ERIC Number: EJ1080412
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 39
The Mauritian Education System: Was There a Will to Anglicize it?
Education Research and Perspectives, v33 n1 p88-114 2007
Clive Whitehead (2005: 315-329) makes an indisputable claim that British colonial education is a controversial topic in the history of education. The macro study of educational systems undertaken within a framework that guarantees a systematic and rigorous approach can offer answers to many disputed issues, but researchers should not underestimate the equally valid contribution of micro investigations carried out on specific issues like the anglicization of "public instruction" in former British colonies. This is the justification for this article on the language issue in the development of education in Mauritius. While positing that scholarly research is directed towards uncovering the truth, researchers have always been preoccupied with the fact that the findings of their work are often ensnared with religious and philosophical beliefs, and ideological and political speculation. When Whitehead talks about the need to avoid investigations guided by the contemporary values of the politically correct, he raises a complex issue which is of critical importance to research in the social sciences because even conceptual tools can be biased in the way they approach social reality. It is possible to get a glimpse of this problem when one analyses how colonial languages have been defined. Sociolinguistic observations carried out in many parts of the world have shown that the social demand for what is termed colonial languages often originates from families willing to invest in tools that are instrumental to the social mobility of their offspring. Knowledge available on social patterning of language use and language choice in newly independent societies tends to show that this dichotomist approach is characterised by what A. Sweeting and E. Vickers (2005) call a high level of generality and would therefore be inadequate to explain the complex socio-cultural settings of postcolonial countries. Whitehead's contribution highlights the importance of the need for a more complex approach to the study of education in the British Empire in regard to both policy issues and studies of administration and curricula as proposed by Sweeting and Vickers (2005, 115). This paper sheds light on the anglicization of the educational system in Mauritius while trying to avoid debatable values traditionally associated with colonisation.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Land Settlement, Educational History, World History, Cultural Influences, Political Issues, Sociolinguistics, Language Usage, Educational Policy, Politics of Education, Foreign Policy, Religion, Language of Instruction, Indigenous Populations
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mauritius; United Kingdom (Great Britain)