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Post-apartheid South Africa has some of the highest educational and economic disparities in the world. Taylor Salisbury’s (2016) analysis of the National Income Dynamics…
Post-apartheid South Africa has some of the highest educational and economic disparities in the world. Taylor Salisbury’s (2016) analysis of the National Income Dynamics Study reveals that South Africa’s unequal distributions of income and wealth by race are likely to worsen over time, with Africans the most disenfranchised by low-quality education and low monthly earnings. What is missing from Salisbury’s discussion is that definitions of quality education are analogous to Western democracy, epistemologies, and curriculum. Township schools where most African children and youth attend do not draw upon African epistemologies, values, and languages to support the development of Africans’ productive capacities. Increasingly, capacities are only considered “productive” if they align with modernity and values of the labor market. In this chapter, I argue that South Africa is schooling inequality through the exclusion of African epistemological traditions and the inclusion of mainly Western liberal principles. The notion of divided (epistemological) space – separate, distinct, and apportioned – is examined from the research data I collected with African (in this case Xhosa) primary and secondary students, teachers, and principals in South Africa’s longest-standing township. The intent is to orient the field of comparative and international education to critically problematize discourse that identifies equality as central to social change but that ignores indigenous constructions of democracy informed by different epistemological traditions. This work builds on the growing argument about the need for comparative educators to learn from indigenous perspectives (Freeman, 2004), indigenous knowledge systems (Kubow, 2007), and different educational traditions for comparative study (Assié-Lumumba, 2017).
This discussion essay explores trends and issues in the teaching of comparative education. We argue that the field of Comparative and International Education (CIE) must…
This discussion essay explores trends and issues in the teaching of comparative education. We argue that the field of Comparative and International Education (CIE) must give more attention to the aspect of teaching, as comparative education courses are increasingly being affected by diminishing devotion to social foundations of education programming in many institutions of higher education and schools. Ironically, despite growing pluralism, the rise of economic utilitarianism has led to technicist-driven curriculum and less inquiry about philosophical, historical, and cultural assumptions underlying educational policy and practice. Another challenge in the teaching of comparative education is that students are often ill-prepared to understand and utilize the most basic social science concepts. Recognizing that teaching and research in CIE are inevitably linked, it is argued that a transformational model that advances CIE across disciplines, schools, and departments may reinforce its importance and ensure that the benefits that comparative inquiry affords – namely critical reflexivity, insight about school–society relationships, and possibilities for educational improvement – are addressed and safeguarded in tertiary and teacher education. An understanding of cultural and national contexts is important to educational reform and enables educators to view globalization in terms of how it benefits or undermines humanistic aims, namely the importance of individuals and the uniqueness of cultures.