African Humanities and the Paradox of Western Education in Ghana

Philip Kwadwo Okyere ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.2  No.10  October 2021  Article 2 pp. 139-148
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.20212102  |   Published online 25th October, 2021.
© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

32 Downloads

The pre-colonial era of Africa was characterized, among other things, by a traditional or informal system of education. Some of the emphases of traditional education were (and still are) Africans’ delight, expression and appropriation of their beliefs, values, precepts and ideals. Despite these laudable emphases, the traditional system of education is characterized by some scholars as lacking a formal or systemized structure of knowledge production. Moreover, the post-colonial debates on the influence of Western education in Africa in general and Ghana, in particular, are conspicuously silent on Western education’s role in gradually altering the economic ideology of Ghana from a mixed and socialist economy to a capitalist mode of production. Using secondary data sources, this paper argues that the traditional system of education was (and still is) somehow structured or systemized almost as the formal or Western education. It also contends that Western education is gradually spearheading a paradigmatic shift in Ghana’s economic system from mixed economy to capitalism. It further maintains that recourse to African humanities would mitigate the unbridled effects of capitalism in Ghana.

Keywords: African humanities, Western education, traditional education, economic system.

Aboagye, Joseph Kingsley, Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education in Ghana (Winneba: Department of Basic Education, University of Education, Winneba).


Abosi, C.O. and Brookman-Amissah, Introduction to Education in Ghana (Accra: Sedco, 1992).


Adeyinka, Augustus A. & Gaolekwe Ndwapi, “Education and Morality in Africa”, Pastoral Care (2002).


Ake, Claude, “Social Science as Imperialism” in Lauer and Anyidoho (eds.) Reclaiming the Human Sciences and Humanities through African Perspectives, Vol. I (Accra, Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2012).


Anyidoho, Akosua, “First Language in the Education of Children in Multilingual Ghana Revisited” in Lauer and Anyidoho (eds.) Reclaiming the Human Sciences and Humanities through African Perspectives, Vol. II (Accra, Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2012).


Apusigah, Atia Agnes, “On Ghanaian Development: Technical Versus Street Evidence” in Lauer and Anyidoho (eds.) Reclaiming the Human Sciences and Humanities through African Perspectives, Vol. I (Accra, Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2012).


Asenso-Okyere, Kwadwo, Wealth Accumulation, Utilization and Retention (Accra, Ghana: Ghana Universities Press, 2001).


Bragg, G. Wayne, “From Development to Transformation” in Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden (eds.) The Church in Response to Human Needs (United Kingdom: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,1987).


Enslin, Penny and Kai Horsthemke, “Philosophy of Education: Becoming Less Western, More African?” Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 50 (2016).


Farrant, J. S., Principles and Practice of Education (2nd) (Singapore: Longman, 1980).


Folson, B. Rose, “Educational Viability and Development: A Sub-Saharan Experience” in The Journal of Educational Thought (JET) 40 ((2006).


Frankema, H.P. Ewout, “The origins of Formal Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Was British rule more benign? in European Review of Economic History, 16 (2012). Accessed May 6, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41708735


Graham, C.K., The History of Education in Ghana (Accra: Ghana Publishing Corporation, (1976).


Gyekye, Kwame, African Cultural values: An Introduction. (Ghana: Sankofa Publishing Company, 2003).


______. African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme (Revised Ed.) (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995).


Hama, Judith, The School Curriculum: A Tool for Education & National Development (Ghana: Step Publishers, 2004).


Hardwick, Philip, Bahadur Khan and John Langmead. An Introduction to Modern Economics (England: Addison Wesley Longman Limited, 1994).


McWilliam, H.O.A and Kwamena-Poh, The Development of Education in Ghana (new ed.) (London: Longman Group Ltd., 1975).


Monageng, Mogalakwe, “The Documentary Research Method – Using Documentary Sources in Social Research”, Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review 25 (2009). Accessed May 6, 2015. http://musejhu.edu/journals/eas/summary/v025/25.1.mogalakwe.html DOI: 10.1353/eas.0.0006


Nancino Brown and Oke F. Brown An Introduction to Methods of Teaching (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1982).


Nketsia, Nana Kobina V. African Culture in Governance and Development: The Ghanaian Paradigm (Cape Coast: UCC Press, 2013).


Nkrumah, Kwame, “The African Genius” in Lauer and Anyidoho (eds.) Reclaiming the Human Sciences and Humanities through African Perspectives, Vo II (Accra, Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2012).


______. “Socialism is the goal of the people, no one can stop us” in The Editors Jubilee Ghana: A 50- Year News Journey thro’ Graphic (Graphic Communications Group Ltd., 2006).


Nwoye, Augustine, “Remapping the Fabric of the African Self: A Synoptic Theory” in Dialectical Anthropology. 30(2006). Accessed May 6, 2015 http://www.jstor.org/stable/29790757


Olupona, K. Jacob, “African Humanity Matters: Religious Creativity and Africa’s World Encounters” in Gordon S.K. Adika, George Ossom-Batsa and Helen Yitah (eds.) New Perspectives on African Humanity: Beliefs, Values and Artistic Expression (Accra, Ghana: Adwinssa Publications (Gh.) Ltd., 2014).


Quist, O. Hubert, “Transferred and Adapted Models of Secondary Education in Ghana: What Implications for Development” in International Review of Education. 49 (2003). Accessed May 6, 2015 http://www.jstor.org/stable/3445308


Rodney, Walter, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (London: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, 1976).


Sarpong, Peter, Ghana in Retrospect: Some Aspects of Ghanaian Culture (Accra: Ghana Publishing Corporation, 2006).


Slavin, L. Stephen, Economics (New York: McGraw Hill/Irwin, 2005).


Smertin, Yuri, Kwame Nkrumah (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987).


Tefera, Damtew & Philip Altbach, “African Higher Education: Challenges for the 21st Century” in Higher Education. 47 (2004).:21-50. Accessed May 6, 2015.http://www.jstor.org/stable/4151555

The Very Rev. Dr. Philip Kwadwo Okyere holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana; Bachelor of Divinity degree from Trinity Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana; Master of Philosophy in the Study of Religions from the University of Ghana; Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana, and Doctor of Philosophy in the Study of
Religions from the University of Ghana. He is an Ordained Minister of the Methodist Church Ghana and currently an Economics Tutor / Chaplain of Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, Ghana.

Okyere P.K. “African Humanities and the Paradox of Western Education in GhanaE-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 2, no.10 (2021): 139-148 https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.20212102

© 2021 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).