EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN EASTERN
AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
guests, fellow colleagues in the teaching and learning profession, ladies and
It is reported that one lady was so incensed by the late Sir Winston Churchill's arrogance and male chauvinism that she is said to have commented to him: "If I were your wife, I would poison your tea!" Churchill is reported to have retorted, "If you were my wife, I would drink it!"
This is, in a sense, how I feel about my invitation to be the keynote and guest speaker! That not withstanding, I feel greatly honoured by the invitation of the Executive Committee of the Swaziland Educational Research Association (SERA) to be guest speaker (even though I am no guest to many of you and to Swaziland!). I find it difficult to see how I deserve such an honour, but I felt encouraged to accept the invitation on account of the very great respect and admiration which I have for the Executive committee and what it represents in terms of the respective educational research associations in Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
It was as a result of a meeting of the educational research seminar held at the University College of Botswana, Gaborone, May 4-7", 1981 that those associations were born. Credit goes to the following colleagues among others, from the region who were present at that initial meeting: Professor V M Bam; Mr C M Bohloko; Professor George Eshiwani (then Director of the Bureau of Educational Research, Kenyatta University College; now Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta University); Dr Ash Hartwell; Mr Raymond M Magagula; Mrs Mary Mokgokong; Dr Ramoshebi Moletsane, then Dean of the Faculty of Education, National University of Lesotho; now Vice Chancellor of that University; Matlapeng Ray Molomo, then Senior Lecturer, Department of Educational Foundations, University College of Botswana; subsequently, Minister of Education in Botswana; and currently a successful businessman in that country; Professor Leonard Ngcongco, Dr Bongile Putsoa, then Dean, Faculty of Education, University College of Swaziland; Professor E Molapi Sebatane; Mr Temba Vanqua, then Lecturer of Educational Foundations, University College of Botswana; and subsequently Dean, Faculty of Education; University of Botswana; Dr Masotsha Joel Ziyane; and the late Professor Sohl Thelejane. Since that time important deliberations known as the bi-annual symposia have been held in rotation in the three countries ofBotswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. As someone, with Dr Sheldon Schaeffler, then of the International Development Centre (IDRC) Ottawa, Canada and currently RegionalDirector, Asia and the Pacific for UNICEF, who was peripherally involved in the evolution and later revolution of the activities of the three associations of BERA, LERA and SERA.
feel greatly honoured to be associated with this hi-annual symposium, sixteen
years after the Gaborone meeting held in May, 1981, referred to earlier. But as
implied earlier, I am not so sure if I feel honoured to be guest speaker.
Nevertheless, I must perform this task.
undertaking this task I can only repeat what La Rochefoucaultd said: "We
promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears" because
I know I certainly have both hopes and fears! In undertaking the task I also
remember what Elbert Hubbard said; namely: "God will not look you over for
medals, degrees, and diplomas, but for scars!"
subject I have been given for my address today encompasses the theme of the
entire Symposium. It is a vast subject, and only a genius could do real justice
to it in the course of a single address Certainly, I would have considered it
somewhat rash to select it for myself. However, since this is your wish, and I
feel certain that you are fully aware of the dimensions of the task and of my
own limitation, I am prepared to make an attempt.
I have had some good advice about this address. Some colleagues have suggested, "try not to make too many points; keep it to about three points at the most." suggested that I should have a clear message. I have also had some queries, "given the title: What will be the main theme?" The questioner seemed to advise me to keep to one main theme. Of course, these people might all be trying diplomatically to tell me the same thing - someone else for the talk. Perhaps they have heard me before or, struggled to read something I have written!
The most recent advice related to the actual delivery of the talk: Read the first draft; insert helpful notes on the side such as "argument weak here shout louder!" After making the draft, and inserting the "helpful notes" I found that I had inserted this note on every page, which would have required me to "shout louder!" on every next page! And so I tore up the first draft.
I am going to say today contains
essentially the basic positive advice; so I have taken the idea
that I could have all, a message, a main theme, and six points for the talk with
some concluding remarks. First to the message which I prefer to call the
internal and external environments of Africa.
and External Environments
me start with an observation I saw recently entitled 'Think of This"!
could shrink the earth' s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with
all the extant human ratios remaining the same as now, our world today would
look like this:
me, using the above statement (observation) briefly refer to the internal and external
environments that face or will face Africa in the coming decades in order for us
to appreciate the need for educational research which is relevant, which targets
issues considered germane, and which utilises appropriate strategies.
Africa, living standards - often the lowest of the world in the post war years -
have fallen, erasing decades of progress. According to the World Bank XOO
million people do not receive sufficient food to carry on an active working
life. About half the working-age population is unemployed or underemployed. Half
of the city's dwellers live in shanty-towns which double in population every ten
years. Besides, these figures do not reflect the pressures on the environment
exacted by poverty, pressures that threaten every citizen of the world (Hesser,
1989, p.4). The continuing economic crisis, the problems created by the massive
flow of refugees in recent years, natural disasters, and the spread of the
HIV/AIDS pandemic have evoked collective actions. Internally, the challenges in
addition, to eradicating poverty and hunger, will be to consolidate and heighten
the fledgling democracy, social cohesion, equity and participation.
immediate causes go beyond the prolonged drought due to failure of the rains in
large parts of the continent, especially in the Sahelian and sub-desert areas of
West, East and Southern Africa, and the growing problem of creeping
desertification. They stem, to a large extent, from general environmental
mismanagement and organisation, political misdirection or apathy and the
improper ordering of priorities.
need not be poor, but it is very poor; its people do not need to be hungry, but
they are extremely hungry and starving. In the presence of actual and potential
abundance of natural and human resources, we have become the poor and helpless
relations of the human race. It is within the context of these realities that
any purposefUl discussion of research in general and educational research in
particular, in Africa can really take place.
Africa faces a number of challenges, including impact of the new knowledge base; the globalization of world economies, and issues
related to sustainable development. We
comment briefly on each of these in turn.
is a major transformation in society that is taking place globally, resulting in
the emergence of what has been called the knowledge society, with
knowledge in a broad and generic
sense rather than the production of physical goods, playing a major role in the
new society. "A driving force
for this change is the development of modem electronic information technology
with its powerful capabilities of creating, processing, and storing and
distributing information" (Hagstr(jm, 1995).
addition there is a new global dynamic brought on by trade agreements. There is
the 'North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which brings together Canada,
US4 and Mexico. Chile is expected to join the ranks of this trade agreement
soon. There is the European Economic Union (ECU) now European Union ~U) which
brought together nine countries, a number that has recently risen to twelve.
There are the 18 members who constitute the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
LomC Convention is an international treaty between the 12 member states of the
European Community and 69 African, Carribean, and Pacific countries known
collectively as ACP. The first Lom~ Convention was signed in 1975 and covered a
five-year period. Its negotiation
was at the time seen as something of a water-shed in post-colonial relations
between the EU and former colonies in Africa, the Carribean and the Pacific. The
first Convention involved a European Community of 9 states and an ACP grouping
of 44 countries.
then LomC membership has expanded to an ECU of 12 and an ACP of 69, including,
since the signing ofLomC IV, all the independent countries of Sub-Saharan
we shall soon see the powerful potential of the trade agreements blur out
economic and thus educational borders. The World Trade Organisation and
its General Agreement on Trade in Service (GATS) will predictably have a major
impact on those higher education systems, including Colleges of Educatin, which
are paying attention. If national higher education systems do not recognise the
need to prepare their students for new national and global realities, they run
the risk of allowing their national professional labour force to be displaced
better globally oriented foreign nationals.
respect to the concept of sustainable development it is important to note five
international events which have contributed greatly to a rethinking and new
paradigm of development :
In 1987 a new concept - sustainable development was born. This is development
that is defined as satisfying the present generation's needs without endangering
the possibilities of future generations satisfying their needs and choosing
In 1990 UNDP came up with a new definition: human development - defined as a
process of expanding people's choices. Three areas are highlighted as
essential: (a) a long and healthy life; (b)
education; (c) a decent standard of living. Human development means that the
productive and creative energies of people must be
mobilised and that it is decisively important to invest in them.
Sustainable human development requires
our moral obligation "to sustain for the next generation the opportunity
and the same kind of well being that we possess" with particular emphases
put on human security, which always had the two components of freedom
from fear and freedom from want.
In 1993 the World Conference on human rights in Vienna stipulated the
human rights, rejecting attempts which make human rights relative to
In 1995 the World Summit on social development held in Copenhagen focused on
"social issues" in the face of global unemployment. Poverty and
social exclusion was put on the agenda,
with emphasis on creating jobs, and social security systems.
1995 at the Beiiing Conference the importance of the special role of women in
the entire development process was
of industrial and developing countries have agreed to all the above dimensions,
including sustainable human development. Yet there is often a wide gap between
word and deed and many politicians tend to look more towards the next election
date than to the next generation. This is why new alliances - national and
international - have to be forged between various groups, including teacher
educators, teachers unions, environmental movements, NGOs, scholars, those in
politics and international organisations who can be won as supporters. I shall
return to the point of alliances or partnerships later.
the developed countries and the successful cases of the so called late
industrialisation" or "tiger economies" in other areas, there is
a clear recognition of the central role that education,
and in turn, teacher education, play in the development process. The
transmission ofv alues, the ethical dimension and the forms of behaviour typical
of modern citizenship, together with the generation of the capacities and skills
which are essential for international competitiveness (which is increasingly
based on technical progress), receive a decisive boost from education and the
production of knowledge in a society. Mary Hanvood Futrell, former President of
the National Education Association, put the case of importance of education (and
teacher education) as well as the need for global cooperation in education when
she stated: (and she was speaking about America).
our land, there has taken root a new consensus - a consensus which states that
an investment in children today is an investment in a
tomorrow of peace... What brought about this new consensus? Perhaps, a
taste, bittersweet, of reality? In support of this assumption let me invoke
the date in October, 1987. That was the day that the stock market fell by
over 500 points. That day jolted America. And on that day, I believe, we
began to see that our economy is intertwined with all economies, that we
do indeed live in a global village, that the economic competition within
that village is often fierce, and that
the United States is by no means the guaranteed
maintain that we face an undeniable imperative for educational
improvements that will enhance America's competitive edge in the world
economic community. But I will also maintain that the gross national
product is not - and never can be - a measure of our worth as a people
foundation of global education is an attitude, an attitude that affirms
the oneness of the human family - an attitude best embodied in the phrase
"with malice for none, with charity for all...". Unless we
recognise this decisive fact, we will,
fear, subordinate international cooperation to international
competition. We will, I fear, build not bridges to
understanding but barriers to understanding CHesser, 1989, p.34). That
can be said of all of our countries.
me turn briefly to a consideration on issues related to "duality of
life" the major thrust of this symposium, and later on to implications for
educational research, areas of priority and strategies for implementation.
might be helpful to spend a couple of minutes indicating what I mean or
of life". Perhaps the definition is in part at least provided perhaps
implicitly if not
by our description of the internal and external conditions and inference of what
be better conditions. But let me refer to wiser counsel for guidance.
great British geography, J H Fleure, once described human life as proceeding in
stages: Life, More Life and the Good Life. At the level of Life, man is
able to survive on the basis of what he can eke out of nature. At the level of
he has more than his immediate needs and is able to expand his production base
increase his kind without too much anxiety about the future, while at the level
Life, he is virtual master of the situation. All his basic needs have been
can devote a considerable part of his attention to creature comforts and
luxuries and to
and spiritual pursuits.
Africa today, people at all three levels can be found, but those in the bottom
are far in the majority. But even for the more fortunate sectors of the
still remain serious uncertainties about the future.
authority (Maslow, 1954) advanced a theory of human needs referred to as a
of needs In his theory, Maslow pointed out that some needs, particularly
needs, are basic to others. It follows that such needs must be satisfied
higher needs can be felt and fulfilled.
to Maslow's view of motivation, physiological needs are the strongest, the
demanding of satisfaction. It is reasonable to expect, therefore, that drive
be aimed primarily at these lowest of needs.
the needs at the physiological level have been fulfilled, the person concerned
with the next level of needs - the safety needs - being the need to avoid or
and the need to be secure and protected. This is followed by the need to be
to belong; to have friends and family and to be part of a group.
is also what is called the need for self-esteem - the need to have the respect,
and admiration of others and to gain self-confidence and self respect. Once all
these needs have been fUlfilled the person will be motivated towards self-actualisation
towards knowing and understanding, and towards finding (deriving) satisfaction
sensitive to the beauty of human beings, their accomplishments, and their
Perhaps put differently in a sentence by no less a person than AUbert
"An empty stomach is not a good political advisor"!
more recent authority (Amar, 1996) talks of "quality of life" in
particular reference to
to the concept of quality of life as an open, unfinished project that is
towards its realization. Quality refers to a number of qualities that are in
It cannot be defined as an entity with a complete, absolute nature identical
itself. Nor can it be reduced to its most visible means and products. Above all,
be true to itself and to the specific social context in which it is set, while
at the same
maintaining a universal perspective of human development as a mandatory
this perspective, improving the quality of life is based on people's capacity
their deeds and ideals for themselves and their community. It means that groups
and take their situation in their own hands to transform and enrich it. This
quality of life as a social and historically determined concept that starts with
and interests of the community. The goal is the realization of an authentic life
rooted in a country's specific situation. It relies on the participation of all
At the centre is the child, who acts like a catalyst for releasing the energy
order to seek a qualitative change in living conditions. It is evident that to
of life focus, a great deals remains to be explored.
imperfectly or imprecisely "quality oflife" may have been defined, I
use this as a guide to examine some of the areas that I think we could conduct
on that would, eventually at least, lead to improvement of quality of life in
and southern Africa. We now turn to a brief consideration of these areas.
areas for urgent focus for Research
the list of priorities that we draw up for research is long or short, it must
that will enable us to deal effectively with the human and related or
problems that stare us in the face in our continent today: hunger,
filth, squalor, poverty, poor sanitation and housing, ignorance, poor harvest,
and the unduly high incidence of preventable and curable diseases that affect
and particularly children, mismanagement, "man-eat-man" tendencies;
and progressive deterioration of the natural environment on which we depend for
very existence. I can only refer to those areas that are close to my heart, to
of what could be done; obviously you have your own lists. I refer to work which
be done in the area of early childhood; to the girl child and women; to
of families to look after their children; to work in curriculum, particularly
teacher education; to work in distance education; to work in adult education,
Culturally relevant work on early childhood
There is need for work on early child development ~CD) which should
research that reflects community values and actions, that respects
cultures and traditions, and that enables culturally appropriate
interventions to improve
the healthy development of children. A culturally sensitive, inclusive
action research rests on numerous assumptions:
Cultural diversity is a potential source of enrichment for theory, method,
practice in ECD.
All work in ECD occurs in a global context of unequal relations between the
world countries of the North and the majority world countries of the
asymmetries ofwealth, power, and status influence all aspects of
and of knowledge construction and utilization.
There is a dearth of research on young children and their circumstances in the
world countries ofthe South.
Current theory, research, and methodology derived from Western empiricism are
misapplied or misleading; although Western-based ECD research has
value; it does not apply directly in all contexts and must be examined
value, it does
apply directly in all contexts and must be examined critically with an eye
issues of cultural relevance.
The study of young children should be situated in a social, political, economic,
historic framework; neither children nor ECD researchers can be separated
Research should do more than generate knowledge - it should be linked to action
policy changes that improve the condition of children.
agenda for action research ought to include the use of research strategies that
and quantitative methods, use the tools and perspectives of diverse disciplines
participation by local communities, and incorporate historical perspectives. The
of both children and their context requires a multidisciplinary evolving,
social context and that communities should be treated neither as objects
as loci for research but as co-participants from whom there is much to be
communities should help to define the research goals, questions research
improve their children' s condition through local action and advocacy for
policy. Researchers should learn from local knowledge and traditions, and they
invite the participation of community members, including children, in the
implementation and interpretation of the research.
research should give particular attention to the following topics:
traditional and local practices of childrearing;
local and traditional perceptions and understandings of the child and his/her
exploration of kin and family structures and the child/children within them;
the impact on children of social conditions such as poverty, sexual
and armed conflict;
local and traditional forms of art and culture (stories, songs, puppets, poetry,
weaving, games, dances, drawings, etc) that reflect and transmit
children's values; this
research should also embody the places where they happen and the people
enable action research to be multidisciplinary and inclusive, it is essential to
networks that embody local knowledge and traditions; research links with
(including children), within regions, and with governments, NGOs,
and other partners.
Work on the girl-child and women
should particularly target the girl-child, since the fUture of the girl-child in
is a bleak one. The world observes that gender biases which deny equal
girls and women are an abuse on human rights and an affront to any rational
development. Yet of the 100 million children between 7-12 year old children
in school around the world, two thirds are girls.
family level the education ofgirls, it has been repeatedly shown, is closely
a falling infant mortality; a falling birth-rate; and improved nutrition. In
and well-being of the family is highly dependent on the literacy of the mother.
national level it has been observed that discrimination against women in the
will rebound on nations that ignore their needs for decades to come. Educated
have a direct impact on nation's GNP through higher productivity, and on the
development of children through knowledge of basics such as good nutrition,
oral rehydration against diarrhoeal dehydration, immunisation, and family
Studies have repeatedly shown that educated women tend to marry later, have
and healthier children, and to multiply those advantages by investing in the
all this information, and knowledge, how isthe situation on the ground in Africa
respect to gender issues?
major theme of The Progress of National 1997 Report is Violence Against Women
Girls. According to the Report more than 60 million women should be alive today
because of violence associated with gender discrimination. Millions more, in
country, on every continent, and of every class, live under the daily threat of
abuse. Carol Bellamy says, "In today' s world, to be born female is to be
risk. Every girl grows up under the threat of violence ... which deliberates
psychologically and socially. It affects the healthy social and economic
of all societies".
Permit me to red to you a few paragraphs from the Chapter by Charlotte
Bunch. "Imagine a people routinely subjected to assault, rape,
slavery, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, verbal abuse, mutilation, even
murder --- all because they were born into a particular group. Imagine
fUrther that their sufferings were compounded by systematic
and humiliation in the home and workplace, in classrooms, at worship and
at play. Few would deny that this group had been singled out for gross
violations of human rights. Such a group exists. Its members comprise
it is rarely acknowledged that violence against women and girls, many of
are brutalised from cradle to grave simply because of their gender, is the
pervasive human rights violation in the world today.
violence is also a major health and development issue, with powerfUl
for coming generations as well as society in general. Eliminating this
is essential to constructing the paradigm of human security - and by that I
peace, peace at home and peace at large. Without it, the notion of human
is merely a fantasy. However, opening the door on the subject of
against the world' s females is like standing at the threshold of an immense
chamber vibrating with collective anguish, but with the sounds of protest
back to a murmur. Where there should be outrage aimed at an intolerable
quo there is instead denial, and the largely passive acceptance of"the way
broad cjuestions that could be explored in gender studies could include the
What is the context in which children develop gender identity?
What factors affect gender identity and expectations?
What are the factors that affect how children are socialised?
What is the role of education in socialization?
Empowerment of families
the global forum held in April 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, US4 considerable
families to enable them to care better far
placed on the need to provide support to
children. The aspirations of parents and kin for their children contain far and
most relevant of child development objectives. For it is the family more than
institution, that determines and predicts what a child's core developmental
will likely be. The family is virtually every child's source oflife, primary
immediate physical safety and identity. Moreover, the family in all our cultures
sub-cultures is a child's most significant pro~ider offood, clothing, shelter,
wider experience. Equally important, the family is virtually every child's most
oflife, knowledge, social skills, intimacy, confidence, connection, and belief.
underlines the need to empower the family to look after and bring up children
the need to provide answers on how this empowerment can be provided. An
family is a family able to secure more positive outcomes for their children.
are several criteria we can use to identify an empowered family. Examples
First of all, an empowered family is one that has the information, the
power, the resources to control the timing of its information and the
frequency of its
child bearing. The fourteen year-old mother in Swaziland or the thirteen
in Kenya living in Mathare Valley do not possess this control and the
will be measured in their children's diminished futures.
Second, an empowered family is one equipped with the knowledge, skills and
education required to both protect their children from avoidable
health risks and - at the same time - to provide their children with
basic and essential
an empowered family is one that has the opportunity and the skills to capture
and control enough resources to at least meet their children's minimum
food, clothing and shelter. Children born to dependent and destitute
parents are the
children at greatest risk of adverse outcomes.
Fourth, an empowered family is one that has the capacity and autonomy to shield
children from destructive involvement in broader adult conflicts and
violence. There is an increasing number of families which are unable to
children with refUge from war and violent crime. It is a tragedy measured
by the deaths of thousands of youth who never reach adulthood.
Fifth, an empowered family is one that has reliable access to networks of
caring adults - adults who can supplement or substitute for parental care
in times of
family stress and crisis or in the event of parental disability or death.
continent tens of thousands of young families are being driven or drawn
But what they frequently do not hnd in their crowded new urban co~nes are
support systems or affiliations to take the place of the kinship networks
traditional community supports they left behind in the rural areas. The
isolation and fragility is now being measured in growing rates of child
abandonment, neglect, and homelessness, leading to the "street
phenomenon increasingly evident in African cities.
The sixth attribute of an empowered family is that its children have access to
affordable and effective schools - to educational opportunities that
enable children to
acquire knowledge, develop skills, and cultivate talents far beyond what
obtain from their parents or relatives alone. The vitality of families
generations and the overall welfare of communities now depends on
generation with the skills that a new world demands. This empowerment of
can be strengthened and supported from the results ofresearch. (Nelson,
Concerns Relating to Curriculum of teacher education, methodology and quality
John F Kennedy drew attention to the importance of education when he stated in
message to Congress on 20" February, 1961, "Our progress as a nation
can be no
than our progress in education ... The human mind is our fundamental
Other equally important tenets to which Z subscribe include the following:
Theeconomic prosperity of the nation is dependent on the quality of the
The quality of the educational system is dependent on the quality of the
The quality of teachers is dependent on the quality of teacher education.
teacher education programme anywhere in the world would normally be concerned
a number of areas in the preparation of teachers, including the curriculum of
methodology, and quality. a word about each of these would be in order.
curriculum of teacher education, methodology and quality
curriculum for teacher education needs to be seen as part of the wider
education of a country. It is therefore linked at every stage with the
schools for which it prepares teachers, for all work of teacher education and
of those preparing school curriculum are directed at the same point, helping the
curriculum of a college must also be seen as part of a wider curriculum for
- pre-service, and in-service. The curriculum is concerned with needs - needs
the schools; needs of students as individuals; needs of the communities and the
of the international community. Consideration should also be given to
priorities" which a beginning teacher needs in school during his first
academic priorities, which involve the need to concentrate on the core
in which all children must be grounded, and development priorities including
preventive health, better soil use, and the conservation of natural resources,
in developing countries, are vital for the well being of communities.
addition to considering needs, there is need to examine the methodologies of
There is need to link content with methodology, as well as need to widen our
to methodology. We also need to devise appropriate methodologies for specific
For example in many African countries there is need to take into account
classes in difficult circumstances: big classes of 80 pupils to a teacher;
classrooms; teachers teaching two classes at the same time. Finally, we need to
and develop methodologies which are particularly appropriate to local cultures.
need in a teacher education programme which is relevant to context; to needs; to
and to something more. We comment briefly on each of these in turn.
to context is both clear and unambiguous. An alien education is both
and psychologically disturbing, leading often to dangerous forms of half
where children can answer questions on content yet do not Illy understand what
are being asked or what they are saying in their answers. Such a system was what
contained in the Cape syllabus for Namibian children before independence. Such a
is what many of our countries originally inherited from the colonial governments
which many have attempted to modify and reform with varying degrees of success.
programme should be relevant to:
the needs of rural societies (such as those found in Third World countries) with
implies in terms of language, self-reliance training, and use of
the needs of advanced technology which children anywhere must master, if they
not to become totally dependent on the ideas and machines of others. To
conflicting needs is the challenge of many poor countries with high
of us will know the inspired word of John Donne when he reminds us that 'T\To
island "... and "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls
for thee." In our
world which, in so many different ways is trying to tear itself
through overpopulation in relation to food supply
through its destruction of its natural resources
through pollution ... no education anywhere which fails to respond to these
can be truly relevant.
as something more
duality in schooling which adds something extra to learning and life;
quality ofinteliectual challenge; over enjoyment, or human kindness which
distinguishes the interesting school from the uninteresting; the
memorable from the
unmemorable, the happy from the drab.
fUnction of the school, therefore, is not just to prepare children for the life
It is to make children happy and productive and interesting and linked with
short, preparing teachers to teach at different levels, including global
perspectives is no
basically from producing competent teachers. Student teachers should normally
assisted to become competent organisers of own and pupils' learning environments
also effe~tive facilitators of pupils' learning. Teacher competencies should
knowledge" (facts, principles, generalisations, awareness, and
teacher is expected to acquire); "teacher performance" (behaviours
that the teacher
expected to demonstrate), and "teacher consequences" (outcomes that
the teacher is
to bring about in the emotional and intellectual growth of his pupils) A basic
of any teacher training college should be to produce a cadre of effective and
American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) makes the
between effective versus competent teachers. The ultimate base of teacher
curriculum, it is pointed out, must be a thorough understanding of the dynamics
effective teaching - of what a teacher must know, and be, and do in order to
possible assistance to learners in their efforts to achieve the goals of
when we know why a teacher is effective ... as well as how, can we know how best
train teachers ...
distinction between competent and effective implied is important and yet easy to
Competence has to do with how a teacher teaches and is measured in terms of the
behaviour; how effective a teacher is ... is measured in terms of pupil
other words, a competent teacher may not always be effective, for a multitude of
... (Cooper, J M, Weber, W A & Johnson, C E, 1973).
prepare teachers to teach effectively there will need to be undertaken a great
and concurrent work, including educational research, to develop a model of
effective and international standard of teacher preparation CKissock, 1993). In
regard, from the Afiican teacher education perspective, there will be need to
relevance to the African context. The agendas and priorities in African
are mostly determined by the externally initiated, commissioned, and supported
Most of these, as Gmelin (1995) points out, reveal a striking lack of attention
and feasibility and reflect concerns deemed important by external agencies.
suggests rightly a need to bring about collaborative research clusters between
countries, thus contributing to a critical mass of research potential in a
would also be beneficial to graduate training and thus enhance the re-production
for research. Samoff(1995) supplements this point by emphasising the need for
African participation in educational research in Africa. He states:
"At the end of the 20" century it should not be accepted that
there is so
little African participation, particularly in senior roles, in externally
and commissioned research on African education.
I do not mean to ignore the importance of extended experience or to
underestimate agencies' needs for researchers in whom they have
confidence. Those concerns, however, cannot justify agencies' lack of
attention to helping African scholars develop the skills and experience
deem important, or their slow pace in integrating Africans into their
of core consultants.
...Africanisation is likely to promote greater sensitivity to African
and increased responsiveness to African constituencies and their needs
interests. But Africanisation will not automatically lead to intellectual
heterogeneity, methodological diversity, or critical inquiry". (Samoff,
The Mode of Delivery of Education and Adult Learning
(1997) in discussing the role of education in equalising opportunities has
pointed out to the need to explore new modes of delivery of education. It is
if the world is to meet the global agenda of equality in opportunities by the
governments the world over need to double their educational capacities, using
and emerging technologies as well as encouraging all educational institutions to
have less than five years before we see the beginning of the next millenium, an
which human development should be measured not by scientific and technological
alone, but by the simple yardstick of the level of equal opportunities for all;
Jomtien agreements enunciating Education For All (EFA).
"lfwe believe that education can indeed make the difference between
poverty, health and misery, conservation and destruction, as well as
eradicating inequalities between nations and within communities towards
better 21"' century, then we have an obligation to revisit our
delivering education as well as the education itself an a global
New Era p.14). The role of educational research and of researchers would
paramount in this endeavour!
To provide education training to the large and very diverse users of
education services will
recluire teachers and their institutions to make fUndamental shifts to
the ways in which they
their curricula and deliver them. The assumption of teachers and institutions as
when and how's of teaching will have to undergo profound changes. Courses will
to be organised so that learners can access them from wherever they are.
delivery methodology described as distance education, and which has been in use
past thirty years by many open universities around the world, may have to be
as a major vehicle for educational delivery for the next century. How this will
made possible, surely again falls, in part at least, on the lap of educational
role of adult learning is equaliy important, and the announcement for the
on Adult Education which took place in Hamburg, Germany, 14-18" July,
sounded a note of optimism at the close ofa century marked by deep traumas; and
a belief that the learning capacity of human beings will be central to the task
the new century and the new millenium.
"Ifthe key to survival and to sustainable development is the
the citizen, then adult learning becomes one of the critical issues of
coming century ...
Learning is ajoy, a tool, a right and a shared responsibility. A true
democracy is one in which all women and men participate actively in the
building of their communities and are able to pursue their individual and
collective projects and visions". (Announcement of the
Conference on Adult Education).
indicated earlier, the four areas identified for priority research are
illustrations of what
be done. Our efforts should be in research, analysis and dissemination
information gaps identified. We turn briefly to a consideration of some
These include, among others, partnerships and fUnding strategies.
have learnt anything in the past few years, it is the need to mobilise all
towards common goals, to cross old borders and break down artificial barriers
school institutions, departments, other institutions, including communities,
and politicians; among ideas, and bodies ofknowledge. As Dr Martin Luther
Jr. put it, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together
are the current challenges to possibilities of partnership and how do we resolve
Let us briefly examine these questions in turn.
challenges to possibilities of Partnerships
Adedeji (1997) pointed out that traditionally in virtually all (African)
are held in suspicion by the powers that be, while they (academics) in turn are
or contempt of at least condescension of the "ignoramuses" in power.
not, governments refUse to recognise the expertise of their (own) academics
in reverence and gullibility academics from the North". (Adedeji, 1997 p.l).
(1997) made the same point when he stated, "African leaders have difticulty
much less encouraging, thinkers from their own nationalities. It is almost as
their feeling is that the African politician is good, foreign advice is better;
is best" @iescho, 1997 p. 12).
(1995) too calls attention to concern expressed time and again in educational
that their advice and pleas are neither heard nor well understood by policy-
communities. Swamy (1997) believes that the greatest barriers to any broad
of academia on government affairs today are the language and patterns in
results are presented.
the politician, much of the process of modern scholarship seems incestuous.
often appear caught up in an elite culture in which labels, categories, and
jokes are of in-house value. Their writings are filled with references to other
writings; they speak to each other rather than to a wider public ..." (Swamy
p. 23). How do we resolve these challenges? Swamy makes four possible ways of
the gap" which we briefly refer to:
The participation of senior government officials in major scholarly associations
provide an opportunity for exchanges across scholar/government gap.
symposium in Lesotho Sun, Maseru, Lesotho, in 1987, it will be recalled
that all three
of the Permanent Secretaries of Education ~om Botswana, Lesotho and
present. Those who were present will readily admit that their presence not only
enhanced the quality of debate, but also generated a spirit of good will,
a will that has
led to continued support ofBERA, LERA and SERA by their respective
Governments, through their Ministries ofEducation.
Government Officials participating in organised annual reviews of scholarly
The participation ofa practitioner could perhaps increase the relevance
making of some of the research proposals *Their participation will enable
to appreciate the need for a critical mass of researchers necessary to
as well as generating research data that can eventually feed into policy.
Establish a scholar-official interaction programme in the government. A
programme is usefUl in acquainting young members of university staff with
of official decision - making, and in turn, help de-mystify for the
officials, scholars' use
of in-house university jargon. Academia could organize special seminars
government leaders to address and/or lead.
system of government research grants to scholars who should take leave from
academia, and research on site on topics directly related to specific
But the time they devote in government should count in professional
Other partnerships include those involving funding. A brief reference is
made to these
Strategies and Partnerships
would be easy, especially when it comes to resources just to meet on the problem
our time sharing anecdotes on how hard it is to make progress. With receding
fUnding which started in the 1980's many individuals (including many among us)
organisations, find that "years of trying to do too much with too little
toll on the institutional health of these associations and individuals. (Some
including my own, have remained so by name because ofthis!)
the performance has been credible during the initial development phase of most
our associations, a more challenging second phase of reform and renewal awaits
must make decisions on how to work together to break inertia, and move towards
with out new revitalized partnerships, including colleagues from government and
looking for fUnds for our important work, as in other areas already dealt with,
to emphasise the following:
Mutual cooperation through pooling resources, exchanging staff and
cooperation based on agreed division of labour in order to make
Real cooperation can only thrive on the grounds of common mutual interest, where
parties to the cooperation give and receive, and where there isjoint
definition of the
purpose of cooperation objectives by dialogue among partners in which
harmonised and by which a strong commitment is created.
Working or acting together for a common purpose often takes place between two
equals, and in order to create that situation, capacity building has to
the case ofinstitutions, the cooperation processes must be based on mutually
definable goals among cooperating universities and the aid giving
should play a role of a facilitator.
the traditional ties with Europe and North America, and increased cooperation
African countries, serious efforts are required to establish fruitfUl
other industrial countries, including the newly industrialised countries in Asia
to African Education @AE) which recently was re-christened Association for the
of Education in Africa (ADEA) has at its main objective to improve the
of donor assistance to African education. With headquarters and its
at IEEP, Paris, ADEA works through working groups. The Working Group
Higher Education has had an increased understanding on current university issues
commissioning and dissemination of sixteen studies, and has an increased
among donor agencies of the contribution that universities make to national
programmes. The Working Groups are each sponsored by a "lead" agency.
lead agency for the Working Group on Higher Education is the World Bank. The
Group on Teacher Education is the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London.
working groups include areas such as Female Education, Distance Education, Non-
and Adult Education, and Early Childhood Care and Development. ADEA,
through the Working Group on Higher Education, is one of the most likely
to provide fUnding for activities described in this paper. Another important
with which a link could be established for fUnding purposes is the Association
Universities, apart from our traditional supporters such as IDRC, and DSE.
concluding this section on fUnding one should also say a word or two about what
should (or should not) do. We all readily appreciate and are gratefUl for the
support received to date. However, some donor actions have helped to exacerbate
current crises in Africa, particularly in universities. Therein you will find
agencies have frequently hired away the best of university staff (particularly
with a track record in research) as their own employees or consultants. They
pursued their own interest by promoting specific projects with universities that
up poorly with the institutions' own priorities. For instance, in many cases,
supported inequitable linkage programmes which have favoured their home country
while claiming to support Afr-ican higher education. And they have benefited
brain drain while generally failing to recognise it as a legitimate problem for
With this brief reference to fUnding strategies we now turn to concluding
what has been said above about the challenges that face us, someone might easily
that we have ended with a "paralysis of analysis". I should therefore
James Thurber's words: "Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear;
in awareness". In concluding I want to draw our attention to two key areas,
to children, and attention to the critical role of education, to which we as
researchers must pay attention.
us remind ourselves of the UNICEF position paper for the World Conference on
Rights, held in Vienna in June 1993:
"The best interests of the child are
universal. They include the right to
survival, to healthy development and protection from abuse. These rights
are agreed. They are international standards. But what value do they have
in a world which turns its back on hunger and want, on torture, rape, and
exploitation of children?
lives cannot be put on hold while adult society mulls over its
obligations towards them. Public commitments have been made. Treaties
have been written and ratified. The time to act is now!"
as I have had occasion to say many times before, in different fora, the survival
of children is the responsibility of all of us, individually and collectively,
us the participants at this bi-annual colloqium, because as Leon Chestang (1974)
"And so I ask, who if not us will nurture our children?
Who if not us will protect them?
And who, if not us, will assure them of their birth right? Who?"
education one can say that it holds the key to development, to receptiveness to
population control and to the preservation of the environemtn. Education is what
us in Africa especially, to move from a culture ofwar, which unhappily we know
well, to a culture of peace, whose benefits we are only just beginning to sense.
to deal with the threats of the past but we are still helpless when confronting
oftoday and tomorrow.
should be a consensus that time has come to move from discussion to decision,
decision to implementation. Further delay in tackling the education crisis
teacher education as it exists in each country or region and globally will have
cost in both financial and human resource terms.
Acheson, one of the great and witty secretaries of state in the USA tells about
young diplomat who came to him once and outlined a brilliant strategy. The young
ended his presentation by saying, "And with the help of God, we shall carry
To this the Secretary responded: "Unfortunately, young man, God doesn't
for the State Department!".
may not work for BOLESWA Educational Research Associations either: I would
and pray, however, that HE has a watchfUl eye on the development of quality of
Africa which is the topic of our discussion.
Aswe say inBotswana: Pula!
Aswe say inlesotho: Khotso! Pula! Nala!
Aswe sayinNamibia: Dankie!
As we say in Swaziland:
Adedeji, A (1997) Town, Gown and Government: Partners in Development Paper
delivered at the Prime Minister's Consultative Conference with
Windhoek, Namibia, February 27-28", 1997.
Amar, J J A(1996) Quality of life and child development The Hague; Bernard van
Cooper, J M, Weber, W A & Johnson, C.E. (1993) A Systems Approach to
Program Design. Berkeley, California; McCutchan Publ. Corp.
Dhanarajan, G. (1997) Education: Equalising Opportunities. Windhoek, New
Era Newspaper, March 7-9", 1997.
Diescho, J (1997) The Role of African Academics in A Changing Milieu - The
Challenges'of the New Milienium. Paper delivered at the Prime Minister's
Consultative Conference with Academicians, Windhoek, Namibia, February
Gmelin, W (1995) The Scope for Alternative Paradigms in External Support of
Education Research. In King, K NORRAG NEWS, Number 18, November, 1995.
7. Hagstr(im, S. (1995) Keynote Address at the AAU Conference. In the
Africa in the 1990's and Beyond, Colloquium jointly organized By AAU and
DAE National University ofLesotho, January 16-20, 1995.
8. Hesser, P.A.
(Ed. 1989) The United States And the Third World: Building
The Future As It Ought To Be. New York. International Development
9. Kissock, C.
(1991) A proposal for A Network for International Teacher
Education Centres. A discussion paper.
10. Maslow A (1954)
Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row
11. Nelson D W (1996)
Translating Knowledge into Action Keynote Address at the
Children First: A Global Forum, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10~h, 1996.
12. Rist, R C,
Information needs in the policy arena: Linking educational research to
the policy cycle. In OECD (1995) Knowledge Bases for Education Policies,
Maastricht, Netherlands: OECD.
13. Swamy, S (1997) Are Government and Academicians Partners in
or Antagonists? Paper delivered at the Prime Minister's Consultative
with Academicians, Windhoek, Namibia, February 27" - 28~h, 1997.
14. UNICEF (1997) The Progress ofNations, 1997. New York, UNICEF.
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