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Unveiling Africa’s Re-Rooting in African Education Summit champions Afrocentric learning

The summit, held in Lagos, Nigeria, challenged the Eurocentric nature of the current education system and fostered a deeper appreciation for African history, culture, and identity.
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In a groundbreaking event focused on reshaping education in Africa , the RIAH Re-Rooting in African Education Summit, in partnership with Teach for Nigeria, brought together teachers, educators, and policymakers from across Africa to discuss the importance of an Afrocentric approach to education and the inclusion of African languages in schools.

The summit, held in Lagos, Nigeria, challenged the Eurocentric nature of the current education system and fostered a deeper appreciation for African history, culture, and identity.

Chizoba Imoka,PhD, co-convener of the summit, emphasised the need to reflect on Nigeria’s education system, which was designed to advance the treaties of the Berlin Conference, a historical event that partitioned Africa among European powers. . Imoka lamented that subjects like history were often overshadowed, despite their crucial role in shaping a nation’s identity. She highlighted that history is a living thing and advocated for its reinvention to ensure a more accurate representation of African heritage.

Folawe Omikunle, CEO and co-convener of Teach for Nigeria, emphasised the significance of the summit in promoting history and African-centered teaching methodologies. Oku Kanayo Egbeni, co-convener and director of Freedom School in Kenya, reiterated the essence of Afrocentrism, emphasising that it places Africa and its values at the forefront of education.

During his keynote address, Egbeni, reiterated the significance of Afrocentrism, emphasising that it encompasses placing Africa first in all things. He highlighted Africa’s role as the mother feeding the world, irrespective of the treatment it receives. Egbeni also emphasised that Afrocentrism extends beyond language alone and should permeate all aspects of education.

The former Commissioner of Education for Lagos State,Folashade Adefisayo, emphasised the necessity of curriculum development to reflect African values, languages, history, and culture. She stressed that teachers must embrace this process to ensure a well-rounded education that embraces and celebrates African heritage.

She called upon teachers to embrace this process, acknowledging that it is crucial for fostering a sense of identity and pride. The opening remarks also included a special message from the Ambassador of Namibia to Nigeria, Humphrey Geiseb, expressing gratitude for Nigeria’s support in facilitating education opportunities for Namibian students.

The summit also featured Professor George Sefa, a social justice education professor from the University of Toronto, who called on Africans to embrace Afrocentric education as a means of breaking free from the colonisation of education. He encouraged teachers to focus on teaching discipline rather than enforcing it and stressed the importance of community-based excellence.

During the panel sessions, participants discussed the decolonisation of education and the implementation of policies aimed at integrating African languages and history into the curriculum. Lucy Apakama, PhD, dean of the School of Languages at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, pointed out that colonisation has led to the undervaluing of African languages. Emmanuel Orji, president of the Association of Formidable Educational Development, called for a return to African identity by rejecting foreign curriculum imports.

The panelists also addressed the challenges of policy implementation, highlighting that some states in Nigeria and other African countries were not embracing the teaching of history as a subject. Olufunke Oyetola, PhD, emphasised the need for collective responsibility in changing the narrative and improving the educational system. She stressed that blaming others would not bring about change, but rather acknowledging mistakes and working towards a common goal would lead to meaningful progress.

The summit concluded with a call to return to the roots of African culture, stories, beliefs, and values. His Royal Majesty, Abimbola Banjoko, the Baale of Ogbogbo Community, urged everyone to embrace and celebrate their heritage.

The RIAH Re-Rooting in African Education Summit proved to be a thought-provoking event, inspiring educators and policymakers to advocate for a curriculum that values and celebrates African history and culture. The discussions emphasised the importance of an Afrocentric approach to education and the need to prioritise African languages to create a more inclusive and culturally rich learning environment for students across Africa.

See pictures from the event

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RIAH Co-convener and Teach for Nigeria, CEO
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A cross-section of educators, teachers and school owners.
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Students of Corona School, Agbara.
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Children of Freedom School, Kenya.
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A cross-section of Teachers during the training organised for Day 2
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Students of Corona school during their performance.

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