Education and Social Change in the Works of Karl Popper and George Orwell: A Pedagogy of Caution for Marxists in Africa
Some decades ago, the Brazilian scholar Paulo Freire wrote his Pedagogy of the Oppressed to indicate the rationale for social change and the place of education in that affair. This study takes a leaf from Freire’s work to dialogue how authentic and people-centered social change can be attained in Africa. In contemporary African political scholarship, scholars are divided over the methodology of attaining social change. Some take inspiration from the thoughts of Karl Popper who maintains that there are two approaches toward social change: The Piecemeal and the Utopian. It is also the case that Popper puts trust and emphasis on the former when he doubts and opposes the latter, which appeals mostly to Marxists in Africa. Since it has become a dominant locus for almost all of African scholars to take a Marxist approach in their articulation and struggle for social change, this study intends to serve as a caution. Caution because, it is an open secret that Marxists of African descent have been very critical and bitter of Popper’s version of social change for being reactionary; that it is a viewpoint which aims to preserve an exploitative status quo. When the onus of this study is to defend Popper against such uncharitable misrepresentations, it forays into George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm, for succor. Orwell’s fable is a revelation of the dangers that may emanate from Utopian social engineering in real life scenario. The unfortunate totalitarian era that greeted the animals in the aftermath of their violent and bloody revolution in Manor Farm is not only a lesson but serves to initiate the discourse regarding the intention and integrity of those leading social change and struggles across Africa. It is precisely for this reason that this essay beckons on Africans to initiate a platform for social change that will be void of violence and bloodshed. By taking a pedagogy approach to education, this research would have been able to explore the ways through which education can contribute to the plight of social change and social stability in Africa.
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