Music Score For The Good The Bad And The Ugly The Decline of African Universities, Hope and Despair on the Postcolonial Campus

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The Decline of African Universities, Hope and Despair on the Postcolonial Campus

Although Africans were among the first creators of human civilization, the modern African university owes nothing to African genius. It is clear that it will create a colonial state.

In the modern world, Africa is underdeveloped regardless of the index we use. Writer and broadcaster Ali Mazroui compares Africa to the decaying Garden of Eden, where it once had everything but now has lost everything, where yesterday it was a king but today it is impoverished.

However, African universities alone have grown tenfold, producing thousands of graduates. But numbers are not the game here. African universities have so far betrayed the vibrant traditions that once animated the continent. Despite poverty and backwardness, these traditions still enliven rural Africa. Consider the example of the Acholi people of northern Uganda.

The emergence of the African novel in Ibadan and the emergence of contemporary African art in Zaria, both events in the middle of the last century, were linked to the colonial students who shaped the moment finding ways to reconnect with their African past. drew strength.

Today, African universities, whether in Senegal or Mali, are not based on rich African traditions, but on pre-colonial African routes. This is the problem. Because the colonial past is a past of despair. It represented a time when African initiative was lost.

Unlike the universities of ancient Timbuktu or medieval Europe, the colonial university was not an organic institution. It didn’t get off the ground. It could not lay the foundation for cultural and academic flourishing. It was limited in scale and scope. It admits few students and offers a few carefully selected courses taught by colonial professors. Colonial students were cultural refugees, cut off from the treasured homes of their heritage.

There was little to distinguish between a colonial professor and a colonial administrator. Both were steeped in colonial culture. During colonial times, as a white person, you could not live in Africa except as a colonizer. Colonialism Karen Blixen’s life in colonial Kenya shows that it was a collective thing. It was a living experience that absorbed everyone from the capital who lived in the colony.

However, the colonial university was a complex thing. There was little doubt about its mission to reproduce the colonial state and promote colonial culture. In Africa, there is a tendency to equate colonial culture with European culture. But colonial culture did not exist in Europe, not really. Europe was democratic with few exceptions. Europe’s colonies in Africa had a strict dictatorship, as we find in many African countries today.

The colonial university emerged out of the degraded conditions brought about by colonialism. The colonial university could not be a marketplace of ideas in the sense that Oxford, Cambridge, and the Sorbonne were and still are. But the colonial university was working wonderfully within it. The magnificent facade gave the grace of the capital campus, shining calmness, kindness and integrity. Within its four walls, the conflict of imperialism seemed far away.

Just before independence, the post-colonial state inherited a colonial university whose complexities were not well understood. Heritage was his most valuable possession. The desire for knowledge and learning was so intense that the possibilities were limited. Chinua Achebe noted that the colonial university was the only good thing that colonialism did to Nigeria.

In the direct mail colony, the new President became overnight the new chancellor of a national university, but it was only a national university. Nothing pleased the President more than to preside over a meeting in full academic garb. In its post-colonial phase, the colonial university, which was seen as a symbol of prestige, was slipping into externals and away from its essence. During the colonial period, the organization knew exactly its purpose, was aware of its mission, and acted accordingly. Now the new managers of the place did not understand the dynamics of the work, but acted as if everything was normal.

By the authority vested in me, I confer the degree of Bachelor of Science upon all whose names I read. By the authority vested in me, I confer the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon all whose names I read. These became a litany of postcolonial institutions. In the end, everything depended on it. Moreover, a sign regime was established.

The ceremonies took place in a post-colonial culture saturated with music and contemporary pop culture. Modern pop is suddenly a new force in this country.

Over time, the new colonial state multiplied its most valuable possessions. The hunger for knowledge was acute. Men and women from all disciplines were needed. All kinds of technical skills were required. In the post-colonial country, everything was scarce.

The state sincerely wanted development and wanted the development of its people. But it was business as usual at the old colonial university. The former colonial professors continued to do what they had done before.

Even though the direct colonial university was constantly graduating students, it was facing an identity crisis. What does it mean to be a university? What does it mean to be African? These questions were not asked, even if the crisis ran deep on the postcolonial campus. Post-colonial university learning and research programs were ironic in a society emerging from colonialism and seeking its own path and place in the modern world. At a post-colonial university in Nairobi in the late 60s, determined young teachers led by the then young Ngugi wa Thiong’o struggled to include African and non-European literature in the curriculum.

Fifty years after independence, the old question takes on an urgent tone. How have African universities faired since independence? What’s going on there? According to a Nigerian daily, what Olugesun Obasanjo said that what professors were interested in was drinks and beautiful girls, is it true?

In the mid-1970s, a prominent African statesman declared that Africa had come of age at the summit of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa. But across Africa, even as he spoke, there was an era of coups d’état. He himself found his way to the Summit with a gun.

How will Africa come of age without universities? Was it a Japanese example? Is this an example of the new China we saw at the Beijing Olympics? Where would Europe be without universities? Intellectual traditions are well established in Russia and Poland.

There is a little-known novel about the state of the post-colonial university called Running Marks. Published in 2002 at Ahmadu Bello University (where I taught). A book written by University lecturer Ahmadu Bello provides a rare insight into what is happening in African universities. It is certainly a Nigerian book, but it can be assumed that it represents the African reality in general.

Far from being a great man of letters, and in many ways untalented as a writer, Mark on the Run provides an entry into the world of the post-colonial university. observer on site.

The old colonial town is gone. No tears. A huge building was built in its place and was hastily erected. Hundreds and thousands of students attend, but most do not know why they are there. The old colonial professor is gone; No one there talks about spears and bows anymore!

But there are teachers and professors on campus who know next to nothing about their fields, represent no knowledge, and have no cultural background. To be sure there are exceptions. The living conditions of the students are terrible. Renting in the city is even worse. How anyone can study and learn under such conditions is beyond imagination.

Gone is the old colonial mission of “for the glory of empire” that once guided learning and the curriculum. But nothing was put in its place. In a vacuum, grades, grading procedures, and the final certificate at the end take center stage. This is done through the combined tyranny of teachers and professors who invoke the African thing about respect for elders out of context. “Where is your character?” is frequently absent from the campus.

The university has become big business. Fake businessmen learn to hunt and sign bogus contracts to supply fake equipment and unused reagents. A growing number of lecturers find a place to mark time and make dough here. For most students, university has become a place for grades and unearned diplomas far removed from the rigor and discipline of the colonial university. “Where’s the good time?”

A professor at Ahmadu Bello University told me recently. Nobody gets a degree here. We will beat them. He pointed to his fellow graduate students huddled under the shade in the midday heat. Among them were his young colleagues who were pursuing their Ph.D. Now the Nigerian term hyphen means to give freely.

Science and intellectual things take a back seat in the novel; Money and sex will replace ideas as a real form of academic exchange. In real life, you can see this in the face of post-colonial campuses with a focus on material possessions and no mention of academics.

But don’t despair, all is not lost on the post-colonial campus. There is a group of talented professors and many talented and determined students – young people in love with the ideals of a modern and prosperous Africa. In a post-colonial town, there is a battle between good, bad and ugly. Running Marks by Audee T. Giwa is a report by front line reporters.

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