Jan Briffaerts – When Congo Wants To Go To School. Educational Realities In A Colonial Context

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Playground Girls School Sainte Thérèse in Coquilhatville, 1950s.

Playground Girls School Sainte Thérèse in Coquilhatville, 1950s.

Rozenberg Quarterly will publish on paper and online:
Jan BriffaertsWhen Congo wants to go to school. Educational realities in a colonial context.  An investigation into educational practices in primary education in the Belgian Congo (1925-1960) – Pb – 420 pag. – € 39,50 – ISBN 978 90 3610 144 8 – 2014

The education system in the Congo was widely considered to be one of the best in colonial Africa, in particular because of its broad reach among the Congolese youth. At independence however, the wake-up call was brutal as soon it became clear that the colonial educational system had neglected to form an educated class of people able to cope with administrating one of Africa’s biggest and economically most important countries. To be able to understand the mechanisms and effects of missionary education it is most enlightening to go back to the classroom and investigate the everyday reality of school. What did missionary education do exactly, how did it work, what did it teach, and how did it relate to its subjects, the children of the Congo?

This study gives clear insights into the everyday realities of colonial education. It is the result of historical research into educational practices and realities in catholic missionary schools in the Tshuapa region, located in the south of the Congolese province of Equateur. It is based on a rich array of historical source material, ranging from missionary archives and mission periodicals through to contemporary literature and interviews with missionnaries and former pupils who experienced colonial education themselves. The title, “When Congo wants to go to school… ” refers to one of many articles published in Belgian mission periodicals on the subject of the education and civilisation work carried out by missionaries in the Belgian colony.

The complete book now online:
Introduction & A Few Preliminary Remarks
Educational Organisation In The Belgian Congo (1908-1958)
The Missionaries And The Belgian Congo: Preparation, Ideas And Conceptions Of The Missionaries
Catholic Missions In The Tshuapa Region

Part II – Realities
The Educational Climate
Educational Comfort
The Subject Matter
Educational Practices

Part III – Acti Cesa
The Short Term: Reactions
The Long Term: Memories
As Justification And Conclusion
Appendices & Bibliography

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