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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Ethiopia Was Colonised

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 5, 2017

By Mastewal Taddese Terefe

We kept the imperialists at bay, but it wasn’t enough.

Like many African countries that were colonised by the British, Ethiopia’s educational system strongly privileges the English language. I learnt this first hand going through school in the capital Addis Ababa.

Along with my classmates across the vast country, I was taught in my local language from Grades 1 to 6 (ages 6 to 12). But after that, the language of instruction switched. History, maths, sciences and the rest were now taught in English, while Ethiopia’s official language Amharic became its own separate subject.

Growing up in Ethiopia, fluency in English was considered a mark of progress and elite status. At my school, we were not only encouraged to improve our proficiency, but made to feel our future depended on it. When I was in grade 4, one of my tasks as a class monitor was to note down names of classmates I heard speaking Amharic during English lessons or lunchtime. Our teacher would enforce a 5-cent penalty for every Amharic word that slipped through our lips during lessons.

At the same time, we were proudly educated in Western history and literature. I learnt to take pleasure in reading books in English. I listened to American songs. And I looked to emulate the lives of the people I saw in Hollywood films.

At primary and secondary school, we were taught about Ethiopian history too. But many aspects of the country – from its philosophy to its architecture to its unique methods of mathematics and time-keeping – were neglected. I left school feeling I lacked a coherent understanding of my country’s history. And today, like most of my classmates, I would struggle to write even a short essay in Amharic.

My experience no doubts resonates with many people across Africa, where colonialism elevated European languages and history in the education system while devaluing local languages, methods of instruction, and histories. This is what has spurred vigorous movements across the continent today calling for the academy to be decolonised.

The strange thing though is that Ethiopia was never colonised in the first place.

Native Colonialism

So how did the country’s school system come to be the way it is? According to Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes’ brilliant new book, Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia, the answer is that Ethiopia was “self-colonised” and that education played a big part.

In the academic’s extensive study, he sets out to show “how and at what cost western knowledge became hegemonic in Ethiopia”. He suggests that the 1868 British expedition to Abyssinia, which resulted in the British looting massive national treasures and intellectual resources that Emperor Tewodros II had accumulated over time, was a turning point in Ethiopians’ perception of power. Although the Emperor’s defeat in Magdala did not result in the country’s colonisation, it brought about a new, outward-looking consciousness. “This reaction to the European gaze created the desire to acquire European weapons in order to defend the country from Europe,” writes Woldeyes.

Successive rulers maintained a contradictory relationship with Europe – between friendship and enmity – until Emperor Haile Selassie, who ruled up to 1974, initiated a period of radical westernisation post-WW2. In that process, Woldeyes explains, Haile Selassie entrusted certain elites to establish Ethiopia’s modern education system. This group was educated in Western languages and teachings. They embraced European epistemology as a singular, objective basis of knowledge, seeing it as synonymous with “modernity” and naturally superior to the local.

These elites, who Woldeyes refers to as “native colonisers”, introduced a system of education into Ethiopia that mimicked Western educational institutions. Contributions from traditional Ethiopian educators such as elders, religious leaders, and customary experts were squeezed out.

The result is that Ethiopia’s schools came to lack a meaningful connection with the culture and traditions of the communities in which they are located. Instead, they prepare students in the skill of imitation using copied curricula and foreign languages. Schooling today, argues Woldeyes, is as much a process of unlearning local tradition as it is about learning the art of foreign imitation.

This disconnect at the heart of Ethiopian teaching has many negative ramifications. An education that doesn’t speak to students’ lived experience limits their capacity to create, innovate, and deliver solutions to problems in their surrounding world. It leads young Ethiopians to feel alienated from their own culture, lowers self-esteem, and leads to a disoriented sense of identity.

Moreover, without a comprehensive understanding of their country’s history and politics, graduates lack the knowledge and skills to confront the nation’s ongoing problems.

Text Kills, Meaning Heals

In Native Colonialism, Woldeyes does not stop at diagnosing the problem. He goes on to propose remedies – namely that the education system be reconstituted on the foundations of Ethiopia’s “rich legacy of traditional philosophy and wisdom”.

He argues that: “before the rise of western knowledge as the source of scientific truth, one’s political and social status in Ethiopia was justified on the basis of traditional beliefs and practices”. In the tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, he says, education was not a means to an end, but part of “an endless journey” of knowledge-seeking. This quest was grounded in the two core values of wisdom and humility.

Woldeyes argues that we need to put these core values back at the centre of the country’s education, which should reflect indigenous beliefs, knowledges and philosophies. This does not mean foreign ideas should be rejected. Students should be exposed to a variety of teachings. But they should, he says, be disseminated through an Ethiopian frame of reference.

Woldeyes argues that this approach was the norm in Ethiopian education for centuries. Through trade and diplomatic relations, scholarship from as far as Asia and Europe has been making its way to Ethiopia for hundreds of years. But traditionally, scholars did not simply translate these works into local languages.

Instead, they used an Ethiopian interpretative paradigm called Tirguamme “to evaluate the relevance and significance of knowledge”. Woldeyes defines this as “a process that searches for meaning by focusing on the multiplicity, intention, irony and beauty of a given text”. This unique process of inquiry is based on a traditional principle that literally translates as “text kills, but meaning heals”. It is apparent in different Ethiopian cultural practices such as the multi-layered poetic practice of “wax and gold”, allegorical puzzle games, the art of judicial debating, and storytelling.

Woldeyes’s methodology offers a potential framework for reforming the current education system in Ethiopia. It envisions a system of education centred on local priorities and ways of being, whilst also incorporating ideas from around the world.

Decolonising The Academy

Woldeyes’s ground-breaking analysis demonstrates that despite the fact that no colonial power managed to conquer Ethiopia, the country did not escape being colonised in other ways.

Moreover, his study shows that decolonising education across Africa will require an investigation of how indigenous epistemologies were violently discarded. It will also entail a critical study of the modes of scholarship previously side-lined as “traditional”.

Woldeyes’s research suggests that the decolonisation movement cannot be confined to the four walls of elite educational institutions. It must reach out beyond to members of society that were previously closed out, such as traditional leaders, elders, and others.

Emperor Tewodros believed that Ethiopia needed European weapons to defend the country from Europe. Today, we may need native epistemologies to take back the country from native colonisation.

Source

My Note: If Ethiopians were teaching and using their own numerical methods and mathematical calculation, they would have created computers in the 18th century.

Is There Some Connection Between God & Mathematics?

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Are British Children Unhappier Than Youngsters in Ethiopia?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on August 20, 2015

ChildHappiness

Children in England are unhappier in their school life than in almost every other country in the world, says a new report

An international report ranked English childrens’ happiness behind that of kids in Ethiopia, Algeria and Romania, and found a third claimed they had been bullied in school.

English children ranked 14th out of 15 countries for overall life satisfaction, just ahead of South Korea, and scored low in matters related to their “self” and school, according to research by the University of York in partnership with The Children’s Society.

The Good Childhood Report 2015, which examined 53,000 children’s “subjective well-being” across 15 diverse countries, found levels of unhappiness at school increased with age, with less than half (43 per cent) of year eights in England saying they enjoyed school compared to six out of 10 (61 per cent) year six students.

The report also found worrying levels of bullying in English schools, with more than a third of students (38 per cent) aged 10 and 12 reporting that they had been physically bullied in the past month. Half (50 per cent) said they had felt excluded at school.

English girls ranked second lowest for happiness with their body confidence, self-confidence and appearance, rating their satisfaction as 7.3 out of 10 on average. This places them just above South Korea, with a mean score of 7.1. Colombian girls topped the table for body confidence, with an average rating of 9.6, followed by Romania with 9.4.

Source

Read the Comments here

Do Children in Materially Rich Countries Know It’s Christmas?

spiritmatters7

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Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, Infos, Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Parents Angry After School Tells 13-Year-olds They Can Have Sex, Choose Gender

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 11, 2014

genderbread chart

Students at one northern California high school are learning more than just the birds and the bees.

Along with local area groups, some parents are irate that their children’s sex ed class at Acalanes High School in Lafayette is being taught by employees of Planned Parenthood without their prior knowledge. They are also fuming over the methods and materials being used, including a checklist that asks students if they are “ready for sex” and another worksheet that describes how to give and obtain consent, as well as a diagram that uses a “genderbread” person for lessons in gender identity.

[Parents] are very concerned,” Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal organization that is assisting the concerned parents, told FoxNews.com. “Planned Parenthood is not exactly the best when it comes to putting young people first.

They get more grants from the promiscuity of children,” he added. “The material they have provided was material that mirrored their agenda.”

They get more grants from the promiscuity of children. The material they have provided was material that mirrored their agenda.” – Brad Dacus, Pacific Justice Institute

It was the parents of ninth-graders at Acalanes that started raising questions after their children told them one instructor threw a model of female reproductive organs at one student and that many felt the sessions were pressuring them to have sex.

Some of the kids were distracted because it was divergent from what they were taught at home,” Dacus said.

Acalanes Union School District officials told the institute the class was not taught by teachers but rather the staff from a local Planned Parenthood in nearby Walnut Creek.

Continue reading…

Big Pharma’s Secret Payments to Corrupt Doctors, Scientists Finally to be Exposed by US Government

BigPThe legacy of back room wheelin’ and dealin’ by the drug industry, which routinely pays off doctors and academic researchers to hawk oftentimes dangerous and ineffective pharmaceuticals and medical devices, could soon be blown wide open by newly enacted legislation passed as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which was successfully moved through the Senate with the help of an extensive investigation led by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), provisions that doctors who receive payoffs from drug or vaccine companies must disclose this when pushing new therapies or medical procedures from what would otherwise appear to be unbiased intentions.

Continue reading…

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British Children ‘Must Be Taught Christianity’

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 26, 2012

My note: While the tabloid, ‘Daily Express’ titled this report accurately, the BBC is ratcheting up the propaganda that paints the Christians faith in the usual hateful manner by twisting the truth on the same poll with a very cynical headline, “Teaching of Christianity ‘lacks intellectual development‘” The Corporation is getting ever more disgraceful even after the recent embarrassing blunders and scandals  (must read) How low can this, once great broadcaster go?

 

SCHOOLCHILDREN need to be taught Christianity so they can understand British history and culture, a poll of parents has revealed.

Almost two-thirds believe Christianity is key to our history and over half think it is important to help children understand British culture.

Nearly half say more attention should be given to teaching Christianity in RE lessons – but a third say many teachers do not know enough about it themselves.

The Oxford University poll of nearly 2,000 adults found most wanted children to be taught the history of the religion, major festivals like Easter and Christmas and Christian morality.

 

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Posted in Faith, Media & Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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