On Thursday 14 October 2021 we ran a seminar on Pan-African education. During the seminar, Dr. Marah took participants through the eight stages of African education on the continent and in the diaspora in historical order. The discussion metamorphosed during the 8th stage of African education (PanAfrican education) leading us to the questions. Below is a summary of some of the key questions raised during the seminar:
(1) Director of the African History Project (AHP), Apeike Umolu drew on the viewpoint of Edward Blyden to ask the question “what would the relationship between esteem and tolerance look like manifested today in Africa ?”
Dr Marah emphasized Pan-Africanism as a tolerant concept and living practice. He carried on by explaining that African systems are pluralistic and tolerant but unfortunately, many of the current systems employed over the continent are not African. He went on to say that esteem is important to Africans and is shown via tolerance. Finally, if we can include our traditional systems into our daily lives and educational framework, we would see tolerance and esteem being manifested.
(2) Senior Fellow at AHP, Kai Mora broached the subject of black people and institutions being incubators of their culture particularly when abroad rather than a balloon losing what one has within
Dr Marah clarified that there is nothing wrong with learning foreign things or receiving foreign education; however that should not be the epitome of our education as Africans and people of African descent. Emphasis was placed on the curriculum being taught at these institutions. Getting involved with African study groups and African studies as a module would be beneficial in incorporating the question “what does this mean for me and my people?”. Conclusively, being a part of the globe, we cannot negate ourselves from the world but we must be intellectually alert and look to learn about ourselves.
(3) Dr Asumah brought up for discussion African cosmology and its link to Pan African education
“Are you a prime mover of your knowledge?” Dr Marah asks. Pan African education is an integral part of African cosmology, it is an enlargement of understanding. It is inclusive, it is transcendent. It puts us in the centre of things rather than the periphery. He encouraged us all to look at ourselves from a viewpoint of equality and not subservience to others. This discussion briefly allowed us touch on the next lecture with Dr Ogen on African religion and it’s triple heritage
(4) Professor McDougal was interested in exploring the consequences of Pan African education if it does become a reality
The benefits would be numerous as it would see Africa become more competitive in the international system and attend to the various problems currently troubling the continent. “If Africa can get her house in order, she will be in a much better position to assist those beyond its shores particularly Africans in the diaspora”, Dr Marah vouches. Finally, effecting Pan African education on the continent would see to it that states cease to make Africa their playground
(5) Dr Asumah opined that Dr Marah should reconsider having sports, music, dance and the like as formal means to achieve PanAfrican education rather than informal
Dr Marah expressed that the informal channels were to be used as integrative devices and could exist as both formal and informal means to achieve Pan African education when possible
(6) A participant, Ayo had the following questions:
- How can we incorporate financial education into our Pan African education
- What role does this play
- How do we contribute, build schemes and structures to help uphold our goal for Pan African education
The three questions were answered as one as Dr Marah pointed out that the African Union and a good number of African universities are financed by sponsors from the Global North who would have their own interests to uphold. Consequently, we need to create platforms, sensitise people about them, financially support these platforms but most importantly hold them accountable as finances affect curricula and research.
Tishe Wuraola | Monday 18 October 2021