Pai Obanya

This monumental piece of work – covering nine thematic sections in thirty six intellectually heavy weight chapters, mobilising forty-four contributors from sixteen different countries – breaks new ground in its efforts to address the challenge of kutiwa kasumba that has been Africa’s burden since the colonisation of the continent and since its assimilation of western education. Kutiwa kasumba is a Kiswahili term that can best be translated as ‘brainwashing’. It was manifest in the doctrine that pretended that Africa had no history prior to its contact with western explorers. The doctrine also pretended that Education meant simply schooling and was therefore synonymous with education western-style, western values and western content. This handbook is an attempt at de-Kutiwa-kasumbalisation of Education in the African context. The overarching point de depart is that Education predated schooling, that it is a lot broader and deeper than schooling, and that its primary purpose is intergenerational transmission of cultural heritage. Africa happens to be the only region of the world where all the role models to which its children in their formative years are exposed (angels and saints, great achievers, film stars, etc) are of a race that is different from theirs. African children are the only ones in the world whose socialisation begins with acculturation (learning about other worlds in a foreign language), instead of beginning with enculturation (being deeply entrenched into your own world first and foremost). African children are the only ones whose region is most lowly represented in international organizations, including the UN agencies, and about whom decisions for their situation and well-being are often taken without even token voices from their people’s representatives. In all other parts of the world, the educated is usually the cultured; in Africa, the educated is the de-cultured. Educational reforms undertaken in the continent since the 1960s have not strictly addressed these fundamental issues. Instead, reforms have simply tinkered with curricula, school calendar and the mere proliferation of institutions. This handbook raises fundamental issues concerning the re-conceptualisation of Education and its goals in the African context. It explores Africa’s philosophical worldviews, sociocultural values, beliefs and practices and suggests ways in which these can be ploughed into educational research and development, curriculum development and pedagogical practices. The discussions and arguments presented on the various chapters do not in any way foreclose debates; instead, they are presented as instigation to further discussion and in-depth analysis. Nowhere in the book is it said that Africentricism rules out the exposure of African youth to the wider world. The clear message is the use of Africentric values  to gain the self confidence needed to explore today’s global village in order to become a full contributor to its evolution. Having thoroughly enjoyed being educated by the handbook, I am happy to commend to all its intended clientele: • To African students of education, who should remain proudly African citizens of the world • To teacher educators, who must help to restore the Education that Africa lost through colonial kasumbalisation • To Africa’s development partners, who must rise beyond counting numbers to assisting to transform the human in the African being • To the leaders (of all levels) of African societies, who must lead by example by focussing greater attention on the real fundamental challenges of Education in the continent

© 2011 by Human Development Resource Centre (HDRC)

A. Bame Nsamenang is associate professor of psychology and learning science at the University of Bamenda and founding director of the Human Development Resource Centre, a research and service facility for young generations. His research interests are in lifespan development with focus on developmental learning and responsible intelligence. He leads an initiative with global networks to produce Africa-centric literature/tools for context-sensitive education and early human development in Africa. His long-term efforts are to niche Africa’s knowledge into global education and developmental science. Therese Mungah Shalo Tchombe is Professor Emeritus of Developmental Psychology and Education, Honorary Dean of the Faculty of Education and UNESCO Chair for Special Needs Education and Inclusion at the University of Buea. She is also a Fellow of the Cameroon Academy of Science in the college of Social Sciences. Her areas of research and expertise are cognitive development in childhood years, learning, Teacher Education specifically teachers’ interactive behaviours, Gender, Distance education, ICT and Education, Pedagogy and Research methods in education and psychology.

Click here to Download resourceClick here to Open resource