Topics: Education
Regional focus: Sub-Saharan Africa
Origin: Germany
Fellowship: Research Fellow

Dr. Sarah Fichtner is a social anthropologist who has specialized in education in Sub Saharan Africa for the last 10 years. She has carried out extensive, qualitative field research in West and Central Africa, especially in Benin, on NGOs in the education sector, “travelling” education reforms, teacher training, the daily management of rural primary schools, and the local production of school statistics.

Her current research interests focus on mapping the educational field in Sub Saharan Africa between competency-based education reforms and performance-oriented funding initiatives.

She is an affiliated researcher and guest lecturer at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, and at the interdisciplinary research center “Les Afriques dans le Monde” (LAM), Sciences Po Bordeaux. Together with her French colleague Hélène Charton she coordinated the French-German research project “Models, practices and cultures of school institutions in West Africa“ 2012-2015.

After her studies of social anthropology, political science and economics in Berlin and Manchester, she joined the research project “States at Work. Public Services and Civil Servants in West Africa: Education and Justice in Benin, Ghana, Mali and Niger” at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz as doctoral researcher and administrative and financial coordinator. In 2011 she obtained her PhD in Mainz. Her thesis was published in 2012 as “The NGOisation of Education. Case Studies from Benin”. She has published numerous articles, among others: “La micropolitique de l'école primaire au Bénin. Une éthnographie combinée des directeurs et inspecteurs” with Pauline Jarroux (Politique Africaine 139, 2015) and “What's in the gap and what's in a copy? Local practices and discourses of competency-based education reform in Benin” (Revue Tiers Monde 223, 2015).

She has received scholarships from the Volkswagen Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Last update: 2016