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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsTowards a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education. So when we look at a communitarian understanding, the word is related to the idea of communalism. So whatever happens in community or according to communalism, happen together. So when people engage with one another, when they connect with one another, or when they socialize with one another, we say they act in community. So they act with communalism. And it is this particular understanding of African philosophy of education that we will examine. So when we talk about a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education, we link that to the notions of culture and citizenship. Because if we look at culture, we actually refer invariably to people's values, their beliefs, and their social practices.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsWhereas, we also look at the habits, customs, and ways of conduct, the etiquette. And then, in addition to looking at people's culture, we look at their works of art, which can include music, dancing, sculpture, and painting. And more poignantly, when we look at culture we are not oblivious or forgetful or negligent of the oral and written science, philosophy, and literature. So the question is culture, or the point, rather, culture enables one to get a clear understanding of a communitarian conception of a or an African philosophy of education. So I want to highlight three aspects whereby we use culture and citizenship in order to make the case for an African philosophy of education.

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 secondsAnd these three arguments are one, when people experience a sense of belonging together based of course on the cultural commonalities or their differences, what they have in common and what they differ on, we talk about the own sense of belonging to that particular culture. And within a particular culture, there can be sameness, which is commonalities or differences and even disagreements. The second point is when they share a particular mutual attachment to one another, they experience what we call a sense of citizenship. And the idea of citizenship is often derived from their common history, the territory they are occupying, and of course their destiny.

Skip to 3 minutes and 24 secondsAnd similarly, when they exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens in relation to one another, then we say they have citizenship. But they cannot have citizenship if they do not exercise or execute their rights and responsibilities in relation to one another. So what is the point? The point is if one looks at a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education, we invoke or draw on people's citizenship, which in turn is determined by their sense of belonging together and of course the exercise or execution of rights and responsibilities towards one another.

Skip to 4 minutes and 18 secondsAnd to talk about an African philosophy of education without invoking the idea of citizenship, rights, responsibilities, and belonging, would not be to talk about a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education, because a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education conversely draws upon the ideas of culture, togetherness, and citizenship. That in turn will make clear the notions of rights, responsibilities, and belonging.

Towards a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education

Such an understanding of philosophy of education invokes three aspects:

  • Firstly, people experience a sense of belonging together based on their cultural commonalities and differences.

  • Secondly, people share a mutual attachment to one another and thus share a citizenship derived from a common history, territory and destiny.

  • Thirdly, people exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens in relation to one another.

Consider the following questions …

What does a communitarian understanding of education entail?

Are recognition of rights and belonging sufficient conditions for a communitarian understanding of African philosophy of education?

What does it mean to act responsibly in education?

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching for Change: An African Philosophical Approach

Stellenbosch University

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