Jess Auerbach on a decolonial social science curriculum in Africa

25 May 2018

Jess Auerbach is a member of the Social Science Faculty at the African Leadership
University, a brand new African institute of higher education, in Mauritius. Her faculty is making "seven commitments" to "shift educational discourse in a more equitable and representative direction."

Public Domain, Link


  • To make all coursework and reading material open source by 2019
  • To assign texts in language beyond English
  • To ensure a 1:1 student exchange ratio
  • To assign non-textual sources of "history, culture, and belief" because text is not enough
  • To encourage collaboration with other schools and branches of social science
  • To ensure that students use their own insight and experience to create media because they are producers and not just consumers of knowledge
  • To inculcate the highest standards of ethics

To read the full text behind these commitments, read the full article on The Conversation.


A very brilliant and compelling initiative! “Text is not enough”, indeed! The pedagogical practices in vogue today are confronted with a proclivity towards critical engagement, highlighting dialectics, with questions of equality and diversity, coloniality, decoloniality and pluriversality/multiversality particularly as germane to curricula transformation towards more inclusive education. This takes us away from what Claude Ake identifies as the ‘homogenization of westernization’ of knowledge and truth. The attempt to "assign non-textual sources of history, culture and belief in order to instil a much deeper knowledge and sensitive awareness to context and content" resonates with our impending methodology workshop, which comes on in the Ghanaian oil and harbor city of Takoradi from June 11-13, 2018. In Takoradi, field informants from Benin Republic, Gao, Mali, and Ghana will assemble to tell the stories of their lives, their lived experiences, around currency, food, and music. The workshop is designed to develop community-generated knowledge to produce a more humanistic comprehension of Pan Africanism, one that is sensitive to the daily practices of living in a globally-directed world. We shall demonstrate the value of, and potential in, co-creation of knowledge between academics affiliated to the Ghana country project and the conventional informants of the field. In the end, the workshop and the conversations that would supervene, we hope, would enable us to construct a new syllabus, based on humanistic knowledge of the mobilities across borders, for building a curricula in situ on Grass Roots Pan-Africanism. Kojo Opoku Aidoo