Educational Unsustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: In Search of Counter-Narratives to Policy Pressures and Exponential Tech Growth
The educational systems of sub-Saharan Africa have become increasingly entangled in a network of global actors: supranational and national policy, non-government organisations (NGOs), funders, and commercial organizations wanting to capitalize on perceived gaps in local capacity. Education is being renegotiated through an explicit, inexorable link to technology, an explicit call to rapidly construct technological markets for education throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and an implicit erosion of local educational autonomy as a result. This research interrogates commercialised edtech policy in sub-Saharan Africa and explores its effects on how educational infrastructure is being built and imagined in higher education. This obscures local context and educational practice with a global, marketized and standardised new ‘normal’ which carries with it considerable ecological implications. There is an explicit need for a rethinking of local educational autonomy in face of policy pressures which are stimulating a largely unsustainable acceleration of educational technology. This paper seeks to interrogate what methods exist for adaptation of policy targets and the creation of autonomous spaces for deliberation and adaptation consistent with horizontalism, including participatory approaches, degrowth approaches, rights to repair, and community-owned technologies. Without this, the acceleration of edtech, e-waste, and the global imaginaries of digital education are likely to continue.
Key words: Horizontalism, edtech, Sustainable Development Goals, Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa
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