By Bonny Ibhawoh,

First published in Portuguese in 1968 Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed remains as relevant today as it was four decades ago. Written within the same Marxist intellectual traditions as Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, the appeal of this book for me goes beyond its ideological message. In this classic which has now been translated into several languages, Freire, a Brazilian educator critiques what he called the “banking concept of education”, in which the student is viewed as an empty account to be field in by the teacher. He emphasizes the need for education that is self reflective and relevant to the intellectual and material empowerment of the disempowered and marginalized. In reading Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I am reminded of my high school teacher, Mr Onyema, who, when asked to define education stated: “Your education is what remains with you when all you learnt in school must have been forgotten.”