CHAPTER 3 CASE OF THEORIES THAT INFORMED EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA BEFEORE 1994 AND BEYOND AND INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF BASIC EDUCATION
This chapter is divided into two parts. Part one focuses on the educational landscape in South Africa before the democratic dispensation in 1994 while part two focuses on international perspectives of basic education in various and how it is conceived in South Africa and Canada.
Part one’s focus is on the theories that underpinned the education system in South Africa prior to 1994, namely, racial segregation. The period of segregation in education in South Africa played a major role in the culmination of the political struggle in the education arena in 1976 that marked a watershed in the politics of education in South Africa. The period following this watershed was characterised by flux between the 1980s and the early 1990 and a period of no formal education until 1994 when the Government of National Unity was declared with its much anticipated alternative education system for blacks in the country.
Educational Landscape in South Africa before 1994
Before 1994 South Africa’s education system was underpinned by theories of racial segregation which were effected in the education system through the apartheid education system which formulated an exclusionary education policy for Bantu education. It may, thus, be deduced that the architects of apartheid intended to reproduce the conditions of apartheid capitalism in a way that would be a super structural manipulation in order to support, promote, consolidate and reproduce white supremacy and dominance in South Africa. This scenario was echoed by Christie and Collins (1982, pp.59–75) by stating that, “apartheid schooling was designed and motivated in such a way so as to ensure that white South Africans are schooled in order to take on managerial positions in society and to be dominant in economic, political and social arenas of South African society, while black South Africans were being schooled for domesticity”. This context brings reproductive theory to the fore in the argument on the structure of apartheid education and which was described by Christie and Collins (1982, p. 79) as follows: “the central continuing feature remains, namely, that schooling for blacks in South Africa is in the main purpose of reproducing a certain kind of labour, as required by the particular form taken by the accumulation process at a particular form”.
The reproduction theory, as introduced in this argument, focuses on the issue of the role of social class relations in production, which cannot be divorced from some level of exploitation with the ruling class living at the expense of the cheap labour from the lower class. Christie and Collins (1982), Carrim, N (2007, pp.173-174) unpack the issue of reproduction in apartheid schooling by arguing that the unpack the issue of reproduction by showing the engineering of apartheid in the school curriculum was such that schools played a critical role in filling a notable void in preparing the labour force for the life awaiting them in the future. This notion may be cross-referenced to Verwoerd’s speech, as cited in chapter 2, on the assumption of the apartheid government about the fate of black learners in South Africa.
Furthermore, Christie and Collins (1982) highlight the fact that segregation in education in South Africa did not, in fact, begin with the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953 as education for blacks and whites had been structured along unequal lines long before 1948. According to Christie and Collins(1982), segregation schooling was already in place in the 1930s and 1940s as an attempt to reproduce the racial inequality propagated by the mission schools.6 This suggests segregation in the education system in South Africa preceded apartheid and it was a racial issue that had been introduced by missionaries who happened to be white rather than the apartheid government ideology.
Reproductive theories in the South African education system before 1994
Repressive measures in South Africa prior to 1994 had taken the form of reserves and pass laws that were tools used to entrench reproduction of the subordination of blacks to whites. Schools had played a critical role as ideological tools to reproduce social relations Molteno, (1980, p.17). Schools functioned as the sites of the repressive measures which were in place by ensuring that the black learners were concentrated at the lower levels of schooling so as to ensure that the education they received would be commensurate with their positions of servitude. With regard to the curriculum, the skills taught were directed at instruction in basic communication, literacy and numeracy with the emphasis of knowledge of one of the “so-called” official languages, English or Afrikaans as the languages of the employers. This segregationist structure of apartheid education
was designed to meet the general reproductive needs of capital in the country. Despite the controversy of the average white South African view of education for blacks, it can be said to be dubious in its objective. The dubious attitude of the average white South African towards the provision of schooling for blacks, as highlighted in the report by the Welsh Commission in 1936, was revealed by the evidence before the Committee that it appeared that opposition to educating the native on the grounds that:
(a) It makes him/her lazy and unfit for manual work.
(b) It makes him/her “cheeky” and less docile as a servant.
(c)It estranges him/her from his/her people and often resulting in him/her despising his/her own culture Rose& Tunmer, (1975, p. 23).
The segregationist comments cited above indicate the type of education which whites regarded as suitable for blacks, namely, a reproductive type of education system that produced dormant person who is ill-equipped to question the rules of the knowledge systems game. This statement is in line with my personal reflection at the beginning of this study in which I sketched a brief background of my schooling and the encounters I had when seeking a job that would enable me to build on my studies, for example, the comments made by some white people such as “Jy is te feel geleerd, Sy lyk nukkerig” (translated as ‘you are too much educated/certificated and she seems to be moody’). These sentiments expressed the racial connotations that white South African attributed to the so-called educated blacks, thus implying that, for a black person to gain access to the job market, the person had to be less educated so that the person could be exploited for questioning the treatment meted out to him/her. This highlights the urgent need for the new government to tackle the issue of racism in the country and the low quality black education without delay.
This nature of education dominated by social reproductive theories and racial segregation theories has been encapsulated by Christie and Collins (1982, p.65) in their assertion that the reproductive and racial theories in the education system result in an ideological orientation which is geared towards appropriate work attitudes such as diligence, punctuality, the operation of the colour-caste system and the subordinate position of blacks in the social relations of dominance and subordination in South Africa.
Bourdieu’s term habitus. Habitus constitutes an important form of cultural inheritance and it reflects class position or the actors’ location in a variety of fields and, in Bourdieu and Passeron’s (1977, pp. 204–205) view, it is geared towards the structures of dominance. Where knowledge and possession of the said cultural capital, termed “highbrow” culture by Bourdieu (1977) are concerned, the issue of the institutionalisation and legitimisation of certain cultures is raised together with economic, social and human capitals, which, as cultural capitals, reproduce social inequalities.
The reproduction of social inequalities in education in South Africa introduced the issue of meritocracy based on race in terms of which children of the white race were exposed to elite culture at home, thus giving them an advantage in the schools. This beneficial culture was recognised and rewarded by teachers who, in the process, excluded the children of the working class minorities who lacked similar cultural capital. Bourdieu (1974; 1977, p. 32) interpreted this type of action as ‘symbolic violence’ which in turn forces “other” children into a competitive mechanism that rewards the dominant cultural capital only. In the context of this study the question then arises as to which theories would be able to liberate black education of the blacks from these former apartheid education reproductive theories which were geared towards capital reproduction only.
After 1994 it was evident that a new approach to research on the education system in South Africa was required aimed at developing an education system that would legitimise the transformation of education, from basic to higher education. The legitimisation of transformation of education would be a response to the 1996 call on redressing the imbalances of the past, which had permeated the entire education system in South Africa. Both the DST and National Research Foundation (NRF) responded to the call by government to create instruments that would bring new research leadership capacity into the public universities. The instruments established included the South African Chairs Initiative (SARChI) in 2006.
These chairs were designed to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at public universities in South Africa with a long-term investment of fifteen years. 150 research chairs were awarded to 21 public universities. SARChI in Development Education (SARChI-DE), headed by Professor Catherine Odora Hoppers, was one of these 21 chairs. SARChI-DE’s mission was and is to introduce a new pedagogy into academic research and citizenship education with human development as the goal. In its exploration through research, SARChI-DE seeks answers to some of the most challenging and intriguing questions about development, knowledge production and science. The questions that SARChI-DE poses are contextualised within the context of human development and systems transformation within a paradigm of restorative action and cognitive justice. Through the concept of transdisciplinarity, SARChI-DE has introduced four linked and transdisciplinary focal areas for theoretical, applied and strategic research explorations.
In an attempt to narrow the scope of this study, the focus on the study was restricted to one of the research areas of this chair, that is, “Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Innovations: The Conditions for their integration; Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Innovations. This chair sees indigenous knowledge as part of the subaltern and heterogeneous forms of knowledge that had no place in the fields of knowledge that grew in a compact with colonialism and science. Theoretically, indigenous knowledge systems make it possible to explore the meanings and theories of death, obsolescence, resilience, survival, globalisation, freedom and healing. In addition, Indigenous knowledge systems enable us to revisit concepts such as property, poverty, and the ‘commons’ as well as the systems that govern these concepts. By taking IKS to this level, the chair contemplates the possibilities for alternative globalisation, alternative regimes of intellectual property and alternative times.
This study was conducted within the ambit of SARChI-DE’s projects on the transformation of the academy through the transformation of systems. The study focused on transforming action in the curriculum. The title of the study, “Integration of IKS into the curriculum for basic education”, was within the verbal context of the transformation of the curriculum at basic education level in South Africa.
SARChI’s Development in emerging concepts in education
This chapter first discussed the theories of racial segregation that underpinned the education system in South Africa before 1994. As highlighted earlier, South African society expected the new government, which replaced the apartheid government to redress the imbalances of the past in the education system. However, the reality is that any form of the redress of the imbalances of the past could not be effective under the same paradigm of education, which included colonial and/or apartheid education concepts. In other words, there had to be a shift of paradigm in terms of adopting different approach to the way in which knowledge has been produced. SARChI-DE was well positioned strategically as an instrument that would take an antithesis approach to contextualising knowledge production issues in relation to the African worldview.
It is clear from the above that SARChI’s strategy in development education had to be transformative as opposed to the approach, which had characterised the first period after colonisation in Africa and which is known as first level indigenisation and whereby intellectuals in Africa conceded to the colonial education extension in Africa. In this regard Mazrui, in Mkandawire (2001) in Odora Hoppers’ Centre for Education Policy Development(CEPD) Occasional Papers No 5 (2004), argued from the context of the African university (where knowledge is produced) that
the African university was conceived of
as a transmission belt for Western high culture
rather than as an institution to contextualise standards, and
set parameters of excellence based on the needs of African society and the African people.
This argument highlights the change of thinking in the minds and hearts of intellectuals in Africa and the African Diaspora about the conception of knowledge that is grounded in local conditions, in this case, conditions on the African continent. It is for these reasons that SARChI-DE decided to base the new discourses on alternative research into education for Africa and South Africa, in particular, on transformative paradigms that relate to requirement of the local conditions in the countries in question. Thus, SARChI-DE conceived of concepts that would challenge the consequences of colonialism for IKS; that is, the cognitive imperialism.
The starting point for SARChI-DE was at the cognitive level where science has violated other forms of knowing – other forms of knowledge such as IKS would be returned to life and restored to humanity without duress or, as mentioned earlier on in this study, with the freedom to name the development in their own terms. In addition, the restoration to life of other forms of knowledge would have to be conducted in a just manner as this process is a human rights issue. This, in fact, is the reason why SARChI-DE found it appropriate to use the concept of cognitive justice as opposed to the concept of cognitive imperialism, which had subjugated the right of different forms of knowledge to survive creatively and sustainably. Cognitive justice in this context should be understood in the following two different ways, namely: as respect for the knowledge system but also as an understanding for life forms, livelihoods and a way of life. Furthermore, in Visvanathan’s (2000) view, cognitive justice is a fraternity at the epistemological and ontological level that the university requires, and it is in this search for cognitive justice as a fraternal act that the future university will be located. The fraternity in this case may suggest that the transformation of the curriculum should not imply a removal of the theory of the West in knowledge production but, instead, that a theory of the West must be developed within the confines of an alternative vision of the world, namely, the indigenous vision of the world.
Second level indigenisation
Second level indigenisation has
enabled the grounding of the very process and agenda for learning and research in local conditions; and
in the 21st century, some African universities are finally realising that they could have started with “second level indigenisation” (SLI).
First level indigenisation (FLI) deals with the regulatory rules, accepting the plot and leaving the frame intact.
Second level indigenisation questions the rules of the game.
Second level indigenisation into the constitutive rules that make the paradigms of practice that I call “the pin codes” (Odora Hoppers, 2009, 2013).
African Perspective as a “new constitutive rule”
An African perspective implies more than just acknowledging that a particular person is African by descent, which, although it may be a starting point, on its own is not enough. Instead, an African perspective should entail delineating a distinctive conceptual and analytical lens and demarcating a mental position or plane of projection from which a wide variety of issues are viewed, reviewed or judged, or propositions for new visions or directions are made.Thus, when one talks of looking at the world from the perspective of a woman, or a prisoner, or a king, it is expected that a distinctive lens will emerge through which the same set of facts, once revisited via this new lens, will produce new dimensions or propositions for action that were not possible through the original lens.
In order to do this, I refer to Ashis Nandy’s statement in his contribution to the fascinating collection of reflections entitled “What Does It Mean to be Human?” (Franck, Roze, & Connolly, 2000). In that seminal article, Nandy (2000) pointed out that every age is characterised by a prototypical violence. In addition, every age also has a cut-off point at which the self-awareness of the age catches up with the organising principle of the age when, for the first time, the shared public consciousness begins to own up or rediscover itself. If we begin from this standpoint, we start to recognise the importance of acknowledging that knowledge rests primarily in people rather than in ICTs, databases or services and, thus, that for Africa the challenge has to be how to build on the local knowledge that exists in its people as a concomitant to working with global knowledge and information. We also begin to contemplate what a knowledge society with equity would look like. As we survey the wreckage and note the unprecedented evacuation of billions of people from the arena of substantive innovation essential to their existence, we need to turn with force to the task of redefining key concepts such as innovation, its link with the goals of building sustainable societies and cognitive justice as key to the attainment of long-term, and sustainable, development (Odora Hoppers, 2002,2009). Once we begin to see innovations differently, innovation then goes beyond the formal systems of innovation, as found in universities and industrial research and development laboratories, to innovations from below by which according to Odora (2017) in emphasising (Mashelkar R.A. 2002)’s view, is meant to take into account the full participation of all producers of knowledge, including those in the informal settings of rural areas.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 AN OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
1.1 Personal reflections
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE CURRENT STUDY
1.3 RATIONALE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.4 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.5 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.7 RIGOUR OF THE STUDY
1.8 ETHICAL CONSIDERATION
1.9 DELINEATION OF THE STUDY
1.10 UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS
1.11 CHAPTER DIVISION
CHAPTER 2 CONCEPTUAL AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1. Cognitive Justice
2.3 Transdisciplinarity and Afrikology
2.4 Transdisciplinarity from an African Perspective
2.5 Indigenous knowledge systems
2.8. Mission schools
2.9 Afrikaner National Education
2.10 Bantu Education
2.11 Residential Schools
2.12 Transformation by Enlargement
CHAPTER 3 CASE OF THEORIES THAT INFORMED EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA BEFEORE 1994 AND BEYOND AND INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF BASIC EDUCATION
3.1 Educational Landscape in South Africa before 1994
3.2. SARChI’s Development in emerging concepts in education
3.3 International Perspectives of Basic Education in Different Countries
CHAPTER 4 HISTORY OF ASSIMILATION
CHAPTER 5 SYNTHESIS OF SOUTH AFRICA AND CANADA’S CASES: CHALLENGES OF CURRICULUM TRANSFORMATION
5.1 Challenges experienced by South Africa in the process of curriculum transformation
5.2. Implication of new emerging concepts for the South African and Canadian cases
5.4 African Perspective “first”
5.5 AFRIKO-CONTINUUM CURRICULUM
CHAPTER 6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
6.1 Research methods
6.2. What this study adds?
CHAPTER 7 Conclusion and Way Forward
7.1. Final words
7.2 Limitations of the study
7.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS RESEARCH
7.5 UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION OF THE RESEARCH
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT