Towards a Critical Colonial Analysis of the Crisis in Higher Education in Zimbabwe: A Case Study of the University of Zimbabwe

  • Author / Creator
    Hwami, Munyaradzi
  • The dawn of independence in Zimbabwe in 1980 was received with high hopes and expectations by the people but after twenty years of black majority rule, the crisis of the post-colonial condition, well documented in other African countries began to be repeated in Zimbabwe. After experimenting with Western projects of development and neoliberal globalization, Zimbabwe, and specifically higher education institutions such as the University of Zimbabwe became embroiled in a crisis of unprecedented magnitude. The purpose of this study was to explore and understand how the processes of ZANU PF nationalism and neoliberal globalization have contributed towards the crisis in higher education in Zimbabwe. The study also sought to elaborate on some possible responses to the crisis in higher education, especially in relation to necessary and renewed policy directions. A critical interpretive study of the University of Zimbabwe, informed by critical colonial theoretical perspectives, was undertaken to explore the crisis based upon the views of twenty participants including students, faculty members, administrators and a government official. Purposive sampling was used to select participants who were engaged in semi-structured audio-taped interviews. Documents about higher education (ministry, university and student union) were consulted to gain insight into the crisis. Contextual observations and participant observations at meetings also informed the research. Data were analyzed using the method of constant comparative analysis. The study reveals that ZANU PF authoritarian nationalism is exerted through the centralized power invested in the vice-chancellor’s office and the subsequent random use of campus and state security forces against students and faculty. Privatization of amenities and dollarization were observed to be the two main neoliberal policy measures contributing towards the crisis at the institution. High levels of student poverty, massive faculty exodus from the institution and violence characterized the impact of ZANU PF nationalism and neoliberal globalization. The study demonstrated how ZANU PF nationalism and neoliberal globalization are contributing towards the crisis at the institution and recolonizing the people of Zimbabwe. The conclusions derived from this research, though specific to the University of Zimbabwe, have implications for other institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe and in other African countries experiencing similar challenges.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kachur, Jerry (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Smith, David (Secondary Education)
    • Abdi, A. Ali (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Mookerjea, Souryan (Sociology)