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Educational change and cultural politics: national identity-formation in Zimbabwe

by Mpondi, Douglas

Abstract (Summary)
The study investigates how the post-independent government of Zimbabwe, as seen through the lens of its cultural critics, used the institution of education as a focal point for nation-building and social transformation. The project examines how critics respond to the use of educational change as a way of political legitimization. Whilst a number of scholars have focused on post-colonial Zimbabwe during the post-1980 period, they did not have the chance to study it during the post-2000 era, which was a critical and dramatic historical juncture because of the turmoil and a reversal trend of the promises that were made at independence. The qualitative research approach was formulated to collect data on education and language policy, politics and culture from a cross-section of people of the Zimbabwean society. Brief case study interviews were conducted to provide newer and richer details on Zimbabwean cultural landscape. The research design was structured to allow for the use of documentary and archival sources for the collection of qualitative and historical data, participant-observation, and for the use of the interview to solicit perspectives, viewpoints and perceptions. The case study of Zimbabwe shows that an official historiography of national culture was imposed at independence through educational change as a way of political legitimization. The Zimbabwean education system is situated in the context of culture, knowledge and power. While the Zimbabwean official discourse on national culture includes claims to homogeneity, it also conflicts directly with the leadership elite’s maintenance of hierarchies of class. The elites actually need the heterogeneity they also deny. The postcolonial state is replicating the colonial state. English dominates as the media of instruction in schools and as the official language in Zimbabwe. The curriculum is itself part of what has been called a selective tradition. The curriculum is always the result of struggle and comprise. Zimbabwean artists, through music and literature are fighting for the creation of new political spaces and public spheres that fall outside traditional definitions of the government. Artistic expression expands discursive space and dialogue on national issues and gives us alternative stories and possibilities about Zimbabwean realities, cultures, and identities.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:future education and politics in zimbabwe identity art social change

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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