CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: What was the historical impact of the Christian Period to curriculum development in Africa?

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CHAPTER THREE:

FOUNDATIONS OF CURRICULUM

3 c i).Examine the historical impact of the Christian Period to curriculum development in Africa.

Christian Period: During the Roman period two religious forces emerged by Jews and Arabs.

    • Christianity which introduced the Bible and catechism for spiritual education, Christianity also paid tribute to the teaching of Jesus Christ and emphasized: moral behavior, ethical God, teacher-based instruction, discipleship, the concept of church, doctrine ship and informal theories of education. Medical doctors and the spread of Christianity were the main contributions.
    • Islamic Period: Arabs mainly based in Egypt introduced the Islamic religion, mathematics (algebra) science (chemistry and medicine). This period also brought in Arabic language, the science of astronomy and business. Architecture (urban planning) was introduced. Morality and behavior were emphasized. Mohamed as a counterpart of Jesus Christ disappeared in Mecca. Arabs Moslem University in Cairo (Al-Ashar) is evidence of the Moslem contribution in education.
    • Martin Luther and Ignatius of Loyola reformation introduced the idea of the constitution, sacred scriptures, uniform instruction and student teaching practice.
    • Age of Reason: popularly known as the scientific world saw the introduction of solar system (Nicholars Copernicus). Sir Francis Bacon introduced scientific methods, authority of the church, analytic methods, the four introduced the idea of physic based Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea of physics based on gravitational theory. Amos Comenius introduced the idea of child development and natural methods of teaching (Experience-centered design).
    • Return to nature introduced a child’s stages of development (Piagets Studies) free play with objectives, specially the cognitive stages of human development:
      • Infancy (upto 5 years)
      • Childhood (from 5-12years)
      • Youth (from 12-15years)
      • Maturity (from 15-20 years)

Some outstanding scholars emerged and addressed the following areas of education:

  • Society needs, child-centered education, order of nature, doctrine of unity and Fredrick Froebel introduced sense of perception. He also addressed the concept of cooperation, manual training and kindergarten education.
  • Immanuel Kent introduced virtues of man to include: obedience, goodness and justice. Johan Pestalozzi introduced physical laws of nature while Montessori introduced the idea of individual instruction, special education of mentally retarded children and sensory training.
  • John Loske (1959 – 1952), a British educationist founded the idea of studying the role of school, society and community. He introduced the study of individual differences for instruction, democratization, occupational education, moral education and the art of teaching as a profession.

The reflection of these historical events moved into Africa and thereafter to East Africa and then in Kenya. For curriculum development purposes, the lessons on historical foundation of curriculum are numerous.

    • Pre-colonial discovers (Christopher Columbus) witnessing the reduction, which split religion into Protestant and Catholic.
    • Events which led to castle schools abolition of slave trade, coming of Christian missionaries with missionary education, training in basic skills the curriculum of 3 R’s (Arithmetic, writing and reading, hospitals and Christian secretariat.

Diagram 3 Events in Kenya

Year Event Product
1920 The Indian Question Legco Representation
1923 White paper Kenya Colonized
1924 Phelps Stoke Commission Practical Education
1925 Advisory Commission
1926 Alliance of Missionaries
(African Inland Mission Church
Missionary Society and United Birth of Alliance School Kikuyu.
Methodist Church)
1939 World War II (the turning point) Founding of Catholic Secretariat for
for secondary or Technical Education
1944 British Education Act Establishment of Kagumo
1948 Training Expansion Soriba Teacher’s College at Maseno
1949 Beacher Commission Establishment of District Education
Boards
1955 Higher Education Founding of Royal Technical College
in Nairobi.
1963 Kenya’s Independence Focus on National Education
1964/65 Ominde commission National Unity and Medium of
Instruction to be English language
1965 Sessional paper No.10 African socialism
1966 Kericho Conference Integration of Education
1972 The International Labour Office Education for Employment study of
Kenya’s Education Curriculum
1972 Bassey Commission
1976 Gachathi Commission Education Curriculum to be practical
education for all.
1981 Mackay Commission The 8:4:4 System of Education.
Education for self-reliance.
1988 Kamunge Commission Education for Beyond – a vision
and a mission in curriculum
1998 Koech Commission Search for More relevant Education

Many other events took place, but those listed are across section of curriculum progression in Kenya.

Issues for awareness in Kenya’s history of education are:

  • Medium of instruction, national language, official business language, sustainable economy for survival, multipartyism and change process, emphasise quality or quantity of education products, search for relevant curriculum and literacy and reading culture.
  •  In the colonial period especially for Kenya and other parts of Africa, Europeans moved in and shared Africa (scramble for Africa). You can read Nyerere’s Book “Education for Self-reliance’, 1967”. Education development programmes were undertaken:
    • Missionary converted Africans into Christianity
    • World wars brought in the need for money, medicines and literacy.

The British finally colonized Kenya. Missionaries served both the African and the Europeans when schools emerged especially after Phelps Stoke Commission (1924). The educational institutions followed; Alliance (1925), Kabaa and Yala (1939), Kagumo Teachers College 91944), Siriba Collge (Maseno University) (1948). Education has reached university status in Kenya. (Education Commission in Kenya).

Education in Africa moved from colonial to independence perspectives. Missionaries, colonial governments and world wars introduced: literacy, money and medicines with religious sects.

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