Painel 11: Tentar cativar mentes Africanas: O papel da educação científica na transformação de elites em sociedades não-industrializadas de pós-guerra – projecções internacionais e dinâmicas nacionais
- Ulrich Schiefer (CEI-IUL, ISCTE-IUL)
- Filomena Capela Correia Amaral (CEI-IUL, ISCTE-IUL)
- Kaian Lam (CEI-IUL, ISCTE-IUL)
The elite formation in Sub-Saharan countries is no longer as dependent on the public and private in-country universities as the main and nearly exclusive inroad into the (power-) elites, as it used to be in times when universities were the main provider of knowledge. For one, police, military and political academies open access to the elites in societies where these forces have a strong influence on politics. External actors of different types and origins strive for influence on the production and transmission of scientific knowledge.
On the other hand the third great transformation of knowledge production and transmission (from rhapsodic to writing – Plato; the printing press – Gutenberg; the internet) changes access to information and knowledge and allows other actors to partake in the global fight for attention of the minds.
So the context of trying to influence African elites is changing fast. The “historical ties” of the colonial powers to their former colonies – understandably less celebrated by the ex-colonies than by the ex-metropolises – are getting much weaker as the “development cooperation” has morphed into containment strategies. Several crises have hit some of the metropolises and reduced their financial and economic power to fund their cooperation in scientific education. This trend is partly compensated by the economic success of some parts of African elites that allow them to pay for their higher education in international universities.
The most important tendencies however are the strategic interventions in scientific education by the new global players scrambling for the continent’s resources. They have long-term strategies to gain influence on the African elites, and the means to back them up.
As a consequence, scientific education in African societies has become a battleground of competing outside forces as well as of competing internal forces of factions of the national elites that strive for influence and power and ally themselves to the most promising external actors.
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