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Center for African Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Center for African Education

Coursework in African(a) Education > Certificate in African Education

Certificate in African Education

Teachers College and the Center for African Education has been accredited by the State of New York to grant a Certificate in African Education to concentrators in African studies.

The Certificate Program in African Education reflects the growing demands within schools and other public agencies for persons knowledgeable about the diverse institutions and historical processes that have shaped the African continent and its educational systems. There is also an unprecedented need for educators and policymakers who understand the fundamental changes in African education stemming from decentralization, democratization, and privatization as well as religious and political movements on the continent. Those who pursue this certificate will be prepared for further academic studies as well as professional careers in teaching, policy-making, and international development. Students are encouraged to consult with one of the CAE staff, their faculty or peer advisers to select courses within the ITS department or from other departments at Teachers College, as well as from other programs at Columbia University. Students interested in pursuing careers in Africa are encouraged to take an African language, such as Wolof, Swahili, or Zulu, which are offered through the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University.

Students pursuing the Certificate in African Education are expected to gain a high degree of proficiency in African studies and African education through the completion of A) a 15-credit track of coursework (5-7 courses) and B) an integrative paper (IP) or masters thesis addressing an essential issue of concern in Africa or for African Educators. This can be completed over the course of one year and summer of full or part-time study, or may be pursued in conjunction with any of the other programs offered at TC.

Of the 15 required credits, up to 3 may be fulfilled with an internship or independent study. Up to 12 credits may be fulfilled with electives, determined in consultation with an adviser, from among any of the courses on Africa and African Education at TC and Columbia-wide.

*Please note that some classes which are not strictly focused on Africa may also count toward the certificate. Eligibility will depend on the professor who is teaching the course, and whether the student can prove that at least 50% of coursework dealt with Africa. Some courses offered now, which counted toward the certificate in the past, such as Education in Emergencies and Strategic Planning and Organizational Change, may not count now because of the area that the professor focuses on. To make sure your courses count, please email cae@tc.edu

Faculty Liaison: Professor George Bond


If you have plans to graduate this coming May and you think you may be eligible for the Certificate in African Education, you must email the Center for African Education at cae@exchange.tc.columbia.edu by February 1st, 2011.


Congratulations to the first cohort of students who received Certificates in African Education for the 2009-2010 school year!


Kara Roop
Takako Shimizu
Chantal McGill
Carolyn Casale



Sample Courses that Count or Have Counted Toward the Certificate Offered at Teachers College:

Please note: This is not a complete list. Information about new classes will be circulated via listservs and posted on this page as it becomes available. Any questions regarding what can be counted towards the Certificate should be directed to the Center for African Education (cae@tc.edu).


ITSF 4190 Communicative Practices: Intercultural Perspectives (2-3 credits)

Instructor: Jo-Anne Kleifgen

How do politicians persuade? What counts as legitimate language in the classroom? What does gendered or racialized discourse look like? How do parents talk to their toddlers in different languages and cultures? This is an introductory course for students interested in questions about communication in different contexts. Students explore intercultural communication (and miscommunication) within and across national boundaries and examine value orientations such as issues around the use of multiple languages and dialects and the use of language to construct gender, ideology, power, identity or discrimination. Some of the readings are in the African or African diasporic context. For 3rd credit enrollment, a student may select a topic around language, literacy, communication in an African setting.


ITSF 4199-001 Religion & Society in North Africa (3 credits)

Instructor: Louis Cristillo

This course provides an interdisciplinary approach toward understanding the intersection of religion, culture and society in North Africa.  The scope of the course explores the theoretical representations of Islam and Muslim society; the changing dynamics of family, kinship and community relationships and their impact on identity; and the contestation over religious and political legitimacy and authority in North African societies.


ITSF 4819: Bringing Multicultural Images to the Classroom (2 credits)

Instructor: Reinaldo Barroso-Spech

The African Diaspora Film Festival trains teachers and prospective teachers who are students at Teachers College on how to use films from Africa and its Diaspora in the classroom. The main purpose of the course is that of building small units of Black and Multicultural Studies at the early stages of school training in the classroom. The films and topics discussed are of value primarily in the teaching of English, Social Studies, Writing, Reading, Foreign Languages as well as English as a Second Language (ESL). Teachers College students are provided with tools that enable them to implement innovating teaching structures that will improve the impact of their teaching.  By acknowledging and incorporating the various cultures represented in their classroom, teachers improve their classroom community.


ITSF 5015: Political Anthropology: Labor, Race, and Belief (3 credits)

Instructor: George Bond

This course considers the theories and concepts used by anthropologists and other social scientists in the analysis of political behavior and institutions. It emphasizes the comparative study of political systems, movements, and processes within the context of rural and urban situations. This course provides students with an important foundation in theories of political anthropology, which is crucial to gaining a better understanding of Africa and the Diaspora.


A&HF 5591 Cosmopolitanism and Education (2-3 credits)

Instructor: David Hansen

This course will introduce students to current debates regarding cosmopolitanism and its relation to questions of education, of personal and community identity, of peace, and of social justice the world over. We will compare and contrast cosmopolitanism with other significant philosophies of education, including humanist, liberal, and multicultural. We will read a mix of texts from fields such as anthropology, history, philosophy, and sociology, as well as an array of poetry and memoir that illuminates the idea of cosmopolitanism in our time. The course readings and lectures do not focus directly on Africa, though some reference will be made to African literatures, cultures, and current concerns (for example, we will refer to Manthia Diawara’s memoir In Search of Africa). The usefulness of the course to students of Africa would be in terms of developing a broad interpretive framework on issues of culture and education.


ITSF 4018: Anthropology and Development in Africa (3 credits)

Instructor: George Bond

This course considers issues and problems of development in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines specific development projects from different theoretical and empirical perspectives.


ITSF4199-01: Islam and Politics in Africa (1-6 credits)

Instructor: Louis Cristillo

Islam and Politics in Africa provides a critical survey of the intersection of religion and politics in contemporary African societies, examining Islam in its local, regional and statewide contexts across the continent.  The scope of the course explores the diversity of Islamic ideologies, institutions and practices and their role in influencing development, law and governance, and education.


ITSF 5012: Culture and Society in the Caribbean

Instructor: Lambros Comitas

This course is a detailed survey on culture and society in the Caribbean, utilizing contributions from theoretical approaches to anthropological research in the area. This class emphasizes socioeconomics, community studies, and sociopolitical analysis.


ITSF 4096 001 Strg Plnng/Org Chg-Int/Nat Ed

Instructor: Mary Mendenhall

The seminar uses theories and methods of social network analysis for examining regional and global policy networks. Besides reading and discussing sociological texts and policy studies literature, we will conduct collaborative empirical analyses of policy networks and policy entrepreneurs. Willing-ness to conduct empirical research (content and reference analyses) is a condition for participating in this seminar.


ITSF 4199 002 Issues: Ed in Emergencies

Instructor: Mary Mendenhall

Islam and Politics in Africa provides a critical survey of the intersection of religion and politics in contemporary African societies, examining Islam in its local, regional and statewide contexts across the continent. The course problematizes the diversity of Islamic ideologies, institutions and practices and how these shape civic and political discourses impacting economic development, law and governance, and social policies related to education, gender equity and public health. The historical scope of the course includes the spread of Islam in pre-colonial Africa; its role in resistance to colonial rule; and its re-emergence as a force in civic and political engagement in many parts of Africa today.