Education and Colonialism: Decolonizing the Mind

Topic: Education Issues
Words: 1410 Pages: 5

The process of colonization includes one territory assuming the responsibility of another nation may be through the use of force. As a result of the outgrowth of colonization, there was the implementation of a form of schooling within their colonies by the colonizing nations. The colonized countries were forced to conform to the cultures and traditions of the colonizers. This research paper will examine the effects of Eurocentric education on a group of people subjected to colonial rule. Western education continued as a Centre of legitimate knowledge and any other understanding as additional and negligible.

Eurocentric education taught indigenous and black learners that their lives and their ancestors were not worth learning about. Educational principles were established on colonialism principles and progressed to midpoint knowledge of Eurocentric learning and leaving out the varied expertise of Blacks and other marginalized communities. Colonizing leaderships discover that they gain strength not mandatory through physical authority but mental control. This control of the mind is applied through a central intellectual location and system of the school. Economic and political powers are never complete or successful without mental discipline. Managing a people’s culture requires influencing their form of personality concerning others.

As a result, the new education system implementation left colonized people with a restricted sense of their past. The black and ancient history and customs once observed and experienced slowly slip away. Due to the growth of the colonial educational system, numerous colonized children joined a condition of a cross between two different races and cultures in which their identities are formed out of multiple cultural forms, practices, beliefs, and power of dynamics. This education system comprises a fading that causes challenges to transform between the new, enforced ideas that colonists and the native practices were previously accepted.

A Kenyan citizen once colonized narrated his anger concerning colonial education harm inflicted on individuals being occupied. The study of decolonizing the Mind by Ngugi Thiong’o stated that apart from colonial studies, which eventually formed a native heritage desire to distinguish, it influences the people and the sense of self-confidence (Thiong’o, 2018). Thiong’o accepted that the colonial education system instils a sense of servitude and powerlessness with the collective spirit of colonial individuals. Postcolonial territories must connect their encounter with colonialism with other nations’ histories with the lasting elimination effects of colonial education. The introduction of a new education system must empower and support the hybrid identity of unchains people.

As a consequence of colonial teaching, there is a desire to distance oneself from one’s ancestors, but one’s self-esteem suffers as well. According to Thiong’o, colonial education instils a sense of inferiority and powerlessness in the collective psyche of conquered peoples. The removal of the harmful effects of colonial education requires connecting one’s own colonial past to the history of other nations. A new educational framework must encourage and empower liberated people’s mixed identity. At all stages of education, including high school, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, Native Americans have a lower graduation rate than the overall population. However, not all conquerors agreed on the importance of education in the assimilation process, those who did so.

As they grow up in the colonial educational system, where they are exposed to a diverse variety of cultural expressions and practices, it is usual for children of colonized people to embrace a hybrid state of being. Colonial education blurs the distinction between invaders’ new, enforced norms and previously accepted native customs, making it impossible to distinguish between them. One of Thiong’o’s fundamental objections is that colonial schooling does colonized people unnecessarily harm. He claims that it eradicates a people’s conviction in their names, languages, environment, struggle legacy, unity, capacities, and ultimately in themselves.

As a result, many people regard their history as a desolate wasteland of untapped potential from which they yearn to escape. People desire to identify with something that is not like them. Individuals’ self-confidence and desire to separate from their native heritage are affected by colonial schooling. He believes that colonial education instils in the minds of those educated there an inferiority complex and a refusal to take responsibility. To eliminate the damaging, long-term impacts of colonial education, postcolonial countries must connect their colonial past with the histories of other nations. In a new educational framework, dual identities should be promoted and nurtured.

The concept of assimilation has been a central theme in colonial education. The term adaptation refers to forcing colonized people to adapt to the colonizers’ customs and traditions. According to Gauri Viswanathan, cultural assimilation is the most effective method of political action because cultural dominance is based on consent and frequently occurs before violent conquest. According to colonizing governments, power can be gained through mental control rather than physical control (Schaefli, 2018). This cognitive control is implemented through the school system using an ideological state apparatus.

It is claimed that colonial schools focused on absorption into the metropolis rather than the distinct and self-reliant development of the colonized in their society and culture to increase the colony’s foreign dominance and economic exploitation. Colonial education redirects indigenous people away from their educational institutions and toward those of the colonizers.

While Canada’s colonial history is well-known, the country’s economy has been exploitative for a long time. The government appeared to develop a new culture in the twentieth century, welcoming diversity and playing a worldwide peacekeeping role. Despite a judiciary that has increasingly recognized land of Indigenous, resource, and rights of identity since the restoration of the Constitution in 1982, Canada’s economy is extractive, with long-term consequences for Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. According to this research of undergraduate students at the University of Queen, the Canadian students in this part of Canada are taught to misunderstand the essential geography of Indigenous peoples, their land, and their identity (Lopez, 2020). Because of the disparity between image and reality, some children are starting to question their place in society.

Traditional indigenous education methods such as demonstration, socialization group, cultural involvement, spiritual rites, oral development, and teaching skills were utilized to prepare young people to encounter Europeans.

The assimilation plan’s use of European classroom-style education methods resulted in cultural trauma and dislocation. Those trying to improve Indigenous children’s educational outcomes through reforming Indigenous education systems are looking for traditional teachings and increased cultural and linguistic support (Johnstone & Lee 2020). Immigration and colonial and federal laws mandating land surrenders or treaties prompted many Indigenous leaders to reluctantly accept that their traditional ways of existence were no longer sustainable. Leaders recognized the new teaching method to prepare their youth for the latest and diverse economy.

In the Canadian study, individuals with a higher level of education are better able to comprehend their cultural past and live a more contented life. An essential component of this is the development of desirable attributes and a sense of self-worth for people living in society. If they have these skills, they can survive and help other groups in the more incredible world. It is a treasure that every human being on the planet should seek until the end of time. It is necessary because of its historical relevance as a tool for acquiring essential mental and physical traits in the growth of civilization. Education should try to assist the average person in finding a place in their community while simultaneously ensuring that exceptional people use their gifts to benefit the community.

This article contains brief facts about Colonial Education, taught to children and youths before the American Revolutionary War’s commencement. In Colonial America, a family’s social rank controlled their educational opportunities. Early American immigrants from Europe followed the academic criteria, which were based on money and social level. The government-financed certain Colonial Education schools, while others were privately owned and funded. Because of this, girls have a difficult time going to school. One’s social level determined education throughout the colonial period. Parents would teach their children how to behave and learn as a beginning point.

Children were taught to respect their parents, ask for their blessings, and pray for them in the past. Beginning at a young age, it was standard practice to create a sense of subservience in the daughters of the household. In this culture, disobedience was associated with a heavy religious stigma. For this reason, the Church has stayed steadfast in its belief in the Bible’s teachings. In girls’ education, housewifery and other skills associated with women were stressed. Private tutors only taught affluent or middle-class girls to read and write.


Johnstone, M., & Lee, E. (2020). Education as a site for the Imperial project to preserve whiteness supremacy from the colonial era to the present: a critical analysis of international education policy in Canada. Whiteness and Education, 1-17.

Lopez, A. E. (2020). Decolonizing the Mind: Process of Unlearning, Relearning, Rereading, and Reframing for Educational Leaders. In Decolonizing Educational Leadership (pp. 35-50). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Schaefli, L. (2018). Exposing the colonial mind: Epistemologies of ignorance and education in Ontario, Canada (Doctoral dissertation, Queen’s University (Canada).

Thiong’o, N. W. (2018). Decolonizing the mind: state of the art. Présence Africaine, (1), 97-102. Web.

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