Date of Award

12-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Administration

First Advisor

Hytten, Kathy

Abstract

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is central to political discourses and educational concerns as a means for economic development, poverty alleviation, youth employment, and social mobility. Yet, there is an intriguing contradiction between this consideration and the real attention dedicated to TVET. Research on African TVET is varied, but tends to be narrowly focused on issues of policies, economic strategies, cost-efficiency, curriculum contents, and outdated equipment. Offering an alternative inquiry, the purpose of this conceptual dissertation was to use critical education theory and post-colonial insights to explore the macro and micro challenges SSA TVET systems are facing in a global context. Indeed, in the era of economic and cultural globalization, the African continent has the opportunity to make its way toward socioeconomic development. Still, rich countries are getting richer and the poor poorer. The African continent is rich in natural, mineral, agricultural, human, and intellectual resources. Thus, there are opportunities for well-being and educational prosperity. However, all statistics show that Africans are the poorest in the world. I argue that this poverty is socially constructed and not an inevitable condition for Africans. Unemployment is a tough reality in SSA. The number of students enrolling in TVET is increasing. From the critical and post-colonial conceptual framework I illustrate structural and systematic concerns to show how SSA TVET systems involve oppression, exploitation, marginalization, prejudice, stereotypes, gender discrimination, reproduction, hegemony, and subalternity. Through the concept of democratic education Dewey and Freire offer, I envision, idealistically and realistically, a holistic and emancipatory TVET where the main concern would not just be to train hands but also heads. In so doing, SSA TVET could develop students' critical awareness about citizenship, self-determination, and problem-solving in order to create social cohesion, peace, and stability in Africa.

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