context of the place of the politics of knowledge in contemporary post-colonial African universities.

Nature of knowledge in contemporary African universities as a political affair The university’s functions and the subsequent conceptions of the place of knowledge in development will vary from one university to another and one country to another. Universities make an irreplaceable contribution to development by transmitting knowledge to individuals who enter the labour market and contribute to society in different ways (Cloete, Bailey, Pillay, Bunting, & Maassen, 2011, p. 26). Cloete et al. (2011) have delineated four dimensions in which knowledge can contribute to society not only in Africa but also elsewhere around the globe. In the first dimension, the university has the ancillary role of supplying educated civil servants and professionals. It does so through the transmission of conventional disciplinary knowledge with little attention to the enhancement of development policies. Secondly, the university as a self-governing institution is left to operate with little or no public investment. In order to remain afloat, the financially weak universities revert to think tanks from the West by entering into collaborative joint research venture projects—the results of which (it is often assumed) will reinforce national identity through the production of an elite bureaucratic community with high scientific knowledge. While claiming autonomy from public control, such universities’ knowledge systems are not driven by the local, cultural and geographical interests. Further to the above, the university can be seen from an instrumentalist perspective wherein development agendas are set through direct university participation in local communities assisted by expertise exchange and capacity building, and not through the production of new scientific knowledge. Lastly, the university is regarded as an engine of development and as “[…] the only institution in society that can provide an adequate foundation for the complexities of the emerging knowledge economy when it comes to producing the relevant skills and competencies of employees in all major sectors, as well as to the production of user-oriented knowledge” (Cloete et al., 2011, p. 19). How can we use this to explain the current politics of knowledge and the consequent demand for transformed epistemologies of the same given the overall characterisation of the value of knowledge in the development matters as shown in brief above? I take cognisance of the view that knowledge systems have centres and peripheries in terms of the production and distribution of knowledge and Africa, as a continent and, in this scenario, is located on the very edge of the knowledge periphery

The politics of knowing in African universities  91

(Altbach, 1987). However, there is evidence that there is a perpetual yoking of African experiences by trapping their knowledges in the prevailing global templates of power buttressed by the forces of Eurocentrism and coloniality. As a result, faculty and students are stuck in the knowledge paradigms that neglect their knowledge and experiences of existential conditions. Since colonial times, knowledge in the African university is informed by Western philosophical perspectives based on Euro-American culture “[…] underpinned by ignorance and mistrust of others that have been used to confer on Europeans the right to judge and analyse others” (Amin, 2009, pp. 177–178). To that end, the knowledges thereof pay little or no attention, or offer sympathy, to Africa’s circumstantial details that uplift the university’s potential to generate rare contributions to the global body of knowledge. The hegemonic tendencies of the West continue to exhibit themselves with Western scientism perpetually determining the selection of traditions of knowledge in African universities to consolidate a dominant identity (Ordorika, 1999, p. 19). Through membership to the global system of knowledge distribution, most African universities continue to be tethered to the controlling universities domiciled in their erstwhile colonial powers. For instance, the evaluation of scholarly work of faculty and students, their research proposals, manuscripts and publications are all controlled from Europe and America as the centre, while university and academic rankings are reliant on the epistemological preconditions set by the former colonial masters. Interestingly, pushed by the ‘publish or perish’ mantra, scholars in African universities are subtly forced to submit their work to academic contexts that do not support them with access to databases, necessary to sustain them on the global platform of scholarship. This leaves them on the lower rungs of the international academic strata. Conversely, researchers in Africa funded mainly by agencies in the North are coerced to accept fixed research agendas rendering them victims of their degradation. In this case, current African knowledge systems tend to deteriorate in value; hence the question: When shall the African university knowledges crafted by African scholars with a clear African outlook come into existence? Given the above characterisation of the politics of knowledge in the African university, the question then is how do we defend transformed curricula in institutions of higher learning? The entry of different knowledge players in the university makes me follow the leads of Hans Weiler as he asks, “whose knowledge matters?” (Weiler, 2011b). It is my case, as will be shown below, that any form of knowledge makes effective meaning on the condition that it is located only within its own cultural context. Arguing for a paradigm shift in the politics of knowledge in the African university, in the next section, I concur with Geri Augusto’s assertion that “[…] no field of knowledge has all the answers, that knowledge creation is not just content but also a set of social and cultural practices, and that the university in Africa should not lose sight of the contributions it might make to knowledge” (Augusto, 2007, p. 199). I therefore, make a case for the need for epistemological transformation in the universities in Africa as an anticolonial structure to release the social practices of unequal power relations stemming from colonialism and the repercussions thereof.

92  Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

In search of liberated knowledges The indigenisation of knowledge has been progressively admitted as the powerhouse of formerly colonised nation states. Innovative universities have endeavoured to implement and entrench indigenous knowledge as a foundation strategy of tackling serious gaps that sculpt the lives of the indigenes of Africa. Nevertheless, I need to acknowledge the instinctive complexities that emerge at the cultural interface where the Western knowledge and skills meet the indigenous ones. The incapacitating nature of Eurocentric education with its accompanying persistence to exclude and marginalise an indigenous presence and ways of knowing in higher education (Hauser, Howlett, & Matthews, 2009) should be deplored. I argue that knowledge and power dynamics in the African university need to be decolonised and transformed to reflect the interests, needs and priorities of Africa and Africans. To argue for transformed epistemologies in the twenty-first century, from the above, is to speak an anti-colonial discourse which queries the power constructions entrenched in ideas, cultures and histories of knowledge production and use in the university. As such, this “epistemology of the colonized” (Dei, 2002, p. 6) reflects the politics of knowledge currently existing in the universities in Africa, one that requires institutions of higher learning to cease to espouse and replicate, until infinity, the epistemological disparities between the West and Africa. Instead, we argue for a balanced set-up of knowledge processes situated and entrenched in an African context, advancing knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary for the development of the continent first and foremost, thereby emphasising the local in terms of time and space without necessarily excluding the external. To this end, I challenge the hegemony of knowledge norms, with origins in Western societies and their scientific institutions. African universities are required to liberate knowledge production from narrow class, technical, and instrumentalist supremacy by a few foreign experts and “[…] challenge the citadel of Eurocentric paradigms and Western 'scientistic' epistemologies of knowledge” (Nabudere, 2003, p. 2) by broadening recognition of other producers of knowledge. The question that remains unanswered is how new paths can pave the way for change strategies to reconstruct these categories and knowledge practices. The African university knowledge processes of research, production and distribution need to interlock the “triple agenda of deconstruction, reconstruction and regeneration” (Odora-Hoppers, 2002, p. 236) by encompassing the African identity through critically considering knowledges from local communities and the presence of sages and erudite experts therein. In our view, such a shared knowledge platform in which the external and local knowledges are integrated would eradicate the “[…] hierarchical relations or one-way knowledge flows from ‘source’ to ‘user’ […] from-conventional disciplinary gatekeeper to societal audiences” (Augusto, 2007, p. 202). It is by so doing that Africa, through universities as centres of knowledge excellence, would generate and utilise knowledge and information by decolonising the epistemic and pedagogic realities in higher education. The twenty-first-­century epistemologies in the African university could take the form of a genuine and

The politics of knowing in African universities  93

collective synthesis of all existing endogenous and exogenous knowledges. Such a paradigm shift comprises a newly reconstructed and reconstituted space in which no cultural or social group’s knowledge wields more power than others. This could be one way of equitably apportioning the nature of knowledge and its sources more evenly within university research, teaching and learning. The perspective of amalgamating knowledge processes in the African university will embrace, among other programmes, “[…] inviting academics from abroad for visits with various academic purposes or hosting foreign academics when presenting at academic conferences” (Botha, 2010,p.213). I view this as one way of making the African university more global, without shrinking the African imperatives. This view, underlined by the Africanisation of epistemological issues, can be described as […] a process of exposition that the dangerous romance with the politics of knowledge transfer from the North to the South − a romance that does not permit contestations of the politics of knowledge itself nor a contemplation of competing knowledges, a romance that makes a mockery of the epistemological disenfranchisement that lies beneath the massive poverty of millions of Africa’s rural population − must be rendered open to debate and interrogation. (Dukor, 2005, p. 14) The above view goes to justify and confirm the imperative of the embeddedness of African universities to Africa through the promotion of distinctively African philosophy and culture at these institutions. Besides, it also speaks to the applicability of these institutions to Africa, as they seek to address the needs and expectations of developing Africa in particular, and other countries in the South, in general. The legitimate Africanness of a university in Africa, in the context of the above, can be realised if the knowledge processes can be adjudged concerning their focus on the needs, circumstances and priorities of African people. But as Ali Mazrui aptly defines it, the African university […]is an analogue to a multinational corporation: born as an extension of a metropolitan university whose direction and instructions come from a European country, the African university continues to serve other than African interests. (Mazrui 1975, p. 191) While this is a historical observation, to date, African universities still maintain the sale of cultural goods in the form of knowledges which are not necessarily relevant to the needs of the twenty-first-century African clientele with university graduates providing the promise for potential development in their communities. It would be impractical not to appreciate the ambivalences that emerge with any proposition for an overhaul of epistemologies in the university given centuries of the supremacy of Western scientific knowledges and the contemporary complexities

94  Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

of the globalisation agenda in the knowledge-based economies of the twenty-first century. I, therefore, recommend that an even balance be struck between the African and the non-African in the curriculum. As Mazrui recommended, there is a need to decolonise modernity by allowing the local societies to contribute to university policy to poise that of the West by domesticating the curriculum structure and organisation in light of Africa's needs (Mazrui, 1975, p. 204 ). Unequal and dishonest partnerships and the associated waylaying of knowledge research by foreign donor agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF, Ford Foundation and Cannon Collins Foundation, to name only a few, should be guarded jealously. This will guarantee even grounding of amalgamated knowledge and the processes therein to serve the interests of African consumers of knowledge produced in the university. It will ensure that Africa and the Africans come first, before looking to the exportation of the same to the global market. We confront African scholars and academics on the continent and in the diaspora to admit the complexities of Africanising epistemologies in the university, by distinguishing the key issues germane to the specific context in which the curriculum is to be Africanised (Botha, 2007, p. 214). Such checks will guarantee that the fear to Africanise the academy in the interest of supporting exogenous standards is eradicated or at least kept at its lowest ebb. Nonetheless, Mazrui admits: It is not enough, however, for the universities to combine African traditions with those from the West. A dual-process must occur: increased Africanization, as the society is permitted to reciprocate the impact of the university; and increased internationalization, as the foreign component in the university becomes less Eurocentric and more attentive to other aspects of the total human heritage. (Mazrui, 1975, p. 206) In agreement, I support the view that while African universities might need to disentangle themselves from western knowledges, it is not unproblematic to survive on narrow Africanised knowledges especially in a world characterised by a mantra for the globalisation of knowledge.

Conclusion The debate in this chapter has drawn attention to how the politics of knowledge in the academy is characterised by hierarchies in knowledge order, the reciprocal legitimation of knowledge and power, and the transnational division of labour in current knowledge practices in the African university. I dwelt on the debates that interrogate issues around the transformation of epistemologies in the post-­ colonial university by locating the same in the politics of knowledge discourse. In my submission, I noted how hegemonic Eurocentric paradigms and their associated scientistic epistemologies continue to exhibit themselves in African universities much to the comparative disadvantage of the local and the relevant. I defended the

The politics of knowing in African universities  95

Africanisation of knowledge systems in the African university as one way of endogenising the academy. The exaltation of external knowledge production techniques is dispelled while making the case for a knowledge economy in African universities rooted in local and regional traditions and knowledge cultures. Mine is a more balanced position, which argues for a genuine synthesis and an amalgamation of the local and external knowledge bases in the moving times of globalisation. I therefore conclude that epistemologies in the twenty-first-century African universities should adopt some pristine elements of knowledge systems from around the globe, although local relevance and priorities should take superior preference as the play of the politics of knowledge continually manifests itself in African higher education.

References Altbach, P. G. (1987). The Knowledge Context: Comparative Perspectives on the Distribution of Knowledge. Albany: State University of New York Press. Amin, S. (2009). Eurocentrism: Modernity, religion, and Democracy: A Critique of Eurocentrism and Culturalism. New York: Monthly Review Press. Augusto, G. (2007). Transforming Knowledge, Changing Knowledge Relations, and Epistemic Openness in the University in Africa. Social Dynamics, 33(1), 199–205. Barnett, R. (2009). Knowing and Becoming in the Higher Education Curriculum. Studies in Higher Education, 34(4), 429–440. Bloom, D., Canning, D., & Chan, K. (2006). Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Human Development Sector: Africa Region: Harvard University. Botha, M. M. (2007). Africanising the Curriculum: An Exploratory Study. South African Journal of Higher Education, 21, 202–216. Brennan, J., King, R., & Lebeau, Y. (2004). The Role of Universities in the Transformation of Societies: An International Research Project London: Association of Commonwealth Universities. Cloete, N., Bailey, T., Pillay, P., Bunting, I., & Maassen, P. (2011). Universities and Economic Development in Africa. Wynberg: Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET). Dei, G. S. (2002). Rethinking the Role of Indigenous Knowledges in the Academy. New Approaches to Lifelong Learning, 58, 1–24. Dei, G. S. (2008). Indigenous Knowledge Studies and the Next Generation: Pedagogical Possibilities for Anti-Colonial Education. Indigenous Studies - Indigenous Knowledge: Navigating the Interface, 37(S1), 5–13. DOI: Dei, G. S. (2014). Reflections on African development-situating indigeneity and Indigenous epistemologies. In E. Shizha & A. A. Abdi (Eds.), Indigenous Discourses on Knowledge and Development in Africa (pp. 15–30). New York: Routledge. Dei, G. S., Hall, B. L., & Rosenberg, D. G. (2000). Indigenous Knowledges in Global Contexts: Multiple Readings of Our World. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Dukor, M. (2005). African Philosophy the Great Debate on Deconstruction, Reconstruction and Cognition of African Philosophy. Philosophia, 33(1–4), 5–53. Gyekye, K. (1987). An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hauser, V., Howlett, C., & Matthews, C. (2009). The Place of Indigenous Knowledge in Tertiary Science Education: A case study of Canadian practices in indigenizing the curriculum. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Knowledge., 38, 46–58.

96  Amasa P. Ndofirepi and Joseph P. Hungwe

Hountondji, P. J. (1983). African Philosophy: Myth and Reality. London: Hutchinson University Library for Africa. Hountondji, P. J. (1985). The Pitfalls of Being Different. Diogenes, 131, 46–56. Juma, C. (2005). We Need to Re-invent the African University. Retrieved from http:// Kamola, I. A. (2011). Pursuing Excellence in a ‘World-Class African University’: The Mamdani Affair and the Politics of Global Higher Education. Journal of Higher Education in Africa, 9(1&2), 147–168. Luckett, K. (2010). Knowledge Claims and Codes of Legitimation: Implications for Curriculum Recontextualisation in South African Higher Education. Africanus, 40(1), 4–18. Magkoba, M. W. (2005). The African University: Meaning, Penalties and Responsibilities. In D. Chetty (Ed.), Towards African Scholarship (pp. 11–19). Durban: Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, UKZN. Mazrui, A. (1975). The African University as a Multinational Corporation: Problems of Penetration and Dependency. Harvard Educational Review, 45(2), 191–210. Mudimbe, V. Y. (1988). The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the order of Knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Nabudere, D. W. (2003). Towards the Establishment of a Pan-African University: A Strategic Concept Paper. African Journal of Political Science, 8(1), 1–29. Nandy, A. (2000a). Recovery of Indigenous Knowledge and Dissenting Futures of the University. In S. Inayatullah & J. Gidley (Eds.), The University in Transformation: Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University (pp. 115–123). Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey. Nandy, A. (2000b). Recovery of Indigenous Knowledge and Dissenting Futures of the University. In S. Inayatullah & J. Gidley (Eds.), The University in Transformation: Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University (pp. 115–123). Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey. Ng’ethe, N., Assié-Lumumba, N., Subotzky, G., & Sutheland-Addy, E. (2003). Higher Education Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa: with Specific Reference to Universities. Accra, Ghana: Association of African Universities. Accessible at default/files/urg/docs/higher_edu_Inn_%20sub_sahara_afric.pdf Odora-Hoppers, C. A. (2002). Indigenous Knowledge and the Integration of Knowledge Systems: Towards an Articulation. Claremont, South Africa: New African Books. Ordorika, I. (1999). Power, Politics, and Change in Higher Education: The case of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Ph.D.), Stanford University, Stanford, California. Ramose, M. B. (1998). Foreword. In S. Seepe (Ed.), Black perspectives in tertiary institutional transformation. Johannesburg: Vivlia. Sawyerr, A. (2004). Challenges Facing African Universities: Selected Issues. African Studies Review, 47, 1–59. Singh, M. (2014). Higher Education and the Public Good: Precarious Potential? Acta Academica, 46, 98–118. Slaughter, S. & Leslie, L. 1997. Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Tilak, J. B. G. 2008a. Higher Education: Public Good or a Commodity for Trade? Commitment to Higher Education or Commitment of Higher Education to Trade. Prospects, 38, 449–466. Tilak, J. B. G. 2008b. Transition from Higher Education as a Public Good to Higher Education as a Private Good: The Saga of Indian Experience. Journal of Asian Public Policy, 1, 220–234. Weiler, H. N. (2003). Diversity and the Politics of Knowledge. In G. Hernes (Ed.), Planning for Diversity: Education in Multi-Ethnic and Multicultural Societies (pp. 341–344). Paris: IIEP. Retrieved at

The politics of knowing in African universities  97

Weiler, H. N. (2011a). Knowledge and Power: The New Politics of Higher Education. Journal of Educational Planning and Administration, XXV(3), 205–221. Weiler, H. N. (2011b). Whose Knowledge Matters? Development and the Politics of Knowledge. Paper presented at the Keynote Address at the International Higher Education Congress “New Trends and Issues” Istanbul. Molt_09.pdf Wills, E. R. (2014). Notes on the Politics of Knowledge in the Israeli Feminist AntiOccupation Movement. Michigan State Feminist Studies, 20, from 2027/spo.ark5583.0020.005 Wilson-Tagoe, N. (2007). The University in Africa: A Perspective on Transformation. Social Dynamics, 33(1), 238–241.


Introduction As the British Empire decolonized in the decades after the Second World War, universities in Malaysia and Singapore that were established during the colonial era experienced debates and dilemmas over how to decolonize themselves and the knowledge that they taught to students. Toh Chin Chye, deputy prime minister of Singapore (1959–1968) and vice chancellor of its University of Singapore (1968–1975), called for the ‘intellectual decolonization’ of his university (Toh 1973, p. 49). Toh argued that there was a ‘need for the University to divest itself of Euro-centric attitudes and prejudices and look at the problems of emerging countries through their cultures, values and political attitudes of the people concerned’ (Toh 1973, p. 52). His counterpart in Malaysia, Ungku Aziz, the vice chancellor of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur (1968–1988), was of a similar mind. Both of them embraced the idea of a national university, tied to nation-building and serving the needs of the newly emerging nation-state rather than as an elite institution, and a ‘colonial inheritance’, engaged in only academic matters tied to debates in Western academia (Ungku 2017, p. 2503). Ungku Aziz argued in 1966: ‘Our problem is how to expedite the metamorphosis from a colonial University into a real national University’ (Ungku 2017, p. 2509). For Toh, the first step to do this was to decolonize the academic life of universities established in the colonial era: It is true that intellectual decolonization is harder to achieve than formal decolonization, but academic decolonization is a prerequisite if this University is to contribute meaningfully and purposefully towards the solution of the problems of human and economic development confronting the Republic. (Toh 1973, p. 52) DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-7

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  99

Histories of the universities in Malaysia and Singapore by Khoo Kay Kim (2005) and Edwin Lee (2008, pp. 359–416, Lee and Tan 1996), both former heads of History Departments, suggest, but leave largely unexplored, the process of the decolonization of knowledge at the universities. However, this process of the decolonization of knowledge in the universities was noticeably present in the History Departments of Malaysia and Singapore, where knowledge in the emerging subject of Southeast Asian history was being created and taught out of imperial history. Thus, the subject of history at Malaysian and Singapore universities offers a rich collection of sources for testing ideas about the decolonization of knowledge at universities in former colonial countries before and after independence.

‘Epistemic Injustice’ in Malaysia’s and Singapore’s Colonial Era History as a subject taught in the colonial era of Malaysia and Singapore presents an interesting case study for pursuing the question concerning whether it was a time when Europeans destroyed indigenous knowledge of the past, engaging in ‘the killing off of local knowledge’ in the ‘epistemicides committed by colonialism’ (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2017, p. xii). Was there ‘epistemic injustice’ in the history taught in the colonial higher education system? In 1928, Raffles College was established in Singapore to provide higher education for students who had passed through the English-medium schools in Singapore and Malaya (the entity that was the colonial predecessor of Malaysia). Students studied for a three-year diploma in the arts or sciences. History was among the college’s first departments to be set up. Raffles College would be reconstituted as the University of Malaya in 1949, becoming Malaya’s and Singapore’s first university. Teaching history at Raffles College was carried out by a Western-educated elite, most of whom had also taught in the elite English-medium schools of Singapore. In 1931, W. E. Dyer, a history school teacher from Raffles Institution who held a master’s degree in history from Oxford, was made professor of history at Raffles College. He held that position until 1949, when he mysteriously committed suicide while on holiday in Sydney (Malaya Tribune, 19 April 1949). From 1931 onwards, Dyer was helped out by G. W. Bayliss, a part-time lecturer who held a master’s degree from Oxford and taught full-time at Raffles Institution. After January 1936, Brian Harrison, who held a master’s degree from Trinity College, Dublin, was appointed as a full-time lecturer to assist Dyer (Annual Report of Raffles College, Singapore for the Academic Year 1935–1936, p. 8). In the 1930s, Dyer eschewed the notion of having a history curriculum that gave the students little more than a history of England and the British Empire, which had been the case before his arrival (Raffles College Calendar, 1929–1930, p. 28 and Raffles College Calendar, 1932–1933, p. 26). In their first year, students studied for the whole year a course called ‘Oriental History’ with its description stating that ‘a course of lectures will be delivered dealing with the political and cultural history of the East from earliest times to the present day, with special reference to India, Malaya and the Far East’ (Raffles College Calendar, 1936–1937, p. 15).

100  Kevin Peter Blackburn

The textbooks for the course included well-regarded classic works from historians at Oxbridge, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the Ivy League universities. They covered not just the course content but also the civilizational and cultural backgrounds of Dyer’s and Harrison’s Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasian students. These textbooks included the following: Vincent Arthur Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 (1919); Kenneth Scott Latourette, The Chinese: Their History and Culture (1934); William Edward Soothill, A History of China (1927) and China and England (1928); Edward Denison Ross, Islam (1928); Wilbur Cortez Abbott, The Expansion of Europe (1924); and Herbert H. Gowen, An Outline History of Japan (1927). Included in the list of textbooks was also Appleton’s Modern School Atlas (1928) by Ramsay Muir (Raffles College Calendar, 1936–1937, p. 16). Dyer was not decolonizing college history. Plenty of British imperial history awaited the students in year two when they studied ‘General History 1453–1934’, which ‘excluded the East’, and in year three ‘English History 1485–1935’. Then in year three, the students finished their study with the ‘History of Political Ideas’, which traced ‘the development of political ideas, including those of the East’ (Raffles College Calendar, 1936–1937, p. 16). In his history curriculum, Dyer was reflecting the transition to more Asian history that had been occurring when he was teaching in the schools of Malaya and Singapore. After 1928, the history curriculum in the English-medium schools broke away from just being the history of England and the British Empire and incorporated significant amounts of Asian history. In the 1930s, the syllabus document prescribed that ‘an outline of Malayan History’ be taught, in ‘particular the growth of Malayan contact with Western peoples’ (Blackburn and Wu 2019, p. 170). There was a new vision of the empire as an entity in which its people, in particular the English-educated elite, were not just colonial subjects but citizens of the empire. This imperial inclusiveness meant an awareness of their Asian backgrounds was incorporated into history syllabuses of the schools and in college education (Blackburn and Wu 2019, p. 30). In 1936 and 1939, this Asian component and focus on Malaya was further expanded with additional syllabus revisions for the schools. Many of the Raffles College students went on to teach in the English-medium schools. Philip Holden in his historical study of Raffles College suggests it was an institution engaged in the disciplining of the character of the members of the English-educated elite into obedient citizens of the empire (Holden 2018, pp. 9–10). Dyer’s syllabus reflected these changing notions of empire and citizenship just as the English-medium school syllabus did so. Dyer undoubtedly had a strong interest in Malayan history, which was publicly expressed when he gave extra-mural lectures on it at Raffles Institution, among other places (Straits Times, 27 October 1935). Yet, Dyer was also a strong upholder of the colonial order as was evident in other lectures he gave outside Raffles College. In a public talk on the monarchy and the empire, Dyer affirmed his conviction that ‘our empire stands not upon force nor upon economic interest but upon a more mystical basis – the basis of trust’, in the sense that the citizens of the empire trusted its rulers. He marvelled how the empire

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  101

was redefining itself: ‘The Empire has shown itself to be possessed of the essential degree of adaptability to an exceptional degree’ (Singapore Free Press, 9 May 1935). He praised the monarchy for this quality. Not surprisingly, Dyer’s students sensed that he was a staunch imperialist. At Raffles College, V. Ambiavagar, who was in the first batch of graduates from Raffles College in 1931, and went onto Raffles Institution to teach history, remembered Dyer as ‘a pompous imperialist in dress, manner, and behaviour. Cap and gown for lectures and oozing utter pomposity’ (Khoo 2005, p. 36). The textbooks used in teaching local Malayan history in the ‘Oriental History’ course at Raffles College reflected the history of European empires in Asia rather than the study of Asia as an entity by itself. Teaching local Malayan history in the year one ‘Oriental History’ course drew upon two history books written by colonial ‘scholar-administrators’ of Malaya and Singapore. The first was British Malaya: An Account of the Origin and Progress of British Influence in Malaya, written by former governor of the Straits Settlements and high commissioner of the Federated Malay States, Frank Swettenham. It was published in 1906 and revised in 1929. While it was not on the very brief recommended list of textbooks, Swettenham’s book was undoubtedly used because of its availability at the time. Swettenham’s history saw the foundation of Singapore by empire builder Sir Thomas Raffles in 1819 as beginning of the British Empire’s development of the Malay Peninsula and as the pivotal event in the history of Malaya. Swettenham in the original 1906 preface to the book wrote how he sought to use the book to explain why ‘Englishmen … are born administrators’ through studying the evolution of the British colonial administration of Malaya (Swettenham 1948, p. xv). He wrote that he sought ‘to explain the unique circumstances under which the experiment was made’ (Swettenham 1948, p. xv). An ardent imperialist, Swettenham elaborated on his motivation for writing his history: The unique character of the experiment and the success which has attended it are sufficient reasons for describing the efforts which have raised the Malays to a condition of comfort and happiness never before known in their history, and have conferred benefits on Chinese, Indians, and British alike, while opening a new and valuable market to British manufacturers. (Swettenham 1948, p. xvi) In his textbook, the history before the British ‘experiment’ in Malaya was seen as little more than evidence that the colonial subjects could not govern themselves. Swettenham was guilty of ‘epistemicide’ of local knowledge, and proud of it. The other textbook on local Malayan history in the ‘Oriental History’ course was Richard O. Winstedt’s 1935 History of Malaya, which also justified British intervention in the Malay Peninsula. Winstedt’s History of Malaya replaced Swettenham’s tome as the textbook for Malaya in 1936 and remained the core reading for local history at Raffles College into the 1940s (Raffles College Calendar 1939–1940, p. 19). Winstedt was the director of education who had conceived the 1928 history school

102  Kevin Peter Blackburn

syllabus with the substantial coverage of Asian history and the inclusion of Malayan history. Dyer was intimately involved in helping Winstedt write his book, and was given special acknowledgement in Winstedt’s preface: ‘Mr W.E. Dyer, Professor of History at Raffles College, has read most of my book in manuscript and freely given me the benefit of his expert knowledge’ (Winstedt 1935). Although Winstedt, like Swettenham, was an empire builder, he adopted in his textbook on Malayan history a different approach to Swettenham. In the History of Malaya, Winstedt portrayed the British colonial period as but one phase, among many, in the history of the Malay Peninsula and did not emphasize the role of Raffles and his 1819 foundation of Singapore. There was considerable coverage of the phases of the indigenous states and kingdoms of pre-colonial Malayan history. Winstedt saw his role as recovering the indigenous past and communicating it to students and the general reader. In the preface to his history, he wrote: From the absence of stone buildings, people are apt to call Malaya a land without history. This sketch should refute such a baseless inference, while the specialist will know that on every chapter of the book a volume might be written. (Winstedt 1935) Fluent in Malay, Winstedt used indigenous sources, such as Sejarah Melayu, Tuhfat al-Nafis and Hikayat Hang Tuah. He also acknowledged his intellectual debt to the interwar European archaeologists recovering knowledge of classical indigenous Southeast Asia. For his chapter on prehistoric Malayan history and the agricultural revolution, Winstedt said he drew upon the work of archaeologists P. V. van Stein Callenfels, Henri Alphonse Mansuy, Madeleine Colani and Ivor Hugh Norman Evans. For his account of what he called the ‘Hindu Period’ of Indian influence on classical Southeast Asia, Winstedt gave credit to the archaeological work of George Coedes and Nicolaas Johannes Krom. Winstedt’s history was not account of a British ‘experiment’ in colonial administration, in which indigenous political administration was regarded as hardly worth recounting. Yet, at times in his textbook, Winstedt could be as jingoistic as Swettenham about empire: ‘British civilisation in Malaya has that best of all tributes, the keenly critical appreciation of races with ancient civilisations of their own’ (Winstedt 1935, p. 259). Winstedt’s book was a paradox. Even when he substantially revised it in 1962 for an independent Malaya, it still contained remnants of colonial assumptions that he had written in his 1935 edition, such as the statement: ‘While the white man sometimes regards the Asiatic as tricky and evasive, the Asiatic sometimes finds in the white man the same trait’ (Winstedt 1962, pp. 265–266). When it was revised for an independent Malaya, local historians and teachers still found Winstedt’s work ‘Euro-centric’ and wrote reviews advising school and university teachers to use the book for its scholarship in its early chapters on the indigenous past, but treat with caution the chapters dealing with the phase of British colonial administration (Blackburn and Wu 2019, p. 24 and p. 102).

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  103

Students at Raffles College did not just passively absorb the history they found in their textbooks or heard in their classes. In July 1937, they founded the Raffles College Historical Society, which held talks and debates over what was taught. The first debate was on the proposition: ‘The Westernisation of the East is desirable and inevitable’. The lecturer Brian Harrison and the students Tan Teik Hock and V. Ponniah argued the affirmative, while the lecturer G. W. Bayliss and the students Meyer Marshall and Paul Chang argued against it. After a long debate, the motion was put to a vote, and it was defeated 37–32. The society was also active in presenting the findings of historians and archaeologists on early indigenous history. Among the early talks given to the society were ‘Pre-History in Malaya’ by D. R. Collings in November 1937 and ‘The Study of Early History in Malaya’ by Roland Braddell in February 1938 (Annual Report of Raffles College, Singapore for the Academic Year 1937–1938, p. 31). Examining how history was taught at Raffles College in the colonial era reveals a complex situation in which there is an awareness among staff and students of the danger of colonial ‘epistemicides’ and a desire to recover the indigenous knowledge of Malaya and Singapore. However, this was clearly carried out in the context of empire. There was ‘epistemic injustice’ in the teaching of history as an appendage of the history of empire. Students were taught both Asian history and the local history of Malaya because it encouraged members of the English-educated elite to think of themselves as citizens of the empire and having a role to play in the colonial order assisting the British in governing and in the conduct of business of the empire. Staff and students at Raffles College were conscious that they were participating in a recovery of indigenous knowledge about the past through archaeology and the translation of indigenous manuscripts. They seemed aware that this knowledge however was framed by the forces of Westernization and colonialism, which they debated among themselves. History at Raffles College suggests historian Clive Whitehead’s point that students were not passively absorbing what they were being taught in colonial education (Whitehead 2005, pp. 441–454).

The University of Malaya and the Decolonization of Historical Knowledge In 1949, Raffles College was reconstituted into the University of Malaya, which had a different purpose from its predecessor. The University of Malaya was founded in the words of its first Chancellor and British Commissioner-General for Southeast Asia Malcolm MacDonald as ‘the crucible of the Malayan nation’ and ‘a cradle where a truly non-communal nation is nurtured’ (Stockwell 2009, p. 1168). The British had returned after the Japanese Occupation of Malaya and Singapore with plans for self-government. Awakened by the fall of the Western colonial powers to the Japanese and the spread of their message of ‘Asian for Asians’, the people of the region were not inclined to resume British colonialism as per normal in the 1930s. The post-war feelings of the colonized in Malaya and Singapore can be summed up by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister and a member of

104  Kevin Peter Blackburn

the English-educated elite. Prime Minister Lee told the nation in 1961 that he was of ‘that generation of young men who went through the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation and emerged determined that no one – neither the Japanese nor the British – had the right to push and kick us around’. The fall of the European colonial powers had implications for him and others of his generation: When the war came to an end in 1945, there was never a chance of the old type of British colonial system ever being re-created. The scales had fallen from our eyes and we saw for ourselves that local people could run the country. (Lee 1962, pp. 10–11) In a time when the British Empire was reinventing itself as a commonwealth of self-governing nations, there was an awareness that the University of Malaya was an agent of change in this process. At the founding of the University of Malaya in 1949, MacDonald remarked: ‘the University is being founded at the same time as the foundations are being laid for a nation of Malaya.’ He elaborated on the purpose of the university with regard to creating a Malayan nation: The University’s good influence on the growth of a nation will be felt in many ways. For example, the national population will contain a mixture of races. It is essential that communal barriers between them shall be broken down, that they shall think progressively less of their distinctions of race and more of their common heritage and character as people of Malaya. (Khoo 2005, p. 48) A. W. Frisby, director of education in Singapore, announced when introducing legislation to create the educational institution in 1949 that the university had as its aim to ‘foster the growth of citizenship and prepare the stage for self-government’ (Blackburn and Wu 2019, p. 64). This consciousness of using the university to build a Malayan nation permeated the thinking of the teaching staff of the university. The creation of new knowledge about Malaya and the Southeast Asian region was a priority. At an early meeting of the university’s senate on 30 November 1949, it was resolved to set up a board of Southeast Asian Studies. This board for research on Southeast Asia was established with new Raffles professor of history C. N. Parkinson as its chairman on 22 June 1950. However, it remained an empty shell that did not achieve the aims of creating new knowledge of Southeast Asia for communication in teaching. Instead, it was left up to the departments to do the research on Malaya and Southeast Asia. The History Department was particularly active in the creation and teaching of decolonized knowledge. Raffles College’s History Department in its last few years of existence fashioned the history curriculum inherited by new History Department of the University of Malaya. C. D. Cowan during his brief stay from 1948 to 1949 assisted Dyer and

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  105

Brian Harrison in creating this curriculum. Cowan was a historian of Southeast Asia and later became director of SOAS from 1976 to 1989. The history curriculum that the University of Malaya inherited from Raffles College had students in their first year of their degree doing ‘The History of the East to the 17th Century’ in which: ‘The course will deal comprehensively with the History of the Eastern peoples until the 17th Century. The lectures will cover cultural, social and economic as well as political developments.’ In the second year of their degree, history students continued with ‘The History of the East from the 17th Century’; and then in the third they learned ‘Western History from 1453’. In their honours year, history students had to do ‘The History of South-East Asia’ and a ‘Special Subject’ for research ‘that will be selected from the history of Malaya, and will be studied as far as possible from first-hand sources’ (University of Malaya Interim Calendar Session 1949–50, p. 96). The external examiners for the honours programme were Professor C. H. Phillips of SOAS and J. S. Bromley of Oxford University (University of Malaya Interim Calendar Session 1949–50, p. 99). From the history curriculum that the University of Malaya inherited from Raffles College, history students gained considerable knowledge of not just Asia but also local Malayan history. The arrival of C. N. Parkinson as the new Raffles professor of history and E. T. Stokes at the History Department in 1950 ushered in curriculum changes that would remain throughout the decade. For the new curriculum, in their first year, students studied both the West and the East in a new ‘World History’ course, which ‘will generally deal with the main civilizations which have influenced mankind (Middle East, Indian, Chinese and European) from the earliest times to about 1497’. It was followed by a second year with ‘The History of the Far East 1497– 1815’ course, which ‘will extend over one year and will include the influence comparatively of the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British’. Third year continued with ‘The History of the Far East from 1786’, which covered ‘the history of the modern Asia with special reference to Southeast Asia and Malaya’. The honours programme built upon the honours programme that had been designed by the History Department of Raffles College for the new University of Malaya. Students took a course that was an ‘advanced study of Southeast Asian and Malayan history covering the period from 1874 to the present day’. There was also a requirement that ‘students will have to submit an academic exercise on some subject in modern Malayan history’ based on ‘original research in printed sources’ (University of Malaya Calendar Session 1950–51, pp. 116–117). While Dyer and Harrison had effectively ‘Asianized’ the history curriculum in the era of empire, it was Parkinson and his colleagues in the 1950s who would be seen as initiating the decolonization of historical knowledge. Although the Asian content would remain more or less the same, it would be given a different context and interpretation for the new era. Instead of the focus on how Asia was shaped by European empires and how the students belonged to the empire, there would be a new emphasis on Asian views and Asian perspectives in an age when Asians belonged as citizens to their own Malayan nation. Khoo in his history of

106  Kevin Peter Blackburn

the University Malaya highlights that by 1952–1953 the staff members of many university departments were absorbed by the project of preparing for the coming Malayan nation and felt that their teaching and research should focus on Malaya. The Departments of Zoology, Economics, Geography and History, in particular, were engaged in active research on Malayan flora and fauna, the economy of Malaya, as well as its geography and history. Khoo argues: ‘At least two departments – Geography and History – were engaged in collecting new material about Malaya which would throw great light on its past’ (Khoo 2005, p. 58). In the History Department, it was Parkinson, Raffles professor and head of the department in the 1950s, who was most associated with beginning the decolonization of history at the University of Malaya. Parkinson was a historian of British naval and imperial history who had graduated from King’s College, University of London. The thesis produced two of his many books on naval history – Trade in the Eastern Seas, 1793–1815 (1937) and War in the Eastern Seas, 1793–1815 (1954). According to historian A. J. Stockwell, Parkinson after the war saw himself as an agent of intellectual and cultural change when the British Empire was ushering in self-government. Stockwell says that Parkinson believed that ‘his mission in Malaya should be “to create for the country the historical background which its varied peoples might share”’ (Stockwell 2009, p. 1169). Wang Gungwu, who was an undergraduate, graduate student and then a staff member in the University of Malaya’s History Department in the 1950s, recollected Parkinson’s role in the decolonization of history: He changed the whole syllabus in many ways. He insisted we do an Academic Exercise …He introduced that for all of us who became honours students. We all had to do a piece of research. It must be research in this part of the world, and forced us to use documents, to go and find sources… I did that, and having done it I became more interested in history. (Blackburn and Wu 2019, p. 66) Parkinson in an interview for the press expressed the need to develop more the history of Malaya for the coming Malayan nation: In England, people reading history can confine themselves to English and European history and ignore places like China. Here in Malaya we cannot avoid concerning ourselves with India, China and the Middle East as well as with Europe… I have no doubt that the History of Malaya must finally be written by Malayans, but we can at least do very much to prepare the way. (Straits Times, 29 January 1951) Wang Gungwu remembered ‘colourful, colourful Parkinson…He was delightful. He was lively. He stimulated us’. Recalling his years as a student in the University of Malaya History Department, Wang noted that Parkinson suited the times for him and his fellow classmates:

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  107

This was our chance in the University of Malaya to build Malayanness, so to speak. I spent five years as an undergraduate – exciting years – trying to be Malayan, helping others, and asking others to help me find what it meant. We all thought we were building something, but it was much more complex than that, as we discovered. (Blackburn and Wu 2019, p. 66) Parkinson’s successor and protégé K. G. Tregonning worked with him before succeeding Parkinson in 1959 as Raffles professor of history. Tregonning brought about further changes to the curriculum of the History Department that were in many ways extensions of Parkinson’s ideas. When he arrived at the History Department of the University of Malaya in 1953, Parkinson told him: ‘You are a pioneer.’ Parkinson also told Tregonning that when teaching, ‘You must emphasize to your students that past – hitherto neglected – of Asia in world history’ (Tregonning 1989, p. 11). Tregonning declared: ‘I embraced enthusiastically Parkinson’s overall programme of breaking the stifling Eurocentric emphasis that had hitherto dominated historical studies’ (Tregonning 1989, p. 12). Tregonning described what Parkinson had initiated and what he had carried on from Parkinson in terms of changing the teaching of the subject of history from when it was a reflection of its context of imperialism to one in which it was in accord with decolonization and reflected new perspectives that were emerging from an emerging Malayan nation: Cyril Parkinson more than any other single man swung this around. A vigorous public campaign, as well as clear priorities at the university, brought home to all the importance of knowing their own history, and from this basis, coming to understand the regional and world factors that influenced it. It was colonial, false, to look at Malaya from the viewpoint of London. It was necessary to develop an attitude whereby Malaya became the centre of one’s concern. And similarly when studying China or India one must not look at it through the eyes of Europeans, but endeavour to see it from within. (Tregonning 1989, p. 11) The curriculum of the History Department under Tregonning was adjusted further from Parkinson’s 1950 model as the decade of the 1960s started and the new nation of Malaya began to be built after achieving independence in 1957. ‘The History of Malaya’ under Tregonning became the first-year history course. The description of this course was: ‘The course will deal with the History of Malaya until 1957. Particular attention will be paid to the development of Singapore’ (University of Malaya in Singapore Calendar 1960–61, p. 124). In second year, the students then studied the history of Asia and Europe from 1500 to 1950. In third year, students could study a greater diversity of history, but there was a focus on Southeast Asia, which continued into their honours year. These courses were ‘History of Asia, with particular reference to Southeast Asia’, ‘Political thought and institutions with particular focus on Southeast Asia from about A.D. 1500 to 1950’ and

108  Kevin Peter Blackburn

‘Economic History of Southeast Asia’. Remnants of the history of the British Empire remained in the history curriculum with a third-year course called ‘History of the British Commonwealth’ (University of Malaya in Singapore Calendar 1960–61, p. 125). Conscious of the necessity of creating decolonized knowledge as well as teaching it, Tregonning as Raffles professor and head of history department in 1960 founded the Journal of Southeast Asian History, which at the end of the decade bloomed into the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. The aim of the Journal of Southeast Asian History was to create space primarily for articles on Southeast Asian history written by that growing body of specialists, the Asian historian. It welcomes also articles written on any aspect of Southeast Asian history from the Stone Age to the contemporary scene, from scholars in any part of the world. (Ho 2008, p. 15) The journal drew upon the skills of the increasing number of local staff members of the History Department who had been trained in the History Department as students, namely Wong Lin Ken and Eunice Thio, but it also developed knowledge networks with scholars and historians in Southeast Asia and universities in the West (Ho 2008, pp. 30–32). Ho Chi Tim in his study of the creation and influence of the journal sees it as having been a key intellectual platform for the emerging scholarship on Southeast Asia (Ho 2008, pp. 6–10). Combining his research and with his teaching, Tregonning in 1964 also produced a university textbook for his students studying Malaya, which superseded the work of Winstedt in the university history classroom. In this work, called The History of Modern Malaya, Tregonning described his approach: Many of my predecessors have stood away, and in a manner of speaking, have viewed Malaya from the office of the colonial powers, or from the deck of a foreign ship. I would have you stand with me on the beach, watching him arrive. For the historian of Malaya, that is the only true position. (Tregonning 1964, preface)

Decolonizing History at the Chinese Nanyang University in the 1950s and 1960s The decolonization of history was not confined to the colonial University of Malaya. It also featured in the teaching of history at the Chinese-medium university that was established by the Chinese community of Singapore in 1955. Named Nanyang University, this institution was established for the teaching of Chinese language, civilization, and culture in addition to commerce and the sciences. Students from the Chinese-medium schools would progress to the university. Tracing knowledge creation of the history of Southeast Asia and Malaya and how this knowledge was taught at Nanyang University offers interesting contrasts and similarities into the decolonization of historical knowledge going on at the University of Malaya.

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  109

The historians of the History and Geography Department at Nanyang University were headed by Wang Teh-Chao, who held a bachelor of arts degree from Peking University and a master’s degree from Harvard. He taught European and British history, while his Chinese colleagues taught Chinese history. Not surprisingly, much more Chinese history was taught at Nanyang University than at the University of Malaya. Later, Chen Mong Hock, a graduate from the University of Malaya’s History Department, was hired to teach the history of Southeast Asia and Malaya (Nanyang University Calendar 1963, p. 16). The history courses at the Department of History and Geography at Nanyang University reflected the objective of the university of teaching Chinese history and civilization. However, historians of the department also focused on teaching historical knowledge of Southeast Asia and Malaya. At Nanyang University, the history curriculum began in first year with the courses, ‘Introduction to the Study of History’, ‘History of Modern China’ and ‘General Western History’ (Nanyang University Calendar 1959, p. 6). In their second year, students were introduced to ‘The History of Southeast Asia’ course. However, in the early 1960s, when History was turned into a separate department, and the study of Southeast Asia blossomed, the course ‘The History of Southeast Asia’ was moved from second year to first year. In second year, students specialized on ‘The History of Malaya’ (Nanyang University Calendar 1963, p. 37). The course presented Malayan history as a series of phases going back to the Stone Age, of which the British administration of Malaya was just one phase among many. The Malay Peninsula’s relations with China and India were studied in detail, while the local Melaka Sultanate was given a strong focus in the course. The topics in the course ran all the way to the formation of Malaysia in 1963 (Nanyang University Calendar 1965–66, p. 49). The focus on Southeast Asia at Nanyang University was the result of the efforts of Associate Professor Hsu Yun Tsiao of the History Department of Nanyang University. Hsu was the Tregonning of Nanyang University but he was much more familiar with the Asian languages. Hsu, a native Chinese speaker, learned English, Malay and Thai. Born in the Chinese province of Jiangsu in 1905, he migrated to Singapore in 1931 where he taught in the Chinese-medium schools of Malaya, Singapore and Thailand, joining Nanyang University in 1957. Hsu’s research and writing, although extensive, was more limited in its international impact than that of Tregonning as it was mainly with the Chinese presses and Chinese publishing houses. His work started with the study of the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, and from there he developed a deeper understanding of Southeast Asian history and societies. Hsu had translated a Thai biography of King Phraya Taksin and the Malay Annals into Chinese. Like Tregonning, Hsu was a founder of a Singapore-based journal of Southeast Asian studies. This was the Chinese language South Sea Studies Society’s Journal of the South Sea Studies Society, which Hsu founded in 1940, and edited for 26 issues and across 13 volumes, publishing over 60 articles in English and Chinese in the journal. Hsu, while an expert in the history of China and its relations with Southeast Asia, also wrote extensively on Malayan history. An advocate of Southeast Asian studies, he helped found and run Nanyang University’s

110  Kevin Peter Blackburn

Institute of South-East Asia in October 1957, which produced the Journal of Southeast Asian Researches from 1965 to 1971. The stated aim of the Institute of South-East Asia was ‘to gather together historical and cultural materials relating to South-East Asia, to investigate and examine the materials gathered, to undertake research work, to compile and publish findings, and to issue reference materials’ (Nanyang University Calendar 1965–66, p. 136). Hsu and the historians of Nanyang University were thus as swept up in the decolonization of the teaching and research of history as much as Tregonning and the History Department of the University of Malaya.

The Decolonization of History in Malaysia during the 1960s The expansion of higher education to further nation-building after independence produced an increasing emphasis on the decolonization of historical knowledge in the universities as more historians were employed and focused on researching and teaching Southeast Asia and Malaya. In 1959, a Kuala Lumpur campus of the University of Malaya was set up in addition to the main Singapore campus. Then, in 1962 the university split into the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and the University of Singapore in Singapore itself. Just as the University of Malaya campus in Singapore had been a centre for the decolonization of history in the 1950s and early 1960s, by the mid-1960s the University of Malaya campus at Kuala Lumpur was another focal point for this process. Anthony Reid after graduating from Cambridge with a doctorate in Indonesian history worked at the History Department of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur from 1965 to 1969. He described the atmosphere at the time: ‘We were obsessed, it appears by hindsight, with the problem of writing an “autonomous”, or Asia-centric, history, our small contribution to decolonizing Southeast Asia – or, if not that, at least decolonizing our own minds’ (Reid 1993, p. 87). In the 1960s, local staff were increasingly taking over from expatriate staff in the History Departments at the universities of Malaysia and Singapore. The first head of the University of Malaya’s History Department in Kuala Lumpur was John Bastin, an Oxford-educated Australian historian of Southeast Asia (1959–1963). Then, in 1963, Wang Gungwu was appointed the first local head of the History Department, a post he held until 1968, after which he was succeeded by a succession of local history staff. Under Wang Gungwu, in 1965, the History of Malaya course covering the development of nationhood became the core course in the department’s history curriculum. After Tregonning left Singapore in 1967, the History Department at the University of Singapore was headed by Wong Lin Ken, who was head and Raffles professor of history until his suicide in 1983. Both Wang Gungwu and Wong Lin Ken had been inspired by Parkinson and Tregonning in the 1950s. They encouraged their local departmental staff to carry on further the decolonization of historical knowledge in research done within the departments and the courses taught by their historians. The increasing numbers of local staff and their taking up of leadership roles brought about a greater sense of urgency of the need to decolonize historical

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  111

knowledge. In August 1963, the History Department of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur held a seminar on history teaching, organized by Zainal Abidin bin Abdul Wahid and Wang Gungwu. Historians from the department debated whether it was possible for Western historians to achieve an ‘Asia-centric’ approach to writing history. At the 1963 history seminar, Zainal Abidin bin Abdul Wahid controversially claimed in his paper that ‘no Western historian can fully appreciate Malayan history’, meaning that only Malaysian historians could write Malaysian history (Zainal 1964, p. 120). He argued that the ‘present generation of Western historians are still too close to the period of Western colonialism and imperialism to be free from their influence. But the problem of cultural heritage will remain’ (Zainal 1964, p. 126). He later became professor of Malaysian History and head of the History Department at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia when it was established in 1970. In this role, he was a very influential voice in Malaysian history in the 1970s. The local historians taking up leadership positions in the History Departments of Malaysia and Singapore were conscious that they were furthering the decolonization of historical knowledge that began in the 1950s. Khoo Kay Kim, a head of the History Department at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur during the early 1970s, later recalled that when he was an undergraduate student at the University of Malaya in Singapore in the 1960s: I remember Prof. Tregonning always lecturing us on what he termed Malayan-centric history. All the while, he said, those who have written on Malayan history adopted a Euro-centric approach and that from now on, we were expected to adopt a Malayan-centric approach. That was easier said than done. (Khoo 2017, p. 87) At the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur during the mid-1960s, Khoo worked on his master’s thesis under his supervisor Wang Gungwu to produce a key text in the teaching of the history of Malaysia – The Western Malay States, 1850–1873: The Effects of Commercial Development on Malay Politics. Instead of seeing what was happening in the Malay states through the lenses of British colonial policy, Khoo adopted what he and his colleagues at the University of Malaya called a ‘Malaysiancentric’ approach to history, and focused on Malay society as the base from which changes occurred in Malaysian history. He explained that his book described how in the nineteenth century ‘powerful new elements were introduced into the Malay society which eventually forced the existing systems to adapt themselves to the changing environment’ (Khoo 2017, p. 127). Khoo wrote that he deliberately chose a translation of the term Tanah Melayu, meaning ‘Malay States’, to use to describe the Malay political system rather than use the British colonial-inspired term, ‘Malaya’ (Khoo 2017, p. 126). One of the strongest advocates of ‘Malaysian-centric’ history, Khoo recalls that in the 1960s ‘a number of new writings on Malayan history’ were coming out from the History Department in Kuala Lumpur ‘under Professor Wang’ (Khoo 2017, p. 88).

112  Kevin Peter Blackburn

Conclusion Thus, during the 1960s, in the History Departments of the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore, there was a continuation of the decolonization of historical knowledge that had begun in the 1950s. Then, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Toh Chin Chye at the University of Singapore and Ungku Aziz at the University of Malaya called for further decolonization of their universities. They were echoing the call that had begun towards the end of colonial rule and that was heard well after independence. Despite the continuing decolonization of history, a sense of ‘epistemic injustice’ was still present. Historical knowledge at the institutions of higher education in the colonial era had clearly covered Asian and Malayan history, but this history had been framed in terms of empire and colonialism. The long shadow of colonialism meant that this reframing of history to address ‘epistemic injustice’ was an ongoing process in Malaysian and Singapore universities.

References Annual Report of Raffles College, Singapore for the Academic Year (1935–1936, 1937–1938). Malaya Tribune (19 April 1949). Nanyang University Calendar (1959, 1963, 1965–66). Raffles College Calendar (1929–1930, 1932-1933, 1936–1937, 1939-1940). Singapore Free Press (9 May 1935). Straits Times (27 October 1935, 29 January 1951). University of Malaya in Singapore Calendar (1960–61). University of Malaya Interim Calendar (1949–1950, 1950–1951). Blackburn, K. and Wu, Z., (2019). Decolonizing the History Curriculum in Malaysia and Singapore. London: Routledge. Ho. C.T., (2008). A Situated History of the Journal of Southeast Asian History/Studies (1960– 1979). MA Thesis, National University of Singapore. Holden, P., (2018). A Building with One Side Missing: Liberal Arts and Illiberal Modernities in Singapore. Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 33 (1), pp. 1–28. Khoo, K.K., (2005). 100 Years of the University of Malaya. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Khoo K. K., (2017). I, KKK: The Autobiography of a Historian. Kuala Lumpur: Kala Publishers. Lee, E., (2008). The Unexpected Nation: Singapore. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Lee, E. and Tan T.Y., (1996). Beyond Degrees: The Making of the National University of Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Lee, K. Y., (2014). Battle for Merger. Singapore: National Archives and Straits Times Press. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J., (2017). Foreword: The Case for a Decolonised/Africanised. Africa (2017). In V. Msila, ed., Decolonising Knowledge for Africa’s Renewal: Examining African Perspectives and Philosophies. Randburg, South Africa: KR Publishing, pp. xi–xv. Reid, A., (1993). John Smail, Jacob van Leur, and the Trading World of Southeast Asia. In L. Sears, ed., Autonomous Histories, Particular Truths: Essays in Honor of John Smail, Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Center For Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 87–97. Stockwell, A. J., (2009). ‘The Crucible of the Malayan Nation’: The University and the Making of a New Malaya, 1938–62. Modern Asian Studies 43 (5), pp. 1149–1187.

History at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore  113

Swettenham, F., (1948). British Malaya: An Account of the Origin and Progress of British Influence in Malaya, Rev. ed, London: George Allen and Unwin. Toh, C. C., (1973). Intellectual Decolonization of the University of Singapore. In C.V.D. Nair, ed., Towards Tomorrow: Essays on Development and Social Transformations in Singapore, Singapore: Singapore National Trades Union Congress, pp. 49–53. Tregonning, K.G., (1964). The History of Modern Malaya. Singapore: Far Eastern Universities Press. Tregonning, K.G., (1989). Home Port Singapore: An Australian Historian’s Experience: Australians in Asia Series No. 4. Brisbane: Griffith University, Division of Asian and International Studies, Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia Relations. Ungku, A. A., (2017). Ungku A. Aziz Royal Professor Writing for the Nation: Volume V Sub-Z. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Economics Association. Whitehead, C., (2005). The Historiography of British Imperial Education Policy, Part II: Africa and the Rest of the Colonial Empire. History of Education, 34 (4), pp. 441–454. Winstedt, R.O., (1935). A History of Malaya. Singapore: Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Winstedt, R.O., (1962). A History of Malaya. Rev. ed, Singapore: Marican. Zainal, A.B.A.W. (1964). Some Contemporary Writings on Malayan History. In A.B.A.W. Zainal, ed., History Teaching: Its Problems in Malaya, Kuala Lumpur: History Department, University of Malaya, pp. 120–126.

8 AUSTRALIAN HIGHER EDUCATION God bless you if it’s good to you Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

Introduction Blackness in Australia Cultural Studies is the paradigm that frames this chapter’s research of the multicultural subject. Cultural Studies can be understood as a three-pronged research field; in its undertaking it seeks to investigate the lived experiences of particular groups within specific discourses and with precise social contexts (Alexander, 2009; Barker & Galasinski, 2001; Hall, 2013; Saukko, 2003; Solomos, 2014). Questions such as “Who are you?” or “Where do you belong?” are explored in depth with the application of diverse interdisciplinary theory to understand the basis and underlying ideologies in these questions. Professor Stuart Hall (1932–2014) through an expansive research career attempted to conceptualise identity and how different processes in life worked. It was not only through research but, perhaps most importantly (in my case at least), his theorisations were based on personal experiences he went through as a multicultural individual. Hall (2013) argued that in trying to define who you are and where you belong, one must be privy to what is made to matter in political discourse. Australia has had a complex relationship with the concept of multiculturalism and issues of what it means to be Australian are still being contested; there is the sticky colonial history that still is a contentious subject. Probing at the media as transmitters of knowledge, how do the viewers experience the body of the other? The ‘other’ in this case is an individual from a non-Anglo-Saxon or Celtic decent. How are cultural codes constructed and organised for certain individuals (Hendershott-Kraetzer, 2014)? In the case of the immigrant other, the media often provides a glimpse into the culture that they have migrated to. Through both the passive and the active encoding and articulation of messages, the viewers decode the messages and come to learn the beliefs and DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-8

Australian higher education  115

practices associated with the culture (Akomfrah, 2013; Hall, 1997). It is through the decoding of this information that audiences learn what codes of behaviour are deemed right or normal in the culture. The media can be regarded as providing a social gauge on which to measure how one ought to act (Altschull, 1994; Nolan et al., 2016; Silverstone & Georgiou, 2005; Trebbe & Schoenhagen, 2011). There is a vast collection of theories on racism, racialisation and migration issues but very few that showcase the personal experiences of immigrants. Responses to external stimuli and the strategies that the immigrants employ to manage their visible and cultural difference could provide essential information as to the pitfalls that multicultural societies face. In this regard, the immigrant perceptions would also provide the opportunity to be seen as active participants in the discussion. Herbert et al. (2008) argue that the way immigrants manage and cope with issues of exclusion and racism are not one-dimensional. Instead, they found that their respondents drew from varied sources ways of pre-empting situations to compensate and overcome negative experiences. In the Australian context, migration of non-refugee black African nationals is relatively new. Information about how they adapt to their new lives in Australia as well as how they appropriate their everyday identities in social and private settings is largely unknown (Chivaura, 2020). In 1996, Africans were officially listed as a statistically significant population. Since then, the way dominant institutions such as the media and government interact and represent this group has received some attention (Chivaura, 2020, Hugo, 2009). However, there is hardly any data on how Africans respond to these interactions and representations. Chivaura (2020) argues that in Australia research that has been carried out on African immigrants in Australia predominantly tends to focus on two particular groups – refugees and asylum seekers (Baak, 2011; Due, 2008; Gale, 2004; Gatt, 2011; Hatoss & Huijser, 2010; Hatoss & Sheely, 2008; Nolan et al., 2016; Nolan et al., 2011; Nunn, 2010; O’Doherty & Lecouteur, 2007; Warriner, 2007; Windle, 2008). The themes discussed centre around the depiction of predominantly Sudanese Africans’ great migration from ‘war torn’ ‘guerrilla run’ lands and their difficulty with adapting to their ‘new’ Australian lives. This literature does not represent my background and omits a large number of other African-born individuals who left Africa in their formative years and find it difficult to identify where they belong.

Setting the scene To speak gobbledygook to a black man is insulting for it means he is a gook. Yet, we’ll be told there is no intention to wilfully give offence. Ok, but precisely this absence of will – this offhand manner; this casualness; and the ease with which they classify him, imprison him at an uncivilised primitive level – that is insulting. If the person who speaks to a man of colour or an Arab in pidgin does not see that there is a flaw or a defect in his behaviour, then he has never paused to reflect. At a personal level, …, I have felt myself lapsing. (Fanon, 2008, p. 15)

116  Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

In this chapter, I delve into three core themes. First, the challenges presented by being from a black African background in academia through a series of case studies. The intent is to show how covert systemic forms of discrimination operate and are actively in force and are continually reinforced in Australian higher education institutions. I have occupied roles of both a student and a lecturer and have experienced discrimination in both careers based on the following: a . Peoples’ perception of a foreigner or an other from an ethnic background b. Perpetual subordination in roles c. Intra-racism and xenophobia in migrant communities To demonstrate these themes, I will be using reflexive case studies to demonstrate my points as well as anchoring these examples in Cultural Studies Theory.

Why is it important to be reflexive? In conducting a Cultural Study research project, it is essential to be reflexive in the way in which we theorise and conceptualise particular phenomenon. It is important to note that in the moments in which issues of discrimination and racism occur, the ‘offended’ individual is not in a vacuum when this is taking place. This can be in both the physical and the representative world. In the diaspora, migrants are often faced with re(presentations) of what they ought to be (Biliuc, A.-M., McGarty, C., Hartley, L. & Muntele Hendres, D. 2011). Chivaura (2021) maintains, “Culture can be understood as shared meanings or symbols that produce meaning.” Hall (1996) argued that shared meanings are spread through language in its operation as a representational system. “The way in which the individual processes and acts on the representation is dependent on their relationship to the image, video, speech, otherwise know as the message in Cultural Studies”. Doise, Spini and Clemence (1999) maintain that despite the fact that many of the messages we consume are carefully designed for them to have a common or preferred reading of an object or subject, this is not always successful. They maintain that individuals can attach varying levels of significance to aspects of what they are presented with. Hence, not all texts will be read or utilised in the same way; the consumer has autonomy over what they choose to accept and ignore. In the process of the individual processing what messages are being sent out to them, they create and negotiate meaning. The individual is motivated by the discourse in which they participate (Leitch & Neilson, 2001, p. 138). The discourse is anchored in several attributes the national, individual and cultural influences to which they refer to in the creation of their identities.

Why cultural studies? In his work on race and racism and its functioning, Stuart Hall was keen on exploring the ‘essentialising of race’ through the particular social, economic and political categorisation of individuals. Hall (1997) believed that race functioned as a

Australian higher education  117

Principal of classification (that) operates to sort out the world into its superiors and inferiors along some line of biological or genetic race and how as the consequence of that; all the conduct of society towards black people is inflicted and shaped by that system of classification. Largely in Australian institutions, discourse and notions of race still seem to be stuck in colonial times. In this chapter, I take a look at Australian higher education’s internal handling of race and discriminatory actions through the perspectives of research participants who occupy both staff and student positions; some of their names have been changed as all of the participants still work in the academic field. The aim is to present current first-hand views in 2021 of the lived experiences of individuals of black African decent and Indigenous Australian current and former students and academics. The subject of racism and xenophobia in many ways seems to be a truly symbiotic relationship in Australia. Racism manifests in all aspects socially, politically and economically (Barker, & Galasinski, 2001; Bennett, 2015.). In the tertiary institutions that are supposed to be built to grow knowledge, theorise and understand phenomenon, there is a definite action to terminate the departments that create this knowledge. It seems that there are tiers to how education is perceived in Australia. The Arts and Humanities are being progressively wiped off the curriculum and not deemed as being important (Bodkin-Andrews et al. 2014, Freeman and Staley, 2017, Nicholls, 2008, Wilson & Wilks, 2015). There is a definite push from the Australian government to limit the number of students enrolling in these subject areas by the recent move to astronomically increase the fees of Arts and Humanities courses by 113% (Eltham, 2020), further shrinking the departments. To add insult to injury, a significant number of institutions are now doing away with Indigenous and Australian Studies courses. These are the last remaining opportunities for students to have some cultural knowledge of the traditional custodians of this land, thus, again, rendering them unnecessary for the Western version of a tertiary institution (Nichols, 2005). In the ideologies that surround the subject of blackness in Australia, aforementioned, it is still deeply rooted in colonial thought. As a black subject, the dominant makers of blackness are used to automatically categorise people. There is no veiling; it is direct and unapologetic: “Which part of Africa are you from?” “Did you come here as a refugee?” “You speak English well.” This type of commentary is belittling and seeks to put particular individuals in their ‘place’. Through the use of the discourse/language we see increasingly in representations, Africans are classified as follows: blackness = African = Refugee = semi/illiterate (Chivaura, 2020). ME: 

as a young black man…umm have you been affected by what you could say general Australians think of young African men? I mean is there something that sticks out that’s occurred good or bad?


Ummm…again it’s …it’s hard to say because yoouu know you don’t really talk about it too much with other people it’s kinda one of those things that you try to brush off but do…you do… feel as though there

118  Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

are instances where a….. a lot more attention is directed towards you and you … you do have to be aware that you are ummm.. that you do stand out in certain situations and that does affect how you portray yourself, how you talk, how you dress, how you interact with other people..ermmm… which can work in your favour and it can’t in some instances ermm.. like for example my most recent place of employment … I.. I…I had this role the same as a number of people but err.. attention was constantly drawn towards me and what I was doing ….for what I believe was because… because I simply stick out and even with umm.. things like running into the law … they have that automatic perception …that you are going to be doing something bad. In his work, Fanon (2008) took a more direct approach. “A white man talking to a person of colour behaves exactly like a grown up with a kid, simpering, murmuring, fussing and coddling” (Fanon, 2008, p.14). This all despite the fact that you have a history completely different to the one the host society has imagined for you. Some of them will think Africa, it’s like a one, small…big nation, where we can mingle and see like you’re from Zimbabwe, I’m from Kenya but we don’t really have a native language we can speak together and …but now there is some still perceive Africa with very high levels of poverty. And they mainly associate…an African person in Australia as a refugee, …, and they when they get all.. so that they just come here. Irrespective of how offensive the question can be some just comes and asks you “so are you here as a refugee?” and maybe this is in a chat and you’re like what difference would it make you if I was a refugee or if I was a skilled migrant or student? How does that change how you relate to me? …because whereas I would not go and ask someone ‘oh …are you on centrelink?’ (A welfare scheme by the Australian Government) because it would be the same question where I’d meet someone and ask them ‘Oh are you on Centrelink?’ then they would feel ‘why are you concerned with how I make my income?’


Representations can be seen as being a constructed reality, Hall maintains, and the media function to present these characteristics as being shared by all members of its group (Chivaura, 2020; Hall, 1997; Hall et al., 1978; Hall et al., 2013; Hall, 1997). These representations become accepted over time and cease to be contested. Certain characteristics are presented in ways in which they do not change across time, and, thus, gradually become shortcuts of understanding particular groups, more commonly known as stereotypes. I have found myself trapped in this paradigm even with a former PhD supervisor. I will give a brief outline of my migratory history. I was born in Zimbabwe; my family migrated to England when I was eight, and that is where I had all my education up until my Master’s degree. My former PhD supervisor was also British like me. Roughly five months into my candidature whilst preparing for my defence, the following conversation took place:

Australian higher education  119

I have been thinking, and I definitely think you need English lessons. SUNNY:  I’m sorry? JOE-ANNE:  Yes, it might improve the way you read and understand he language. ME:  But English is my dominant language you know I grew up in London and did all my education there. Can you point out what you have failed to understand in my writing? JOE-ANNE: 

Ok, maybe you might want to do another honours because with your English you won’t be able to get a PhD


The accusation that my English was bad, with no evidence, is demeaning enough. However, to go the extent that I have had to go to earn an Honours degree after having successfully completed a Master’s degree with a dissertation was the final nail in the coffin. It should be understood that historically the black man wants to speak French, since it is the key to open doors which only fifty years ago remained closed to him. The Antillean who falls within our description goes out of his way to seek the subtleties and rarities of the language – a way of proving to himself that he is culturally adequate. (Fanon, 2008, p. 21) In my experience of working and studying in the area of Australian higher education, I find that there is a definite lack of diversity in the staff and students that proceed onto higher research degrees. It is an area where a lot of discriminatory occurrences take place with no witnesses (Abdelkerim, A. A. & Grace, M. 2012). One is constantly fighting to be respected by one’s peers, other staff and the students. Racism and discourses about race function as an unspoken maintenance of power; thus, it would be contrary for one not to expect this ‘power’ in tertiary educational institutions. Racial makers such as black and African automatically come with loaded assumptions. ME: 

So how do you think this benefits or impacts what the general Australian might think of what it means to be African if they keep seeing these war movies or, or hunger portrayals? Do you think this affects how they understand people to be African?

Yes off course it does, it does, it does because it….people obviously get affected by what they see right? Um… what they see and what they hear affects them even subconsciously, consciously and subconsciously for example most Australians would think that they are even more smarter than an African who is even more educated than they are, right, just because in their head they have facilitate this kind of you know umm… ummm… what is it … they have this … this general conception of how Africa is based on these movies and stories they hear and the charities that goes on,


120  Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

you know starving African kids and you send them a dollar or whatever to feed them and all this. The number of times that I have been asked to prove my English competency by the various institutions I have worked in has been an eye-opener. Despite me holding a British passport and having conducted most of my higher education in England, the fact that I was not white was the reason my English was treated with scepticism. Racial and ethnic features in Australia unfortunately are still treated as a problem, as un-Australian and against the red, white and blue of colonial ideology (Alexander, 2009; Chivaura, 2020; Chivaura et al. 2018). The equating of blackness to being a problem is not something that appears out of thin air but is constructed as part of the national fabric. This is achieved through biased representations, limited and often negative stereotypes. This is created in a way that neatly fits into the dogma or familiar knowledge systems otherwise known as representational systems, of the refugee, the angry black male, the crafting woman and the grateful resettlement (Chivaura, 2020). ….. errr … I…I…I sometimes I’ve be asked several times umm…how I mean … ‘you must … you must be lucky to be here?’ … those kinds of questions or maybe asking about ‘Are you from Sudan?’ just by default I guess, trying to link me probably to the pathway of coming here as a refugee


The system of easy makers, otherwise known as stereotypes, then becomes the connection between society and the black individual. Aforementioned, this laissez-faire approach to understanding populations permeates into all systems of life including higher education. As a defence mechanism, I started overselling myself in conversations to highlight that I wasn’t a stereotypic representation of my outward skin colour. However, I was still not successful in convincing my peers that I was an equal, and there was always an element of suspicion. Some of the remarks that I received were: “You must have shown your pretty face to get a degree”; “Yes, but you’re an exotic woman, you can get your degree very easily”; or “they must have felt sorry for you”. All of this was some sort of pacifier in their minds that I couldn’t possibly have attained my qualifications the same way my other peers had. If he is to overcome to such a degree by a desire to be white, it is because he lives in a society that makes his inferiority complex possible, in a society that draws its strength by maintaining this complex, in a society that proclaims the superiority of one race over another; it is to the extent the society creates difficulties for him that he finds himself positioned in a neurotic position. (Fanon, 2008, p. 80) I have no desire to be white, nor have ever had one; however, as Fanon puts it so well, this creates a challenging mental angst in the ‘black mind’. This is not just confronted by the white race, but there is a tendency to pit ethnicities against each

Australian higher education  121

other, and the black race always comes last. The Australian University system for years has been relying on international student fees to prop them up. The current COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works, as foreign students have been unable to come onshore. Prior to this, high currency was and currently is placed on Chinese students, who were the key market for Australian universities, and in all the four universities that I have worked in in Australia, there was an unsaid rule that one was not allowed to fail them. Sunny, I see you have scored your class mostly with credits (50–60%) and the rest lower. I am going to need you to reassess your marking. ME:  I followed the marking criteria and as it was a referencing assessment, there is only one correct way of referencing. ISABELLA: 

We cannot allow any students to fail we have to maintain our attrition… you definitely cannot fail Chinese students. That’s what pays us. You’ll need to add 20% to all the grading.


Being a lecturer from an ethnic background, I was being asked to pass Chinese students regardless of whether they really knew the subject matter or not. This created a crisis in my conscience; here, I was being asked to jump through hoops to prove that I belonged in tertiary education, yet other ethnic groups were being fast-tracked and lauded for false successes. “We believe the juxtaposition of the black and white races has resulted in a massive psycho-existential complex” (Fanon, 2008, p. xvi; The Stuart Hall Project, 2013). In this instance, we see that there is different weighting or value placed on Black and Asian bodies. In the bid for tertiary institutions to make money, they forego the basic principles that tertiary education is founded on. The examples that I have provided occur in many institutions. Their power is through silence or, rather, inaction, and through veiling student performance in the name of attrition. It has got to the point that medical doctors with qualifications from two of the universities that I have worked in will no longer have their degrees recognised by the Singapore Medical Council: “Doctors from Flinders University, the University of Tasmania and the University of Newcastle will not be accepted by the Singapore Medical Council from January (2020).” This act was deemed necessary, and in order “to ensure that the quality of overseas-trained doctors remains high the list of registrable basic medical qualifications is reviewed from time to time” (Bolton, 2019). The continual turning a blind eye to the systemic and institutional reinforcement of racial and xenophobic subjugation permeates to the tokenistic representation of Black people in media content as evidenced. This was the experience of one lecturer: I do… I do a lot a lot of photo shoots for our uni and local council erm for their stock images, events and things and what I find with them is they always want a black token person in the images (um) there is always that one but when it really comes to delivering services and programs they’re not really considered as…at all.


122  Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

Sometimes discrimination takes place in a loud setting but the reactions to this are radio silent. There was an incident that took place on the university campus in the student bar. A staff member and a PhD student decided to verbally abuse me. Here, racism is dismissed by trivialising it. The impact on the victim is not considered. Sunny you’re my n***er Please stop saying that, I don’t like that word


But its cool, you’re my n***er, (shouting) N***ER, N***ER, N***ER!


Following this incident, I took the matter to the head of the Humanities department, who also happened to be her PhD supervisor. I explained the situation, and his response again left me cold. So your problem is that she called you the n word ME:  Yes, its is completely unacceptable and I told her to stop but it spurred her on more IAN:  I think this is a non-issue I don’t think she meant to use the word maliciously ME:  There is only one understanding of that word to me coming from a white person. I think you would know that. IAN: 


It’s a non-issue to me so I will not be doing anything.

In this example, the fact that I was racially abused by a staff member on university grounds in front of many witnesses did not matter. It was the perception of the head of department that it was “a non-issue” to him, and therefore nothing was done. No consideration was taken into the traumatic impacts of this type of discrimination that is present in Australian culture. As colour is the most obvious outward manifestation of race it has been made a criterion by which men are judged, irrespective of their social or educational attainment. (Fanon, 2011, p. 424) In Cultural Studies, the belief is, “There is nothing solid or permanent to the meaning of race. It changes over time …what racial difference signifies is never static or the same” ( Jhally, 1997). Nevertheless, Fanon maintains that there is a final frontier that is “the visual appearance of the individual”; within Australia, this is largely used to categorise migrant groups. This categorisation does not end with the binary conflicts that come with colonial themes of race of black versus white. Perhaps most concerning is the black-on-black xenophobic discrimination. “The life of the multicultural subject is not simple nor is it straightforward. It can be a challenging and confronting situation at times” (Chivaura, 2021). This is by no means the most tragic thing to happen to migrants but it is no secret that with increasing global tensions we have seen the rise of the nationalistic groups

Australian higher education  123

(Chivaura, 2018). Increased essentialist thinking of this dialogue is often expressed largely by white people (Lawrence, 2004, 2007). However, such attitudes also exist in ethnic minorities, from the xenophobic comments, to abuse and shunning. This is a critical part of migrant community identity relations that requires more academic attention in the Australian context. This will enable researchers to capture the evolving nature of diasporic identities and inter- and intra-group relations. The fierce competition in academia particularly in the arts is rife in Australia, not to mention being a person of colour trying to attain a position in this system. I have presented examples of this in previous sections of this chapter. However, when this discrimination comes from someone from your own racial and ethnic group, it creates an even more confronting situation. Quite often my African peers have said that I am not African enough to be a race scholar, and my place is still heavily contested and challenged in my experience in Australia. My existence has been criticised, such as the way I spoke, which “showed my colonial conditioning”, to more crude examples as to who I was, the African ‘bed wench’. My multicultural being then is confronted by the cultural. In my being British, by extension “I am viewed as a coloniser and by my early departure from Africa not as authentic”. To find these attitudes amongst the same people who are subjugated by the same system oppressing their own is a sad state of affairs. Du Bois (2014) theorises my particular phenomenon as a “Psychological challenge of reconciling the African heritage with a European upbringing and education”.

Conclusion In this chapter, I have presented through cultural theory participant interviews and personal reflections as to how race functions in Australian higher education. There are many challenges that face the black academic in the tertiary system. These function as unsaid policies that are hidden away. Colonial categorisations are still in operation in Australian tertiary institutions through the perpetual subordination and unwarranted questioning in professional roles. Perhaps most abhorrent is the intra-racism and xenophobia in migrant communities. This case study presents a vicious cycle of destruction of the very ethos that the Humanities stands for, let alone tertiary institutions. Migration is a very troubling experience in terms of the sense of uprootedness, the sense of displacement, that the majority of people who migrate must contend with (Hall, 1998 in Drew p. 176). In trying to pinpoint what qualities one ought to have in order to categorise migrants, we see that the ways in which they display certain identities might be complicated by various issues. Identity production, and how we regulate it, is in continual development and is ‘fluid’ (Baudrillard, 1988; Bauman & Vecchi, 2004; Hall, 1992, 1996; Mead, 1967, 2003). Identity is not something that is not only organic to the individual but also a constant process of social experience. Identity production can be viewed as a reflexive process, whereby external as well as internal influences interact with conscious and non-conscious constant processes of identity formation.

124  Runyararo Sihle Chivaura

Part of the formation of these identities is the issue of immigration status in a new country. Within migrant communities, this qualifies you as either belonging or still ‘a foreigner’. In their work, Herbert et al. (2008) note that immigration status creates important lines of differentiation within ethnic groups and new forms of exclusion and polarisation between (themselves). Having permanent residency within the diaspora does not automatically induce cultural alienation; however, what sort of identity we choose to portray to others in the way we carry ourselves, speak or dress in the public arena creates the use of signs as coded sets of representation and techniques of subjection (Hall, 1997). These can help signify one’s place in society and show the type of person one wants to be seen as. In his differentialist approach in exploring how identity formation takes place, Stuart Hall argued that identity is always incomplete: Identity is formed in the ‘interaction’ between self and society. The subject still has an inner core or essence that is ‘the real me’, but this is formed and modified in a continuous dialogue with the cultural worlds ‘outside’ and the identities which they offer. (Hall, 1992, p. 276) As such, this is how it presents itself in the immigrant in the diaspora: one can never truly be as ‘Congolese, Tanzanian or Zimbabwean’ in Australia as they were in their homelands but rather at best manage to balance some of the new culture with their old in order to navigate through life.

Bibliography Abdelkerim, AA, & Grace, M, 2012, ‘Challenges to employment in newly emerging African communities in Australia’, A review of the literature. Australian Social Work, Vol. 65, 104–119. Ainslie, RC, 2009, Social class and its reproduction in immigrants’ construction of self. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, Vol. 14, 213–224. Alexander, C, 2009, Stuart Hall and ‘Race’. Cultural Studies, Vol. 23, 457–482. Barker, C, & Galasinski, D 2001, Cultural Studies : Cultural Studies and Discourse Analysis : A Dialogue on Language and Identity, SAGE Publications Ltd, London. Bennett, T, 2015, Cultural studies and the culture concept. Cultural Studies, Vol. 29, 546–568. Biliuc, A-M, McGarty, C, Hartley, L & Muntele Hendres, D, 2011, Manipulating national identity: the strategic use of rhetoric by supporters and opponents of the ‘Cronulla riots’ in Australia. Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 35, 2174–2194. Bodkin-Andrews, G & Carlson, B 2014, The legacy of racism and Indigenous Australian identity within education. Race Ethnicity and Education, Vol. 19, Issue 4, 784–807. Bolton, E 2020, Singapore says ‘no thanks’ to three Australian universities. Australian Financial Review, 29 April 2019. Viewed 20 September 2019. policy/health-and-education/singapore-says-no-thanks-to-three-australian-universities20190428-p51hwd#:~:text=Doctors%20from%20Flinders%20University%2C%20 the,Council%20from%20January%20next%20year.&text=%22The%20number%20 of%20foreign%2Daccredited,at%20it%20again%20before%20long

Australian higher education  125

Chivaura, R 2018, “Pens and Tower Blocks” In Chivaura, R., Redhead, S., & Brabazon, T. (eds) Trump Studies: An Intellectual Guide to Why Citizens Vote Against Their Interests. Emarald, Bingham pp. 105–120. Chivaura, R 2020, Blackness as a Defining Identity: Mediated Representations and the Lived Experiences of African Immigrants in Australia. Springer, Singapore. Chivaura, R 2021, “The Other Side of the Game: The Token Blackie” In Meijer, M., & Atabong, A. (eds) Contemporary Discourses in Social Exclusion. Palgrave Macmillan, London. (forthcoming). Doise, W, Spini, D, & Clemence, A 1999, Human rights studied as social representations in a cross-national context. European Journal of Psychology, Vol. 29, Issue 1, 1–29. Du Bois, W.E.B. 2013, The Souls of Black Folk, Createspace Independent Pub, California. Eltham, B 2020, Doubling university fees for the arts will leave Australia less equipped for our complex world. The Guardian, 19 June 2021. Viewed 20 June 2020. https://www. Fanon, F 2008, Black Skin, White Masks, London Grove Press Inc, London. Freeman, L, & Staley, B (2017) The positioning of aboriginal students and their languages within Australia’s education system: A human rights perspective. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Vol. 20, Issue 1, 174–181. Hall, S 1996, “Introduction: Who Needs Identity” In Hall, S. & Du Gay, P. (eds) Questions of Cultural Identity, Sage Publications, London, pp. 1–17. Hall, S 1997, Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Sage, London. Hall, S 2013, “Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies” In Grossberg, L., Nelson, C. & Treichler, P. (eds) Cultural Studies, Routledge, Abingdon. Hall, S, Cristcher, C, Jefferson, T, Clarke, J & Roberts, B 1978, Policing the Crisis: Mugging, The State and Law and Order. The Macmillan Press Ltd, London, pp. 277–294. Hasford, J 2016, Dominant cultural narratives, racism, and resistance in the workplace: A study of the experiences of young black Canadians. American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 57, 158–170. Lawrence, E 2004, “Just Plain Common Sense: The ‘Roots’ of Racism” In STUDIES, C. F. C. C. (ed) Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism In 70’s Britain. 2nd ed. Routledge, Cambridge pp. 40–88. Lawrence, E 2007, “Common sense, racism and the sociology of race relations” In: Gray, A., Campbell, J., Erickson, M., Hanson, S. & Wood, H. (eds) CCCS Selected Working Papers. Routledge, Abingdon. Leitch, S & Neilson, D (2004), Handbook of Public Relations. Sage, London. Nicholls, C 2008, Death by a thousand cuts: Indigenous language bilingual education programmes in the northern territory of Australia, 1972–1998. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Vol. 8, Issue 2–3, 160–177. Race: The Floating Signifier, [DVD], Media Education Foundation. Saukko, P (2003). Doing Research in Cultural Studies: An Introduction to Classical and New Methodological Approaches (Vol. 137). London, Sage. Solomos, J (2014). An appreciation, Stuart hall: Articulations of race, class and identity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 37, Issue 10, 1667–1675. The Stuart Hall Project 2013, [DVD], British Film Institute. Wilson, K & Wilks, J 2015, Australian Indigenous higher education: Politics, policy and representation. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Vol. 37, Issue 6, 659–672.

9 FROM THE IDEAL TO NON-IDEAL Towards decolonized higher education in Africa Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

Introduction The discussion in this chapter takes off from a perspective critical of ‘hybridization’ approaches to decolonization that generally caution against centring and emphasizing African elements in the name of averting essentialism. The argument is that meaningful and practical decolonization of African higher education should necessarily involve the centring of commonly shared, but presently marginalized elements of African-ness, such as vernacular languages, that have normative and utilitarian value that ought to be actively affirmed. It is further argued that successful and meaningful centring of African epistemologies and pedagogy cannot be achieved by the African university alone. Insofar as the neoliberal ideology (an offshoot of coloniality) shapes the global economic structure that itself dictates the form of higher education, African universities cannot independently, without collaboration deliberately enabled by their respective states working together, achieve the decolonization. Rather, regional universities should collaborate and make up for the deficiencies that make coloniality thrive in modern higher education through regional cooperation. Ultimately, decolonization of higher education is as much an epistemological as it is a regional politics matter. The starting point for such an endeavour should be the dismissal of decolonization perspectives that hold that the substance of decolonization is indeterminate. For such positions, decolonization should rather be about developing hybrid perspectives that are inclusive of African elements. Apparently, this is built on the premise that advancing some element as representative of Africa is promotion of essentialism which is ostensibly as morally undesirable as coloniality itself. The argument advanced in this chapter is that it is possible to demand centring of certain African elements in African higher education without being essentialist. Reducing decolonization to hybridity only succeeds

DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-9

From the ideal to non-ideal  127

in covering, de-problematizing, and retaining the prevailing systemic marginalization of African epistemologies. The discussion begins with a critique of a common strand of decolonization that (in an ostensible attempt to steer clear of essentialism) reduces decolonization to a hybridization of diverse interests and values, without necessarily centring African interests and values. The point is that such positions in both principle and practice preserve prevailing epistemic inequalities. In the next section, contention is made that the ‘rest’ of the world with which African epistemologies must hybridize is in principle inhered and driven by the neoliberal ideology, which is an offshoot of coloniality and serves to perpetuate coloniality. Employing Giroux’s (2010) notion of bare pedagogy and Freire’s (2014) concept of a pedagogy forged with the people, the next section shows how the bare pedagogy influenced by a Eurocentric ontology of human nature is the flipside of coloniality and how a pedagogy forged with the people should necessarily centre the local interests of the people. The penultimate section argues that regional cooperation is a guaranteed enabler of decolonization of higher education.

Limits of the HE decolonization discourse Much of the decolonization discourse has focused on uncovering the subtlety of forms and impact of coloniality in African higher Education and the necessity for decolonized education in Africa (Maldonado-Torres, 2007; Melber, 2018; Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2015, 2017; Wa Thiong’o, 1987). The underlying motivation is that it is impossible to achieve higher education that is consistent with and responsive to the African situatedness, without initially decolonizing African higher education. There are positions about decolonization that caution against an essentialist conception of what constitutes African values and interests and therefore call for a fluidity and hybridity between the global and the local (Mbembe, 2007). While cognizant that it is impossible to have exclusively Afrocentric epistemologies that are not hybridized with other perspectives, it is still fundamental that if the concern of decolonization is marginalization of African perspectives, whatever conceptualization of decolonization must partly and necessarily include the centring of African perspectives, contestable as they usually are, giving them more recognition and presence than before. In this vein, this chapter contends that approaches to decolonization as consisting in hybridity of epistemological perspectives are reductionist, ultimately counter-serving the decolonization project. Tavernaro-Haidarian (2018), for instance, holds that “decolonisation, especially in education, then, can be understood as building something new rather than fighting the old” (Tavernaro-Haidarian, 2018, p. 112). Tavernaro-Haidarian (2018) urges that other than engage in what he terms “adversarial approaches” to decolonization, which allegedly are in principle binary approaches to the geographical origin of knowledge and are rooted in the very colonial ideology, decolonization should engage in constructive resilience wherein the response to oppression is not

128  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

only one which rejects the idea of “responding to violence with violence” but also, more importantly, is an approach of “constructive cohesion and harmony rather than passive non-violence or peaceful protest” (Tavernaro-Haidarian, 2018, p. 113). However, this approach to oppression serves to maintain and reproduce inequities set by the oppressive elements while demanding of the oppressed to live on the bare minimum threshold of survival while those whose privileges are connected to coloniality flourish, living by a different set of normative standards. A decolonization that prioritizes hybridity in the name of avoiding traps of ostensible essentialism of what is African will likely fail to address the injustices caused by coloniality. Unless making education intercultural and hybridized is foremost and primarily committed to ensuring that the education acknowledges the need to redress the realities of deficits in equity and social justice and is therefore committed to “the disruption of domination” (Gorski, 2008, p. 519), such a decolonization project becomes hollow and inconsequential rhetoric. It becomes a democratic, global or hybridized education that paradoxically ignores “systemic oppression”, complies with oppression and is not in the interest of the oppressed (Gorski, 2008, p. 519). Meaningful decolonization should not be restricted to primarily aiding efficient participation in the modern, Eurocentric global world. Rather, decolonization should primarily be driven by what is normatively imperative given the prevailing neocolonial context of systematic inequity, subtle denigration, and systemic marginalization of African otherness. It is in this vein therefore that the necessity of getting back to African interests, languages, literature, art, and epistemologies to reassert them is normatively imperative. In a sense it is the very cardinal condition for meaningful hybridity. As Zwane (2019, p. 34) observes, decolonization should not be about merely “being agreeable to dialogue while failing to acknowledge the disproportionate power relations inherent in such a process”. The prevailing context of coloniality is such that any hybridization projects that do not initially question and consider the disadvantaged-ness of the African situationality in principle serve coloniality. One of the major challenges of hybridity and the so-called non-essentialist approaches to decolonization is, as Gorski (2008, p. 520) holds, that the practice of intercultural education, when not committed first and foremost to equity and social justice – to the acknowledgement of these realities and the disruption of domination – might, in the best case, result in heightened cross-group awareness at an individual level. But in many cases, such practice is domination. And in any case, ignoring systemic oppression means complying with it. And to whose benefit? Who or what are we protecting? Put differently, hybridity approaches to decolonization leave untouched the systemic structures of iniquities, maintaining imbalances in power distribution that lead to perpetuation of inequities. Looked at through such prisms, it becomes ­evident that decolonization cannot be achieved without initially or simultaneously

From the ideal to non-ideal  129

deconstructing for reconstruction purposes the economic and sociopolitical framework that ostensibly necessitates, retains, and perpetuates epistemological exclusion of localness in educational curriculums. The prevailing global political and socio-economic framework which contextualizes education in Africa, like the rest of the world, is among others driven by radical individualism, unbridled capitalism, and objective knowledges while trivializing other epistemologies (Gorski, 2008, p. 523).

The subtlety of globality: ravages of neoliberalism This section shows that the problem of coloniality that underlies epistemologies in higher education institutions in Africa is more than an epistemological ideology problem pertaining to academic domains only; but rather it is a problem of the global economic structure whose resolution primarily requires a political approach. This chapter considers the globalist nature and context of modern higher education as a major inherent obstacle to decolonization endeavours. This is because, as this section shows, globalism inheres the wider social, economic, and political frameworks anchoring African higher education and that globalism has dominant features of coloniality. While immense global interconnectedness is an inescapable reality of modern life and education, globalization influences on education are ironically also rendering the education reproduce injustices such as epistemic injustice. As Woldegiorgis (2020, p. 4) holds, the higher education decolonization debate should not be tied to the experience of colonisation; it should rather be discussed as a comprehensive call against the epistemic hegemony of the Global North, which has violently delegitimised and repressed other knowledge systems with or without colonial experience. It is a debate towards a liberating perspective against Eurocentrism that asymmetrically obliterates the trace of that ‘other’ in its subjectivity through undermining enlightenments in the Global South. (Woldegiorgis, 2020, p. 4) Ethiopia, for example, was never colonized and had an own education and political organization. However, there was need for diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries that were colonized. This necessitated the introduction of ‘conventional’ education (Woldegiorgis, 2020, p. 7). Initially, the education focused only on the colonial languages of English, and French, but later spread to other educational disciplines, ultimately suppressing local knowledges and epistemologies in the pursuit of modernity (Woldegiorgis, 2020, p. 7). Though globalization is celebrated as “the pathway toward economic growth and stability, even in the poorest countries in the world”, globalization is increasingly proving to be responsible for a new form of ‘imperialism’ characterized by the promotion of mass economic exclusion and exploitation (Gorski, 2008, p. 517). It is therefore apparent that achievement of

130  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

meaningful epistemic decolonization ought not be detached from the demand for the deconstruction of globalist forces that shape economic and educational institutions today. As contended in the previous sections, the ‘hybridization’ approach to decolonization in its apparent fidelity to avoiding essentialism ignores in the process some representative forms of African-ness such as vernacular languages. Hybridization approaches in a sense leave untouched the hegemonic yet subtle oppression of coloniality just because of how deeply embedded coloniality is in modern economic life. African higher education has not been spared from the adverse impact of the neoliberal structure anchoring globalization. Neoliberalism is an ideology, mode of governance, and a policy package grounded on the belief in the self-­regulating power of free markets (Steger & Roy, 2010, p. xi). A self-regulating market is apparently the engine that will power the central virtues of liberalism: individual rational choice and wealth pursuit (Steger & Roy, 2010, p. 2). The neoliberal ideology is inspired by the Enlightenment ontological conception of the human being as autonomous and isolated from others and that human action is almost always governed by material self-interests (Steger & Roy, 2010, pp. 2–3). Therefore, a state that embraces the free rational choosers of ontological conception of human nature apparently ought to be prohibited from ‘interfering’ with the economic activities of citizens who are deemed to be self-interested (Steger & Roy, 2010, pp. 2–3). The fundamental assumption of such a conception of human nature and human freedom is that social interest and all values pertaining to collective life have no intrinsic normative value. At least they ostensibly have extrinsic and secondary moral value and at worst are regarded as obstructive and inimical to individual freedom. Neoliberal governmentality is grounded in entrepreneurial values such as competitiveness, self-interest, and decentralization (Steger & Roy, 2010, pp. 11–12). The governmentality does not operate: along more traditional lines of pursuing the public good (rather than profits) by enhancing civil society and social justice,[rather] neoliberals call for the employment of governmental [frameworks] that are taken from the world of business and commerce, cost–benefit analyses and other efficiency calculations; the shrinking of political governance (so-called ‘best-practice governance’); the setting of quantitative targets; the close monitoring of outcomes; the creation of highly individualized, performance-based work plans; and the introduction of ‘rational choice’ models that internalize and thus normalize market-oriented behaviour. [Furthermore,] neoliberal governance models encourage the transformation of bureaucratic mentalities into entrepreneurial identities where government workers see themselves no longer as public servants and guardians of a qualitatively defined ‘public good’ but as self-interested actors responsible to the market and contributing to the monetary success of slimmed-down state ‘enterprises’. (Steger & Roy, 2010, pp. 11–12)

From the ideal to non-ideal  131

The neoliberal drive of commoditization adversely affects higher education today (Muhr & Verger, 2009, p. 72). The market rather than public interest primarily drives reforms that promote entrepreneurial education (Delgado-Ramos & Gian Carlo Saxe-Fernández, 2009). The implication of such a governance approach is that only the market sought-after study programmes and research are regarded as worth investing into. Given such a context, aspects of indigeneity in epistemologies, research, and vernacular instruction, which generally have high normative value and apparently lesser potential for economic returns, are regarded as not worthy of investing into due to their apparent lack of relevance. Market-inspired reforms have resulted in the nullification of legitimate and necessary aspiration of making higher education free for some developed countries such as Venezuela (Muhr & Verger, 2009, p. 78). As Gomes et al. (2012) aver: the ‘global reality’ is resultant of social, political, economic and cultural actions and processes taking place at a scalar dimension which impact unevenly on multi-sector social tiers, and transform in fundamental ways the states, the scope of public policy, public and private realms. (p. 224) Globalization creates generally similar patterns of challenges for states, demanding similar responses which ultimately affect public services such as education. The university and all higher education today have been globalized in terms of both knowledge production and the mandate of higher education. From a critical perspective, it is normatively imperative to interrogate such a pervasiveness of how globalization has problematized higher education: Who drives the globalization, and what interests motivate the drive? Under what scheme of relations and for whose benefit does the globalization unfold (Gomes et al., 2012, p. 225)? Globalization is essentially neoliberal in nature and in principle compels the world to fit into its grand scheme, ultimately conforming to its ideology public services, public policies, and knowledge production (Gomes et al., 2012, p.  225). Globalization thus advances coloniality. The next section shows how the core demands of modern education are inspired by neoliberalism and inherently reproduce coloniality in higher education in Africa. Later, employing Paulo Freire’s (2005, p. 48) deconstruction for reconstruction notion of “pedagogy forged for the people” versus “pedagogy forged with the people”, the section lays the foundation for conditions for practically decolonizing education in the African context.

Giroux’s bare pedagogy and Freire’s pedagogy with the people Bare pedagogy, according to Giroux (2010), refers to an approach to teaching, learning, and research that is influenced by “political and social practice that places an emphasis on winning at all costs, a ruthless competitiveness, hedonism, the cult of

132  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

individualism, and a subject largely constructed within a market-driven rationality that abstracts economics and markets from ethical considerations” (Giroux, 2010, p. 185). The hegemonic globalist ideology of neoliberalism has largely hijacked modern higher education, in principle forcing it to abandon some of the core mandates such as the public role of education (Manthalu & Waghid, 2019). Neoliberal hegemony has generally reduced the modern university to an agent of the economic market, culminating into the university programmes, research, and management being inspired by market values. In its quest to satiate corporate interests, bare education substitutes training with education, in the process stripping “education of its public values, critical contents, and civic responsibilities” and ultimately emphasizing, supporting, and placing premium on those subjects that will primarily advance “the logic of privatization, efficiency, flexibility, the accumulation of capital, and the destruction of the social state” (Giroux, 2010, p. 186). Higher education spaces are in principle and effect reduced to “job-training sites” rather than the democratic public spheres they ought to be (Giroux, 2010, p. 186). The effect of the dominance of the market ideology on higher education is that higher education has lost its major character as an essentially political and civic institution that should primarily aim at addressing social problems (Giroux, 2010). In its unwavering commitment to serving corporate values and power, the university has ended up devaluing social problems and rendering them invisible from its domains (Giroux, 2010, p. 186). Giroux (2010, p. 186) avers that under the influence of neoliberal effect the modern university has lost its “public character and commitment to public life” as it serves corporate interests. Among its cardinal goals, higher education is expected to promote social justice (Waghid, 2008). While the substance of social justice in part pertains to what all humanity aspires for undifferentiated by social, political, economic, and historical situatedness (Rawls, 2002), the concrete objects and forms of social justice are significantly tied to the particularistic existential situation in which actual humans live in. Therefore, higher education should uncover for dismantling, the subtle structure of domination and dehumanization in order to restore and uphold the dignity of individuals as well as human communities. In this sense, particular cultures, history, literature, arts, languages, political organization etc. are objects of public life and social justice which higher education should centre. For Paulo Freire, the dehumanization exacted by entrenched and pervasive social, economic, and global systems is neither natural, hence not inevitable, nor an inalterable fate of destiny (Freire, 2014, p. 44). Rather, despite its scale and extent, social and global domination are human-made and therefore correctable. Thus, the immensity of the oppression by the prevailing global order that devalues and relegates African knowledge and knowledge construction tools to the periphery of modern relevance is responsible for ‘forcing’ African states to resign to the fate of epistemic hegemony that characteristically undermines Afrocentric epistemologies. With this devaluation, it would hardly be in the interest of the neoliberal global

From the ideal to non-ideal  133

structure to affirm the normativity of Afrocentric knowledges and knowledge construction. Other than resign to the absoluteness and apparent inevitability of the global structure, African countries must be cognizant, as Freire (2014) avers that: the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed is to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. (Freire, 2014, p. 44) It is thus not in the primary interest of the global economic structure to self-correct. The ostensible naturalness and inevitability of globality is so hegemonic in African education that routine African life almost de-problematizes the oppression and marginalization of localness given how the reality of marginalization of African-ness has for so long submerged African existence. African societies, public institutions and individuals have constantly faced “the choice between … following prescriptions or having choices; between being spectators or actors; between acting or having the illusion of acting through the action of the oppressors; between speaking out or being silent” (Freire, 2014, p. 48). To break this tragic dilemma, Freire (2014) argues for a liberating pedagogy, which must be forged with, not for, the oppressed (whether individuals or peoples) in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity. This pedagogy makes oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed, and from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for their liberation. And in the struggle this pedagogy will be made and remade. (Freire, 2014, p. 48, emphasis in original) The bare pedagogy of the neoliberal global structure that also grips African higher education is largely involuntarily embraced. In the strictest sense, the neoliberal ideology imposes itself on the developing countries. The ideology undermines local epistemologies, literature, art, local and/or indigenous research objects and local languages, among others. There is systematic institutional compulsion initiated by globality on languages and higher educational epistemological frameworks to embrace the so-called globally relevant ones. The hegemonic ostensibly globally relevant education borne out of surreptitious universal human aspirations and needs is in principle developed for the people in the African context, despite the pedagogy lacking connectedness to African lived experiences. Local needs, the social justice structure of the society, art, literature, and historical local sources of being concrete rather than abstract humans (Benhabib, 1992) are therefore excluded and marginalized as though they have no normative worth. Since the education is forged for the people and humanity, it is the people that need to conform and adapt. As insinuated by Freire earlier, a pedagogy that is liberating and humanizing is one that recognizes the objects and causes of oppression and initiates changes. To

134  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

achieve this end, such a pedagogy must be forged with the people who are experiencing oppression and marginalization. The pedagogy must centre the normative interests of the oppressed people. In the context of African high education and Afrocentric epistemic marginalization, such a liberating pedagogy ought to, among others, ensure that African social challenges are being centred. Access to higher education should not be primarily dependent on market fees unaffordable to many. The research agenda of African universities should be governed by interests relevant to the African situationality. The key underpinning assumptions of an education ‘with’ the people is that it actively considers and centres the particular needs, interest, and aspirations of human beings as concrete human beings not as human beings conceived in generalist non-individuating terms (Benhabib, 1992). This entails shared, yet contestable meaning-making frameworks, languages, art, history, literature, and all shared heritage. These are the mediums through which ‘the people’ both relate and self-define. While there are sometimes debates in the decolonization discourses about what constitutes African, it is apparent that to any given community, language, besides being a means of communication, is an embodiment of different values. It should be reasonable therefore to both expect and demand the centring of African languages, both as study and research objects and as a pedagogical tool. Achievement of this endeavour, let alone embarking on it, practically depends on the state embarking on policy reforms inspired by the same spirit of meaningful decolonization. In most cases, reforms in higher education policy are expected to resonate with needs and aspirations of the so-called market. African literature, philosophy and art should be centred and vernacular mediums of instruction and research embraced. A foreign language is an inept vehicle for transmitting the profundity of an African person’s lived experiences….[A]n exclusive reliance on English nullifies the totality of an African person’s perspective on life, and it is a mediocre substitute for his or her native tongue. (Zwane, 2019, p. 30) The profound adverse impact of such language policies is strongly felt in literature and the arts. African culture and literature are declining as they are hardly central objects of academic inquiry in African higher education institutions (Manthalu & Ngwira, 2020). At present, African universities are more committed to be “consummate reproductions” of the dominant Euro-Atlantic universities whilst giving no attention to developing an own African identity (Zwane, 2019, p. 31). It is ironic that African literature in vernacular languages is researched into through European linguistic tools, published in foreign languages, despite certain linguistic and cultural idiosyncrasies that cannot be relayed in a foreign language (Shitemi, 2012). The arts, humanities, and social sciences continue to be taught in European languages. Achievement of a decolonized higher education in Africa must initially and necessarily overcome the hegemony of neoliberalism, whose tentacles have gripped almost every facet of higher education. However, confronting the neoliberal hegemony

From the ideal to non-ideal  135

of globality that preserves and perpetuates coloniality is a task that higher education institutions alone cannot accomplish meaningfully. It is not a task an African country can undertake singlehandedly. It would be reasonable to accept that undertaking the decolonization task requires collaboration between developed nations, whom the prevailing unequal global structure privileges, and the developing nations, who largely bear the marginalization blunt of the order. However, as Freire (2014) avers, it is incumbent upon the oppressed to demand (other than wait for) humanization by eliminating oppression from dehumanizing structures such as the global order, given that it is not in the interest of oppressive systems and institutions to self-correct. Most of the forces that compel the African university to embrace the neoliberal coloniality are outside the control of the university. The African university is caught up in a web of global coloniality that exerts itself on the state, the major funder of higher education in Africa. The state in compliance with the neoliberal structure demands reforms that largely sustain coloniality and frustrate the potential for achieving decolonization such as through structural adjustment policies that demand market-relevant higher education as well as restrict equal access to higher education (Davidson-Harden & Schugurensky, 2009; Thompson, 2000). Without a simultaneous and requisite transformation of local and regional political cooperation, the decolonization reform attempts that the African universities undertake risk being reduced to mere tokenism. With the African higher education funding models, most African universities cannot meaningfully chart their own course. In order to serve the interests of its people, the African university cannot singlehandedly disentangle itself from the domination of global neoliberal coloniality framework and its economic norms.

Meaningful decolonization Achieving decolonization is complex and demanding given the deep entrenchment of coloniality partly because scholars from colonized knowledge communities are in a minority and their knowledges face different forms of systemic marginalization. Changing the current prevailing global framework of scholarship which marginalizes African scholarship cannot be achieved by using this very exclusionary framework. For instance: academic databases, university libraries and the publishing industry continue to prioritise Northern scholarship at the expense of Southern materials, meaning that there continues to be a structural exclusion of scholarship from the Global South. This highlights that there are limitations to what individual academics can do to achieve intellectual decolonisation as key decisions about which knowledge is accessible are made at an institutional level which prompts a question about whether an institutional decolonisation of universities, libraries and publishers is what is really required. (Moosavi, 2020, p. 342)

136  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

Citing the case of South Africa, Zawada (2020) holds that the regulatory frameworks including those pertaining to subject matter classification in the introduction and public accreditation of higher education study programmes are steeped in Eurocentric conceptual frameworks with universal categories of Western thought that globally define and determine knowledge classification and which can hardly accommodate ‘other’ perspectives. Practically going against its civic responsibility, African higher education is increasingly being characterized by the commodification of both education and humanity itself, with education being restructured under pressure on governments from powerful international capitalist institutions that make the education subservient to capitalist interests and demands (Hill, 2004, p. 506). Decolonization of higher education in Africa faces the challenge of the requirement to conform to “the logic of incorporating within a competitive global economy” on the one hand and “centring hitherto epistemic marginalization of local normative concerns” (Majee & Ress, 2020, p. 470). Achievement of meaningful decolonization therefore transcends enacting curriculum reforms because “modern public universities have been far from immune to incursions of global capitalism, market values, and neo-liberal forms of management” (Morreira et al., 2020, p. 12). While the university is an institution of inquiry and knowledge construction having epistemic orientations in need of being made just and democratic through decolonization, it is worth recognizing, as do Mzileni & Mkhize (2019, p. 104), that the university “is also a ‘spatial entity’ located in social geographies of inequality that were produced through [contexts of social iniquities such as] racialised spatial relations of colonisation and apartheid”. Given the entrenched-ness of neoliberalism in modern life, the implied tendency in much of public African higher education policy is one of resignation to the market values of the ideology: maximum growth, productivity, and competitiveness are self-evident, natural and inevitable (Bourdieu, 1998; Mzileni & Mkhize, 2019). In the unregulated conformism to the coloniality ideology guised in global relevance, the African university finds itself, to Africa’s detriment, embracing and exclusively advancing education in which the economic aspect of being human is both radically prioritized and separated from the social aspect of human existence: according pre-eminence to the economic over and above the social (Bourdieu, 1998, p. 31). The net effect of the hegemony of the profit and capitalist ideology is the diminishing of criticality as fundamental critique of the structures of the modern local and global societies and a search and promulgation of alternative just social worlds (Hill, 2004, p. 515).

Regional solidarity: Epistemic decolonization as a political project The argument being advanced in this chapter is that given the pervasiveness of neoliberal globality African higher education cannot deeply and meaningfully decolonize unless there is simultaneous local and regional political coordination to surmount the inherent hegemony posed by the global-economic framework anchoring the African university. A coordinated regional political will has more

From the ideal to non-ideal  137

potential for breaking the global political sphere of coloniality. All well-intentioned higher education decolonization reforms made whilst leaving untouched the ­profit-oriented global framework, an enabler of the epistemic inequity, will yield no meaningful change (Gorski, 2008, p. 517). Put differently, meaningful epistemic decolonization must necessarily be accompanied by complementary political initiatives. While decolonization must entail actions that are sensitive to intercultural-ness, it must more crucially disrupt the existing hegemonic sociopolitical order (Zwane, 2019, p. 33). This problematizes approaches to decolonization that dread the centring of certain marginalized elements of African epistemology in the name of averting essentialism about Africa. Neutralist perspectives of decolonization that reduce the task of decolonization to interculturalism and global hybridity become questionable as they are driven by anxieties regarding the financial cost of capacitating marginalized African languages, for instance, to become languages of research and instruction in African higher education institutions. While cultural hybridity is inevitable and while conceding that decolonization is not tantamount to having a puritan African epistemology and hence hybridity is both inevitable but necessary, this chapter contends that there nevertheless are certain fundamental aspects of African lived experiences such as language that have been systematically marginalized. Most of the tentacles of coloniality that spread across other spheres of African life emanate from the marginalization of such key aspects of African lived experiences. It is in this vein that reducing decolonization to interculturalism in principle counter-serves the decoloniality project. It is apparent by now that despite its hegemony, the neoliberal ideology that inheres coloniality is not without an alternative. Making attempts for its substitution, as a first step to the removal of systematic barriers to achieving decolonization, is therefore necessary. It is worth bearing in mind that knowledge production, knowledge recognition, and knowledge validation do not occur in a vacuum. Rather, there is always an infrastructural means that carries the epistemological processes in higher education systems. Infrastructures of knowledge include the medium of instruction, library facilities, research laboratories, publications, campus spaces, intellectuals and professors, ICT infrastructure, etc. Thus, it is imperative to ensure that the values and intellectual heritage of indigenous knowledge systems are reflected in the infrastructures of knowledge. (Woldegiorgis, 2020, pp. 10–11) Higher education decolonization in Africa therefore ought to go beyond the blaming and condemnation of Eurocentric epistemologies. Instead, it should explore fundamental concrete steps that must be taken to achieve decolonization. Different global justice thinkers have for a long time advanced arguments based on a lack of normativity of nation state borders and the weakening of the nation-state due to globalization forces (Arneson, 2016; Caney, 2005; Costa, 2016;

138  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

Habermas, 1994, 2001, 2003; Nili, 2015; Nussbaum, 2002). Ironically, however, the evident dangers of unbridled globalization, propelled by the ideology of profit maximization today, are leaving the state as the most capable institution to safeguard the particular interests of situated peoples of the world from the ravages of neoliberalism. The argument I advance is that at least with respect to challenges occasioned by globalization, in developing countries the nation-state is an indispensable tool for responding to the particular marginalization that the uniquely situated people in developing countries suffer from globalization. The existential context of most African countries places the state as the most guaranteed entity capable of relating with and proffering concretely relevant corrective actions. Globalization as it is today is largely incapable of meaningfully valuing and defending the particular normative interests of the diversely situated peoples of the world (Kymlicka, 2002; Papastephanou, 2013, 2015; Thompson, 2000). The power imbalances characterizing modern globalization, as shown earlier, particularly render it almost impossible for the developing countries who wield little economic and political power to redirect the flow of forces of globalization so that the global structure is ultimately compatible with and promotes decolonization. It is in this vein that regional cooperation among African nations that suffer the blunt of coloniality is imperative in order to gradually re-create the global structure (Olu-Adeyemi & Ayodele, 2007, p. 214). As Thompson (2000, p. 47) asserts, though the cherished markets of the neoliberal ideology can mostly be efficient, they however cannot decipher, plan and prioritize what is of normative interest to the differently situated people of the world, as can effectively do a state either by itself or through regional cooperation. African governments need to cooperate in order to deconstruct the prevalent coloniality inhering global structure and in its place reconstruct common institutions that are capable of standing up to these forces of the market (Bourdieu, 1998, p. 41), thus preserving and providing nurturance to a social state that normatively values Afrocentric epistemologies and pedagogy which are currently under threat from globality. The argument being advanced in this chapter is that African regional cooperation is a necessary condition for the decolonization of African higher education. This is due to the fact that African higher education institutions face similar neoliberal barriers from achieving decolonization as a matter of social justice (Manthalu & Waghid, 2019). They should come together to protect their normative interests that at present are regarded as inconsequential and dispensable by the neoliberal framework that anchors epistemologies and pedagogies in African high education, just as African countries cooperated when fighting the common enemy of political colonialism (Olu-Adeyemi & Ayodele, 2007; Thompson, 2000). African research is expected to be couched in Eurocentric paradigms and languages. African scholars, for instance, are compelled to publish their research in Eurocentric academic journals. Such journals and book publishers have a Eurocentric orientation that compels the Afrocentric research to conform to the publisher’s frameworks, for instance. Such journals are highly rated for their apparent high-impact factors (Gomes et al., 2012, p. 225). However, if regional states would come together

From the ideal to non-ideal  139

and establish equivalent high-quality scholarship journals for scholars in Southern Africa for example, it would develop African research and scholarship without the expense of conformity. This way, the African condition would be centred and comprehensively researched into. One can arguably hold that in the strictest sense the notion of neutral knowledge construction and dissemination is a false construct. This is because concrete rather than abstract human beings, needs, interests, and relations are generally informed by their social, cultural and historical situatedness (Benhabib, 2011). The fundamental challenge is that education that is equitable and accessible and relevant to the needs of Africans cannot be had because there is an absence of frameworks that can centre, fund, and sustain research for African education. There are shared languages and dialects across the populations of Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, for instance (Ndhlovu, 2013). Common humanities, arts and social science journals in such shared languages could be established and patronized by academics in these countries. As long as every university in Africa is stuck with achieving competitiveness in the current alienating global framework, neither decolonization nor competitiveness will be achieved. African universities may offer vernacular pedagogies. However, as long as the so-called markets locally and regionally are stuck in global coloniality expectations, not much transformation will be achieved. National state policies and support founded on regional cooperation are the missing and pivotal incentive and supporting mechanism for meaningful decolonization. There is an imbalance in the distribution of global benefits. As Olu-Adeyemi (2007, p. 214) avers: [i]n the case of Africa, a continent which has been marginalized for too long a time in the world economy, integration is no longer a matter of convenience, but an indispensable strategy for survival and development. The pace of globalisation, coupled with the sweeping wave of economic liberalisation, and with the imbalances in the distribution of the benefits in favour of the strong economies, has increased the urgency for African countries to join hands to expand, fortify, solidify and integrate their economic space, to serve as a platform for take-off and effective integration into the global economy. Regional integration therefore at the very least constitutes Africa’s response to globalisation, and an instrument to reverse the trend towards the marginalisation of the Continent. Given Africa’s being on the unfavourable receiving end of the distribution of the benefits of globalization, regional integration “at the very least constitutes Africa’s response to globalization” in order for African countries “to expand, fortify, solidify and integrate their economic space” that includes a democratic and just education “to serve as a platform for take-off and effective integration into the global economy and an instrument to reverse the trend towards the marginalisation of the Continent” (Olu-Adeyemi & Ayodele, 2007, p. 214).

140  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

It is prudent that Southern African countries cooperate as they did over the security lapses occasioned by the apartheid regime as it destabilized state sovereignty in the region for ostensibly supporting the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa (Thompson, 2000, p. 50) and just as the region block is presently cooperating in addressing the local threat of Islamic militants in Mozambique. Through regional integration-influenced educational policies, Southern African countries could broaden the academic research output and knowledge production base through coordinated shared public interest prioritization and public sector planning programmes (Thompson, 2000, p. 45).

Conclusion Decolonization approaches that are against the centring of certain aspects of African-ness ostensibly to avoid falling into the traps of essentialism are normatively problematic. Primarily, this is because such approaches hide and de-problematize the subtle, hegemonic prevalence of coloniality today. Reducing decolonization to the prioritization of hybridity between certain elements of African-ness on the one hand and dominant epistemologies and perspectives on the other perpetuates the invisibility of the marginalized African epistemologies. A particular Eurocentric ontological conceptualization of human nature inheres and informs the modern global economic structure. In this vein, globality is an offshoot of coloniality. The neoliberal global economic order determines the mandate and roles of the modern university. Therefore, particular African universities cannot independently and successfully achieve meaningful epistemic decolonization if the wider social-economic context of the society remains unchallenged and still under the firm grip of the neoliberal ideology. Unless there is coordinated regional cooperation of higher education institutions to establish commonly shared means, tools, and knowledges that can anchor and sustain decolonization efforts, the university’s efforts may either be only tokenistic or not be meaningful. Such cooperation should necessarily follow political cooperation of the African states whose epistemologies have been marginalized. Regional political commitment and cooperation are the minimum necessities for a meaningful challenging of the neoliberal ideology underpinning the coercive global structure that shapes the modern university. In developing and empowering knowledge production and knowledge-­ transmitting structures among African countries with marginalized epistemologies, the ultimate goal is neither to create purist African epistemologies nor to exclude other epistemologies. Rather, such endeavours are inspired by the fact that unless marginalized countries themselves deliberately develop regional knowledge-­ producing and dissemination institutions, no one else will do so for them. More importantly, this endeavour is based on the familiar reality that no country or university can, with transformative success, singlehandedly build institutions that deviate

From the ideal to non-ideal  141

from the norms of the coloniality-inhered hegemonic global economic order. It is in this vein that the actualization of decolonization from the ideal is necessarily conditioned on regional political cooperation.

References Arneson, R. J. (2016). Extreme cosmopolitanisms defended. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 19(5), 555–573. Benhabib, S. (1992). Situating the self: Gender, community and postmodernism in contemporary ethics. Polity. Benhabib, S. (2011). Dignity in adversity: Human rights in turbulent times. Polity. Bourdieu, P. (1998). Acts of resistance: Against the tyranny of the market. The New Press. Caney, S. (2005). Justice beyond borders. Oxford University Press. Costa, M. V. (2016). Cosmopolitanism as a corrective virtue. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 19(4), 999–1013. Davidson-Harden, A., & Schugurensky, D. (2009). Neoliberalism and education in Latin America: Entrenched problems, emerging alternatives. In D. Hill & E. Rosskam (Eds.), The developing world and state education neoliberal depredation and egalitarian alternatives (pp. 13–33). Routledge. Delgado-Ramos, Gian Carlo Saxe-Fernández, J. (2009). World Bank and the privatization of public education: A Mexican perspective. In D. Hill & E. Rosskam (Eds.), The developing world and state education neoliberal depredation and egalitarian alternatives (pp. 34–52). Routledge. Freire, P. (2005). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th anniv). Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. Freire, P. (2014). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th Anniv). Bloomsbury Publishing. Giroux, H. A. (2010). Bare pedagogy and the scourge of neoliberalism: Rethinking higher education as a democratic public sphere. The Educational Forum, 74(3), 184–196. Gomes, A. M., Robertson, S. L., & Dale, R. (2012). The social condition of higher education: Globalisation and (beyond) regionalisation in Latin America. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 10(2), 221–245. Gorski, P. C. (2008). Good intentions are not enough: A decolonizing intercultural education. Intercultural Education, 19(6), 515–525. Habermas, J. (1994). Citizenship and national identity. In B. Steenbergen (Ed.), The condition of citizenship (pp. 20–35). SAGE Publications Limited. Habermas, J. (2001). The postnational constellation and the future of democracy. In M. Pensky (Ed.), The postnational constellation: Political essays (pp. 58–112). MIT Press. Habermas, J. (2003). Toward a cosmopolitan Europe. Journal of Democracy, 14(4), 86–100. Hill, D. (2004). Books, banks and bullets: Controlling our minds –the global project of imperialistic and militaristic neo-liberalism and its effect on education policy. Policy Futures in Education, 2(3&4), 505–522. Kymlicka, W. (2002). Politics in the vernacular: Nationalism, multiculturalism and citizenship. Oxford University Press. Majee, U. S., & Ress, S. B. (2020). Colonial legacies in internationalisation of higher education: Racial justice and geopolitical redress in South Africa and Brazil. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 50(4), 463–481. Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007). On the coloniality of being. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 240–270.

142  Chikumbutso Herbert Manthalu

Manthalu, C. H., & Waghid, Y. (2019). Decolonisation as democratising African higher education. In Education for decoloniality and decolonization in Africa (pp. 241–244). Palgrave Macmillan. Manthalu, Chikumbutso Herbert, & Ngwira, E. N. (2020). Educating for marginalization: Normative implications of the Malawian medium of instruction policy. Multilingual Margins, 7(3), 99–113. Mbembe, A. (2007). Afropolitanism. In S. Njami & L. Duran (Eds.), Africa remix: Contemporary art of a continent (pp. 26–30). Jacana Media. Melber, H. (2018). Knowledge production and decolonisation — not only African challenges. Strategic Review for Southern, 40(1), 4–15. Moosavi, L. (2020). The decolonial bandwagon and the dangers of intellectual decolonisation. International Review of Sociology, 30(2), 332–354. Morreira, S., Luckett, K., Kumalo, S. H., & Ramgotra, M. (2020). Confronting the complexities of decolonising curricula and pedagogy in higher education. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal. Muhr, T., & Verger, A. (2009). Venezuela: Higher education, neoliberalism, and socialism. In D. Hill & E. Rosskam (Eds.), The developing world and state education neoliberal depredation and egalitarian alternatives (pp. 71–89). Routledge. Mzileni, Pedro & Mkhize, N. (2019). Decolonisation as a spatial question: The student accommodation crisis and higher education transformation. South African Review of Sociology, 50(3–4), 104–115. Ndhlovu, F. (2013). Cross-border languages in Southern African economic and political integration. African Studies, 72(1), 19–40. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2015). Decoloniality as the future of Africa. History Compass, 13(10), 485–496. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2017). The emergence and trajectories of struggles for an ‘African University’: The case of unfinished business of African epistemic decolonisation. Kronos, 43(1), 51–77. Nili, S. (2015). Who’s afraid of a world state? A global sovereign and the statist-cosmopolitan debate. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 18(3), 241–263. Nussbaum, M. (2002). Patriotism and cosmopolitanism. In M. C. Nussbaum & J. Cohen (Eds.), For love of country? (pp. 2–20). Beacon Press. Olu-Adeyemi, L., & Ayodele, B. (2007). The challenges of regional integration for development in Africa: Problems and prospects. Journal of Social Sciences, 15(3), 213–218. Papastephanou, M. (2013). Inward and outward patriotism. Review of European Studies, 5(2), 20–32. Papastephanou, M. (2015). Thinking differently about cosmopolitanism: Theory, eccentricity, and the globalized world. Paradigm Publishers. Rawls, J. (2002). The law of peoples: With “The idea of public reason revisited.” Harvard University Press. Shitemi, N. L. (2012). Rethinking and mainstreaming African literature in the academia. Journal of Literary Studies, 28(2), 20–36. Steger, M. B., & Roy, R. K. (2010). Neoliberalism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. Tavernaro-Haidarian, L. (2018). Why efforts to decolonise can deepen coloniality and what Ubuntu can do to help. Critical Arts, 32(5–6), 104–118. Thompson, C. B. (2000). Regional challenges to globalisation: Perspectives from Southern Africa. New Political Economy, 5(1), 41–57.

From the ideal to non-ideal  143

Wa Thiong’o, N. (1987). Decolonizing the mind: The politics of language in African literature. Zimbabwe Publishing House. Waghid, Y. (2008). The public role of the university reconsidered. Perspectives in Education, 26(1), 19–25. Woldegiorgis, E. T. (2020). Decolonising a higher education system which has never been colonised. Educational Philosophy and Theory. Zawada, B. (2020). Invisible statues of colonisation: Regulatory curriculum requirements in South African higher education. Africa Education Review, 17(3), 142–157. Zwane, D. (2019). True versus False transformation: A discussion of the obstacles to authentic decolonisation at South African universities. Journal of African Renaissance Studies Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity, 14(1), 27–41.

10 COLONISATION AND EPISTEMIC INJUSTICE REVISITED A reflection on emerging themes Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

Introduction Colonisation was part of the Western imperialist project, designed to expand the influence of imperial nations across the world (Osman 2020). While the details of the imperialist project differ based on who the imperial country was, and on the country or countries targeted by the imperialists, the project, everywhere, was driven by a set of common ambitions and assumptions. The ambitions tended to be economic, political and military. Economic ambitions were intricately linked to the need for opening markets for surplus goods produced in rapidly industrialising countries of the Western world, for accessing labor resources as to who could be shipped to the empire to work in the factories and plantations as slaves, and for purposes of creating new trading partners especially with Eastern nations which had products such as spices, gun powder and clothing material that could be exchanged for a variety of Western products. Politically and militarily, in a world that has repeatedly been at war between nations, the expansion of empires served military and power objectives in terms of expanding the recruitment base of armies and the setting up of military bases away from the metropoles from which attacks and reprisals could be planned and executed. Behind these three fundamental motives was an underlying belief amongst imperial nations of a racial, cultural and intellectual superiority of the people of the north compared to those of the south (Wright 1992). In this last chapter of the book, we examine the role of imperialism and its offshoot colonialism as the major precursors for the creation of epistemic injustices in the colonised nations. We specifically argue that the creation of epistemic injustice was the most powerful tool used by colonisers to tranquilise the continent of Africa and to administer a new epistemic dose which effectively lulled the continent out

DOI: 10.4324/9781003180890-10

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  145

of its identity as it transformed into becoming a surrogate of the West. We begin by revisiting the conceptual terrain of key ideas which underpin this book, including colonisation, colonialism, imperialism, epistemic injustice/violence/epistemicide (Mbembe 2017), coloniality and decoloniality as a prelude to the global foment towards the decolonisation of higher education, especially in the post-colonial world. We then distill emerging themes from the chapters laying a basis for ongoing research and scholarship development in the discourse of decolonisation in higher education on the continent and elsewhere.

Revisiting the conceptual terrain of decolonisation Decolonisation is not a new idea. It is as old as colonisation itself, since resistance against colonisation began as soon as colonisers set foot on foreign lands including the African continent. However, for a long time, this resistance was quashed either violently or subtly through misinformation, disinformation and non-reporting or falsification of events. Colonialism is the idea used to describe and justify the act of invading another country, on the pretext of discovery, for the purposes of extracting economic and human resources, annihilating its cultural and intellectual bases, and exerting political influence over the indigenous people. Closely related to this is the notion of colonisation, which is the act of exerting colonial influence over another country. Four phases of colonisation and, hence, decolonisation are acknowledged. The first phase coincided with the fifteenth-century so-called voyages of discovery, where explorers from Europe travelled long distances to discover what lay beyond their own worlds. The motivation can be summed up by a strongly held belief that a place did not exist unless white Europeans had seen it and testified to its existence. The mission of these voyages lay in the three Gs: God, Gold and Glory. White missionaries felt it was their moral duty to spread Christianity across the world, and in return they would be rewarded for saving indigenous people’s souls. Gold represented the notion of exploitation and expropriation of the resources from the new world to their countries back in Europe. Glory represented the fierce competition amongst the colonising nations to expand their geographical territories, in the race towards acquiring colonies (Osman 2020). Despite finding indigenous people in these newly found lands, the experience of resistance by the locals who, in many cases, fought against the new arrivals to protect their land, their religions, their culture and cultural artefacts, beliefs, and their sacred places, the travellers maintained their stance and God-given right to have been the first ‘real’ people to have discovered the new world. The second phase of colonisation tended to focus on the African continent in the nineteenth century. Following the Berlin conference of 1884–1885, European countries agreed to parcel out the continent, create artificial boundaries which physically separated the indigenous populations which later became the source of ethnic wars and genocides in many parts of the continent. The Berlin conference effectively regulated European colonisation of Africa, allowing the free plunder of the wealth of the continent and avoiding conflict amongst occupying nations in

146  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

the scramble of the richest continent of the world. Through brutal force, sometimes through trickery and the falsification of documents, the colonists became the ‘rightful’ owners of the colonies while the indigenous people became disinherited from the lands of their ancestors, often being pushed out to settle in the dry and unfertile parts of their countries while the settlers gave themselves the most economically productive portions of the land. The third phase coincided with the post-independence/post-colonial stages of the countries’ histories. This could be termed a phase of epistemic and economic colonisation, where the Western economic models of development, propagated and insisted upon by the powerful institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, were to be the blueprint for development. In the 1980s and 1990s, for example, countries had to adopt structural adjustment programmes (Sulaiman, Migiro and Aluko 2014) to be able to access financial aid from the World Bank and IMF. In addition, the idea of globalisation was on the ascendancy, which meant a greater interconnectedness of the world, facilitated by the rapid developments in technologies and digital facilities. The noose got tightened around the necks of post-colonial nations, as their economies became surrogates of Western economies. In this period too, educational performance became more tightly aligned to Western models (Hussein, Gnisci & Wanjiru 2004). Only those few universities in Africa, which replicate the programmes and management templates of successful Western universities, establish partnerships for knowledge creation with the same Western institutions and get to be picked into the ranking tables and, in so doing, become the models that other universities on the continent try to replicate. Increasingly, therefore, progress in higher education gets tied to the criteria which define success in the Western world, and, as such, our universities have been uprooted from their contextual obligations for local development as they get sucked into the requirements for global competitiveness and performance. A fourth phase, which may be called a techno/digital colonisation is on the horizon, fuelled by the discourse of the 4 IR (Schwab 2016), a data-driven, machine- and technology- and digital-dependent discourse, which is expected to shape decisions about curriculum, pedagogies, policies and strategies about higher education to fall in line with the imperatives of the fourth industrial revolution (Singh 2004). This is even though many nations in the less-developed world are hardly industrialised and need to be supported to adapt and adopt the imperatives of earlier industrial revolutions. The evidence we have in many developing countries suggests that the deep digital divides between cities and villages in rural areas make it an unwise choice to place our entire focus on the imperatives of the 4 IR before issues of the divide, inequality and poverty are addressed in society and in our higher education institutions. Therefore, the argument about expanding the frontiers of data conceals the real notion of expanding the frontiers of power in the higher education sectors (Prinsloo 2020). ‘Decolonisation’ is a contested term but tends to be used to describe the struggles people engage in attempting to challenge and dismantle the dominance of the Western canon (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2009) in higher education and the reassertion of

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  147

local indigenous knowledge systems as lenses through which education is conceptualised and enacted (Heleta 2018). In a comparable way, at every turn across the phases of colonisation, decolonisation in higher education took different forms. In the early phases, the quest for decolonising higher education took the form of student resistance and protests in many universities on the continent. The protests tended to be about shortages of intellectual resources, staff, food and quality of life in university residences and about tuition fees and unsatisfactory political governance more broadly in society. Rarely did students agitate for change in curriculum, teaching and learning and pedagogies. Moreover, the term ‘decolonisation’ was not in vogue then. Yet, the decolonial turn (Grosfoguel 2007) underpinned the arguments behind many of these issues. Lately, following the student-led protests underpinning the Rhodes Must Fall movement at University of Cape Town (UCT) (2015) and the Fees Must Fall movement at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) (2016), the abiding call was for the decolonisation of higher education. At UCT, the focus was on dismantling the symbolic manifestations of colonialism in higher education, while at WITS, the agitation was directed at removing the barriers which constrain access and success in higher education. Staff are often more docile when it comes to initiating change and transformation in higher education. They were however supportive of the students in this call for the decolonisation of higher education. While it can be said that students won a major battle for decolonising higher education in South Africa, following the concessions made by then president Zuma for a fee-free higher education for poor students, defined broadly as students from family households who earn below a specified net annual income, it can be argued that there have been little, if any, epistemological transformation to the content, pedagogy and assessment of curricula, teaching and learning in universities in South Africa (Badat 2020). On the contrary, as cruelly exposed recently by the COVID-19 pandemic, the inequalities in higher education have been increasing and deepening, and continue to trace the contours of race, class and privilege, in similar ways to pre-democracy times (Maringe and Chiramba 2021, forthcoming). This brings us to the next pair of concepts of coloniality and decoloniality, best understood in the context of the barriers to the decolonisation of higher education. However, we begin with an examination of the concept of epistemic injustice/violence.

Epistemic injustice/violence ‘Epistemic injustice’ is a term that was coined by Fricker (2007), and she has defined it as an act of discriminating against someone in their capacity as a knower. The discrimination can be informed by various aspects which include one’s race, social background, gender among other factors (Byskov 2021). Liveriero (2020) argues that the concept of epistemic injustice may also involve the condition of being epistemically disempowered and that bears a ripple effect on how the victims will carry themselves within a society and beyond (Liveriero 2020). Byskov (2021) used epistemic injustice synonymously with epistemic violence and pointed to the example

148  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

of the formerly colonised whose knowledge systems continue to be dominated by the colonial and Western value systems. Fricker (2007) identified two forms of epistemic injustice. The first form is testimonial injustice and sees it as involving wrongful sidelining of other people’s ideas and views because of their identities (Fricker 2007). The second one is hermeneutical injustice, and she argues that it is the way in which those in power interpret the circumstances of other people, through use of colonial frameworks of thinking which provide dominant models for interpreting other people’s lives, and this partly explains why decolonisation is so hard to achieve.

Why higher education resists decolonisation The discourse of decolonisation does not sit very well with other contemporary discourses in higher education, such as those of modernity and post modernity, globalisation and internationalisation, and, most pertinently, with the notions of capitalism and neo/liberalism for a variety of reasons (Osha 2011). It can be argued that the fundamental assumptions behind all these contemporary discourses are rooted in the capitalist economic model (Mignolo 2011), which has become a hegemonic blueprint that underpins development thinking around the world, including former socialist and communist nations such as China and Russia. First, the ontological basis of decolonisation is rooted in a world-view which considers Western development discourses as ones that reinforce and reproduce global inequalities. Essentially, capitalism is based on assumptions of the sovereignty of the market and the necessary subservience of the state to the immutable laws of the market based fundamentally on the notions of supply and demand. However, the belief in the immutable laws of the free market, free trade, freedom of choice, price predictability and determination and open competition are essentially flawed and idealistic. The assumptions work best in contexts of equality between communities, societies and nations. But as we know, since the Cold War, the world has been a unipolar entity, based on the economic and military power of the USA and the hegemonic influence of Washington. America provided the only viable model for development, and the rest of the world looked up to it for leadership in every sphere. However, more recently, China and Russia and a host of other regional centres such as the EU and the Asia-Pacific nations have become genuine rivals to the hegemonic influence of the USA in the world. The world is thus no longer a unipolar but a multipolar matrix of power and power relations (Rehbein 2020). However, the darker side of this complex multipolarity (Mignolo 2011) is that the poor nations of the global south, many of which are post-colonial nations, are experiencing negative or stagnated economic development and growth. For example, in 2018, 26 richest people in the world, all of whom are based in the global north, had a combined wealth which was equal to the aggregate wealth of half the world’s population (Rehbein 2020). The world’s richest nations are all in the global north too. The extent to which free trade, free choice and equal competition can be had between the rich and poor nations is hard to imagine, in a world characterised by

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  149

such differentials and inequalities in power, influence, wealth distribution, poverty, political and social instability, educational opportunities, and access to health and social amenities, amongst others. Decolonisation is a discourse that seeks to not only highlight these inequalities but also to condemn those who use these intentionally and purposefully to maintain the status quo and to reproduce them as a basis for the continued plunder and appropriation of resources of poor nations to fill the pockets of the already rich. The discourse provides an affront to the capitalist intentions of profit-making with no recourse to the distribution and redistribution of these profits to the poor. As indicated earlier, contemporary development discourses are essentially capitalist and have become hegemonic in their influence across all areas of human endeavour, and higher education is no exception. Below we explore ways in which higher education institutions in the post-colonial world have maintained their colonial legacies. At the heart of this failure to transform is the helpful notion of coloniality.

The colonial legacy of post-colonial higher education systems ‘Coloniality’ is a term brought into the lexicon and popularised by decolonial thinkers such as Anibal Quijano, Water Mignolo, Ramon Grosfoguel, Enrique Dussel, Arturo Escobar, Maria Lugones and Gloria Anzaldua. In South Africa, prominent decolonial thinkers include Sabelo, J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Melissa Steyn, William Mpofu, Achille Mbembe and Savo Heleta. In different ways and contexts, these decolonial thinkers observed that higher education institutions, as other national institutions in the post-colonial world, tend to default back to the colonial patterns of relations and systems through which they were established, but which they wish to dismantle. Quijano (2000), for example, explains coloniality as the living legacy of colonialism in contemporary societies through which the patterns of human relations, thinking and organising are reproduced and integrated into the new social order, which seeks to make a break from the past. Quijano specifically expanded our understanding by exploring the notion of the coloniality of power, the tendency and replication of the power relations that established the colonial matrices and the continued application of these power relations in the post-colonial epochs. The matrices of power are evident in systems of hierarchies of power which are used as instruments for political, social and economic governance and practices. Race became a major European construction to ascribe class and status to people based on skin colour. Whites were thus ascribed the highest status as highly intelligent, creative, modern, thoughtful and development oriented, while blacks and other shades of colour were ascribed lower status as not intelligent, non-creative, dangerously spontaneous, backward, barbaric and generally self-destructive. While this alone constitutes an affront on the dignity of a part of the human race, the tragedy is that for hundreds of years this message has been repeatedly drummed into the minds of both the non-white and white people alike. In addition, the message of white superiority and black inferiority has been incorporated in cultural,

150  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

literary and educational representations in books and other media forms. As such, the view of racial superiority and inferiority has gained levels of acceptance and tends to be used to justify, both overtly and covertly, the existence of social, cultural and material inequalities that exist between the races. This acceptance marks a victory for the colonisers over the tranquilised and mentally violated local populations, who, in turn, can only measure their progress in life based not only on the extent to which they discredit their identities and personalities but also on how their own lives have or should become representations of whiteness. This return to the empire and what it represents (coloniality) has thus become the default option in the unending march towards decolonisation. Similarly, and more pertinently for higher education, the coloniality of knowledge represents the continuation of the colonial knowledge forms, after colonisation has ended. The content of education, its theoretical and conceptual bases, the pedagogical means by which knowledge is transmitted, shared and created, how knowledge gains in learners are assessed, including how students are supposed to think, write and communicate their understandings tend to remain transfixed in the Western canon and are arguably the hardest to transform. Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2018: 2) put it this way: In spite of the significance of knowledge in determining people’s destinies, the triumph of Western-centred modernity negated the legitimacy of ‘other’ knowledges and ways of knowing the world. Thus, it becomes difficult to imagine a different future of higher education for the post-colonial world for a wide range of reasons. Doing that is part of task of the decoloniality thinker.

Decoloniality Colonialism and colonisation establish the conditions by which powerful foreign nations impose their will over indigenous people, subdue them, rule over them and, above all, extract their resources which are then used to develop and enrich the colonisers. Decolonisation represents the challenge of the indigenous people against such impositions which has generally resulted in the overthrow of the colonisers and the establishment of post-colonial democratic institutions and processes. However, despite their displacement from power, colonisers have an insatiable appetite for cheap resources in order to fuel their capitalistic ambitions for profit-making, power dominance and competitiveness in the world. They create new conditions, such as trade laws, the pricing of goods, regulations for adding value to raw materials and, above all, the giving of aid to the developing world. By design, all these conditions are set in ways which give more advantage to the empire than to the poor, less-developed nations, increasing dependency of the less-developed nations on the richer world and further impoverishing the poor nations who trade in vast amounts of their resources for very little in return.

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  151

Decoloniality thus marks the most difficult processes of transforming colonial legacies, as it seeks to overturn the effects of hundreds of years of mental slavery and the tendency of nations and their people to default to the ways of the coloniser, fueled by a short-term desire to live a fulfilling, though not fulfilled, life. I make a distinction between a fulfilling and a fulfilled life. A fulfilling life is one that approximates the life of the oppressor, based on mere acceptance of the canons by which such a life can be attained. On the other hand, a fulfilled life is one that seeks self-­ assertion and independence, self-determination and accomplishment on terms that are not dictated by the coloniser. The fulfilled life is obviously more rewarding but more difficult to attain and many of us, including our leadership, opt for a fulfilling life. The decoloniality struggle is precisely the struggle to attain the fulfilled life. However, numerous hurdles lie in wait.

Challenges and barriers to decolonising knowledge systems Our research at the WITS identifies eight substantial reasons why the pace of decolonising higher education seems so slow in global south academies. 1. The hegemony and dominance of the Western canon The notion of the Western canon is deeply contentious, due to the fact that it emerges from a fundamentally flawed belief that there is only one way to know and to understand the world; that what is worth knowing is predetermined in the great books that have shaped Western civilisation; and that to be educated is to master the essential content contained in the great works of civilisation. Such great works are contained in the books which depict Western philosophical thinking, or Western literary thought as portrayed in great works of literature and poetry (e.g. W. Shakespeare, T. S. Elliot, T. Hardy, amongst others, whose texts are required reading for anyone wishing to acquire a general secondary education). For a long time, scientific thought was considered to be represented only by positivist thinking, which sees the world as governed by immutable laws and where reality is only that which can be sensed and measured. There was no room for feeling as illustrated in ‘Hard times of our time’ by Thomas Hardy. Set in eighteenth-century industrial England, the education of the young consisted of learning hard facts. So, when Sissy Jupe was asked to define a horse, she could not, despite the fact that she knew horses intimately as her father was a horse keeper. However, Bitzer, who had never been in close proximity with a horse, provided the perfect response when he defined the horse as a quadrupled, graminivorous, 48-toothed animal with a bushy tail. Knowledge of facts acquired through memorising from the great books was considered of prime significance, while feelings, opinions and personal views were considered as non-knowledge. Chinua Achebe, the great Nigerian writer, was critical of the Western canon when he suggested that Europeans see Africa as a kind of shadow Europe, a ‘perpetually savage other’, while Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie decries the great Western canon as presenting

152  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

only one side of the story, which it defines as the only authentic and true side of the story. Yet the world has been educated for hundreds of years through the eyes of the great Western books and, for the most part, using English as the medium of instruction. Research and learning, as essential dimensions of education, are dominated by Western ways of knowing, while other knowledge systems are subjugated, peripheralised in obscure places or discarded altogether as inferior, localised, illegitimate and without authority (Foucault 1980). Of the 195 countries in the world, 116 teach English (Duolingo 2021), showing the hegemonic influence of the language across the world. Of the 54 countries in Africa, all of which, except two, came under colonial influence for hundreds of years, 51 teach their school curricula in one of the European languages, while local indigenous languages are generally taught as subjects rather than being used as mediums of instruction. There is therefore a sense in which post-colonial nations continue their sense-making and knowledge creation in the languages of the colonisers. 2. The conspiracy of business and commerce in the coloniality of knowledge in higher education The business and commercial world are part of the matrix of capitalism across the world. To get any skilled job, one has to have passed English, usually at the school-leaving level. Without a pass in the subject, chances of securing employment in the skilled labour market are almost zero. There is usually no requirement to pass a local language to access employment opportunities. In that way, business and commerce are complicit in the hegemonisation of Western knowledge systems in post-colonial nations. This suggests that, on their own, universities cannot achieve fully the decolonisation of higher education. 3 . Leadership inertia in embracing the idea of decolonisation There are at least three factors that combine to ensure the success of transformation. These include leadership, the right systems and adequately supported processes. We focus on the first of these here. Leadership provides one of the greatest forces for transformation everywhere, including in education (Hallinger and Heck 1996). The momentum for the current wave of decolonisation of higher education in South Africa came from students during the Rhodes and Fees Must Fall movements in 2015–2016. Although colonial statues have pulled down, university roads and lecture halls renamed and fees scrapped for poor deserving students, the victories have largely been symbolic (Maringe & Chiramba 2021). The real business of decolonising university curricula, research, pedagogies (teaching and learning) and assessment have been stuttering and do not appear to be making any headway yet. Yet the decolonisation of these aspects of higher education constitutes the core of the transformation needed in the sector. In many universities, the task of decolonisation of these dimensions of higher education have largely been dispersed and tend to be weakly driven informally under the ranks of lower leadership structures in universities. In addition, the term ‘decolonisation’ appears thinly in university policy documents and strategies. At the time of writing, the task

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  153

of decolonising higher education has fallen under the more acceptable banner of transformation, which itself is usually headed by directorates rather than as part of the portfolio of a deputy vice chancellor. That signals the relative importance or lack of it, which is associated with the business of decolonisation. As long as an agenda or task does not fall within the key performance indicators (KPIs) of senior university leaders, it remains invisible, unfunded or underfunded and never becomes a part of the measures by which the university assesses its progress and development. This lack of leadership commitment in South Africa is both curious and inexplicable and can substantially undermine progress in the higher education decolonisation agenda. 4. Inadequate resources for pushing the decolonisation agenda Connected to the issue of leadership is the serious shortage of resources, weak management systems and inadequate funding of the decolonisation objectives. Although staff have been involved in creating useful communities of practice and, in some cases, strong research thrusts around the idea of decolonisation, the efforts often dissipate on account of inadequate resourcing and financial support. In some universities where we have undertaken research on these matters, staff identify weak resource and financial support as a formidable barrier in their quest to push the momentum for decolonising higher education. 5 . Conceptual fuzziness in the academy Decolonisation is a highly attractive agenda which both staff and students support, but which has a rather diffuse and incoherent meaning in many universities. Badat (2020) refers to this as conceptual paralysis in the sector. The communities of practice created by staff, including the research thrusts championing research around decolonisation are contributing to an increasing clarity about the idea. However, our research shows that staff tend to associate decolonisation with largely symbolic dimensions, such as increasing references by African authors on course reading lists, cosmetic changes to course programmes largely achieved through additive processes involving the inclusion of one or two topics with a focus on decolonisation. 6. Missing dimensions in transformation processes in universities Our work on transformation suggests that the idea is, at the very least, a three-dimensional concept, which we have labelled elsewhere as the triadic dimensions of transformation (Maringe and Chiramba 2021. forthcoming). The dimensions include the symbolic, the epistemic and the ideological. Our research shows that, thus far, universities have been overly concerned with the symbolic dimension. The epistemic dimension, and through it both the nature and purposes of higher education, its knowledge creation and the approaches to knowledge creation, and the teaching and learning pedagogies and assessment regimes, has barely changed in many universities and continues to represent the hegemonic Western canons inherited from the past. Another important dimension is the ideological, through the lenses of which organisations create and justify their visions and strategies and through which progress is assessed and determined. In South Africa, the lack of ideological orientation

154  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

is palpable, even at the level of the nation state. It is easy to get confused in South Africa if the country has an ideological framework. A part of the country’s economic modelling is clearly capitalist and hence has a colonial orientation, while another (the bigger part) is socialist, based on attempts to create social justice through distribution and redistribution of resources to the previously disadvantaged. When systems collapse in either of these two areas, there is no one to take accountability and things can very easily ‘fall apart’ as Achebe (1958) advises. Placing emphasis on the symbolic dimensions is the easy part. The epistemic and ideological dimensions provide the real essence of the decolonisation of higher education. Sadly, these dimensions have been hardly given attention, at least in South Africa. 7. Transformational anxiety/resistance There is a general tendency for people to resist change and to be anxious or apprehensive about it (Amarantou, Kazakopoulou, Chatzoudes, and Chatzoglou 2018) especially as it disempowers them, at least in the short term, and as change requires them to unlearn old habits, knowledge and skills and relearn new ones. The transition requires a great deal of effort, time and resources which are usually in limited supply in organisations. Sometimes resistance manifests quite publicly or overtly. Fortunately, in the case of the decolonisation agenda, there is a great deal of goodwill and acceptance of the need for change. However, the slow speed of take-up may be symptomatic of internal resistance or covert response for the reasons identified above. 8. Decolonisation is not a readily acceptable concept in the global higher education sectors Staff we spoke to noted how they often have to erase the term ‘decolonisation’ from their presentations and joint working documents especially when they work with global north partners in Europe and North America. There seems to be a fear that the use of the term might alienate or categorise people and sometimes raises feelings of guilt, especially among white partners. As such, the issue around decolonisation is tackled in a manner which approximates the idea of beating the dog, while hiding the stick (an African saying). Under those circumstances, there is suspicion, lack of trust and anxiety which tend to lower people’s motivation towards collaborative working. This would raise race-related tensions in the global academy which may impede prospects for developing a shared understanding of the idea of decolonisation and inadvertently reduce the potential for elevating the discourse as a viable and authentic alternative for knowledge seeking. This raises another intriguing question about whether decolonisation is a question that requires global attention, or whether it is only in the interest of those of us in post-colonial world.

Is decolonisation an issue of global or local significance? Both colonisers and the colonised shared the experience of colonialism. However, despite the shared experience, the effects and impacts on the two groups are total

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  155

opposites. For the sons and daughters of the empire, colonialism was seen as a necessary if not integral part of the progress, development and wealth creation their world needed. It was also seen as a God-given mandate to convert and civilise the pagans of the dark world and give them a chance to go to heaven when their time on earth was up. Over time, the history books have been filled with narratives of salvation and emancipation, heroism and conquest, opportunity and glory which fitted the assumptions of a superior white race. Most of these books were written by the colonisers and became the required texts in schools around the world. The story of the experience of the indigenous people, which, amongst others, includes exclusion and peripheralisation, oppression and subjugation, dispossession and slavery, mental disorientation, and cultural oppression, and of being uprooted from their ancestral homes and of being robbed of their beliefs, values and identities, has not yet been fully told and has certainly not been fully captured in the literary texts and history books. As the world comes together on the issue of decolonisation, some stories will have to be untold while new ones are scripted. The contrived stories of the colonisers have created a false consciousness in large swarms of human populations across the world, partly because of the hegemony of the Western canon and are responsible for the reproduction of feelings of white superiority and a black inferior race. The colonisers have been responsible, at least in part, for creating a highly polarised planet, in which wealth, opportunities and resources are unevenly distributed amongst the people of the world. The responsibility for correcting the wrongs of the past cannot be left with the previously colonised alone. Hence, the idea of decolonisation is a global issue and not just a matter for the previously colonised. We now turn to a reflection on the emerging themes covered in the chapters of this book.

A reflective account of emerging themes from the book Among the multiple ideas explored in this book, we have selected four themes which are cross-cutting but which tend to be used in a taken-for-granted way. We do this also because they help expand our understanding of the idea of decolonisation and can be used as new touchstones for new knowledge seeking in the field of higher education.

Epistemic violence Change and transformation begin first and foremost in the minds of those who seek it. When the mind is damaged, the thinking becomes damaged too. And when the thinking is damaged, the prospects of creating the change and transformation we need gets seriously compromised. The notion of epistemic violence helps us to understand the nature and ways in which the minds of the colonised people of Africa were damaged to facilitate the plunder of the wealth of the continent and to create mental aberrations about the inadequacies of the indigenous mindset, and alongside that the total acceptance of the Western canon, as the only way to think

156  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

and to conduct their lives. Violence has been used to shape global world orders, through wars, genocides and the foment of social unrest, all of which have also shaped the colonial experience across the world (Brunner 2021). The notion of violence tends to be associated with physical processes of coercion and the exertion of force and punishment on others to allow the perpetrator to pursue their motives without hindrance. When similar processes are directed at the mind, the effect tends to be long lasting and, worse still, difficult to reverse. The work of Spivak (1988) on the notion of epistemic violence has been seminal. Based in the post-colonial, feminist discourses, violence is defined as: the remotely orchestrated, far-flung, and heterogenous project to constitute the colonial subject as other. (Spivak 1988: 280) Epistemic violence is thus remotely manouvered in multiple ways to create a sense of inferiority of the other which can be exploited to the benefit of the perpetrator. Santos (2014) introduced the notion of epistemicide, conjuring images of the irreversible destruction of the mind of the other in order to create epistemic slaves, who do, think and act in ways which are acceptable to the perpetrator. Brunner (2021) has identified a few conceptual approaches to understanding epistemic violence from what she calls an eclectic assemblage of multidisciplinary thought on the subject. The first is what she calls a deviance and deficiency approach. Psychologists, for example, tend to look at epistemic violence as the intentional or unintentional creation of mental barriers which inhibit or prevent altogether understanding in a discipline. Such barriers can silence or obliterate other ways of knowing if they are directed at foundational knowledge systems. The point about deviance is to divert people’s ways of thinking on a permanent detour which detaches them from what and how they know about a subject. On the other hand, the diversion is justified on the basis of identified deficiencies of old ways of knowing and the superiority of the new ways of knowing. The second is what Brunner (2021) describes as a territorialisation, naturalisation and embodiment approach, emerging from geographical studies, which link epistemic violence to political territories and racialised bodies. MacDonald (2002), for example, lays bare relationship between globalisation, institutionalised violence and the interaction of bodies differently situated in power relations. In such cases, epistemic violence takes place when institutions choose to teach knowledge with a global reach while silencing that from localised contexts. The colonised people tended to be exposed to Western knowledge systems rather than to knowledge systems which defined their identities and contexts. In history lessons, for example, locals were required to know about the world wars, which were basically European wars while nothing was in the curriculum about how African societies coexisted and the struggles they experienced between themselves. In Geography, we learnt about the prairie regions of Canada, but nothing, except remembering, about the names of the capital cities of different countries and the longest rivers in Africa.

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  157

If anything was to be known about Africa, it had to be linked to who ‘discovered’ it: for example, that Lake Victoria between Kenya and Uganda was discovered by David Livingstone, yet indigenous people have been living around and near the lake for millennia. The third is what Brunner (2021) refers to as representation, reductionism and resilience approach to epistemic violence. This means that knowledge that is worth teaching in schools should be closely associated with the authentic development of the civilised world, should be reducible to teachable chunks at different levels of education and should have evidence of contributing to the anticipated futures of any nation. The only knowledge that fitted this framing was from the West. Consequently, knowledge systems from the indigenous groups were disregarded. The fourth is the modern nation state theory of epistemic violence. The idea of the modern nation state emerged from the discourse of modernity, which decolonial thinkers argue cannot be divorced from the overtures of colonialism and capitalism. The modern state has several characteristics, such as citizens are of a common ancestry (which automatically rules out post-colonial states by virtue of the fact that such states comprise of people of different ancestry); they share a common language (which complicates matters in post-colonial nations where language and linguistic differences were emphasised to divide the indigenous populations and so cause ethnic discord, which allowed the settlers to subjugate them). In the same vein, local indigenous languages were not given prominence in the curriculum while the languages of the colonisers were prioritised and made compulsory. A third requirement for a modern nation state is that it has to be democratically organised and governed. With frequent coups and military interventions, ethnic tensions and genocides on the African continent, which are covertly sponsored by rogue governments of the West and which deliberately create instability to allow them to continue with economic and resource plunder in poor nations, the creation of the modern nation state is often unachievable in poor nations of the global south. These ideas of the modern state became powerful rationales and tools for perpetrating epistemic violence against indigenous populations.

Feministic theory of epistemic violence Championed by people like Spivak, feminism argues that societies around the world tend to be patriarchal and male dominated especially in terms of political leadership and decision-making: the so-called great voyages of discovery were conducted by males; the great scientists were male; the great theologians were male; even the laws on which the Bible was developed were handed down to Moses, a male; the few women mentioned in the bible, such as Eve, are presented as a source of conflict and misunderstanding in the world; only a handful of world leaders are female, while males comprise nearly 95% of state presidents in the world; majority of the great philosophers are male, and so too are the Nobel Prize winners. This endorses the view of a more able male and a less able female in societies. In practice,

158  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

females tend to shy away from studying subjects deemed more difficult, such as science and mathematics and are channelled through the so-called softer options in the arts and performance arts curricula. Epistemic violence is thus systematically perpetrated against females in education through largely patriarchal mechanisms which present males as more able, as better thinkers and as more effective and courageous leaders than their female counterparts.

Decolonisation as a multimodal and dispersed authority theory of resistance Right across the chapters, there has not been an attempt by the authors to present the idea of decolonisation as a straightjacket notion, and I think rightly so. Like many social science ideas, the concept resists attempts to beat it into some shape. However, the evidence appears to suggest that there are at least three propositions which could lead to future theories of decolonisation. First is a basket of ideas which conform to the notion of decolonisation as a theory of resistance. Theories of resistance provide insights into how authority, whether properly constituted or otherwise, may be resisted, often overthrown and replaced by more desirable forms of leadership and governance. In higher education, four sources of authority appear to be at play. First is the student authority. In South Africa, students birthed the discourse of decolonisation, when they, through ideological persuasion and brutal force, forced the sector to succumb to the twin demands of removing the symbols of colonialism and the obstacles to access to higher education experienced by poor students. The weakness of the students’ authority base is its relatively insecure intellectual capital as university students’ movements in Africa tend to be led by undergraduates, who are usually in the majority. The tendency is to focus on transformational symbolism rather than on the more complex ideological and epistemic dimensions of decolonisation. Second is the university staff base as a source of authority in the discourses of decolonisation. As alluded to earlier, staff are the potential drivers of the ideological and epistemic transformation required by the decolonial turn in higher education. However, staff tend to be intellectually invested in the pervasive dominant discourses of the Western canon, both in terms of previous training and with regard to willingness to turn their gaze elsewhere, which come with substantial risks of cognitive and professional disempowerment. In any case, dominant discourses of the Western canon are ones through which staff have secured ‘fulfilling lives’, despite not achieving ‘fulfilled lives’. The third source of authority for dismantling coloniality in higher education is the senior university leadership and management levels. Their gaze is often transfixed on the global imperatives, as they seek mechanisms for enhancing the global and international values of their institutions, in terms of both the knowledge production and the internationalisation of their environments. In the process, the local gaze is often weakened. Decolonisation being more of a locally driven agenda is often not in the direct purview of university senior management teams.

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  159

The final source of authority in the decolonial matrices in African universities are the governments. Generally, in Africa, there is no love lost between governments and students. In fact, most African governments fear students. They are often happy to go along with the demands made by students in areas of symbolic transformation, such as the renaming of universities, recruitment of black vice chancellors, renaming of university roads and lecture theatres, and development of broad policy frameworks for transforming higher education. However internally, various mechanisms are in place to maintain a gaze away from the ideological and epistemic, through limited funding and through the absence of dedicated leadership for these important dimensions of transformation in the sectors.

The heterogeneity of the decolonial higher education terrains across the world Arising from the chapters of this book, there is substantial variation in the terrains of decolonisation in higher education across the world. The heterogeneity appears to be driven by a wide range of factors. First is the hegemonic centre of influence. There are several ways in which hegemonic centres of imperialism influenced development in different parts of the world. First was the language of the colonisers, with English as the most dominant, followed by French, Spanish and Portuguese in that order. Although there may be subtle differences in how these languages were introduced and taught in schools, the overarching impact was how these new languages displaced local languages and, hence, local cultures, from the consciousness, the thinking, the behaviour and the aspirations of colonised populations across the continent. In many cases, especially in anglophone colonies, local languages were allocated the least amount of time on school timetables and frequently were taught by unqualified teachers as it was assumed that there was nothing important to learn from and about these languages. In many schools, speaking in local languages on school premises was punishable as the push for the anglicisation of the people’s consciousness became a priority Wa Thiong’o (1998: 109) wrote: The choice of language and the use to which it is put are central to people’s definition of itself in relation to its natural and social environment, indeed in relation to the entire universe. Hence, language has always been at the heart of the two contending social forces, imperialism, and the struggle for liberation from imperialism in Africa of the 20th century. Because local languages were seen as unimportant, the people who spoke them were equally considered unimportant. To become important, indeed, to be recognised in the universe, meant, first and foremost, the ability to speak and write in the language of the coloniser. Ultimately, the cultural and linguistic forms of the indigenous populations were consigned to the dustbins of history, and, by so doing, created a perfect basis for imperial capitalism to flourish in the colonies.

160  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

Although local languages were sometimes used as mediums of instruction in the first few years of primary schooling, they suddenly became invisible on school timetables when time came to replace them with the language of the coloniser. Things were somewhat different in the Caribbeans, for example. Creole, a type of ghetto linguistic and language form which had its roots in the language of the coloniser was formally used in the first few years of primary schools. Evidence suggests that progression to the use of formal English was substantially easier for learners (Migge and Léglise 2007). In French colonies, local indigenous students were taught a diluted version of French while the children of the colonisers were taught the same quality French taught to learners in France. In Portuguese colonies, local citizens were assimilated as foreign citizens of Portugal. To that extent, local languages were literally banished as children were prepared for Portuguese citizenship. The model of assimilation meant that people were effectively uprooted from the sociocultural foundations of their origins and progressively turned into new creations as citizens of the colonising nation.

Bifurcated colonial control Due to confluencing interests, sometimes two or more different groups of colonisers settled in the same country. For example, in Cameroon and Nigeria we still have French-speaking and English-speaking divisions in the countries. The divisions entrenched the cultural and ethnic differences between and among local populations which have been a source of substantial instability long after the colonisers had left. A different form of bifurcation occurred in countries which had consecutive colonial control. For example, South Africa came under a number of colonial influences. First to arrive were the Dutch, in 1652, followed by the English in the early 1800. With the discovery of gold and diamonds in the country, the Dutch were forced to occupy land from the major mining areas while the British established themselves in most parts of the country. To this day, South Africa has English and Afrikaans as major colonial languages with many institutions including universities being officially designated as English- or Afrikaans-speaking universities. In South Africa, the Dutch tended to be considered a more virulent type of coloniser and local students resisted the teaching of Afrikaans in schools leading to the famous Soweto uprising of 1976, which became a significant turning point in the decolonisation of the country. Although the histories of settler colonialism in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South America and Vietnam, among others, provide different tapestries of empire and colony forms, they all had three things in common: the imposition of the colonisers’ language and linguistic forms as a key part of the educational curriculum; the marginalisation of and, often, the attempt to obliterate local cultures; the teaching of racially differentiated curricula, with a rudimentary and basic curriculum for locals and a globally competitive and highly resourced one for the children

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  161

of the settlers. Hundreds of years of colonial education have created and entrenched substantial inequalities in post-colonial societies, which have become the target of transformation in the current epochs of the decolonial turn.

The continued dominance of colonial models in post-colonial higher education systems This final theme sits right at the heart of the decolonial turn and at the essence of decoloniality. Despite the attainment of political sovereignty across previously colonised nations, the gaze which seems to influence educational transformation remains decisively on the global rather than on the local. Post-colonial nations have been conditioned to look elsewhere for transformational inspiration rather than at themselves. The local thus continues to suffer peripheralisation and obstruction in attempts to decolonise higher education. The chances of formulating decontextualised solutions and transformational strategies, which are not fit for the purpose, are always very high under such circumstances. The recent response to the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates this quite clearly. While the closure of universities could not be avoided, the turn to online teaching and learning tends to be more suited to countries with narrower digital divides and smaller poverty differentials and with equitable financial resources to enable students to purchase the technologies that support this modality of teaching and learning. Poorer nations, many of which are post-colonial, could have provided more equitable teaching and learning through combinations of online teaching and learning, television, radio and the use of print media which have a longer reach to learners in highly disadvantaged communities. A growing number of studies demonstrate that, despite the decision to turn to decolonised education, programme content, pedagogies and assessment in universities have barely been transformed and continue to be transfixed in the colonial matrices of knowledge and knowledge production.

Concluding thoughts and implications In this final section, we highlight some key conclusions made by different authors and identify major implications for policy, practice and future research in the decolonial turn. Kariwo, who explored the impact of neoliberalism in bifurcated post-colonial Canada, concludes that higher education in Canada is under the burgeoning influence of neoliberalism, which has had the net impact of entrenching inequalities in access especially of the less wealthy indigenous populations and international students due to market-dictated costs. He suggests that a strong decolonial dimension be embedded into the strategic thinking in the higher education sectors in Canada, amongst other objectives, to provide checks and balances to the mantra of neoliberalism and its fascination with the idea of the market, which, to a large extent, ignores the centrality of fairness, inclusivity and social justice in a society which is already fundamentally unequal. Invoking Giroux (2002), Kariwo establishes that

162  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

neoliberalism has become the most dangerous ideology of the current historical moment and has to be reformed, not just by the promises of decolonisation, but by the deliberate embedding of these promises into the new imaginaries of a more democratic, socially and cognitively inclusive higher education. Huyen Bui and Ly Thi Tran explored the interconnectedness between internationalisation and decolonisation as development discourses in Vietnam, a country that has come under the influence of multiple imperial influences including, China and France. The authors conclude that the development of higher education in Vietnam mirrors the edifices of its colonial past. They however suggest that future imaginaries of higher education in the country can and should not be modelled around the binary imperatives of colonial and decolonial influences. They call for a more holistic developmental narrative which transcends these binaries to embrace regional and international influences. Kevin Blackburn examines the antecedents of decolonisation in Malaysia and Singapore, with a specific focus on the transformation of history curricula in universities in the two countries. He discovers that, despite the intention to decolonise the history curricula in universities, the long shadow of colonial influence has perpetuated the cognitive injustices that continue to characterise history curricula, teaching and learning and assessment in both Malaysia and Singapore. Amasa Ndofirepi deals with the knotty question of the identity of African universities, arguing that, as currently constituted, African universities continue their role as purveyors of Western knowledge in the post-colonial condition. He notes that, despite the intention to transform, universities in Africa are fully immersed in the hegemonic Eurocentric paradigms and their associated scientistic epistemologies continue to exhibit themselves in the academies of the global south. He however cautions against transforming the university sectors along the dictates of existing binaries of the Western canon and indigenous knowledge systems. Rather, he suggests an integrative approach which involves the selection of pristine elements of knowledge systems from around the globe, although local relevance and priorities should take superior preference as the play of the politics of knowledge continually manifests itself in African higher education. Runyararo Sihle Chivaura explores the complex issue of racism in Australian higher education, tracing this back to the edifices of colonialism and colonisation of the aboriginal people of this subregion. Racism in Australia is not based on traditional black-white binaries. Black migrants appear to bear the brunt wherein they are seen as an inferior race by their white counterparts but are also seen by indigenous blacks of Australia as colonisers in black skins. Lorna Williams and Budd Hall trace the development of an indigenisation strategy at the faculty of humanities at Victoria University in Canada. The authors find that while there is a great deal of enthusiasm about the prospects of indigenising curriculum, the Western canon continues to dominate the academic spaces and thinking in the faculty. They suggest that a key barrier in the indigenisation of universities is the very use of the term ‘university’ itself, a concept based on the valuing of specific unitary methods of knowing. Rather, they suggest using the notion of

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  163

the multiversity in which and through which multiple knowledges are deliberately brought into collision with each other, not to create new hierarchies, but to draw from all in order to create new truths and resources which have better potential to establish equality, fairness and social justice in this world. God, Glory and Gold have been the persistent drivers of colonisation and colonialism. These pursuits gave rise to the insatiable drive for discovery, for territorial expansion, for resource extraction, for wealth creation and for expanding markets for an industrialising Europe, amongst others. The use of epistemic violence was a common denominator in the colonising project, based on the belief that a deformed mind, stripped of its identity, is easier to manipulate and influence. But perhaps a strong message coming from this book is that the search for new imaginaries in higher education should desist binary thinking but be inclusive of local, regional and international perspectives about phenomena, sense-making, knowledge creation and creating new knowledge, through genuine processes of transformation rather than simple knowledge reform and adaptation. Chikumbutso brings a cautionary note to this discussion through his argument for networked and inclusive solutions in decolonisation processes rather than what he calls reverse marginalisation of anything other than indigenous knowledge systems. Given the above discussion, we end the chapter by identifying three broad implications for policy, practice and research. Firstly, at policy level we propose that universities may consider putting in motion frameworks that provide mechanisms for a clearer conceptualisation of decolonisation and how implementation can be supported through the hierarchies in the sector. Secondly, at practice level within institutions, we advocate for clear guidelines and further recommend that leadership of the decolonial turn needs to be conceptualised and implemented. Lastly, in terms of theory and research, the formation of communities of practice that transcend institutional boundaries around the notion of decolonisation might be a good starting point to retheorise and promote transdisciplinary research in and across institutions.

References Achebe, C. (1958). Things fall apart. 1958. New York: Anchor, 178. Amarantou, V., Kazakopoulou, S., Chatzoudes, D., & Chatzoglou, P. (2018). Resistance to change: An empirical investigation of its antecedents. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 31(2), 426–450. Badat, S. (2020). Reproduction, transformation and public South African higher education during and beyond Covid-19. Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, 104, 24–42. Brunner, C. (2021). Conceptualizing epistemic violence: An interdisciplinary assemblage for IR. International Politics Reviews, 9(1), 1–20. Byskov, M. F. (2021). What Makes Epistemic Injustice an “Injustice”? Journal of Social Philosophy, 52(1), 114–131. Duolingo Blog. (2021).

164  Felix Maringe and Otilia Chiramba

Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972–1977. New York: Vintage. Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. New York: Oxford University Press. Giroux H. (2002). Neoliberalism, corporate culture, and the promise of higher education: The university as a democratic public sphere. Harvard Educational Review, 1 December 2002; 72(4): 425–464. Grosfoguel, R. (2007). The epistemic turn. Beyond political-economy paradigms. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 211–223. Hallinger, P., & Heck, R. H. (1996). Reassessing the principal’s role in school effectiveness: A review of empirical research, 1980–1995. Educational Administration Quarterly, 32(1), 5–44. Heleta, S. (2018). Decolonizing knowledge in South Africa: Dismantling the ‘pedagogy of big lies’. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 40(2), 47–65. the.v1i1.9 Hussein, K., Gnisci, D., & Wanjiru, J. (2004). Security and human security: An overview of concepts and initiative: What implications for West Africa? Paris, France: Club Du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Liveriero, F. (2020). Epistemic injustice in the political domain: Powerless citizens and institutional reform. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 23, 797–813. Maringe, F., & Chiramba, O. F. (2021). Teacher education in the melting pot: Closing thoughts to the fourth industrial revolution and decolonisation in higher education in South Africa. In F. Maringe (Ed.), Higher education in the melting pot: Emerging discourses of the fourth industrial revolution and decolonisation. Cape Town: AOSIS Publishers. Mbembe, A. (2017). Critique of black reason. Durham: Duke University Press. MacDonald, K. (2002). Epistemic violence: The body, globalization, and the dilemma of rights. Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, 12, 65. Migge, B. & Léglise, I., (2007). Language and colonialism. Applied linguistics in the context of creole communities. In M. Hellinger & A. Pauwels (Eds.), Language and communication: Diversity and change. Handbook of Applied Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 297–338. Mignolo, W. D. (2011). Geopolitics of sensing and knowing: On (de)coloniality, border thinking and epistemic disobedience. Postcolonial Studies, 14(3): 273–283. Ndlovu, M. (2018). Coloniality of knowledge and the challenge of creating African futures. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 40(2), 95–112. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2009). Making sense of Mugabeism in local and global politics: ‘So Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe’. Third World Quarterly, 30(6), 1139–1158. Osha, S. (2011). Appraising Africa: Modernity, decolonisation and globalisation. In L. Keita (Ed) Philosophy and African development: Theory and practice, 169–176. Osman, J. (2020). What is colonialism? A history of violence, control and exploitation. Politics: Accessed 6 December 6, 2021. Prinsloo, P. (2020). Data frontiers and frontiers of power in (higher) education: A view of/ from the Global South. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(4), 366–383. Quijano, A. (2000). Coloniality of power, eurocentrism and Latin America. Nepantla, 1(3), 533–580. Rehbein, B. (2020). Interview on critical knowledge productions. In Conversation with Andrea Fleschenberg. Decolonial, Decentred Critical Knowledge Productions – Podcast Series. IAAW, negotiating-researchethics (accessed 6 December 2021).

Colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited  165

Santos, B. D. S. (2014). Santos, Bonaventura de Sousa, “Ecologies of Knowledge”. In Bonaventura de Sousa Santos, Epistemologies of the South: Justice against epistemicide. New York: Routledge, 185–211. Schwab, K. (2016) The fourth industrial revolution. Geneva: World Economic Forum. Singh, P. (2004). Globalization and education. Educational Theory, 54, 103–115. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.0013-2004.2004.00006.x Spivak, G. C. (1988). Can the subaltern speak? In Marxism and the interpretation of culture. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. London: Macmillan. Sulaiman, L., Migiro, S., & Aluko, O. (2014). The structural adjustment programme in developing economies: Pain or gain? Evidence from Nigeria. Public and Municipal Finance, 3(2), 41–48. Wa Thiong’o, N. W. (1998). Decolonising the mind(*). Diogenes, 101. apps/doc/A57388769/AONE?u=anon~5e76136&sid=googleScholar&xid=74a0debd Wright, C. (1992). National liberation, consciousness, freedom and Frantz Fanon. History of European Ideas, 15(1–3), 427–434.


Page numbers in bold indicate tables, page numbers in italic indicate figures and page numbers followed by n indicate notes. Aboriginal students, Canada 37, 56–57 academic freedom 38 academic subjects, market value 24, 44 Achebe, C. 151, 154 Adichie, C. N. 151–152 Africa: Berlin Conference (1884-85) 7–8, 145–146; regional integration 139–140; scramble for 7–8 African higher education 126–141; African epistemologies and pedagogy 126, 127, 137; African research journals 138–139; bare pedagogy (Giroux) 126, 131–132, 133; conclusions 140–141; constructive resilience 127–128; decolonization discourse (limits) 127–129; decolonization (meaningful) 135–136; epistemic decolonization as a political project 136–140; Ethiopia 129; globality and neoliberalism 129–131, 140; ‘hybridization’ approaches 126, 128–129, 130, 137; language policies 134, 139; nation-state (weakening by globalization) 137–138; overview 126–127; pedagogy forged with the people (Freire) 126, 133–134, 135; privatization logic 132; regional solidarity 136–140; regulatory frameworks 136; representative forms of African-ness 130; vernacular pedagogies 139 African National Congress (ANC) 45

Altbach, P. G. 73–74 Apple, M. W. 28 arts subjects and humanities: female students 158; phased out/downsized 44, 117 Augusto, G. 91 Australian higher education 114–124; black Africans (challenges) 116; blackness in Australia 114–115, 117; Chinese students 121; conclusions 123–124; COVID-(19) 121; Cultural Studies 114, 122; discrimination within racial/ethnic groups 123; ethnicities pitted against each other 120–121; humanities and art subjects 117; identity production 123–124; Indigenous and Australian Studies 117; migrant community relations 123; multiculturalism 114, 122–123; nationalistic groups (rise) 122–123; non-refugee black African nationals 115; overview 114–116; pidgin English 115; racism 162; refugees and asylum seekers 115; Sudanese Africans 115, 120; see also Cultural Study research project Aziz, Ungku 98, 112 Badat, S. 153 Barnett, R. 36

Index  167

Bauman, Z. 37 Berlin Conference (1884-85) 7–8, 145–146 Bevans, S. 6 Bible 157 Birkbeck College (London) 58 Blackburn, K. 19, 98–112, 162 Bloom, D., Canning, D. and Chan, K. 84 British Columbia: Coast and Straits Peoples 65; education funding 32; Indigenous languages (endangered) 63–64 British North American Act (1867) 23 Brunner, C. 157 Bui, H., and Tran, L. T. 18, 67–79, 162 Canada: Aboriginal policy 55–56; Aboriginal students 37, 56–57; British North American Act (1867) 23; “cultural genocide” 55, 56; decentralized education institutions 23; educational attainment 23; Indigenous languages (endangered) 63–64; Indigenous people 55; residential schools (Aboriginal students) 56; Truth and Reconciliation Report (2015) 55–56 Canadian Counselling Association 62 Canadian higher education 23–38, 161–162; access costs 37; Alberta 28–29, 30–31, 32–33; British Columbia 32, 63–64, 65; case studies 28–29; colleges with direct denominational affiliations 25; conclusions 37–38; conflict theory 35–36; discussion 35–37; federal funding 31–34; General Facilities Council (GFC) 29–31; HE as sui generis 24–25; Investment Management Agreements 33; market model (problematizing) 28–31; Massey Commission 31; Minister of Colleges and Universities (Romano) 34, 35; neoliberalism vs. liberalism 27–28; new colleges 29–31; number in post-secondary institutions 24; Ontario 34–35, 36; overview 23–25; performance-based funding (PBF) 31, 32–33, 36; Quebec 31–32; salaries of university presidents 28; stakeholders’ interests 36; theoretical framework 25–26; and Welfare State 26–27; see also Cwélelep Canning, D., Bloom, D. and Chan, K. 84 Chan, K., Bloom, D. and Canning, D. 84 chapter synopsis 18–20 Chinese Nanyang University 108–110; Chen Mong Hock 109; History and Geography Department 109; history

curriculum 109; Hsu Yun Tsiao 109; Institute of South-East Asia 110; Wang Teh-Chao 109 Chinese students, Australian higher education 121 Chiramba, O., and Maringe, F. 19–20, 144–163 Chivaura, R. S. 19, 114–124, 162; migration history 118–119; racial discrimination incident 122 Christianity, and colonisation of nations 6–7 Clemence, A., Doise, W. and Spini, D. 116 Cloete, N., et al. 90 College of New Brunswick 25 colonialism: phenomenon 10; raw material/ resources extraction 2, 4–6 coloniality: of being 16; of knowledge 15–16, 47; post-apartheid South Africa 47; of power 15; preservation of status quo 14–15; term 149; three dimensions 15–16; white superiority message 149–150 colonisation: act 10; international financial institutions (IFIs) 146; phases 145–146 colonisation and epistemic injustice revisited 144–163; colonial legacy 148–150; colonial model dominance 161; colonisation phases 145–146; conclusions and implications 161–163; decoloniality 150–151; decolonisation (authority theory of resistance) 158–159; decolonisation (conceptual terrain) 145–147; decolonisation (contested term) 146–147; decolonisation (global or local significance) 154–155; decolonisation (resistance from HE) 148–149; epistemic injustice/violence 147–148, 155–158, 163; fulfilled life 151, 158; fulfilling life 151, 158; hermeneutical injustice 148; heterogeneity of the decolonia HE terrains 159–160; imperial nations’ belief of superiority 144; knowledge systems 151–155; language policies 159–161; overview 144–145; student resistance and protests 147; symbolic transformations of universities 159; technologisation/ digitisation 146; themes emerging (reflective account) 155–161 conflict theory 35–36 Connell, R. 41 Counselling in Indigenous Communities (master's degree) 62–63

168  Index

COVID-(19): austerity measures 47; Australian higher education 121; contextual efficacy of vaccines 13; inequalities in HE 147, 161; online teaching (poor students) 13; overseas students 79, 121; and performancebased funding (PBF) 35 Creole 160 Cultural Study research project 116–123; Australians’ view of young African men 117–118; author’s migration history 118–119; blackness equated to being a problem 120; blackness in Australia 114, 120; Chinese students 121; current first-hand views (2021) 117; English language competency 120; Ian (university staff) 122; Isabella (university staff) 121; Jo (participant) 117–118; Lee (participant) 118; life of multicultural subjects 122–123; loaded assumptions 119; marking criteria 121; need for English lessons 119; Phillip (participant) 120; Piper (racially abusive student) 122; racial discrimination incident 122; Reggie (participant) 119–120; stereotypes 118, 119–120; Sudanese Africans 120; tokenistic representation of black people 121–122; Zelda (participant) 121–122 culture, as shared meanings or symbols 116 curricula: arts subjects and humanities 44, 117, 158; decolonisation 13–14; Eurocentric 58; history 100, 101, 103, 105, 107–108, 109; post-colonial countries 2; see also knowledge production Cwélelep 55–66, 66n1; ceremony and protocols 64–65; Chief Andy Thomas 61; clash of cultures 64; Coast and Straits Peoples 65; conclusions 64–65; Counselling in Indigenous Communities (master’s degree) 62–63; decolonial scaffolding 58–59; Developmental Standard Term Certificate (DSTC) 59–60; First Nations communities 60; Hall’s poem 61–62; Indigenous Education in Techer Education 60; Indigenous Language Revitalization (master’s degree) 63–64; Indigenous pedagogy 65, 162–163; Indigenous Plan (2017) 58–59; language keepers 64; language revitalization 59–60; Lil’wat language 56; Lil’wat principles of teaching and learning 60; Linguistic Department 59;

Lorna’s story 59–61; overview 55–57; Schalay’nung Szweg’qa 61–62; territorial acknowledgement 55; Thunderbird/ Whale Protection and Welcoming Pole 60–62; understanding decolonization 57–58 Dahrendorf, R. 36 Dark Continent 3, 8 De Leeuw, S., and Hunt, S. 58 decolonisation: contested term 146–147; global or local significance 154–155 decolonisation (HE) 19; authority theory of resistance 158–159; chapter synopsis 18–20; and Christianity 6–7; colonial education 10–11; coloniality and decoloniality 14–16; conceptual ‘jungle’ 1–20; conceptual terrain 145–147; conclusions 16–18; curricula 13–14; decolonisation 11–16; diversity of approaches 57–58; Enlightenment in Europe 7; Industrial revolution 3–7; ‘jungle’ term 1; knowledge production 13; Marxism 8–9; overview 1–2; physical elements 11–12; pre-colonial condition 2–3; preservation of status quo 14–16, 47–49; resistance from HE 148–149; as ‘revolutionary act’ 51; scramble for Africa/colonies 7–8; understanding gap 17; university funding mechanisms 12 Dei, G. S. 86–87 Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) 51 Derrida, J. 26 Developmental Standard Term Certificate (DSTC) 59–60 dissonance and new learning see Cwélelep Doise, W., Spini, D. and Clemence, A. 116 Dougherty, K. J., and Natow, R. S. 27–28 Du Bois, W. E. B. 123 Durkheim, É. 26 educational attainment, Canada 23 educational model (Western) 9, 15, 91, 92; see also knowledge production empire-building (notion) 9 Engels, F., and Marx, K. 8 English language: competency 119, 120; compulsory foreign language 75–76; medium of instruction 76, 77, 78; teacher’s proficiency 78 Enlightenment: conception of human beings 130; tolerance 7

Index  169

epistemic decolonization (political project) 136–140 epistemic injustice/violence 147–148, 155–158, 163 Essop, A. 48 Ethiopia, introduction of ‘conventional’ education 129 Fanon, F. 115, 118, 120, 122 fee-free university education 12, 131, 147 Fees Must Fall protests 12, 16, 41, 46, 51, 147 Foucault, M. 26 Frauley, J. 36 Freire, P. 126, 131; pedagogy forged with the people 133–134, 135 French as main language 72, 74 Fricker, M. 148 Frisby, A. W. (director of education Singapore) 104

History of Modern Malaya, The (Tregonning) 108 Ho, Chi Tim 108 Hountondji, P. K. 86 Hsu, Yun Tsiao 109 humanities and art subjects: female students 158; phased out/downsized 44, 117 Hungwe, J.P., and Ndofirepi, A. P. 84–95 Hunt, S., and De Leeuw, S. 58 Hursh, D. W., and Henderson, J. A. 42 imperialism, globality and neoliberalism 129–130 Indigenous Language Revitalization (master’s degree) 63–64 Indigenous pedagogy 65 Indigenous people: colonial education injustices 10–11; subjects of empire 2; understanding of past 3 Industrial Revolution 3–7; and colonisation 145–146; technologisation/digitisation 6, 146 industrial trade, export of excess goods 9 international financial institutions (IFIs): colonisation 146; neoliberalism 42; South Africa 45

General Facilities Council (GFC) 29; Council of Deans 31; University of Alberta 29–31, 30 Giroux, H. 24, 26, 36, 37, 126, 161; bare pedagogy 131–132, 133 ‘knowledge economy’ 46, 48 globality and neoliberalism 129–131, 140; dangers 138; nation-state weakening 137–138; as new ‘imperialism’ 129–130 globalization, and multipolar world 148 Gomes, A. M., et al. 131 Gorski, P. C. 128 Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) 46

Jones, G. A. 25 Journal of Southeast Asian History 108 Journal of Southeast Asian Researches 110 Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 108 Journal of the South Sea Studies Society 109 journals: African research 138–139; language policies 139 justice, distributive/redistributive 17

Halalt First Nations 57 Hall, B.: background 57; and Williams, L. 18, 55–66, 162–163 Hall, S. 19, 114, 116–117, 124 Hardy, Thomas 151 Harris, R. 24–25 Heleta, S. 18, 40–51 Henderson, J. A., and Hursh, D. W. 42 Herbert, J., et al. 115, 124 higher education (HE): attack by rightwing forces 37; classical view 25; fee-free education 12, 131, 147; functionalist perspective 23; and liberalism 27; marketization 26, 28, 36, 43–44, 49, 130–131, 136; policy regulation 26; purposes 37; purposes (Barnett) 36; social justice 36; socially just 17

Kamola, I. 48 Kariwo, M. T. 18, 23–38, 161–162 Khoo, K. K. 99, 105–106 King’s College (Windsor) 25 King’s College (York/Toronto) 25 knowledge and power, Foucault on 26 knowledge production: Africanness of a university 93, 95, 137, 162; and colonial legacy 150; commoditisation 89; decolonising knowledge systems 151–155; decolonization 50; dominance of Western epistemic models 13, 58, 65; Eurocentric knowledge system 65; foreign donor agencies (agenda) 94; ‘global knowledge economy’ 46, 48; globalization 131; hegemony of Western canon 151–152, 155–156, 158; hierarchy of authority 88, 94;

170  Index

institutional understanding 88–89; knowledge enterprise (universities) 84; neutral construction and dissemination 139; problem-solving 14; see also politics of knowing language policies: Anglophone colonies 159–160; bifurcated colonial control 160–161; English as compulsory foreign language 75–76; English as medium of instruction 76, 77, 78; English language competency 119, 120; French- / English-speaking divisions (countries) 160; French as main language 72, 74; French colonies 160; hegemonic influence of English 152; journals 139; local languages 134, 159–160; Portuguese colonies 160; South Africa 160; teacher’s English proficiency 78 Lee, E. 99 Lee, Kuan Yew (Prime Minister) 103–104 liberalism, Newman’s idea of university 27 linguistic decolonization 74 Lynch, K. 46 Mabasa, K. 45–46, 48 Mac Ginty, R., and Williams, A. 42 Magkoba, M. W. 86, 87 Malaysia and Singapore higher education 98–112, 162; Chinese Nanyang University 108–110; conclusions 112; decolonization of historical knowledge 103–108, 110–111; ‘epistemic injustice’ (colonial era) 99–103; history curriculum 105; History Departments 99, 104–105, 107, 111; ‘intellectual decolonization’ 98; Japanese Occupation 103–104; local staff (taking over) 110–111; ‘Malay States’ 111; overview 98–99; preparing for the coming Malayan nation 106, 107; Prime Minister Lee 103–104; recovery of Indigenous knowledge 103; University of Singapore 98, 110, 112; see also Raffles College; University of Malaya Maldonado-Torres, N. 14 Manthalu, C. H. 19, 126–141, 163 Maringe, F. 1–20; and Chiramba, O. 19–20, 144–163; and Ojo, E. 50 Marx, K. 26; and Engels, F. 8 Marxism 8–9, 25 Massey Commission 31 ‘material decolonization’ 50–51

Mazrui, A. 93, 94 McChesney, R. W. 27 McGill College (Montreal) 25 medical doctors (qualification’s from ‘easy’ universities) 121 Mignolo, W. 16 mineral wealth, pre-colonial 3 Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) 77–78 Mkhize, N., and Mzileni, P. 136 Morreira, S., et al. 41 Mpambo 65 Mudimbe, V. Y. 86 multiculturalism, Australian higher education 114, 122–123 Mzileni, P., and Mkhize, N. 136 Nandy, A. 85, 89 nation-state (weakening by globalization) 137–138 National University of Singapore (NUS), formerly University of Singapore 98, 110, 112 nationalistic groups (rise) 122–123 Natow, R. S., and Dougherty, K. J. 27–28 Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. 47, 150 Ndofirepi, A. P. 18–19, 162; and Hungwe, J.P. 84–95 Nelson, R. 32 neoliberal theory, prescription for action 28 neoliberalism: academic capitalism 25; dominant economic/development ideology 42; entrepreneurial values 130–131; and globality 129–131; international financial institutions (IFIs) 42, 45; marketization 26, 27, 28, 36, 43–44, 49, 130–131, 136; as most dangerous ideology 36; origins 27; selfregulating market 130–131; Thatcher/ Regan regimes 27; ‘Washington Consensus’ 42–43; Welfare State (replacement) 27, 43 Ngugi, W. M. 50–51 Nguyen, H. T., et al. 77 Nha, Professor 71 Nkrumah, Kwame 87 Ojo, E., and Maringe, F. 50 Olu-Adeyemi, L. 139 online teaching (poor students) 13 Ontario: “common sense revolution” 36; neoliberal policies 34–35; performancebased funding (PBF) 34–35 Opium Wars 4

Index  171

Parkinson, C. N. 106 performance-based funding (PBF): Alberta 31, 32–33; and COVID-(19) 35; graduate employment and income rates 33, 34–35; indicator metrics 31, 33, 34, 35; Ontario 34–35; social justice 36 pluriversity 65 politics of knowing 84–95; African and non-African curricula balance 94; African identity question 86; African modalities 87; African universities 90–91; Africanisation of epistemological issues 93; Africanness of a university 86–88, 93, 162; conclusions 94–95; controversial questions 85–86; foreign donor agencies 94; hegemony of knowledge norms 92; hierarchy of authority 88, 89, 91, 94; indigenisation of knowledge 92; intellectual product 86; knowledge redefined 88–90; liberated knowledges 92–94; overview 84–86; power dynamic 85, 88; production of knowledge 88–89; ‘publish or perish’ mantra 91; transformation of epistemologies 90, 92–93; Western education models 91, 92; Western scientific knowledge 93–94 Postma, D., Spreen, C. A. and Vally, S. 44–45 pre-colonial condition: history written by colonialists 2; mineral wealth 3; significant raw materials 4–6 Quebec, neoliberal policies 31–32 Quijano, A. 149 race: colonial legacy 149–150; as principle of classification 116–117 racial capitalism 47 Raffles College: Brian Harrison 99, 103, 105; C. D. Cowan 104–105; G. W. Bayliss 99, 103; graduates 100, 101; history curriculum 100, 101, 103; History Department 104; Meyer Marshall 103; ‘Oriental History’ 99–100; Paul Chang 103; Philip Holden 100; recovery of Indigenous knowledge 103; Richard O. Winstedt 101–102; Tan Teik Hock 103; textbooks 100; University of Malaya (reconstructed to) 99, 103; V. Ponniah 103; W. E. Dyer 99, 100–101, 105; see also University of Malaya Raffles College Historical Society 103 Raffles, Sir Thomas 101

Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP) 46 religion: church and state 6; colleges’ denominational affiliations 25; traditional marriages 6–7; voyages of discovery 145, 163 Rhodes Must Fall protests 12, 58, 147, 152 Sardar, Z. 15 Shilliam, R. 49 Singapore see Malaysia and Singapore higher education Singh, M. 70 Smith, Adam 27 Smith, L. T. 65 social justice, higher education 36 South Africa: African National Congress (ANC) 45; Black Consciousness 51; colonial Dutch/British HE institutions 47; coloniality of being 16; decolonial thinkers 149; economic neoliberal restructuring 45; education used to subjugate black majority 47; end of the Cold War (impact) 45; English and Afrikaans languages 160; Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) 46; international financial institutions (IFIs) 45; language policies 160; nationalities and new hierarchies 16; neo-apartheid capitalism 45–46; postapartheid period 45; race and status 16; racial capitalism 50; racial laws 16; rationing education 41; Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP) 46; unequal country 40, 46 South African higher education 40–51; academic staff (temporary contracts) 47; access costs 41, 49; black universities (formerly) 48–49; conclusions 50–51; COVID-(19) 47; Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) 47, 51; Eurocentric curricula 58; exploitation of black labour (universities) 47; fee-free education 12, 147; Fees Must Fall protests 12, 41, 46; government spending 46; marketization 49; ‘material decolonization’ 50–51; neoliberalism 42–47; overview 40–42; participation rate (black students) 49; post-apartheid 45, 47–49; racialized exploitation/oppression 44–45, 47–48; student protests 50; white institutions (historically) 47; see also politics of knowing

172  Index

Spini, D., Clemence, A. and Doise, W. 116 Spivak, G. C. 157 Spooner, M. 35 Spreen, C. A., Postma, D. and Vally, S. 44–45 state religions, Christianity 6 Stiglitz, J. 43 Stockwell, A. J. 106 student debt, for-profit education industry 44 students, as ‘customers’ 24, 44 Swettenham, F. 101 Tavernaro-Haidarian, L. 127–128 Thompson, C. B. 138 Toh, Chin Chye 98, 112 Tran, L. T.: and Bui, H. 18, 162; et al. 76 Tregonning, K. G. 108 Tuck, E., and Yang, K. W. 58 Tyler, R. W. 13 university: Africanness of a university 93, 95, 137, 162; concept of ‘multiversity’ 65; consciousness of African identity 87; Dei conception 86–87; funding mechanisms 12; Newman’s idea of 27; as ‘spatial entity’ 136; symbolic transformations 159 University of Alberta 29–31, 30; Campus Alberta Grant 33; Faculty of Native Studies 30–31; new colleges 29–31, 30; performance-based funding (PBF) 31, 32–33 University of Alberta for Tomorrow 30 University of Malaya: C. N. Parkinson 104, 105, 106; Chancellor Malcolm MacDonald 103, 104; E.T. Stokes 105; graduates 106–107, 108, 109; history curriculum 105, 107–108; History Department 104–105, 107, 111; K. G. Tregonning 107, 108, 110, 111; Kula Lumpur campus 110; Raffles College (reconstructed from) 99, 103; Southeast Asian Studies 104; Ungku Aziz 98, 112; Wang Gungwu 106–107, 110, 111; Wong Lin Ken 110 University of Malaya in Kula Lumpur 110, 111 University of Singapore 98, 110, 112 University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) 147 University of Victoria (Canada) see Cwélelep

Vally, S., Postma, D. and Speen, C. A. 44–45 Vietnam: American incursion 73; Communist Party 73, 75; Dai Viet dynasties 70; Geneva Agreement (1954) 72, 73 Vietnamese higher education 67–79, 162; binary language system 72; CentrePeriphery dichotomy 67, 79; children’s education (parents’ investment) 71; Chinese colonial influence 70–71; Chinese writing characters 70–71; Chu Nom 70–71; Communism (collapse in USSR) 74–75; conclusions 79; Confucian ideology 70, 71, 74, 78; COVID-(19) 79; decolonization and internationalization 69–70; Doi Moi 68, 74–76; English as compulsory foreign language 75–76; English as medium of instruction 76, 77, 78; English proficiency (low) 76, 78; French as main language 72, 74; French colonial influence 71–72; Higher Education Reform Agenda (HERA) 75; Imperial Academy 70; internationalization at institutional level 76–78; linguistic decolonization 74; mandatory subjects 78; Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) 77–78; National Foreign Languages project (2020) 76; overview 67–69; policy of keeping natives ignorant 71–72; “project 911” 77–78; Romanized Vietnamese script 72, 74; rote learning 71; Soviet education model 73, 74, 75, 79; teacher’s English proficiency 78 voyages of discovery 145, 157, 163 Wangoola, N. 65 ‘Washington Consensus’ 42–43, 148 Weber, M. 26 Weiler, H. 88, 89, 91 Welfare State: Keynesian Economics 26–27; and neoliberalism 27, 43 Western education models: export 9; hegemony 15; politics of knowing 91, 92; see also knowledge production Whitehead, C. 103 Wilder, Rev. 3 Williams, A., and Mac Ginty, R. 42 Williams, L.: background 56–57, 59–61; and Hall, B. 18, 55–66, 162–163 Willis, K. 42 Winstedt, R. O. 101–102

Index  173

Woldegiorgis, E. T., et al. 69, 129 writing, origins in Africa 2–3 Yang, K. W., and Tuck, E. 58

Zainal, A. B. A. W. 111 Zawada, D. 136 Zuma, President 147 Zwane, D. 128