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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Phelps-Stokes Fund, African Education, and Agricultural Underdevelopment in Southern Africa, 1903-1935
Author:Hull, Richard W.
Periodical:Africana Journal
Geographic term:Southern Africa
vocational education
agricultural innovations
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Education and Oral Traditions
History and Exploration
Abstract:This essay takes a new look at an old philosophy of African education, a philosophy that, in light of the present food crisis in Africa, has assumed a new relevancy. It concerns the discredited Phelps-Stokes approach to African education and economic development, an approach that was unveiled just 65 years ago after an exhaustive field study of educational practices in colonial Africa. The seminal Phelps-Stokes reports of 1922 and 1924 triggered a debate with deep political and philosophical dimensions. The debate centred on the value and relevance of a practical, rural and community-based curriculum geared to the expansion of smallholder capitalist-oriented agriculture, as opposed to a more classical and urban-oriented course of studies stressing political science and the liberal arts. Embedded in the controversy, which continues to the present, is the question of appropriate strategies for growth and development in Africa. Over the last six decades, critics have maintained that the Phelps-Stokes reports constituted little more than racist blueprints aimed at retarding the development of Africans. This essay argues, however, that, to the contrary, the Phelps-Stokes reports were extremely prescient and in tune with the long-term needs for self-reliance and authentic development. Ref.