Nyerere Education Idea and It Aplication to Conteporary Education System

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Educational Research and Review Vol. 4 (4), pp. 111-116, April 2009 Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/ERR ISSN 1990-3839 © 2008 Academic Journals

Full Length Research Paper

The implications of Nyerere’s theory of education to contemporary education in Kenya Joseph W. Nasongo1* and Lydiah L. Musungu2

Department of Educational Foundations, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya. Department of Educational Planning and Management, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya. Accepted 26 March, 2009


The question of relevance regarding education in human society is perennial. In the developing countries, education is considered to be a panacea for development. In Kenya, various efforts at curricular review and reform have time and again been undertaken to address the relevance of education. This paper attempts to analyze Nyerere’s theory of education with the view to render salient ideas that can contribute towards the formulation of worthwhile theories of education in the context of Kenya’s 21 century realities. Accordingly, Nyerere’s views, namely, ‘education for self reliance’ and ‘education for liberation’ are analyzed. Consequently, it is evident that contemporary education in Kenya is inadequate in several ways. It is therefore recommended that education in Kenya should embrace a multidimensional orientation that ensures the liberation of the individual, leading to the attainment of self reliance. Key words: Education for self-reliance, education for liberation, ideal education. INTRODUCTION Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the former and founding president of the united republic of Tanzania, is known not only as one of the world’s most respected statesmen and an articulate spokesman of African liberation and African dignity but also as an educator and an original and creative educational thinker (Kassam, 2000). Before we embark on explicating his ideas on education, a brief biography is worthwhile. He was born in 1922 near Musoma, Tanzania. After his primary and secondary education, Nyerere proceeded to Makerere college Uganda, where he obtained a diploma in education in 1945, after Makerere, he returned to Tanzania and taught at St. Mary’s school until 1949, when he was awarded a scholarship to Edinburgh university from where he graduated with a master of arts degree in 1952. Upon his return home he began to take an active part in Tanganyika politics. In 1954, he founded TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) and was subsequently elected member of Parliament during Tanganyika’s first election in 1959, he became the first chief minister of the country 1 year later and was sworn in as prime minister of Tanganyika in May 1961. During the first presidential election in 1962, Nyerere won the elections and become the first African president. He continued to be re-elected as president until mid 1980s when he retired from the presidency as well as active politics. He however, continued to actively participate in regional and global issues th until his death on October, 14 1999 (Bennaars, 1984; http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/research/edu20/1999nyerere) Apart from his involvement in politics, Nyerere was an articulate theorist of education whose views deserve explication. Nyerere’s views on education can be located within the nationalistic ideological view of education in Africa. Characteristic of this position is the view that education has to reflect and sustain national priorities, aims and aspirations. In addition, it has to translate the national ideology into curriculum (Njoroge and Bennaars, 1986). In line with the above view, Nyerere’s publications articulate education for independent Tanzania and by extension, for Africa. Such publications include: education for self- reliance (1967), education never ends (1969/70), our education must be for liberation (1974) and adult education and development (1976). A basic theme that runs through all these writings is...
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