oa Africa Insight - The imbalances of educational development in Southern Africa

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



The understanding of educational developments in Africa is made difficult, particularly for observers overseas, by the fact that the problems arising in developing countries differ in nature and intensity from those in developed countries and by the fact, which should not be forgotten, that the Western system of schooling is foreign to the traditions of Africa. The grafting process and the tending of the young plant, vigorous though it proves especially at the present stage of African history, create certain situations which are often characterized as bottlenecks in the literature. The term imbalance is perhaps more precise, since education systems tend to develop disequilibria of proportions even where the direction and the goals of development are clearly defined. These imbalances are due, on the one hand, to the changing evaluation of Western schools by the Africans and, on the other, to the difficulty of co-ordinating educational progress with the unexpectedly rapid changes in the social, economic and political sphere, of anticipating the nature of the transformation of African communities and of avoiding the various snags which the rush of historical events throws up.

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