Greener Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 9(1), pp. 01-15, 2019
Copyright ©2019, the copyright of this article is retained by the author(s)
Mainstreaming Core-Values in the Curriculum of East
African Community Countries for Holistic and Sustainable Development:
Challenges and Prospects
Department of Educational Management, Policy and Curriculum Studies, School of Education, Kenyatta University, Kenya
Article No.: 011419015
This paper is premised on the concern that there is a value crisis in the education curriculum offered in Africa generally and the East African Community countries in particular. The paper had three main objectives, first to examine the status of education in the EAC region in terms of content and emerging challenges. Secondly, core-values in the draft harmonized curriculum for the EAC region were analysed by isolating critical learning gaps. Finally, a revitalized framework for mainstreaming core-values using a whole school was applied as an effective approach for nurturing core-values as well as career preparedness and attitudes. The study employed desk survey, document analysis and case-study approaches. The findings were that, first, the current status of the curriculum developed in most of the EAC countries stressed more on cognitive development through academic excellence and less on the nurturing of moral and career preparedness skills. Secondly, the challenges that besiege education in these countries gravitate around internal and external inefficiencies. Finally, it was evident that the draft harmonized curriculum for the EAC countries had not mainstreamed core-values and twenty first century learning skills in the subject content areas thereby being blamed for the current internal and external inefficiencies in educational institutions regionally. Based on these findings, it was concluded that there was adequate justification for mainstreaming both academic excellence and core-values in the curriculum for the EAC countries using whole school approach. In addition, for the region to attain sustainable development, researchers in the region need to set up research networks, solicit for research grants and undertake concerted measures to foster cooperation in education and training through joint value-based research projects geared towards solving the multifarious and intertwined problems that beleaguer the education sector in the region.
John Aluko Orodho
E-mail: orodhojohn@ gmail.com
Background to the study
A good system of education in any country must be effective on two fronts: on the quantitative level, to ensure access to adequate education and equity in the distribution of resources to various segments of the society, and on the qualitative level, to ensure that the country produces high quality human resources with skills and positive attitudes needed for rapid social and economic development (United Nations,2015; UNESCO,2015). Research based evidence show a very high correlation between investment in education and the creation of national wealth (African Union Commission,2014a). This has accelerated the quest for governments and stakeholderstoenhance integrated investments in education, research and human capital development in order to prepare citizens to operate effectively in the globalized economy of the twenty first century (Dillon,2007; United Nations,2013; UNESCO,2015a).
Invariably, education, and particularly quality education is a vital human right and plays a key role in human, social, and economic development. Formally adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2015, the seventeen Global Goals for Sustainable Development frame the global development agenda to transform the world by 2030. The Global Goal- Four on education aims to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (United Nations,2015). A holistic and quality education should address the holistic learning in cognitive, affective, psychomotor and the social domain (Ndonye, Mamadou &Walther,2013; Mwabu& Ackerman,2013).
At the global level, governments have made commendable strides towards the development and sustenance of quality education (United Nations,2015a & b; UNECA,2013). These commendable strides are as a result of the current realization that education is central to the realization of all the eight Millennium Development Goals and goal –four of sustainable development goals of the United Nations (Adams & Vandegaag,2013; United Nations,2015). According to UNESCO (2015b) and UNICEF (2014),with quality education, people can grow and develop, they can learn and know, they can be equal and just, they can survive and live, they can be healthier, can combat illness, can think of the future and can work together. This justifies the need for governments and stakeholders to enhance integrated investments in education, research and human capital development in order to prepare citizens to operate effectively in the globalized economy (East African Community Secretariat, 2016).
At the continental level, the African Union Commission (2014b) states that Africa is entering into an era that most observers and pundits are predicting will determine its destiny as the continent of the future. But to fulfill this promised bright future, the continent has to address its education and training systems that are yet to fully shed the weight of its colonial legacy and its own tribulations as a relatively new political and economic entity and player in the world arena (UNESCO, 2015c). In a bid to create a new African citizen who will be an effective change agent for the continents sustainable development as envisioned by the African Union (AU) and its 2063 Agenda, the African Union Commission took a bold initiative and developed an African comprehensive ten-year continental education strategy (CES) to guide development of education in the continent.
The EAC countries have not been left behind in this quest to improve education since the regional body has put up a harmonized curriculum that aims at creating a highly skilled pool of scholars. In pursuance of this goal, recent educational policy debates have reiterated the need to emphasize the teaching of science and information technology, and it is not surprising that the new educational reform recently announced by the EAC countries seeks to make educational products more employable in the global market. The East African Community Partner States have made deliberate decision to cooperate in various spheres of regional development (EAC Secretariat,2016). Among these areas of cooperation is the education sector. In this regard, emphasis has been placed on capacity building; joint efforts to develop specialized training facilities; and division of responsibilities in training and research as well as harmonizing of curricula within the Partner States (Orodho,2017b).
The foregoing discussion implies that effective development of education in the region should be extricable linked with the nurturing of moral values and career preparation attitudes. Devoid of the potential to nurture these values, education losses its heart and soul. No one who attempts to depict the spirit of age in which we live can possibly overlook the importance of education for values. Peace security human survival are facing new challenges that could have negative implications if we do not address them positively. The malleable years of youth in schools are crucial. Whatever is learnt and imbibed will determine to the extent to which students would live out their lives in future (Kumar,2015; Orodho,2017b). It is against this backdrop that this paper set out to establish the place and mechanisms of mainstreaming value-based education in all forms of curriculum (formal, non-formal and informal) in the EAC region.
1.2. State of the Art Review
Research findings at regional level provide policy justification for restructuring curriculum in the region. Research studies from Africa specifically provide impetus to the East African Community Partner States in making deliberate decision to cooperate in various spheres of regional development (EAC Secretariat, 2014). Among these areas of cooperation is the education sector. In this regard, emphasis has been placed on capacity building; joint efforts to develop specialized training facilities; and division of responsibilities in training and research as well as harmonizing of curricula within the Partner States. It is envisaged that when this is realized, the Partner States will have a common framework to promote equal access to education opportunities, harmonious quality assurance and accreditation systems. This process as well as the credit transfer modalities and frameworks for learners and labour mobility within the EAC region, provision of services, and greater articulation of the education systems of the Partner States, among other things, will be the attendant benefits. This desire is more specially driven by the shared vision which is articulated in the EAC treaty (EAC Secretariat, 2016).
Coincidentally, at the regional level, Article 5 and Article 102 of the East African Community (EAC) Treaty spells out the commitment of Partner States to undertake concerted measures to foster cooperation in education and training within the Community in tandem with the common African position on the post 2015 development agenda (African Union Commission,2014a). In this respect, the Article requires partner states to:- i) coordinate their human resource development policies and programmes; ii) develop such common programmes in basic, Intermediate and tertiary education and a general programme for adult and continuing education in the Partner States that would promote the emergence of well trained personnel in all sectors relevant to the aims and objectives of the Community; iii) harmonize curricula, examination, certification and accreditation of education and training institutions in the Partner States through the joint action of the relevant national bodies charged with the preparation of such curricula; iv) encourage and support the mobility of students and teachers within the community; ( v) exchange information and experience on issues common to the educational systems in Partner States; and vi) Collaborate in putting in place education and training programmes for people with special needs and other disadvantaged groups(EAC Secretariat,2016).
The foregoing presupposes a focus on the transformative role of education and training which has always been acknowledged by the African Union. The African Union launched two successive strategic frameworks referred as Decades of Education, and the second one concluded in 2015 (African Union Commission,2015a). The gains, have however not been fully optimal as much is still left to do to improve access, quality and relevance. The lessons learned from both the African Union led developmental efforts and those supported by the international community clearly indicate that educational development is first and foremost a national and regional responsibility (African Union Commission, 2014b; Ndonye, Mamadou & Walther, 2013; UNECA, 2013).
As a result of this vested responsibility, CES strategy, which is in tandem with the United Nations (2015c) post 2015 agenda makes a strong case development of sustainable education. The CES strategy is driven by the desire to set up a qualitative system of education and training to provide the African continent with efficient human resources adapted to African core values and therefore capable of achieving the vision and ambition of the African Union (African Union Commission,2014a; African Development Bank, 2011). It is based on the premise that those responsible for its implementation will be assigned to re-orient Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovations and creativity required to nurture African core-values and promote sustainable development at the national, sub-regional and continental levels (African Union Commission, 2015b).
The resultant philosophical strands of education in most EAC countries in the draft harmonized curriculum for EAC region and review of literature indicate that education in the region focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and skills as well as provision of lifelong learning (Orodho,2017b). Education in EAC countries is envisaged to focus on the development of individual potential in a holistic and integrated manner, while producing individuals who are intellectually, emotionally and physically balanced (EAC Secretariat, 2016). The expectation was that the provision of a holistic, quality education and training that promotes the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains of learners would be given top priority. As such this type of education would instill values such as patriotism, equality, honesty, humility, mutual respect, and high moral standards. The Philosophy was summarized in the statement ―Education and Training for Social Cohesion as well as Human and Economic Development.
The foregoing notwithstanding, research findings from international level have criticized the current educational provision and cast doubt by positing that the materialistic world that emphasizes economic gains of education have eroded the important role of modern education (Awatsi, 2014). The criticism has been based on the fact that although human beings are considered to be the most intellectual living beings in the sense that they have sympathy and empathy for all living beings, the education they are exposed to lack moral and other core-values to enable them interact effectively with others (Awatsi, 2014; Bagde,2014). The destruction of property during one of the worst students’ unrest in Kenya attests to this moral decay amongst the youth as depicted in Fig.1.
Figure 1: Students burn a school in Kenya
Source: The Media reports, (2016)
The immoral behavior is invariably as a result of lack of values which are principles, convictions or standards that influence a person’s or community’s conduct or actions in any situation. Values are the inner drive that explain why people behave or do what they do. They determine what a person considers important in life. When combined with knowledge, correct attitudes and life skills, values are what sustain a person’s conduct. Thus, according to Indrani (2012), value shapes our relationships, our behaviors, our actions, and our sense of who we are. According to Kumar (2015), the value-based education is being taught in schools in India or included in all types of education because it plays a great role towards learners’ personality and helps to become successful in their lifespans and careers as well. The absence of values makes people irresponsible as illustrated in Figure 2. The scenario carried in Figure 2 sends an alarming cumulative effect of our current education system that lacks core-values. In fact, we would benefit in terms of overall progress (good health, security and happiness) if our houses were mud-huts in communities that value our common good through providing good sanitation, food, education, drinking water, and basic health care.
Figure 2: Behaviours of people deficient in basic core values.
Source: Authors own fieldwork photographs (2017)
Our educational goals and philosophy need to take this direction for our education to achieve the desired sustainable development. The reality is that we do not escape from poverty, disease by having skills, which are comparable with others in the developed world, but mean nothing for our local communities and /or by building nice homes in filthy, disease prone environments. We forget that we can never be truly happy and free until our environments and communities become free; for the mosquitoes and bacteria do not need visas to travel from the dirty mud-huts into our new modern European-style homes.
1.2 Problem Statement
Despite the rapid expansion of the education system over the last three decades in the EAC region, human resources remain seriously underdeveloped. only a small fraction of the working population has adequate knowledge, skills and right attitudes needed to meet the demands of rapid economic growth required for sustainable development. The potential impact of new technologies in agriculture cannot be realized without skilled farmers with right values and attitudes to work effectively in the community. The shortage of scientists, engineers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and other high-level skilled personnel in agriculture and industry deprives the region the ability of adapting and developing new technologies, skills and work attitudes based on in-country and inter-country research and applying the results to the local production of goods and services required for socio-economic development.
A related problem is that the curriculum in most countries in Africa and particularly within the East African Community have not effectively developed a holistic education curriculum that covers requisite value systems espoused by the countries as well as holistic value-based competencies required to foster sustainable development agenda in the current 21st century. Consequently, education in most countries within the EAC face challenges characterized by internal and external inefficiencies: low access to resources and opportunities hence exacerbating inequitable access to quality education; a weak labour productivity; large and growing pool of unemployed youth with poor grasp of technical, interpersonal and ethical skills required to succeed at the workplace. In addition, there is a rising challenge of drug abuse, crime and insecurity.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the materialists’ world has made people become deficient or there is absence of values in the life they live and have directed their energies to amass wealth and material comforts, commercialization, and propagate the notion that success is solely measured by academic attainment. The human populace and policy makers have apparently ignored the fact that the base of human life begins at childhood and continues to adulthood and is largely dependent on the type and quality of education which they gain. Consequently, the education curriculum in most countries globally and in EAC countries specifically lack the moral values and right working attitudes. The overall educational tragedy is that the education system, despite reforms, puts emphasis on academic performance at the expense of character development and hence considered to be the main cause of the social challenges experienced in most countries within the East African community. As a consequence, weak social cohesion and weak policies continued to undermine the sense of nationhood in these countries, thereby undermining the sustainable development of the EAC countries.
1.3 Purpose and Objectives
This paper examined the status of curriculum in terms of its structure and content with a view to revitalize the education provision through mainstreaming core-values as well as career preparedness and attitudes in the curriculum within the East African Community countries. The overall thrust of the paper was to revitalize the curriculum in the region to be responsive to provision of quality and holistic education as a perquisite to sustainable development. The objectives were:
I. Analyze the status of curriculum in the East African Community Countries.
II. Establish curriculum-based challenges facing the East African Community Countries.
III. Revitalize education by mainstreaming core- values as well as career preparedness and attitudes in the curriculum within the EAC countries.
2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The study employed a combination of research methods including desk survey, case studies and document analysis (Orodho, Wenceslas, Odundo, Waweru & Ndayambaje, 2016). Desk research, basically involves the collection of data from existing sources in the form of secondary data. As a result, it is often considered a low-cost technique as compared to field research, as the main cost is involved in executive’s time, telephone charges and directories (Orodho,2012). The desk research is undoubtedly quite quick and cheap, and as a result most of the basic information could be easily gathered and used as a benchmark in the research process (Orodho, Wenceslas, Odundo, Waweru & Ndayambaje, 2016).
The study specifically employed two variants of desk research techniques incorporating internal and external desk surveys (Orodho,2017a). Internal desk research can be treated as the most reasonable starting point of research for any investigator. Much Information is usually generated internally within the organization or country. In the context of this study, educational challenges facing the education sector was generated through relevant documents. The main advantage of this method is that it involves internal and existing organizational resources to organize the collected data in such a way that it is not only efficient but also usable.
External Desk Research, on the other hand, involves research done outside the organizational boundaries and collecting relevant information resources from outside resources. These outside resources include Online desk research conducted through online and internet sources. While using this technique, it was important to be specific regarding the required information as there are billions of pages available on internet. The researcher used two approaches for digging out the relevant information from internet. The first one involved directly browsing the specific information from education sites and extracting the information out of these sites. Secondly, the researcher used various search engines like www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, etc., for modulated searching. The important aspect here is to refine the searching techniques in such a way that results are promising and relevant.
Case studies and country specific documents used by various governments within the study locale were also employed. It was evident that most governments had published a great extent of data online that was eventually used in the research process. The government websites are mostly free to access and contain most prominent information. This was therefore found to be the cheapest medium of gathering the information. The findings from the documents were triangulated to capture the emerging trends in curriculum and educational development (Orodho, Khatete & Mugiraneza, 2016) to form a picture of the status of education in Africa generally and EAC region in particular.
Document analysis, which is a form of qualitative incorporated coding content into themes similar to how focus group or interview transcripts are analyzed (Bowen,2009). A rubric was used to grade and/ or score the contents of the desired aspects of the document. The study focused on three primary types of documents (O’Leary, 2014): i) public records including the official, ongoing of institutions activities, ii) personal documents of an individual’s actions, experiences, and beliefs as extracted from calendars / personal diaries, e-mails, Facebook, duty logs, and iii) artifacts.
3.0 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
3.1. Status of curriculum developed in the EAC Countries
3.1.1. The Visions of the EAC countries
The first objective was to analyze the status of curriculum in the East African Community Countries. Table 1 carries information on the time frame, strategic vision and priority area considered while developing the draft harmonized EAC curriculum for primary schools.
Table 1: The visions of the five East African Community Countries
Sustainable peace and stability as well s the achievement of glob development commitments in line with MDGs.
Poverty reduction, reconstruction and institutional development.
Globally competitive and prosperous Kenya with a high quality of life.
To achieve sectoral objectives including meeting regional and global commitments.
To become a middle-income country by 2020.
Structural economic transformation development and integration to regional and global economy.
High quality of life anchored on peace, stability, unity, and global governance, rule of law, resilient economy and competitiveness. It envisages to become-middle income country with high level of human development.
Inculcate hard work, creativity, motivates and create a learning society to promote investment and savings, knowledge –based economy, infrastructure development, and private sector development.
Transform Uganda’s society from peasant to modern prosperous country.
To strengthen the economic fundamentals to harness abundant opportunities; prominence being given to knowledge economy.
Source: East African Community Secretariat (2016: 33)
A critical examination of the draft harmonized curriculum for the EAC established that the process adopted a dynamic and holistic approach to curriculum development. Such dynamic and holistic process begins by examining the goals and aims of education in society, perceived as the broad purpose of education. The dynamic nature was probably to ensure thatemergingneedsofEastAfricansareaddressedthroughthecurriculum.
The draft curriculum also focused on development of key competencies in the learner. The term competence was used to indicate a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes a learner acquires to perform a given task. Through this curriculum, it was expected that EAC Partner States would provide opportunities in their respective national primary curriculum for the acquisition of Key competences. This uniform acquisition of competencies would in turn facilitate free movement of the learners across the region. The draft EAC curriculum was based seven key competencies, namely: i) communication; ii) mathematical competencies; iii) personal and social competencies; iv) learning to learn ICT, scientific and technological skills vi) creative and critical thinking; and vii) cultural awareness.
An examination of each of the competencies indicate that through communication competency a learner would be expected to develop the ability to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions in both oral and written language (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Focus on improving the learner ‘s understanding of the language demands in the required learning areas. With regard to mathematical competency the learner shall demonstrate the ability not only to develop and apply mathematical thinking in order to solve a range of problems in everyday situation but also demonstrate an understanding of the quantitative and logical aspects in different fields.
Personal and social competencies include: personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and cover all forms of behaviours that enable individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life, and particularly in an increasingly diverse society, and to resolve conflict where necessary. The competency of learning to learn shall enable the learner develop the ability to pursue and persist in learning, to organize one ‘sown learning, including through effective management of time and information, both individually and in groups.
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT), scientific and other technological competences aim at making the learner become confident, efficient and effective use of science and technology to access, assess, produce, store, present, exchange information, communicate and participate in collaborative networks. Creativity and critical thinking competencies on the other hand are expected to enable learners become involved in integral activities that require a learner to think broadly and deeply use skills, behaviours and dispositions. They are fundamental in enabling a learner become an independent thinker (Bizimana & Orodho, 2015). They involve logical reasoning, resourcefulness, imagination, interpreting, analyzing, explaining and sequencing in all learning areas. Finally, Cultural awareness entails empowering the learner with abilities to appreciate own and other people ‘customs and traditions (Orodho, Waweru, Ndichu, & Thinguri,2013). The learner should appreciate and be tolerant to the similarities and differences in the various cultures.
3.2 Access and Participation in Quality Education
Acritical aspect of quality is tailoring the educational system to respond to the emerging transformational needs in the region and aligning skills accordingly. The educational strategy and system was, therefore, harmonized to improve the capacity of the education systems to prepare people to pursue the goal of economic transformation and development
The Early Childhood Education is the very much neglected sector in most of the EAC countries and is largely operated by private sector initiatives Early Childhood Development Programmes focus on children from birth to the age of about six to eight years. The early years are critical in the formation of intelligence, personality, social behaviours and physical development. Current longitudinal studies show that economic development would improve six-fold in education, if one quarter of all children attended pre-school. As a matter of policy, EAC Partner States envisage an institutionalized early childhood education as a key imperative by 2050. This is in line with Sustainable Development Goal that aspire to provide high quality education for all for lifelong living and sustainable development.
There was no record of having pre-primary education in Burundi and Uganda. It is assumed that the pupils enter primary school directly from home without initial preparation at this tender age. In the case of Rwanda, one of the strategies of increasing enrolment is to raise awareness among communities about the importance of enrolling children in pre-primary schools as estimated by Republic of Rwanda (2015). In Tanzania, while taking cognizance of the fact that pre-school is very important, it does not appear economically feasible to formalize and systematize the entire pre-school education for this age
Primary School Education
The Primary School Education cycle provides the foundation for learning throughout the formal education system. It forms a basis of developing literacy, numeracy, life skills, social, emotional and physical development, building self-confidence and self-worth through formal and social development in order to promote the growth and development of each learner as an individual and as a member of the school and society An analysis of the structure of primary education and age of entry reveals varied status in the five EAC Partner States. The draft recognizes the fact that whereas the harmonization process primarily does not aim to create homogeneity and uniformity, there is need to explore the possibilities of reducing the difference in the structure and age of entry. Therefore, it is proposed that the entry age for primary education should be six years.
The EAC framework puts the learner at the center of learning. It is important to know that children develop at different paces and exhibit different characteristics. Therefore, it is essential that every primary school learner including those with special learning needs in the EAC region benefits from learning. The development of the EAC curriculum framework offers an opportunity to all learners irrespective of their geographical, disability or gender differences.
Primary school education in Burundi is compulsory for 6 years, meaning that every child is supposed to complete their primary education. Unfortunately, half a million children never enter school at all. Of those who do, just 36% complete this phase. The genders are however fairly evenly represented. In Rwanda, primary education lasts six years; the official school age at this level is from 7 years to 12 years. The objective of primary education is to ensure that all children receive civic, intellectual and physical education. At this stage, the child is prepared for secondary studies. Primary education ends with a national examination which yields eligibility for lower secondary education studies. This section provides an overview of primary education statistics highlighting trends in key indicators between 2010 and 2014 as in Republic of Rwanda (2015).
In Uganda, despite its best intentions, there are a few really free states schools in Uganda, and the quality of paid private schools varies tremendously too. The education program that runs from February through to December, begins with 7 years of primary school education. For pupils in a class size of up to one hundred who fail to pass their leaving examinations, this ends their hopes.
Secondary School Education
In Rwanda, the secondary cycle lasts for six years with three years of lower secondary and three years of upper secondary school. The lower secondary level lasts six years; the official age for this level is from 13 years to 18 years. It is composed of lower secondary (the first three years) and upper secondary (the second three years) both ending with a national examination which respectively yields eligibility for upper secondary and higher education studies respectively. Upon completion of lower secondary, students enter different fields of studies as offered at Upper secondary.
Secondary education in Burundi lasts for the seven years, although few children in Burundi ever have the opportunity, as average school dwell time is just short of 5 years. The language of instruction continues to be Kirundi or French. The academic model is similar to the one used in France. Like so much of Ugandan education, secondary schooling still follows the British academic model where traditional subjects continue to be taught. A successful A-Level pass opens up the possibility of tertiary education for the lucky few who made it this far.
3.2 Challenges beleaguering Curriculum and Education
The second objective established that challenges that beleaguer educational development in these countries are nearly similar at pre-primary, primary, secondary, vocational and technical training and tertiary levels and gravitate around: inefficient application of learner-centered pedagogy and lack or inefficient integration of ICT in teaching and learning, low access, inequality in access to education by gender and geographical location, low transition from one level to the other and poor quality of academic performance.
According to Orodho (2017b) Kenya and Rwanda have been successful in increasing enrolments although they now face two particular problems, enrolling the remaining 10 to 20 per cent of the relevant school age population at the primary level who tend to be the poorest children, and ensuring that those in school benefit from quality learning. The situation was worse in Liberia where learners aged 20 years and above are still in primary school some at grade one. It is also arguable that, even where fees are not factors in preventing access to, and retention in education they may still has a regressive impact. The greater the level of household income inequality, as was the case in the North-Eastern Province of Kenya and parts of the Republic of Liberia, the harder it is for the poor to pay fees (Orodho, Waweru& Getange,2014).
The main challenge at primary school level in the EAC region is the mechanism to be adopted to sustain access while at the same time improve learning outcomes. The number of children not accessing primary education due to home and school-based factors is still quite high and alarming (Ampofo, Bizimana, Ndayambaje, Karongo, Lawrence & Orodho,2015). A related challenge is ensuring that those enrolled actually learn and acquire relevant competencies at the basic education as well as other levels of education and training as stipulated in the draft harmonized curriculum for EAC region (EAC Secretariat,2014). This would certainly entail giving, first and foremost, attention to the teaching force, its training in consonance with requisite competencies, continuous professional development as well as working and living conditions (Aneja,2014; Gallup,2011; Orodho,2015).
3.3. Mainstreaming Value Based Education Curriculum
3.3.1. Perception of mainstreaming core-values in curriculum
The third objective was to investigate the perception regarding value-based curriculum and modalities of mainstreaming the core-values in curriculum for countries in EAC countries. Figure 3 carries information regarding teachers and students’ perceptions regarding the types of core-values in education.
The identified core-values included: respect, environmental conservation, gender equity, protection of the vulnerable, human rights, integrity, fairness and tolerance. The data carried in figure 3 indicates that both students and teachers displayed a knowledge gap between values commonly taught in formal school curriculum and the core-values that indicate moral and ethical behaviours. Teachers and students concurred that values such as respect, environment and gender equity were important.
Figure 3: Teachers and students’ knowledge about core-values
However, there was a knowledge gap between teachers and students regarding the role of protecting the vulnerable, human rights, integrity, fairness and tolerance, with students displaying low levels of awareness regarding the importance of the core-values (Leichering,2010). Education can play the pivotal role to change the society; whereas every society set the aim of education as per their social norms, values and need of the society. Indeed, common aim could be alike. Wisdavet (2003) observed societies arrange education with three main objectives in mind, even though those objectives may be stressed differently by different societies. Here, the three objectives are: to prepare people to be good members of society, to train people to be well developed human beings, in order to enrich wisdom. The aim of education is growth or development both intellectual and moral (Dewey, 1963) so the main role of education is moral development.
All above themes are the basic elements of the values. These impart social, emotional, ethical, moral, spirituality code of conduct positive behavior and much more. It may not be necessary to teach as a separate subject but it can be integrated into other core subjects like Science, Mathematics, Language etc. or it can be achieved through co–curricular/extra-curricular activities too. According to CBSE, Values cannot be taught like a subject, i.e., like Languages, History, Science or Mathematics. They can only be inculcated through the situations deliberately planned while teaching various school subjects (CBSE, 2012).
3.3.2. Gaps in the Modern Education
Literature reviewed from experts indicate that today’s school education system is, somehow, following global trends and trying to cover the entire cross-cutting issues arose globally but the value-based education is becoming forgotten. As Samten (2009) stated, modern education is not value-based; rather it works directly against human values. Although, nobody is explicitly taught to be selfish, greedy, arrogant, jealous, dominating and so forth; the overall content of the curriculum sends a message valorizing these characteristics. It is observed in Nepalese context that the learning achievement and success are assessed on obtained high scores in examinations, through any means. In contrast, these students with the high score are also exhibiting poor moral characters. These circumstances indicate that the formal education is failing much to provide students with a holistic education.
Likewise, the formal education is running in a great confusion these days. Classroom instructions are becoming so reutilized that children often consider school as a place to exercise competition rather than cooperative learning. The students in our society are inclining towards violence, social evil and lack of respect towards the world. The enforcing reason is the aim of today’s education which encourages only achieving a good mark in the examination to get a good job but loss of morality. These made the students look towards their rights but not duties (Allais,2014; Jindal, 2013). Furthermore, today’s world is operating on the basis of human's selfishness whether it is at the level of the individual, group, society or nation. Social norms and values are shifting as per the individual interests. Therefore, the self is increasingly being identified with selfishness (Luther, 2001).
A child of the twenty-first century showing unethical behavior and moral degradation seems everywhere; however, children are not to be blamed for this because there are several responsible reasons. One of the major factors is the parent. Incidences of broken homes with children distraught and deserted because the parent of twenty-first centuries is more involved with their worldly pleasures and social obligations rather than their responsibilities towards their children have become common (Iyer,2013). Similarly, another cause is a negative impact of information and technology. Children read and hear about growing influence of criminalization of politics and politicization of crime through the media every day. The impact of this constant flow of unhealthy information on their sensitive mind is easy to imagine (Luther, 2001).
This is happening due to the proliferation of vast amounts of information because of internet and media, and this may cause negative impacts, mainly in the more impressionable young minds, unless and until they have something robust to anchor upon (Singh, 2011). On the other hand, there is a strong chance of showing unethical behavior and unexpected activities by well-informed persons too. They may not be aware properly on human values, norms and ethics so they may break the code, rules and might fall on criminal actions (Sigh,2016).
Today, most of the crimes are committed by students coming out of schools and colleges as well. Their emphasis instead is on moneymaking and materialism instead of value or moral making (Shelly & Jain, 2012). For these distressing conditions of human life and society, the new generation is drifting away from its history and culture while crime and violence have spread to all spheres of life. Doubtless, the scientific discoveries have given rise to genuine optimism materialistic accomplishments, but the problems of inequity, conflicts, poverty, apathy and anxiety are on the rise (Rai, 2014).
On the basis of above discussion, there is necessary of a balanced curriculum of values and other essential skills in today's education system. Therefore, the need of value education in today’s context cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, education should aim at making human life better not only through economic upliftment of individual but also through social, moral and spiritual strengthening. This will not improve human life only but also realize the “higher truth” from darkness to light (Yadav & Saini, 2016).
The other missing gap is the lack of mainstreaming twenty-first century skills. These are a series of higher-order , abilities, and learning dispositions that have been identified as being required for success in 21st century society and workplaces by educators, business leaders, academics, and governmental agencies. This is part of a growing international movement focusing on the skills required for students to master in preparation for success in a rapidly changing, digital society. Many of these skills are also associated with quality learning which is based on mastering skills such as analytic reasoning, complex problem solving, and teamwork. These skills differ from traditional academic skills in that they are not primarily content knowledge-based.
The partnership for 21st century learning (P21) Framework depicted in Figure 4 illustrates the skills, knowledge, expertise, and support systems that students need to succeed in work, life, and citizenship. All elements of the Framework are critical to ensure 21st century readiness for every student. When a school, district, state or region builds on this foundation, combining knowledge and skills with core-values as well as the necessary support systems of standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and learning environments - students are more engaged in the learning process and graduate better prepared to thrive in today’s digitally and globally interconnected world. The holistic development is attained in the sense that as the 21st century learning skills are imparted, the core-values are also nurtured to capture the affective and psychomotor domains and provides a paradigm shift from the traditional academic knowledge and skills. The combination of core-values, career preparedness and life skills are summarized in Figure 4.
Figure 4: The twenty First Century Skills and Support Systems
The elements described in figure4 are the critical systems necessary to ensure 21st century readiness for every student. The 21st century standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, professional development and learning environments must be aligned to produce 21st century outcomes for today’s students. The framework represents both 21st century student outcomes (as represented by the arches of the rainbow) and support systems (as represented by the pools at the bottom). The elements described in Figure 4 are therefore critical systems necessary to ensure 21st century readiness for every student. The 21st century standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, professional development and learning environments must be aligned to produce holistic education in for the 21st century outcomes required by today’ students (Crabtree & Pugliese,2012).
Janani, Nasrabadi and Liaghtdar (2012) and Orodho(2017b) contend that holistic education is a methodology of providing education which focuses on using a combination of academic dynamics and non-academic dynamics such as core-values and career preparedness for preparing students to meet any challenges they may face in in their academic career and for life. The most important theories behind holistic education are learning about oneself, developing health relationships and positive social behaviors, social and emotional development, resilience, and the ability to view beauty, experience transcendence, and truth (Grimer,2007). Holistic education addresses the broadest development of the whole person at the cognitive and affective levels (Miller,2006). It aims for the fullest possible human development enabling a person to become the very best or finest that they can be and develop fully ‘those capacities that together make up a human being’ (Forbes, 2003; Orodho,2017b).
Grimmer (2007) further notes that the main element of holistic education is its focus on the interconnectedness of experience and reality. Holistic education attempts to develop a pedagogy that is interconnected and dynamic and thus is in harmony with the cosmos. In contrast, much of traditional education tends to be static and fragmented, ultimately promoting alienation and suffering (Neves, 2009). Holistic education focuses on the relationship between the whole and the part and suggests that teaching and learning approaches need to be rooted in a larger vision. If techniques are isolated and unrelated they can become traditional education and become static and fragmented, ultimately promoting alienation and suffering (Miller, 2006). Within this holistic perspective, the student is positioned as an active, participatory and critical learner who perceives and understands own shortcomings and responsibility to the community. The holistic vision includes a sense of the whole person who is connected to his or her surrounding context and environment (Neves, 2009; Miller 2004).
The foregoing views are consistent with those of Forbes (2003) and Rudge (2008), who have written that: Holistic education frequently claims that it wants to: i) educate the whole child (all parts of the child), ii) educate the student as a whole (not an assemblage of parts), and iii) see the child as part of a whole (society, humanity, the environment, some spiritual whole, etc.) from which it is not meaningful to extract the student. Neves (2009) adds his voice to this debate and contends that holistic education challenges the present approach to education and its obsessive focus on standards and testing. Holistic educators see this approach as reflecting a materialist and consumerist culture that has reduced schooling to the training of individuals to compete and consume in the global marketplace. In fact, Janani, Nasrabadi and Liaghtdar (2012) have aptly argued that the present thrust of education should be perceived as abandoning any attempt to educate the whole human being. It reduces schooling to training for the workplace that can be easily accessed through standardized tests (Miller 2007).
Miller (2007) and Orodho (2017b) strongly argue that holistic education challenges the present approach to education and its obsessive focus on standards and testing. These scholars see this holistic approach as reflecting a materialist and consumerist culture that has reduced schooling to the training of individuals to compete and consume in the global marketplace. In fact, the present thrust of education can be seen as abandoning any attempt to educate the whole human being. It reduces schooling to training for the workplace that can be easily accessed through standardized tests (Miller 2004). The educationists and researchers concur in their conviction that the further evolution of civilization and human consciousness requires a renewed measure of respect and reverence for the inner life of the growing person. Holistic education provides students with a sense of meaning and order to things. The process of holistic education must therefore be flexible and dynamic to accommodate these personal differences and influences and, moreover, differences in the rate of personal progression (Hare; 2006). Holistic education is, without a doubt, education for twenty- first century, directed towards developing human beings with a global conscience, a vision of peace, love, and intelligence (Martin,2004; Miller,2007; Scott & Rubin, 2004).
Orodho (2017b) reiterates that holistic education ought to equip the learner with balanced core-values and counsels that children need to not only develop academically, but develop the ability to acquire desirable morals necessary to enable them survive in the modern world. They need to be able to rise and meet challenges presented to them in the future and contribute to the world in which they live. This type of learning is said to begin during childhood. Children need to learn to first value themselves, their worth, and recognize their abilities and how to be able to do what they want in life. Doing what they want ties into the relationships that they build and how they treat those relationships. Holistic education teaches children about their immediate relationships with their friends and family as well as social development, health, and intellectual development (Orodho,2017b). The idea of resilience is a learned quality, not one which is inherent and thus children must be taught to face difficulties in life and overcome them (Miller,2007).
3.4 Mainstreaming Core-Values using Whole School Approach
Mainstreaming core-values, career preparedness attitudes as components of human development cannot be conceived in the absence of values. In this regard, an educational institution such as school, college or university should not be just confined to teaching and learning but it should be considered as a place where critical desirable values are cultivated (Kumar, 2015; Orodho,2017b). Hence, these desirable core-values and attitudes can be developed through a whole school approach education curriculum (Republic of Kenya, 2017).
Figure 5 : Whole School Approach to Value-based Curriculum Development
Source: Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, (2017)
This paper in line with the current efforts to roll-out a school wide approach, advocates for mainstreaming core-values in the entire curriculum including formal, non-formal and the informal (hidden) curriculum (Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development ,2017). This is in tandem with what Luther (2001) said that values and ethics cannot be taught like history and geography or science; therefore; it can be taught through all the subjects constituting the school curriculum at all levels. For this, all the teachers have to understand how basics of values and ethics can be applied to their particular subjects and they must be informed about the form of an integral part of their entire style and content of teaching. So, the mobilization of teachers can be one of the easiest ways of imparting values to the student through formal and informal methods.
The whole school approach involves the instruction for values and ethics through direct mode infused in the formal curriculum, and the indirect method transmitted through non-formal and informal (hidden) curriculum. For direct method, it is emphasized the mainstreaming of core-values in whole curriculum and whole teaching-learning process. The school syllabus, schemes of work and lesson plan should indicate the methods of nurturing the core-values in each subject content taught (EMACK,2011).
Similarly, indirect methods (the non-formal) should include school assembly, co-curricular activities, and celebration of religious festivals of all religions, team games at sports, subject clubs, and social service program. In a similar vein, the other indirect method (informal curriculum) should be transmitted through talking trees and walls which engrave critical messages in the form of posters and advertisements on walls and trees. All these can help nurture the values of cooperation and mutual regard, honesty and integrity, discipline and social responsibility. Further, the school authorities need to make special efforts to holistically plan, develop and pursue such methods of teaching and activities to help the promotion of values amongst students. Therefore, it is suggested that an integrated approach is needed where all the school subjects have an element of value orientation (Luther, 2001) and also using different curricular modes of formal, non-formal and informal curriculum (Indrani,2012).
Most of the countries have developed their national framework or national guidelines for value-based education in the schools such as in India, Australia, Japan, and China. Similarly, UNESCO is also contributing in value-based education through the different and specific areas. For example, in 2004, UNESCO developed a source book ‘Asia-Pacific teaching core values of peace and harmony’ for teachers in Asia-Pacific countries. It also envisaged four pillars of learning which include learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be. These four pillars are the fundamental of value-based education and should justify the proposed emphasis in education as a major tool for achieving morality, peace and harmony in this EAC region.
4.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The thrust of this paper was to examine the structure of curriculum, educational challenges related to education curriculum and finally revitalize and nurture core-values in curriculum within the EAC countries. The first conclusion is that there was ample evidence to confirm that the design and development of the draft harmonized curriculum was based on identified and agreed upon philosophies, visions and missions of the EAC region. The main object of the curriculum was to move away from the previous examination focus curriculum to the new paradigm which aims at nurturing key competencies among the learners.
The second conclusion is that tremendous quantitative growth has occurred in access to primary and secondary education in the EAC countries. Nonetheless, these countries have experienced unique multifarious and intertwined challenges related to internal and external inefficiencies of education, resulting in marked and severe regional and gender disparities in access to, and quality of education. The overall quality of education in most EAC countries has also been questionable. To resolve some of these challenges, most EAC countries have put in place a series of educational interventions and initiatives including free primary education and subsidized secondary education, as well as bursaries for the poor needy learners that are yielding slow but positive progress towards the attainment of EFA goals and Sustainable Development Goal -Four.
Thirdly, with regards to the vocational education with a local community orientation, it is concluded that majority of EAC countries are choosing the wrong philosophical premise for our current reform by seeking to channel our educational products towards entry into the global market, rather than enhancing the quality of life in the local community. Our young people are shunning the existing technical and vocational education programmes and preferring the white-collar jobs that have no meaningful bearing on improving our infrastructure and ways of living. Therefore, very few of our young people acquire the skills in industry that could be used to directly improve the quality of infrastructure we are building for our future.
Fourth, it was established that although Africa accounts for 13. 4 percent of the world’s population, it produces a paltry 1.1. percent of the scientific knowledge. Only three universities from Africa were among the top 500 worldwide. This has serious implications for researchers and scholars in the EAC region to work towards strengthening STI since its weak development has been blamed for the delayed emergence of EAC countries as knowledge economies.
Fifth, our technological choices have tended to aspire to become middle income country before satisfying the local and community needs. Yet, our survival and comfort have to do with mastering our immediate environments in a way that allows us to make maximum use of all types of resources including foods, herbs and other unique local materials. As Africans living in the EAC region, our environment is unique and useful to us first and all others second. Thus, no other persons/societies should or will do the mastering of our environment and resources for us, and no one in the western world is ever going to seriously help to develop our local foods, plants and herbs for our exclusive utilization on diseases that are unique to us.
Sixth, there was evidence that efforts had been made to strengthen the capacity of universities in the EAC region in the area of research and publication through the initiatives of the Inter-University Council of East Africa. This has implications for the researchers and scholars in the region to form working groups aimed at attracting funds to do research on the various challenges and problems that have beleaguered education in the region.
Seventh, we can conclude that the draft harmonized curriculum for EAC countries has not mainstreamed core-values, career preparedness and life skills in the curriculum. This omission has made the task of producing graduates with global market as well as possessing moral values a daunting task. There is little doubt that a meaningful educational reform should aim to see an educated citizen of the EAC as one who is well rooted in the values of their culture and employable for the benefit of their local community. In order to achieve such an educational outcome, I contend that two vital orientations are indispensable, namely Values-based education and Vocational education with a community orientation. These two orientations should not be perceived as mutually exclusive, but to complement each other.
Finally, we conclude that the desire for achievements of most African and particularly within the EAC region of being middle –income countries and grandiose national visions and missions will not translate into sustainable development unless there is a paradigm and mindset-shit towards value-based implications of knowledge, and skills acquired. Science and technology which is a great triumph for human beings in this new era by making human’s life better and easier will not succeed unless the technology becomes embedded with core-values and career preparedness skills cognizant of local and community relevance and adaptability. Due to the powerful advantage of technologies, the world is connected and seems as one small city or village. Yet, the foregoing presentation is unanimous that the disconnect between the development of curriculum that focuses entirely on the accomplishment of quality education measured in terms of academic excellence left out a very critical value-based dimension that is critical in nurturing holistic and sustainable development.
Based on the findings and discussions, this paper recommends that:
I. Schools and other educational institutions should devise mechanisms of reducing and eventually eliminating all forms of indiscipline and not obeying rules and regulations by students’ through setting up effective value-based governing bodies of students, teachers’ union and head teacher’s forum and visionary members of the Board of management.
II. The development of value-based competency curriculum at all levels of education should be supported and encouraged to foster a paradigm shift from stress on examinations. This should reduce cases of examination irregularities reflected in rampant cheating and general leakage of exams in most institutions in the EAC region.
III. Value based education should be intensified in formal, non-formal and informal curricular to help reduce and eventually eliminate the high dropout rates at all levels of education and rapidly emerging single parenthood as a result of inappropriate nurturing of core values during learning phase of their lives.
IV. The teaching and training in Information Communication and Technology should be value-based to reverse the current negative attitudes of teachers/instructors and learners who are becoming more technophobia and not keen to use modern technologies.
V. Core-values and career preparedness skills should be mainstreamed in the training curriculum to reverse the current negative attitude of trainees who currently lack appreciation of the value of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) making learners scramble for non-existent white-collar jobs and ignoring job opportunities in the local communities.
VI. The value-based education advocacy should be spread beyond the school and include parents, guardians and society who have currently abrogated their valuable educational and role -modeling services to communities, hence exacerbating immoral behaviours.
VII. The important value of having a clear linkage between institutional training -industry during training should reverse the current mismatch between skills imparted and their application in world of work thereby creating an alarming problem of unemployment, especially amongst the educated youth in the EAC region.
VIII. Researchers in the EAC region should form collaborative teams, solicit for joint project funds and disseminate research findings to influence education policy making in the region.
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Cite this Article: Orodho, JA (2019). Mainstreaming Core-Values in the Curriculum of East African Community Countries for Holistic and Sustainable Development: Challenges and Prospects. Greener Journal of Educational Research, 9(1): 01-15, http://doi.org/10.15580/GJER.2019.1.011419015.