Publication: Indigenous Knowledge Goes to School : Potentials and Perils of Community Education in the Western Sahel

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Easton, Peter
Capacci, Chris
Kane, Lamine
Indigenous knowledge in West African schools, has yet to gain its stand in the official education sector in order to certify knowledge, and train the next generation, a sector seemingly unlikely to embrace local knowledge, or regard indigenous science as a legitimate source of inspiration. Nonetheless, non-formal education, and literacy programs, frequently conducted in African languages, and focused on local community needs, are current exceptions. The note looks at some changes that created a space for new curricula: structural adjustment policies motivated schooling, as well as the state in providing it; alternate formulas to increase enrollment are being supported by governments, including a variety of experimental programs; reform of primary and secondary schooling is reversing traditional formal education in favor of African-language curricula; and, civil society is playing an enhanced role in educational provision. The search for alternatives has taken a variety of forms, and, the note examines the community involvement model, where financial, administrative, and curricula participation become relevant inputs to the inclusion of indigenous knowledge. However, implementation is hindered by constraints in human, financial, and technical resources, aggravated by political issues. Despite obstacles to educational quality, and equity spelled out in the debate, the perils, and potentials of community school movements illustrate the policy changes needed to achieve a contemporary indigenous knowledge.
Easton, Peter; Capacci, Chris; Kane, Lamine. 2000. Indigenous Knowledge Goes to School : Potentials and Perils of Community Education in the Western Sahel. Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Notes; No. 22. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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