As leaders in Mali continue to stress the importance of education and literacy, those seeking to follow the call for formal schooling have options to choose from, including public schools modeled after the European education system, Qur’anic schools, and medersas. This article explores the motivations that lead Malians to select and value Islamic education. It describes how systems of Islamic education in colonial and postcolonial Mali have operated and reveals the ways Malians measure the worth of education. It shows that education cannot be understood solely for its potential to advance development and alleviate poverty: rather, it argues that Malians assess the worth of education through Islamic notions of merit (baraji) and as an opportunity for expressing a Muslim identity against a colonial legacy.


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pp. 44-63
Launched on MUSE
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