The global movement to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda rests on strengthening international connections and cooperation. However, in recent years nationalism and protectionism have been on the rise in donor countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In this situation, Julius Nyerere’s education for self-reliance (ESR) philosophy, which aimed at achieving sustainable development using Tanzania’s own resources, has again gained traction among scholars and policymakers. Placing Tanzanian education policy development in the context of the international political economy, this article critically analyses key education policy documents produced by Tanzania and its development partners, with a particular focus on literacy. The authors not only examine the extent to which ESR has been included in current literacy policies, but also consider its relevance for literacy education. Their analyses show that, even though ESR is mentioned in literacy policies, the term self-reliance now has different connotations; literacy is understood as comprising students’ abilities in basic reading, writing and arithmetic; and current literacy initiatives are designed to prepare Tanzanians to find jobs in the global capital market rather than empower rural communities for sustainable development.
L’alphabétisation pour l’autonomie : un examen critique de l’héritage de Nyerere dans les politiques d’éducation tanzaniennes – Le mouvement mondial qui vise à atteindre les dix-sept Objectifs de développement durable (ODD) du Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030 de l’ONU repose sur le renforcement de la coopération et des liens internationaux. Toutefois, ces dernières années, le nationalisme et le protectionnisme ont gagné du terrain dans les pays donateurs comme les États-Unis et le Royaume-Uni. Dans un tel contexte, la philosophie de l’éducation pour l’autonomie préconisée par Julius Nyerere et qui visait à réaliser le développement durable en utilisant les ressources de la Tanzanie retrouve de l’intérêt auprès des universitaires et des décideurs. Cet article, qui place le développement de la politique tanzanienne de l’éducation dans l’optique de l’économie politique internationale pour procéder à une analyse critique des documents clés de politique de l’éducation produits par la Tanzanie et ses partenaires en développement, accorde un intérêt tout particulier à l’alphabétisation. Non seulement ses auteurs examinent la mesure dans laquelle l’éducation pour l’autonomie a été intégrée dans les politiques actuelles de l’alphabétisation, mais ils se penchent aussi sur sa pertinence pour l’alphabétisation. Leurs analyses montrent que même si les politiques d’alphabétisation font mention de l’éducation pour l’autonomie, le mot autonomie a d’autres connotations aujourd’hui; on considère que l’alphabétisation englobe les bases en lecture, en écriture et en arithmétique des apprenants; enfin, les projets d’alphabétisation actuels sont davantage conçus pour préparer les Tanzaniens à trouver du travail que pour autonomiser les communautés rurales dans l’optique du développement durable.
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The authors would like to thank all local Tanzanian scholars who shared their views about Nyerere's legacy in Tanzania. Acknowledgments also go to anonymous reviewers and Maya Kiesselbach, International Review of Education, for her excellent work in editing the paper.
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Regmi, K.D., Andema, S. & Asselin, M. Literacy for self-reliance: A critical exploration of Nyerere’s legacy in Tanzanian education policies. Int Rev Educ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11159-020-09824-3
- sustainable development
- education for self-reliance (ESR)
- structural adjustment policies (SAPs)