A Philosophical Examination of Epistemological and Moral Bases of African Indigenous Education with Particular Reference to the Luo of Kenya
Ogeno, Jackton Ojwan'g
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This study is an effort to examine the philosophical foundations of African Indigenous Education with particular reference to the Luo of Kenya. This is an area assumed by many scholars while others acknowledge its debatability. Basic conceptual issues that have been problematic to the understanding of education have been elucidated. The study is presented in six chapters, viz: Introduction, Co~ceptual Scheme, African Epistemological Assumptions, African Moral Assumptions, Philosophy and Education (African perspective), Recapitulation and Conclusion. One cannot legislate feelings or emotions but ~ in this study, thinking and feeling were the two prerequisites to the discussions of the philosophical problems. The sagacious views which formed the raw philosophical texts are appended to the study. These views were garnered through dialogical encounters with the sages from the Luo of Kenya. Terminologies included in this study were solely for the establishment of a common basis of communication between those using them. However, these are explained in the glossary. KENYATTA UN'VE~t~T~liBRARY ..x The study of Philosophy of Education in Africa is diverse. This diversity demands an adoption of a combination of philosophical approaches. In our adoption of the foregoing, we were able to focus directly on the complex nature of Philosophy of Education in the African context. In this study, it is assumed that most traditional settings do ~isualise the task of philosophy of educatio~ as a body of thought that entails ethical principles for justifying educational goals; a metaphysics on which the psychological and sociological aspects of education are based, and an epistemology that justifies certain methods of teach~ng, learning and human ability to know the truth of educational thought. Hence, the assumption that a meaningful education cannot do without a human con- " cern to justify educational efforts..Thus, an educationwithout justifiablea:imsmistbe a confused form of education. The search for and an examination of a philOsophical justification of education in this study is directed more on the African epistemological and moral a$sumptions together with certain metaphysical notions, in so far as they are assumed to affect the theory and practice of African Indigenous Education. Thus, Chapter Five discusses issues that try to link the disciplines of philosophy and of education. Again, the issues raised in Chapters Three and Four are examined in Cbapter Five in order to demonstrate their plausible connection with education. However, such issues are found to ultimately rest on certain metaphysical notions, thereby leaving the problem of the "philosophical bases" open-ended. To arrive at a better understanding, the expression "philosophical bases" assumes an existence of principles that are not only basic but unquestionable assumptions, that serve as the bases for reasoning and ultimately act as guides for action. In this study, metaphysical principles are regarded as more fundamental than social principles and may therefore, require no proof either because they are self-evident truth or analytical truth. However, the mode of conceptualization in which fundamental social principles are regarded as unque- . stionable is seen to amounting to "ethnophilosophy", a term used to refer to "philosophy" implicitly. Owing to our concern for an explicit philosophy of education, we find the analytical and phenomenological interpretation of Dholuo, sagacious views, and the work of scholars like H. Oruka, A-B-C Ocholla-Ayayo and P. Erny quite relevant alternative approach to the understanding of African systems of thought. Thus, the conclusion that the child who is xii at the central nerve of education in the African context, cannot be fully explained simply in terms of the interplay of social super-imposition and the biological cycle, since it transcends both. Therefore, we have arrived at the understanding that visualises the child as somebody possessing a supplementary dimension, born with ready made personality, an intelligemce and will that education is ~ supposed to improve upon. As it is pointed out, the child is more than a tabula rasa since it has certain form of potentiality to be actualized. ~ Unfortunately, the above view of the child is not well-catered for in certain educational , theories and activities. While the explicit philosophy of education does recognise the child as an individual, a personality and authentic being, the practice of certain education accentuates social activities that later plung the child into the sea of the society. Accordingly, this study raises concern for lack of harmony between the philosophical and prac- ~ tical aspects of education in Africa. In this light, we assert that though the bases of African Indigenous education find plausible expIanations in the African epistemological and moral assumptions, its ultimate basis rests not only on certain metaxiii physical notions,but ~ on a philosophical anthropology, a philosophy that understands "man" both in empirical and metaphysical terms. It is this sort of philosophy that ought to provide guiding principles to the practice of education in Africa.