Posted to the Ethnos Project by on March 11th, 2012


Many academic and popular writers have warned that the internet could be another form of cultural imperialism used by corporate-led western powers to force feed western values and worldviews to the rest of the world, similar to how Western education was imposed on Africa after colonisation. These ongoing arguments about one-way flows of information that shape African minds in Western moulds reinforce desires for dominance and promote an attitude of victimization. Others perceive internet as a panacea to social problems without considering the context in which it would or could be appropriate. This paper draws on research undertaken in 36 primary and secondary schools in five West and Central African countries to look at pedagogical opportunities educators and learners bring to African schools as they use computers and internet in teaching and learning processes. We argue that if appropriated in reflective and creative ways, the internet can become a tool for affirming African values such as community and interdependence. In addition, the internet can be used by teachers and students to help develop critical attitudes as opposed to promoting individualism and consumerism, linked with Western values. Critical and emancipatory pedagogies are part of the process necessary to challenge structural phenomena such as profit-driven globalisation that impoverish, silence, exclude and limit creativity.

Keywords: internet, youth, education, Africa, cultural imperialism, pedagogical integration of ICT

ICT and Changing Mindsets in Education

The chapter above is from a book entitled ICT and Changing Mindsets in Education (edited by Kathryn Toure, Therese Mungah Shalo Tchombe, and Thierry Karsenti), available online on the Réseau Ouest et Centre Africain de Recherche en Education (ROCARE) website:

The debate is no longer whether to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in education in Africa but how to do so, and how to ensure equitable access for teachers and learners, whether in urban or rural settings. This is a book about how Africans adopt and adapt ICT. It is also about how ICT shape African schools and classrooms. Why do we use ICT, or not? Do girls and boys use them in the same ways? How are teachers and students in primary and secondary schools in Africa using ICT in teaching and learning? How does the process transform relations among learners, educators and knowledge construction?

This collection by 19 researchers from Africa, Europe, and North America, explores these questions from a pedagogical perspective and specific socio-cultural contexts. Many of the contributors draw on learning theory and survey data from 36 schools, 66000 students and 3000 teachers. The book is rich in empirical detail on the perceived importance and appropriation of ICT in the development of education in Africa. It critically examines the potential for creative use of ICT to question habits, change mindsets, and deepen practice. The contributions are in both English and French.

To read the entire book online, please visit the ROCARE website.

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