Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

50 Years After, What is still Left of Nyerere‟s „Education for Self-Reliance‟?
Adagbo Onoja

In the context of observable crises of access, content, quality, relevance and funding across Africa today, what might Julius Nyerere, the late Tanzanian president‟s 1967 essay “Education for Self-Reliance” still offer the policy mill for consideration? This essay argues that though written with Tanzania, his country, in mind, the essay is still the text to engage with on the main challenge of organising education across much of contemporary Africa. However, the lofty ideals of his grand discourse, Ujamaa Vijijini which underpinned Nyerere‟s philosophy of education also misled him to gloss over a number of contradictions embedded in the text. In the sections that follow, I break down the argument to its specifics, starting with a summary of Nyerere‟s philosophy of education in section one, identifying and discussing the context with which the question of what is meritorious or not could be decided in section two and, in section three, draw up a merits and demerits list. I conclude the essay in section four.

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