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Title: Every Available Penny: Expectations, Education and Development
Authors: Prosperetti, Elisa
Advisors: Kreike, Emmanuel
Contributors: History Department
Subjects: African history
Education history
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Between 1960 and 1980, the growth rate of student enrollment in public primary and secondary schools in Africa outpaced that of any other world region. “Nowhere else,” observed a World Bank economist, “has a formal education system been created on so broad a scale in so short a time.” This dissertation is the first historical study to examine the origins and implementation of Africa’s massive project of public schooling. Focusing on Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, Every Available Penny analyzes two distinct postcolonial contexts—one in the Anglo-Atlantic world, the other in the Francophone sphere. Part I traces how the expectations of new citizens, the politics of anti-colonial activists, and emerging ideas of human capital theory among Western economists dovetailed to produce an educational boom that defined the early independence era in West Africa. Part II explores the unexpected consequences of schooling’s rapid expansion for students, teachers, and policymakers, highlighting the disjuncture between the education-for-development ideology and its lived experience. Every Available Penny makes two overarching arguments. First, that school-going and sovereignty were intimately linked for ordinary people: independence took on meaning through newfound access to education. Second, that public education—in terms of both material and ideological investment—was West Africa’s most important development project. Considering education as a topic of development history, rather than a field apart, accounts for the urgency of schooling’s expansion in the eyes of regular people as well as elites. It also allows us to understand how local histories shaped not just individual development initiatives, but the very paradigms that framed them. In this way, Every Available Penny foregrounds the African dimensions of a global story: the spread and then retrenchment of public education during the twentieth century.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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