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Contradictions in Post-War Education Policy Formation and Application in Colonial Malawi 1945-1961
by:Isaac Chikwekwere Lamba
The post-World War II colonial reconstruction programmes for economic recovery and general political and social development in Malawi (then known as Nyasaland) necessitated increased education. But the sincerity of metropolitan development plans for the colonies could only be adequately appraised through the degree of demonstrated commitment in the...
The post-World War II colonial reconstruction programmes for economic recovery and general political and social development in Malawi (then known as Nyasaland) necessitated increased education. But the sincerity of metropolitan development plans for the colonies could only be adequately appraised through the degree of demonstrated commitment in the implementation of the announced plans. This study seeks to examine chronologically the development and application of colonial education policies during the period 1945 to 1961 in Malawi. The parties involved included the British Colonial Office, the Nyasaland Protectorate Government and the Christian missionaries on the one hand, and the European settlers, Asian, Coloured and African communities on the other as the target groups of the policies. Devising educational policies of equitable benefit to all the racial and social groupings in Malawi posed enormous problems to the colonial administration. This study, examining the dynamics and course of policy, contends that, given the prevailing economic and political conditions, non-European education, especially that of Africans, experienced retardation in favour of European education. Sometimes apparent government ineptitude, combined with calculated needs for the Europeans, produced under-development for African education in Malawi and the country's economy. In the end, African education operated against the odds of missionary and government apathy. This book discusses the impact on education, generally, of the Nyasaland Post-War Development Programme, the Colonial Office Commissions of 1947, 1951 and 1961, and the local Committees set up to inquire into the retardation of African education in its various categories, including female and Muslim, in response to both local and international pressure. Although considered a priority, African education developed slowly, contrary to the declared goal of Post-War colonial policy of self- determination with its potential demands for trained local manpower. The argument demonstrates the tenacity of the Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in playing down African education as a political strategy from 1953 to 1961 at the same time as it accorded a better deal to Asian and Coloured education.
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