Declaration of Decolonizing Education (draft for comments)

I can no longer accept a narrative of education, which teaches me that my village grandmother was illiterate, primitive, backward, stupid, uneducated, underdeveloped, uncivilized and not capable of managing their own affairs.

I can no longer accept a narrative of education which standardizes, sorts, brands, and condemns millions of beautiful brilliant talented children around the world as ‘failures’, ‘problems’ and ‘slow learners’ and uses certification as a tool for denying people access to future learning and working opportunities.

I can no longer accept a narrative of education that teaches us that the ‘head’ is more important than the heart, the hands and home.

I can no longer accept a narrative of education that sees my links to my land, to my local languages, to my seeds, to my rivers, to my trees, to my histories and herstories, to my body, to my inner voice, to the spirit world, to my community all as a barrier to modernization and development which must at best be destroyed if we are to progress, and at worst be condemned to a multicultural day festival in school.

I can no longer accept a narrative of education that teaches me that physical work in the fields, in my home and in my community is drudgery and my children’s definition of ‘happiness’ lies in drinking Coca Cola, eating at McDonalds, using Fair and Lovely face whitening creams and chatting on Facebook.

I can no longer accept a narrative of education that teaches me that I have to compete against others in my community and against peoples from other countries to survive.

I can no longer accept a narrative which teaches me that learning is a commodity (along with the air, water, land, food) and that knowledge is the property of individuals through copyrights and patents.

I can no longer accept a narrative of education that teaches me that we are poor in education because we don’t have schools, trained teachers or scientific knowledge. So we need more foreign direct investment, we need more foreign aid, we need more public-private partnerships, we need more free trade agreements, and we need to always trust the Experts over the wisdom of our communities.

I can no longer accept a narrative that gives power to the ‘Ministry of Human Resources’ to define what it means to be human.


So… I invite you to an ever-deepening conversation on reclaiming, celebrating, co-creating and re-animating our diverse learning cultures and eco-systems. 


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