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JOURNEY OUT OF THE AFRICAN MAZE: INDIGENOUS AND HIGHER EDUCATION IN TANDEM calls on African universities to turn away from meetings that inevitably lead to recommendations, plans of operation, and proposals for aid. The author's reason for making this proposal, however, is neither one nor other of the two positions discernible in the current debate on the way forward in African development. It stems from African pragmatism. He suggests that African universities should use the time, energy and money that are being spent on the repetitive activities of the past - proposal-formulating commissions and plans-of-action-conferences - to empower • their postgraduate students, • the Professors and lecturers who are guiding them in their research, and • retired Professors in their fields of study to team up with their counterparts in the indigenous system to create such knowledge, and promote such action, as will guide their countries out of the development maze in which... More > they find themselves.< Less
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  • By Anis Haffar
    Mar 4, 2008
    "The miracle called Francis L. Bartels " The miracle called Francis L. Bartels By Anis Haffar Many accomplished people, having already honoured their duties to society, slacken, exhaust their inspiration in some way, or at least, firmly stop thinking. Not Dr Francis L. Bartels. In his youth, he served in various illustrious capacities: First, the headmaster of Mfantsipim School (Cape Coast, Ghana) where he taught UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; then, a high-ranking member of UNESCO; and later, as Ghana’s ambassador to Bonn, West Germany. The grand ol’ man has just clocked 98 bold years, and is not about to rest from his labours. He has just finished and published his latest book, Journey out of the African Maze: Indigenous and Higher Education in Tandem. (Available at /content /1531072). The one before that - The Persistence of Paradox, The memoirs of F.L. Bartels - came out only a few years ago. It was published first by Ghana University Press, and the new... More > (2006) edition by His Roots of Ghana Methodism was published by Cambridge University Press, 1965. Inspired perseverance by any other names is hard work, and commitment. Those virtues in the educator, nurtured and tested over a span of decades, have bequeathed to the larger African community and the wider world, feats of impeccable work in history, education, and inspiration. Akin to U.S. president John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you. But what you can do for your country,” the enigmatic centenarian, F L Bartels, asks in metaphoric contexts, “What part do you sing?” That critical refrain persists from his earlier book The Persistence of Paradox. Believing the youth to be the true key for hands-on development, he continues to take an inventory of education in Africa, and makes informed predictions for the future. Great people have much substance in common. Thomas Hardy, W. Somerset Maugham, Winston Churchill, Arthur Schlesinger, and others, all in their weighty eighties, persisted in literary and historical quests that continued to brighten the world’s intellectual landscape. F. L. Bartels, in his loftier 98 years, tops that chart. Never a dull moment in his intellectual life, he has raised the ante many bold notches up in the continued search for what’s in Africa’s best interests in education. In charting the evolution of pre-colonial African educational experiences and the aftermath, he used the canny technique of lacing his points with Akan (Fanti) idioms (with translations) that convey the emotional import of his observations. It is plain, from his tireless effort, that the man is making statements, and the effort is becoming increasingly symbolic of the tireless commitment to questions that refuse to go away. Can Africa neglect the import of education? What type of African man and woman is education expected to mould? What is old? What is new? Is the fusion of the old and new possible? And where do we go from here? Reading this new book was an exilarating exercise – especially in the early mornings where the tenets, the precision of language, and the chime of selected words, continue to groom you into the brave, new day. [Anis Haffar is the founder/instructor of GATE Institute, a Teacher Education Institute for developing seminars and teaching/learning materials for new and continuing teachers. Email:]< Less
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October 1, 2011
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