Social studies curriculum in Sub-Saharan Africa

Changing the social studies and humanities curriculum in Sub-Saharan Higher Education institutions

Western-centric curricula in both UK and African HE institutions undermine rather than foster the inclusion of "local knowledge" in the design of continentally relevant developmental policy, even though inclusion of local knowledge is among designated UN development goals.

LSE research asks important questions about how to address the Western-centric curricular in both UK and African higher education institutions. 

What was the problem?

There is a growing dissatisfaction with culturally parochial social science and humanities curricula among African and UK students alike. How to address this problem is an ongoing process, with research ideas being built on the foundations of published and current research.

What did we do?

An International Networks Project with Professor Katrin Flikschuh, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, took place in April 2014 to August 2017. It engaged political philosophers and social scientists from Africa and Europe in the context of the Western-led “global justice” debate. The network held workshops, conferences, and graduate mini-courses at LSE, the University of Ghana, and the University of Ibadan.

What happened?

The Leverhulme grant scheme is explicitly not impact driven, however it can offer ideas for possible future research, building on the findings of the Leverhulme grant.

Key research findings from this International Networks Project included:

  • The extent of Western ignorance about African value conceptions and the consequences of this ignorance on developmental policy proposals.
  • The extent to which sub-Saharan social science and humanities education systems remains “Western-centric”, with detrimental effects on linking “local” values and knowledge with domestic and international developmental policy proposals. 

Research into these topics is ongoing.