Harambee approach: towards decolonising East African education through capturing social-cultural ethos

by Evelyn Wandia Corrado

01 Jun 2022
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
18 (pp. 135-152)

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Abstract: In Kenya, the cultural practices and experiences of both children and teachers are marginalised in the education system. The education system remains predominantly authoritarian with an underlying colonial framework. Often, in local and global spaces, there is an exclusion of the vital experiences and knowledge that East African students acquire from collaborative daily lives in their homes and communities. These crucial skills should be integrated into their classroom learning to decolonise education and liberate the engagement of East African students. This model of learning, which is based on the Harambee approach, is a proposal based on my ethnographic PhD study conducted in a rural community in Kenya. The study included interviews and a focus group with teachers, and observations of students. The proposed concept captures the need for all key stakeholders to participate actively in policymaking and practice review, to accommodate the needs of all students and their teachers. The Harambee approach includes the social-cultural experiences of children. Additionally, dialogic engagement would be an inclusive strategy to emancipate the autonomy of students.

Keywords: Dialogic pedagogies, Harambee concept, decolonising education, East Africa.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 10, supplementary issue 2 (Searching for the Everyday in African Childhoods).

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