ABSTRACT

Breidlid claims in this chapter that a literate population is paramount for sustainable development. He therefore proposes to extend the discussion of literacy to include the important link between the literacy situation of a state and its functioning and sustainability, a link which is completely under-communicated and under-researched in international literacy studies. Many states in sub-Saharan are unsustainable in the sense that they cannot provide the basic needs for their population. Moreover, the literacy situation in sub-Saharan Africa is dismal, if not catastrophic. Breidlid claims that this is to a large extent due to the imposition of a Western epistemology in school where the pupils’ own indigenous languages, cultural and epistemological background are neglected. This means that pupils are alienated in school and do not acquire functional literacy skills. Breidlid critiques Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG 4) because it addresses learning outcomes in traditional, non-innovative ways and do not take into account the epistemology of indigenous peoples on the continent. This indicates that the SDGs, and particularly SDG 4, will not be reached by 2030. The chapter concludes by suggesting a radical reorientation of literacy teaching in sub-Saharan Africa by indigenizing, localizing and decolonizing the education systems and thus contributing to making the states more sustainable.