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Francophone Africa at fifty$
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Tony Chafer and Alexander Keese

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089305

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089305.001.0001

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French coopération in the field of education (1960–1980): a story of disillusionment

French coopération in the field of education (1960–1980): a story of disillusionment

(p.120) 8 French coopération in the field of education (1960–1980): a story of disillusionment
Francophone Africa at fifty

Samy Mesli

Manchester University Press

Sami Mesly investigates the cultural dimension of continuities between France and various states of ‘Francophone Africa’, as expressed through the co-operation agreements between the independent governments and the French state under the Fifth Republic. These latter guaranteed, initially, a steady exchange between the partners in the field of education. As France’s former colonial territories in sub-Saharan Africa were suddenly confronted with a greatly reduced public budget, French financial help was crucial, in the early years after independence, both for the physical construction of a school infrastructure and for the deployment of thousands of coopérants who became an important part of the staff in African schools. As late as the early 1980s, this French presence remained very significant. It spanned the whole of school education, including the primary and secondary sector, technical education, and higher education (French funding was instrumental in the creation of African universities). Mesly points out that while it is obvious that the French effort has made a major contribution to the growth of the education sector on the African continent, French aid in education offers nevertheless an ambivalent picture. The programmes implemented were poorly adapted to local realities, which in the end led to the installation of a system conditioned by the French view of African populations and not by local needs.

Keywords:   Culture, education, sub-Saharan Africa, colonial territories, higher education

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