Insights on the relevance of decolonised education in African Higher Education Institutions and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic

23 Mar 2021

It is incontrovertible that most African higher education institutions (HEIs) strive for the decolonisation of education in its teaching, learning and research practices. This is envisaged as a transformative shift from the historical colonial cantered education, in Africa, to a type of education that drives and promotes African-centred epistemologies and practices. Hence, the demand for decolonised higher education is glaring in most African universities, prompting the authors of this paper to focus on this area. Qualitative in nature, this paper is located within the interpretivist research design. The population was all educators at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Extracted from telephonic data, collected from NUL, this paper analysed the insights of 14 educators regarding the decolonisation of African higher education. Results revealed that 11 of the educators were enthusiastic about decolonisation while three were against it. Definitions of decolonisation of higher education subscribed by the educators were centred on detaching from Western paradigms and rely on local pedagogical practices and content. Challenges imposed by COVID-19 relate to failure to practice drama and community engagements. Findings regarding decolonisation issues are envisaged to shape the debates on decolonisation of education in HEIs and its relevance to remote learning. Results on challenges impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to this novel endeavour assist in paving the way forward so as to ensure that decolonisation of higher education cannot be negatively hampered by the pandemic. The study recommends that the decolonisation process should not be motivated by an intrinsic abhorrence of the colonial past since it may lead to compromising of university standards; rather it should be based on the need to uplift the education system thereby ensuring quality education. Key words: decolonisation, higher education institutions, indigenous knowledge, COVID-19, transformation.