Chiefs and the Expansion of Education in Colonial Asante, 1940–1950

Manuel J. Manu-Osafo


This article offers an account highlighting the contribution of chiefs to the development of formal education in Asante. It demonstrates that Asante chiefs played an instrumental role in the formulation of government policies, especially in the field of education. This helped to develop Asante’s identified human resource needs while also laying the foundation for solutions to future demands. Chiefs achieved these goals through numerous Asante Confederacy Council boards and committees which researched and implemented policy proposals on fundraising, scholarships, school construction, and educational policy review. The essay concludes with the contention that colonial Asante elites often used their agency to facilitate developmental enterprises. This article therefore echoes recent calls for reexamining the controversial roles of colonial and postcolonial elites in African history. It uses as a case study Apagyahene Owusu Afriyie III’s efforts to improve education in colonial Asante and relies on archival, oral, and secondary sources.

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