Lessons from Botswana: State provision of education to traditional hunter-gatherers

*Key Reference. Excerpt from "Issues, Dilemmas and Prospects on the State provision of education to traditional hunter-gatherer societies of Botswana", Lucky Tshireletso, Molepolole College of Education, Botswana: "..Abstract: Botswana has embraced the idea of universal provision of basic education
to all of its young citizens on the basis of right. This has put a tremendous pressure on the education sector to improve access to schooling. As a result, over one hundred and fifty additional schools built during the period between 1985 and 1995 as part of this effort. However, studies conducted in the latter part of the 1980’s and the National Commission on Education point out the fact that about 17% of school going children remain outside school. These children reported as missing from school are the children of the country’s Remote Area Dweller (RAD) communities most of whom are the Basarwa, the indigenous
minority ethnic hunter-gatherer social groups in Botswana. Basarwa comprise a distinct and heterogeneous socio-cultural group whose economic lifestyle and culture differ from that of the dominant Tswana groups. This socio-cultural dislocation also comes into surface in the classroom and is one of the main causes of Basarwa children’s continued stay away from the classroom. The classroom in this case becomes an arena of intercultural conflicts. These conflicts inter alia take the form of exclusion of language, traditions and cultural world-view of the children of minorities in the pedagogic process. Teachers
also transport into the classroom a baggage of cultural and personal attitudes which is not supportive to the learning of these children. The study suggests a community based teacher induction process and a teaching approach which will attempt to accommodate both the learners language and cultural world-view in the classroom. This approach follows the empowerment perspectives to teaching and learning where parents have some power and control on what their children learn and the culture, language and experiences of children are central to the classroom teaching and learning process. What takes place in the classroom then becomes a culturally mediated process..."


Cameroon: Study of primary education project

Excerpt from "An educational project in the forest: Schooling for the Baka children in Cameroon", Nobutak Kamei, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: "...Abstract: A schooling project started by Catholic missionaries for the children of the Baka, the hunter-gatherers living in the tropical forest, was studied in Cameroon. The content and the effects of the pro ject are described and analyzed with a case of a small school built in a settlement. It is a project specially tailored for the Baka children to incorporate them into the educational system by reducing the barriers for the Baka, a minority group in this area. Some episodes observed in the dry season when the Baka pursue a traditional nomadic lifestyle in the forest were indicative of the severest hurdle for the schooling project..."



Belief-Desire Reasoning among Baka Children: Evidence for a Universal Conception of Mind

From ERIC database, excerpt from the Journal of Child Development (1991) abstract: "...Children of the Baka, a preliterate society of Pygmies in southeast Cameroon, were tested for their conception of mind. Several studies conducted in other countries were reviewed. Results provide support for the claim that belief-desire reasoning is universally acquired in childhood..."



Mobility and traditions

Time and again teachers report the challenges presented by honey gathering activities. While communities are extremely diverse and cultural generalizations are more often inaccurate than instructive, educators working with traditional forest-center communities will likely have to address the mobility factor. Promoting "sedentarization" as a way to simplify delivery of education services may not reflect adequate consideration of whether traditions that date from time immemorial and comprise a value system can - OR SHOULD - be changed. Education may instead require providing flexible, ad hoc options, including the viability of "mobile learning" as an alternative education delivery system to meet the needs of highly mobile traditional communities. Excerpt from S. Bauchet report highlights some cultural themes that educators must consider and work to accomodate in developing education programs in traditional forest-based communities: "...Camp mobility is the result of a subtle combination of different causes : food shortage, resources having been exhausted, size of the group, the requirements of visiting, proximity of neighbouring groups, and also social disruption or death. As months go by, communities come together and split up in a perpetual movement of fusion and fission. Hunting plays an essential role in the social organization. First of all because it is an activity that mobilizes the strength of all members of the community, and second because it is around hunting that evolve religious activities and the different stages of an individual's social development. There is a high level of interdependence between young people's ability in hunting, their aptitude for marriage and their participation in the big prestigious expeditions to hunt for large mammals (especially elephants). Several rituals surround hunting activities, both propitiatory and expiatory. Great symbolic value is attached to the second most important activity : collecting honey, the life-giving fluid. Collective rituals are carried out before they set out to collect honey the first time in the season (and this is the only gathering activity for which it is the case)..."


"Education" by The Kinks

"Education" is mentioned here not so much as a reference, but as a playful invitation to pause and think: What is education? Who decides what knowledge is valuable? Does "one-size-fit all"? In the case of indigenous peoples, those who would propose a standard learning curriculum may also have something to learn....



DRC: Bayenda literacy project

Excerpt: "...Bahá'í literacy programs for women in Kenya, India, Zaire, and Panama exemplify the rich variety, originality, and responsiveness of programs that spring from the grass roots. In Kenya, women's literacy rests on a series of mothers' booklets, developed by the Bahá'ís to assist women to teach health, agriculture, morals, and domestic skills to children. These booklets have been shared with Bahá'í communities around the world and are currently being translated into 26 languages. In Panchgani, India, 30 literacy centers operated by a Bahá'í school served 900 adults in 1984, 750 of whom were women; in 1989, the program had expanded to 100 centers in 60 villages. Since 1987, 2500 students in Zaire have completed literacy courses offered by the Bahá'í community. The "Bayanda Project" has experienced a high rate of success with a literacy program for the Bayandas (Pygmies) of north-eastern Zaire who previously had little or no opportunity for formal education; 70% were women and girls..."


ROC: La déscolarisation des filles à Brazzaville, causes, conséquences et perspectives

Although this article does not specifically address indigenous peoples, it explores common themes and dynamics of education barriers and marginalization. Excerpt: "...Le Congo Brazzaville est un pays en développement qui se distingue, à plusieurs points de vue, de ses voisins de la sous région. Il a connu une évolution à la fois rapide et complexe; c’est un pays potentiellement riche en ressources naturelles et humaines mais qui connaît de sérieux problèmes pour son développement socio économique. De grands projets furent élaborés pour le développement des principaux secteurs de la vie nationale. .Pour la mise en place des infrastructures de base on plaça l’éducation et la professionnalisation au centre des stratégies à développer..."


ROC: Le developpement de l'education: Rapport National par Ministere de l'enseignement primaire et secondaire charge de l'alphabetisation

*Key reference - with statistics - for programs in the education sector in the Republic of Congo (2004)



Les Pygmées et la question de scolarisation, de propriété et de citoyenneté en Afrique centrale : enjeu international, politico-économique et religieu

Excerpt: "...Dans une publication, Les Pygmées d'Afrique Centrale, Guy Philippart de Foy écrit : « Les premiers chercheurs se lancèrent à la découverte du degré le plus accessible à nos connaissances de l'échelle de l'évolution de l'homme". D'autres perspectives furent envisagées comme certaines "vérifications" théologiques sur le "monothéisme" primitif prêté aux Pygmées et sur la pratique de monogynie, preuve de leur pureté originelle...». L'enjeu est de taille. Après les révérends pères (Schebesta, Schumacher et Vanoverberg) que le Pape Pie XI « subventionna en 1923 pour une expédition en Centrafrique, pour l'étude des groupes Pygmées », une ONG, COOPI, près le Saint Siège (Cité du Vatican) prend la relève pour « améliorer l'image socio-culturelle » de ces mêmes Pygmées. Les responsables culturels, voire politiques d'Afrique centrale et, de régions des Grands Lacs ne semblent pas considérer véritablement ce qui se passe. On évoquerait plutôt des citoyens de seconde zone, des laissés pour compte ou d'autochtones exploités. Mais l'on peut s'interroger. Sinon, comment comprendre que ceux qui sont considérés comme les ouvreurs de chemin, les plus anciens peuples que recevaient les égyptiens pharaoniques à leur cour il y a quatre mille cinq ans, les premiers occupants de la grande forêt équatoriale, soient aujourd'hui entrain de dépérir et de se faire dépouillés en toute légalité. Si les Aka, les Bambouti, les Babenzèlé, les Bagyele, les Bongo, les Twa venaient à disparaître, nous aurons tous perdu une part de nous même. Ce sont des peuples qui ont apporté à l'humanité dans divers domaines depuis des millénaires jusqu'à ce jour. Ils réclament à juste titre leur droit au respect, leur droit à la citoyenneté..."


Grands Lacs: Les pygmees demandent un plus large acces a la propriete et a l'education

Excerpt: "...Les représentants des Batwa (communément appelés les "pygmées") de quatre pays des Grands Lacs, ont demandé à leurs gouvernements respectifs de prendre urgemment des mesures leur garantissant un accès plus large à la propriété et à l'éducation..."Les enfants batwa ne vont pas à l'école ou sont obligés d'abandonner le cursus scolaire, car leurs parents n'ont pas de champ à cultiver," a affirmé, Liberate Nicayenzi, seule parlementaire burundaise issue de la communauté batwa. Elle s'exprimait à l'occasion d'une conférence pour l'intégration sociale des Batwa qui se tient de lundi à jeudi dans la capitale du Burundi, Bujumbura..."Les enfants Batwa ne peuvent pas aller à l'école s'ils ont faim," a expliqué Mme Nicayenzi. "Les obstacles à l'accession à la propriété empêchent les enfants batwa d'aller à l'école. Nous incitons le gouvernement à adopter un programme clair de distribution de terres aux familles Batwa qui ne sont pas propriétaires de champs..."

Bien que des progrès aient été constatés pour l'éducation des Batwa, beaucoup reste encore à faire, a-t-elle précisé.

"Aujourd'hui, nous comptons quatre étudiants batwa à l'université du Burundi, 100 à l'école secondaire, et 3.000 dans le primaire," a-t-elle détaillé. "C'est une étape pour le développement et l'intégration sociale des Batwa, mais des efforts supplémentaires sont nécessaires."


ROC: International Partnership for Development (IPHD)

Excerpt: "...L'organisation International Partnership For Human Development (IPHD), une ONG américaine basée en République du Congo, aide depuis le mois de novembre 2003, à la scolarisation d'enfant pygmées dans le sud du pays...Ils sont 737 à avoir rejoint les bancs de l'école dans 14 établissements scolaires du district de Sibiti, dans le département de la Lékoumou, a indiqué jeudi à IRIN, Paul Mouanga, assistant administratif à la coordination départementale de l'IPHD à Brazzaville, la capitale..."Pour les motiver, tous les enfants inscrits ont reçu des kits et tenues scolaires, des savons de linge. Nous avons également réuni les conditions pour qu'ils reçoivent régulièrement des soins médicaux. Pour faire en sorte qu'ils ne désertent pas les classes pendant les saisons de cueillette ou de chasse, des cantines scolaires ont été installées afin qu'ils s'alimentent sur place," a ajouté M. Mouanga..."


Gabon: Avec quels moyens alphabetiser les pygmees?

Excerpt: "...Il existe depuis 1996 des méthodes d'apprentissage des langues gabonaises, intitulées ''Rapidolangues'' et qui sont éditées par la Fondation Raponda Walker. Ces méthodes bilingues, en français et langues nationales, s'adressent aux élèves des cycles primaires et secondaires. Ces méthodes pourraient être utilisées pour l'éducation des pygmées, selon PROCED...Déjà, un programme national de formation dans plusieurs domaines en faveur de la communauté pygmée, a été lancé en avril dans la province du Haut-Ogooué, dans le sud-est du Gabon, à l'initiative de PROCED..."



Community-based Education for Indigenous Cultures

Excerpt: "...The recent tendency of governments to view their educational policies in terms of the marketplace, with an implied preference for homogeneity and centralisation, has created further obstacles to the education of minority students generally, and indigenous students in particular. The paper presents and develops the notion of community-based education as a means of combating this tendency. Some examples of indigenous community-based education are examined, and there is a discussion both of its distinctive features and underlying principles, and its potential impact on the education of indigenous students..."


Language and Education Rights for Indigenous Peoples: Maori Model

Excerpt: "...In recent and ongoing debates on democracy and representation, indigenous peoples have been at the forefront in arguing for recognition of their rights to greater self-determination within modern nation-states. These arguments are based on their particular status as indigenous peoples, historically colonised against their will. Much of the focus of indigenous claims to self-determination has been upon language and education. This paper explores the wider basis of indigenous claims in social and political theory, and within international law, and the controversial issues surrounding them. It examines these claims in particular relation to language and education and discusses, by way of example, the development of autonomous Maori language education initiatives in Aotearoa/New Zealand..."


First Year Leaning Modules on Peoples of the World

Learning module about "the pygmies" as part of a series on peoples of the world designed for children in the first year of primary school


Ethnomathematics Digital Library (EDL)


ROC: World Bank: "Support to Basic Education Project"

Project: Support to Basic Education Project
TTL: Adriana Jaramillo
Appraisal Date: June 22, 2004
Board Date: September 23, 2004
Sector: General education sector (100%)
Lending Instruments: Specific Investment Loan
Environmental Category: B Safeguard Classification: S2

Project Objectives: The project development objectives are to improve efficiency in the allocation and management of resources, improve the quality of the education services offered, and reduce the inequities in the provision of these services. In order to achieve these objectives, the proposed Project will pursue a three-fold agenda of action:

1) it builds the capacity of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to prepare the system for decentralization, in particular providing support to the Regional Departments of Education (RDE) to develop and monitor regional education plans, and strengthen their capacity to provide support to the
school system;

2) it provides support to the improvement of quality of education services
offered by providing direct support to schools, through the implementation of a National School Improvement Program; and

3) provides support to increase equity in the provision of services, by providing free textbooks, allocating resources based on a per capita formula,
focusing rehabilitation efforts in underserved areas, and providing support to out of school youth and excluded population such as PYGMIES.

The outcome indicators of the project will be:
a) Improvement of the quality of the education services offered in primary
and lower secondary measured by
-Increased primary and lower secondary completion rates
-Decreased repetition and/dropout rates for primary and lower secondary
b) Improvement of the Management Capacity of the MEPSA measured by
-Readiness for decentralization of management- Capacity of RDEs to
develop and monitor education plans
-Decreased in teacher/student ratio;
-Increased in the Teachers to non teachers ratio in the schools

Results indicators by component are as follows:
a) the regional department education offices improve their
performance on three main aspects: 1
)Develop and Monitor Regional Education Plans; 2) Provide Pedagogical Support to Schools, (in-service teacher training, textbooks and teaching and
learning materials) and 3) Manage Human Resources in an
efficient way reducing the ratio of administrative/teaching staff.

At the central level, the project will provide technical assistance to the Ministries of Education, to enable the preparation of a sector-wide program, that will provide a coherent vision of the sector, and will state the short-, medium- and long-term goals for each of the sub-sectors.
b) Rehabilitation of School infrastructure:
(i) 400 classrooms will be rehabilitated and equipped by the end of the project ; (ii) the ratio pupils to table will decrease from 5 to 1 to 2 to 1 in
selected schools, at the end of the project;
(iii) training of 1,700 school management committees in charge of developing school improvement plans by the end of the project.
c) Support to the improvement of quality of education:
(i) training of 240 training staff by the end of the project ;
(ii) training of 2,600 school principals by the end of the project;
(iii) training of 6,000 teachers by the end of the project;
(iv) 2 million school textbooks produced and distributed by the end of the project.

d) Support to out of school youth and children in special needs (PYGMIES): number of out of school youth that participated in the
alphabetization program by the end of project;
(ii) increase the number of alphabetized pygmies,
(iii) development of a national policy for social inclusion of youth at risk and pygmy children.



Afrocentricity: A Cornerstone of Pedagogy


Market Forces in Education

World Bank Study w/ reference to indigenous peoples in Africa


Language policy, language education, language rights: Indigenous, immigrant, and international perspectives


Discovering indigenous science: Implications for science education


Proceedings of PFII's Fourth Session on Children and Education


ROC: Access to education by CIB


DRC: Wamba Primary School and ORA methodology

Excerpt: "...The crisis within the educational system in D.R.Congo motivated us to take the Pygmies’ Children and Bantus’ in hand. In all our schools, scattered along the deep forest, where all the inhabitants never profited from school Education, you can easily notice that the Pygmies Educational Program has help the Bantus Children who, surely, would not have got the chance to study. Thanks for the Pygmies because they have given to the children, living in our area of coverage, access to a serious educational program which they do no have elsewhere.In Cameroon exists a METHOD called O.R.A. (Observe- Reflect and Act), which introduces gradually the children pygmies into Public Schools. Its a modern method: its goal is to help the Pygmy’s pupil to be more active, taking things from his culture and of his environment. During ORA 1, the pupil uses images taken from his daily life and he is asked to see (observe); He is called to use his mother tongue (as mean of communication), he will then end with the use of French (The teacher follows the TEXTBOOK (the Manual) from the beginning of ORA 1...In a nutshell, for the Pygmies’ children during three years, we complete what the Public schools do in two years. In the third year, the Pygmies pupils continue their studies like any other Primary Public School. The educational system that the Pygmies children follow are well prepared in advance and seems to be better than other primary schools in Congo...From ORA 1, the children pygmies are all together with the Bantu children. It creates a climate of fraternity and respect among the children from the childhood, although in our schools, to facilitate things, the pygmies are more than the Bantus..."

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