Using African Epistemology Insight to Unpack Inclusive Education: A Conclusion

Using African Epistemology Insight to Unpack Inclusive Education: A Conclusion

Mfundo Mandla Masuku, Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4436-8.ch030
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In each chapter, ubuntu and Afrocentricity was used to interpret and discuss inclusive education by using African concepts linked to African cultures without an alternative to Western approaches and frameworks. The book provides exclusive insight into the way relationships between inclusive education and African epistemology can jell well towards the construction of knowledge and understanding that promote local knowledge in tackling “inclusive education” in the African environment. Although the book acknowledges that calls for Africanising the entire education system are not new, less focus was paid to inclusive education. The book confirmed that the study of inclusive education has developed and been controlled by the Western philosophers as part of agenda to control knowledge generation by ignoring African indigenous knowledge systems to understand wholistically education dynamics.
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30.1 Introduction

The concept African epistemology in this book is understood as the scientific way in which African conceptualises, interprets and apprehends reality within the context of African cultural with collective experience (Tavernaro-Haidarian, 2018). In this book African epistemology have to do with the nature, generation and justification of knowledge pertaining inclusive education in the African context and how one knows it. This book presented an opportunity to contribute to the academic exposition on inclusive education discourses using African epistemology and to reconceptualize education system in Africa. This was achieved through critique of Eurocentric approach to interpret realities and experiences of children and teachers with disabilities. Furthermore, the book established an argument that Eurocentric approaches are not the only acceptable and legitimate to explain inclusive education discourses and African epistemology is the primary approach in ensuring the balanced interpretation and provide relevant solutions for African problems. The book revealed that the failure of education system in African to integrate African epistemology to re-package education policies that embracing inclusivity. Ubuntu is deep-rooted as African epistemology that reinvigorate fundamental ethical, social and legal frameworks of human worth and human action is based (Lansink & Jegede, 2020; Ali & Shishigu, 2020). Ubuntu philosophy was used as a main concept to address incapacity by African governments to redress exclusion in the education system which is founded on international conventions on inclusive education. Ubuntu was contextualised as fit in philosophy in explaining the significance and value of inclusive education as it considers values shared across global cultures which encompasses the principles of care, compassion, empathy, hospitality, respect and tolerance to ensure effective implementation of inclusive education at all levels (Letseka, 2012). In this book ubuntu philosophy confirms that it recognises togetherness commonality rather than “against” as other means of knowing and creates a space for inclusive education that is acceptable across cultural norms and values. This is witnessed in the learning environment when teachers/lecturers are keen to nurturing the minds of all learners from a position of love, respect and care for improving their competencies irrespective of any learning barriers. This is advocated by the principles of ubuntu that all students are human beings who can have an outstanding performance in their learning activities if their humanity is safeguarded to ensure their learning. Ubuntu in this context is viewed as humanistic philosophy to encouraging teachers/lecturers to empowering students with dignity regardless of their diversity.

Evidently, constitutions and international conventions have failed to address unequal access to education and disempowerment of people with disabilities and coming from poor backgrounds. Authors in this book employed Afrocentric to provoke multi-valued Eurocentric approaches as part of the battle over the future of public inclusive education in Africa. The authors in this book argue that the significance of Afrocentric in the inclusive education discourses is used to reinforce and revive self-esteem of teachers and learners with learning barriers by integrating African epistemology into a curriculum to envisage the culture of unity amongst learners irrespective of their diverse needs. African epistemology in this book was used to emphasise that people with disabilities and learning barriers have unique teaching and learning priorities, needs and constraints and affected differently by government interventions. Inclusive education is measured by the improvement of human rights and welfare of children with learning barriers. The book critically reflected that equality in the education space should prioritise children with disabilities through empowerment interventions that are designed to address their needs by focusing on equal access to educational resources and services to enhance quality education for all. Learners and students with learning barriers over the decades have been denied access to good-quality education and cultural capital that is embraces inclusivity. McAteer and Wood (2018) attest that impact of Western approaches in addressing African issues and challenges have manifestly to inequality of distribution of resources both quality and quantity in a public inclusive schools led to social disparities. The book provides strategies of closing the resourcing inclusive schools and introducing integrated and inclusive funding model.

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