Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Indigenous Approaches

Some important efforts to develop alternative educational ideas are rooted in the realities of lower-income countries and have often arisen as challenges to the legacies of colonialism. Prominent examples include the approaches of Mahatma Gandhi and Julius Nyerere, both of whom proposed new and alternative education systems with culturally relevant emphases on self-reliance, equity and rural employment. Such indigenous approaches challenged the ‘imported’ knowledge, images, ideas, values and beliefs reflected in mainstream curricula. A positive example of the alternatives offered, in curriculum terms, is in the field of mathematics. ‘Ethno-mathematicians’ claim that ‘standard’ mathematics is neither neutral nor objective, but culturally biaised and that alternative forms exist that have implications for teaching and learning.24 Box 1.9 presents some important features common to indigenous approaches.

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