An investigation into the encounter between Indigenous and Western education among the Maasai pastoralists in Tanzania

Pesambili, Joseph Christopher (2018) An investigation into the encounter between Indigenous and Western education among the Maasai pastoralists in Tanzania. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The research described in this thesis investigated the tensions, conflicts, and misunderstandings present in the encounter between Indigenous and Western education systems among the Maasai pastoralists in Monduli by: a) documenting Indigenous knowledge (IK) and its articulations in Maasai society; b) exploring Maasai students’ encounter with formal education in the school contexts c) exploring the Maasai experiences with and responses to Western education in their society; d) establishing how IK might be used to support a more sustainable and culturally relevant education system among the Maasai in Tanzania. The thesis, therefore, looked at whether through using IK, the encounter between Indigenous and Western education might be used as the basis for offering a relevant and meaningful education for the Maasai pastoralists. The thesis is underpinned by postcolonial theory with its emphasis on the subaltern agency, alternative voices, and different ways of knowing; world system theory with its focus on the political and economic structures of the global capitalist system; and social justice framework with its concentration on recognitional, redistributive, and participatory justice in postcolonial countries like Tanzania. The research employed a glocalised methodological approach informed by both indigenous and ethnographic lines of inquiry. Equally, multiple research methods and tools of data collection, including olpûl camping, culture-sharing, participant observation, interviewing/listening, focus groups, visual methods, as well as documentary and electronic resources were used to generate fieldwork data.

The findings showed that the Maasai encounter with formal education in the study contexts is beleaguered not only by strong cultural tensions, hegemonic, and unequal relationship between traditional and Western knowledge, but also by the mixed and contested responses among the Maasai, as well as frequent conflicts and misunderstandings between teachers and students in schools. The findings highlighted that the tensions, conflicts, and misunderstandings, as well as hegemonic and unequal relationship between the two knowledge systems, as well as between teachers and students had been the major obstacles hampering the provision of relevant and meaningful experiences for the Maasai students in schools. In the light of the findings, the thesis concludes that minimising tensions, conflicts, and misunderstandings present in the encounter between Indigenous and Western knowledge might involve the process of dialogue (enkigúɛ́ná) that would allow all stakeholders to reach a consensus on what the Maasai themselves would value as a relevant and meaningful education for their lives, pastoral culture, and livelihoods. The thesis, however, maintains that the localised teaching, constructivist learning, and communitisation approach can be applied not only to minimise tensions, conflicts, and misunderstandings between Indigenous and Western knowledge but also to provide a bridge between the two knowledge systems.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0365 Eastern Africa > DT0436 Tanzania > DT0443 Etnography > DT0443.3 Individual elements in the population, A-Z > DT0443.3.M37 Maasai
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0980 Types of education > LC1099 Multicultural education (General)
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2018 10:16
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 06:01
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/77486

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