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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Example of a case study. During our introduction, or overview, we explain that African philosophy of education will be examined in relation to various case studies. In this presentation, we shall explain what a case study means in reference to an example. We have chosen military rule or military dictatorship as a problem for Africa. Now, why is military rule a problem? Remember, the framework for doing African philosophy of education comprises three steps. One, identifying a problem. Two, ascertaining what the reasons are for the problem. That is, why the problem exists. And number three, what the educational implications or consequences are of these problems. So what are the reasons why military rule or military dictatorships is a problem?

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds In the first instance, political freedom and participation will be constrained. Why? Because of the state’s political coercion. The state forces people to do certain things against their will. And that means that human freedom and human participation would be constrained. Now once we understand as to why military dictatorships is a problem, we have to examine the consequences of these, or of this particular problem, for education. Now what would be the consequences? I would imagine when students and scholars are obliged to toe the line, to follow a particular point of view, and to accept things uncritically as they are, that would in fact undermine the freedom and volition of will of students and scholars.

Skip to 2 minutes and 30 seconds And by implication, when freedom is undermined you are violating the functioning of these students and scholars towards attaining a kind of criticality whereby they can disagree. So disagreement is important for a democracy to flourish. Because if you do not have people, scholars and students, who can disagree, who can take into controversy what has been said, who can offer counter reasons as to why they think military dictatorships are harmful for the democratization of a country, you will not have an educated populace. So military dictatorships is a problem because freedom, participation, are undermined as a consequence of the political coercion of the state. It’s a problem because the consequence will be that education in schools and universities will be hampered. Why?

Skip to 3 minutes and 51 seconds Because people will be told to do certain things against, perhaps their will. And they would not be allowed to critically question and interrogate notions that are different and other. And in this way the democratization of education will be curbed.

Case Study: The problem of military rule in Africa

What is a major problem on the African continent?

  • Some African states are ruled by the military. The problem is military rule.

  • Why is military rule a problem? Military rule implies that people are governed by force. This means that political freedom and participation are prevented because of political coercion (by military rule). To this effect, a political dictatorship prevents the masses from exercising their political rights to vote, for instance. The reason offered is that military rule is a political dictatorship that excludes people’s right to free and fair elections or political participation.

  • The consequences of a military dictatorship for education are that students could be prevented from questioning and challenging the state; and that scholars might be censored and in some instances silenced if they speak out against the state. Education would be constrained because education, in the first place, should allow people to criticise, oppose and disagree, and at the same time people would be included in an educational experience.

Consider the following questions …

Firstly, how does your understanding of a military dictatorship help you to frame your own understanding of an African philosophy of education?

Secondly, can you offer an account as to why an African philosophical approach to education is useful in resolving societal predicaments?

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching for Change: An African Philosophical Approach

Stellenbosch University