CHAGS HG-EDU Abstracts


Inclusive and Sustainable Educational Development: Rethinking Moken Children’s Education

Jason Sanglir, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, Thailand. jaysanglir[a]

Despite recent educational reforms and efforts for equal opportunity in education and present enrollment, indigenous children in Thailand continually fail to excel and advance to higher education. This paper focuses on Moken sea gypsy communities in southern Thailand, and looks to analyze and understand situations and shortcomings of Moken children’s education and why they are still being left behind by the formal education system. Traditional ways of knowing and “indigenous science” are used as a platform to rethink the way we look at indigenous children’s education in Thailand. This paper identifies alternate approaches to sustainable and inclusive education for Moken children in the Thai education context. With the current generation more interested in gadgets and technology than engaging in traditional practices of knowledge transmission, the educational system can help bridge the generational gap and impart past knowledge to future generations in a way that is relevant to them. While this study only focuses on the Moken, findings and conclusions may be drawn to encompass a larger scope in terms of implications for other indigenous learners in Thailand.


In two worlds:  the Jarawa School Project  in the Andaman Islands

Madhumita Mazumdar, DA-IICT, India. madhumita_mazumdar[a]
Vishvajit Pandya, DA-IICT, India. vpandya2456[a]

This paper addresses some of the key issues raised in the panel particularly those relating to the problem of interfacing inter-generational knowledge transmission among hunter- gatherer communities with the structures of formal education. Conceived in the context of growing problems of contact and exploitation of Jarawas or Angs ( a small hunter- gatherer community in the Andaman Islands) by ‘outsiders’ Project Ang Katha translated as “stories of the Ang” attempts to bring together Jarawa Elders and children in common learning spaces in various parts of the Tribal Reserve. The objective of the bi-cultural bi-lingual project initiated under our supervision was to encourage Tribal Welfar Officers to learn the pedagogical practices of the community and integrate these into an informal school curriculum that aimed introduce Jarawa children to basic reading and numeracy skills and habits of equitable dialogue with the outsider.

The paper will reflect on the early stages of the project involving the co-creation of curricular content with the community and the tentative outcomes of a project ridden with the complexities of mutual learning in spaces that follow the rhythms of the community’s translocatory practices and its aspirations to move within the two worlds of the forest and the settlement.


Everyday Resistance of Education in Foraging Raute

Man Bahadur Shahu, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, Nepal. man_bahadur20[a]

This article focuses on imposition of education upon the foraging Rāute society who has been reluctantly accepted such a project. Nepal government established schools for the Rāute children under the nation-state policy which refused to incorporate the cultural values in the school curriculum including their tradition, language and identity. State’s hegemonic educational projects excluded Rāute, which create the inequality and forces for the social reproduction through the texts, language and education policies. Such an arrangement harbors everyday forms of educational resistance through non-collective, unnoticed, and unorganized behavior of Rāute children at school. The silent reactions against the non-Rāute typify the cultural disposition and ethos of the Rāute community. This paper outlines the interconnection between family, social class, students and state agency. I exposed their daily narratives, events, sees and reactions with others through observations, interviews and informal discussions to understand the lived experiences of knowledge construction, circulation and transmission in foraging societies.


Rethinking school experience among Nayaka children in South India

Noa Lavi, University of Haifa, United Kingdom. noalaviw[a]

The systems of knowledge transmission and learning among hunter-gatherers often differ from the systems imported by formal ‘education’ systems, particularly in schools. Like many hunting gathering communities around the world, the Nayaka people in South India, are strongly encouraged to send their children to boarding school. Though the dropout rate among Nayaka children is quite high, the experience of children in boarding schools, spending long periods away from their families, poses serious challenges for Nayaka children and greatly affects family relationships. While parents express concerns regarding long term separation from their children, they do encourage children to go to schools. However, Nayaka ideas regarding the importance of schools are very different from the views of the teachers and development agents. This is also true for Nayaka perceptions of knowledge, knowledge transformation processes and learning. Among other things, they prioritize social knowledge and skills, acquired through personal social engagement with school mates and staff, on top of any theoretical knowledge learned in class. I demonstrate how Nayaka perceptions offer an alternative way to evaluate schools, childhood and learning processes – which in turn might be useful in future efforts to make formal education more suitable for communities such as the Nayaka.



Schooling of the marginalized – The case of the Khwe San in Namibia

Attila Paksi, University of Helsinki, Finland. attila.paksi[a]

Following independence in 1990, Namibia has gradually built-up one of the most progressive educational policy frameworks in Southern Africa accommodating cultural-diversity. The inclusive, “education for all” approach also opened the school doors for San children and parents to participate in formal education. Despite the supportive policy setting, nearly three decades after Namibian independence, education outcomes among the San people remain the poorest of all the social groups. High drop-out rates, alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancies accompany education for the San, with hardly any livelihood benefits. This study analyses perception on formal education and current schooling practices among the Khwe San people living in Eastern Bwabwata National Park. Semi-structured interviews with Khwe parents (n=36), local teachers (n=29) and Khwe students (n=10) were conducted alongside with participant and lesson observation from three local schools. The results indicate the lack of cultural awareness of teachers, a mismatch between traditional parenting practices and required parental involvement practices in formal education, and a general inattention to indigenous knowledge. The results of this study together with the recommendations of the interviewed parents, teachers and students add valuable information to future planning regarding the education of the San.


San culture and Identity:  In terms of Education in Namibia. 

Kileni Fernando, //Ana-Djeh San Trust, Namibia. kileni.fernando[a]
Tertu Fernandu, //Ana-Djeh San Trust, Namibia. fteru6[a]

The education attainment rate of the San in Namibia is the lowest, despite the efforts by NGOs and the government, the San still face multiple challenges in the education sector. It is against this background that the //Ana-Djeh San trust (AST) was established to promote education and to promote and preserve the cultural values of the San people. //Ana-Djeh is a word from the !xung San dialect which means ‘’New Light’’. Although the word is in !xung all the other San youth from the different groups established //Ana-Djeh which make //Ana-Djeh a San youth organisation representing and working with all the San youth in Namibia. In addition to this AST together with the San Council attend to issues relating to discrimination against the San at workplaces, health centers and raising self –esteem etc. The paper will be based on the work, challenges, and achievements as well as the future goals of AST. The paper will also explore the identity of the San in the education sector and the cultural values of the San, in terms of language.


How San youth in Botswana consider their rights

Mary Kamxi, University of Botswana, Botswana. mkamxi3[a]
Dineo Peke, University of Botswana, Botswana. dineopeke[a]

Despite various interventions and initiatives by the government such as the Remote Area Development Programme ( RADP) and other existing national economic empowerment programmes aimed at improving rural livelihoods through education. In addition, NGOs once under the umbrella of the Kuru Family of Organisations and other initiatives such as the San Research Centre, few to mention, have tried in their limited way to promote San access to education from primary to tertiary level. But still a San child has a less privilege to appreciate these benefits as only few have achieved and the girl child lacks much behind everybody else. Our presentation underscores education as a tool to impart knowledge, skills and change of attitude. As San youth we feel that, like other citizens in the country we are also entitled to the right to quality education in order to face challenges that we encounter and be able to solve them on our own.

The connection between education and sustainable local economy: Traditional knowledge of hunting and gathering societies

Baakantse Satau, Tsidilo Community Trust, Bostwana

This paper will discuss education as it relates to sustainable economic options for hunter-gatherer communities, with an emphasis on their traditional knowledge. Education is a phenomenon universal to all cultures. However, today, formal education is dominant, and skills associated with hunting and gathering are considered inferior and not included in the curriculum. There are also many laws that control the practice of hunting and gathering in order to protect animal and plant species from depletion, but in reality, they further marginalize hunter-gatherer communities. Neither these laws, nor the school curriculum, recognize the importance of the knowledge and skills associated with hunting and gathering – and how these are still relevant to maintaining sustainable economies. Some of the important aspects of traditional knowledge that are useful today include animal behavior, medicinal and spiritual use of plants and animals, and observations about climate change. There are many ways that this kind of knowledge could still be beneficial to hunter-gatherer societies, their economies, and their health. Ultimately, these skills and knowledge are important not only for hunter-gatherers but for the wider society. I will argue that instead of portraying hunter-gatherers’ knowledge as inferior, formal education must include traditional knowledge.

Education for San children

Job Morris, San Youth Network, Botswana. jobjfmorris[a]

In Botswana, voices from San communities speak out about the education of their children. Formal schools are revered by the poor and illiterate as the place where their children will learn the skills they as parents lack: how to be prosperous, respected and able to understand the mysteries of modern survival. The change in education development has affected San child development over the last few decades. Education, not a new concept for the San, was in the past a sophisticated system of transferring knowledge that focused on certain learning cycles, and the themes mostly had to do with their survival, including knowledge of plants and animals but also responsibility for each other and for the total well-being of their group. This education system respected the child’s role and contribution to survival, and this paper argues that this is the most important element lacking in today’s schools. The disillusionment of the San with modern education is described, separation of children from their families and from their traditional knowledge, leaves children feeling bewildered and apathetic, and in some cases uncontrollable. However, despite this fact, many of the San children have found that in todays world, modern education is key to their emancipation.



Assessing the influence of education on plant-based traditional hunting knowledge among Baka hunter gatherers in East Cameroon

Evariste Fedoung, University of Douala, Cameroon. fong_nzossie[a]
Oishi Takanori, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan. takanori[a]
Marlene Ngansop, University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon. ngansop_77[a]

Field experiences with Baka hunter gatherers have shown that there is well developed traditional knowledge of using plants in fishing, hunting and bird catching. Such knowledge can be strongly influenced by several factors, such as education, age, sex, consumerism or occupation. Indeed, Baka society in Cameroon is undergoing gradual change, driven by factors including greater value on formal education, improvements in infrastructure and development, etc. This study seeks to understand how such social and economic factors influence plant-based traditional hunting knowledge in Baka societies. The study used focus group discussion, ethnobotanical interviews and field surveys with 165 Baka members. Collected data were feedbacked to community members by means of on-site workshop.

The study documents the diverse uses of plants in hunting practices among the Baka hunther gatherers in Lomié area and also examines the influence of occupation, consumerism, education, age, and gender on the knowledge of plants used by Baka hunther gatherers in hunthing practices.

Transmission of baka ecological knowledge in the context of forest management

Jean-Pierre Nguede Ngono, Institute of the African Worlds, France. nnguede[a]

It is in the light of the independence of Cameroon (1960) that forests were developed and transformed into protected areas, mining projects and agro-industrial plantations endangering the cultural heritage of the Baka. Indeed, the management of forests has inevitably led to the eviction of the Baka from the forests, the place of their cultural practices. Furthermore, this forest management does not always mesh with local cultural perceptions. For the Baka, the transformations that have occurred in the forest inextricably endanger the transmission of their ecological knowledge.

How do they transmit their ecological knowledge in a context where access to the forest is increasingly limited? To do this, we observed the Baka of south-east Cameroon where we put forward traditional activities of the Baka (pharmacopoeia, hunting and gathering). Also, life stories were conducted with our key informants (hunters, matrons, traditional healers, etc.) to analyze changes in the transmission of traditional education. In addition, structured interviews were conducted with officials from the Ministry of Ministry of Culture to analyze the accompaniment. This is due to the sustainability of ecological knowledge today where globalization tends to standardize the education and to erase the cultural specificities of ecologically vulnerable people.