Education for democratic citizenship and cosmopolitanism : the case of the Republic of Namibia

Shanyanana, Rachel Ndinelao (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2011-03)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis analyses some of the major education policies in Namibia since the introduction of a democratic government in 1990. The analysis reveals that democratic participation through stakeholder representatives is an ideal framework to promote democracy in education discourses, that is, in policy formation, school governance and teaching and learning. However, there is a dilemma of a lack of inclusion, which is incommensurable with modern democratic theorists’ conceptions of democratic citizenship (both Western deliberation and African ubuntu). The thesis asserts that Namibia’s historical and cultural background has to be taken into consideration if a defensible democratic citizenship education is to be engendered and advanced. An examination and interpretation of the three phases of Namibia’s historical background, its pre-colonial, colonial/apartheid and post-apartheid education systems, were carried out in order to understand the current state of education and the type of citizens the country is developing through its education system. Central to this investigation were different conceptions of democratic citizenship, which indicate that deliberation, inclusion, equality, reasonableness, publicity, belligerence, hospitality, compassion and African humanness (ubuntu) are the features of a defensible democratic citizenship education. The exploration of the distinction between deliberation and ubuntu shows that Namibia’s context requires a minimal democratic citizenship framework with ubuntu if a lack of inclusion is to be eliminated. The discussion on democratic conceptions also draws on a minimalist and maximalist continuum of democratic citizenship education. The thesis argues that a minimalist form of democratic citizenship education, in conjunction with African ubuntu – which constitutes less deliberation and non-belligerence with more compassion, careful listening, respect and dignity – engenders conditions for an inclusive policy framework, school governance, and the cultivation of democratic citizenry through teaching and learning in Namibian public schools, and may eventually promote a defensible democratic citizenship education. This framework may create a favourable environment and potential for all participants to co-exist, and for the marginalised groups to also contribute to conversations. This framework is also considered plausible because it takes into account the local people’s historical background and cultural practices. Complementing the argument of this thesis is the exploration of the link between Namibia’s education system, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Moreover, an appeal is made for the Namibian citizenship education system to consolidate the idea of cosmopolitanism, that is; hospitality and forgiveness, if the NEPAD initiative is to be successful and if certain Millennium Development Goals were to be achieved by 2015.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ontleed sommige van die hoof onderwysbeleide in Namibia sedert die instelling van ‘n demokratiese regering in 1990. Die ontleding onthul dat demokratiese deelname deur rolspelerverteenwoordigers is ‘n ideale raamwerk om demokrasie in onderwysdiskoerse te bevorder, dit is, in beleidmaking, skoolbeheer asook onderrig en leer. Nietemin, daar is ʼn dilemma van ‘n gebrek aan inklusiwiteit, wat nie vergelykbaar is met moderne demokratiese teoretici se konsepsies van demokratiese burgerskap (beide Westerse beraadslaging en Afrika ubuntu) nie. Die tesis voer aan dat Namibië se historiese en kulturele agtergrond verreken moes wees, indien ʼn verdedigbare demokratiese burgerskap voortgebring en ondersteun sou word. ʼn Ondersoek en interpretasie van die drie fases van Namibië se historiese agtergrond, haar pre-koloniale, koloniale/apartheid en post-apartheid onderwysstelsels, was uitgevoer om te verstaan wat die huidige stand van onderwys en die soort burgers is wat die land daardeur voorberei. Sentraal tot hierdie ondersoek was verskillende konsepsies van demokratiese burgerskap, wat aandui dat beraadslaging, inklusiwiteit, gelykheid, redelikheid, openbaarheid, strydlustige interaksie, gasvryheid, meelewing en Afrika-menslikheid (ubuntu) die eienskappe van ‘n verdedigbare demokratiese burgerskaponderwys is. Die ondersoek van die onderskeid tussen beraadslaging en ubuntu toon dat die Namibiese konteks, indien ‘n gebrek aan inklusiwiteit geëlimineer moet word, ‘n minimale demokratiese burgerskapsraamwerk met ubuntu benodig. Die bespreking van demokratiese konsepsies is ook gebed in ʼn minimalistiese en maksimalistiese kontinuum van demokratiese burgerskaponderwys. Die tesis argumenteer dat ‘n minimalistiese vorm van demokratiese burgerskaponderwys in samehang met Afrika ubuntu – wat minder beraadslaging en nie-strydlustige interaksie met meer meelewing, versigtige luister, respek en waardigheid veronderstel – toestande vir ‘n inklusiewe beleidsraamwerk, skoolbeheer en die kweek van demokratiese burgerskap deur onderrig en leer in Namibiese publieke skole bevorder en mag so uiteindelik ‘n verdedigbare demokratiese burgerskaponderwys bevorder. Hierdie raamwerk mag ‘n gunstige omgewing en die potensiaal vir alle deelnemers om met mekaar saam te leef asook vir gemarginaliseerse groepe om tot gesprekke by te dra, skep. Hierdie raamwerk kan ook as aanneemlik beskou word, omdat dit die plaaslike mense se historiese agtergrond en kulturele praktyke verreken. Die argument van hierdie tesis word ondersteun deur die ondersoek van die verband tussen die Namibiese onderwysstelsel, die ‘New Partnership for Africa’s Development’ (NEPAD) en die Millennium Ontwikkelingsdoelwitte. Meer nog, ‘n beroep word gemaak vir die Namibiese burgerskap onderwysstelsel om die idee van wêreldburgerskap, dit is, gasvryheid en vergifnis te konsolideer, indien die NEPAD-inisiatief suksesvol en sekere Millenium Ontwikkelingsdoelstellings teen 2015 bereik wil word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6725
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