The relational legacies of colonialism: peace education and reconciliation in Rwanda

Michael Schulz, Ezechiel Sentama

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This article argues that decolonising educational undertakings is a difficult task, even when the ambitions to apply decolonising approaches are clearly articulated. Our case analysis of two contemporary master’s in peace education programmes in Rwanda, that explicitly focus on reconciliation, shows evidence of limited capacity by the educators to decolonise them. We draw from semi-structured interviews with students and teachers, as well as text analysis of syllabuses, course guides, etc, and demonstrate that access for all societal groups to the programmes is restricted: the extent of decolonisation of the education itself, including alternative narratives of the conflict history as well as the conceptualisation of ethnic ‘identity’ within peace education, is still
limited. These master of arts programmes thus preserve colonial legacies and contribute to maintain historical hierarchical relations between the Hutu and Tutsi groups in the country.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalThird World Quarterly
Early online date22 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • Colonial legacies
  • Rwanda
  • identity
  • peace education
  • reconciliation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development

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