Frequently Asked Questions
 


What does African Centeredness Mean?


African centeredness is the placement of Africa at the center of one’s worldview. This is based on the scientific fact that all humans have their physical, social and intellectual origins in Africa. African Centeredness puts African history, culture and interests at the center of one’s preoccupations. As such, it is a natural and self-validating approach for all people of African descent.

What is African Centered Education?

African Centered Education places the African student at the center of the educational experience as a subject rather than an object. This placement of the student at the center allows for an inclusionary process, which gives equal representation of all groups rather than one group over or below any other group.

How does African Centered Education differ from Eurocentric Education?

With African Centered Education, the African child is culturally placed at the center of the learning process, whereas with Eurocentric Education, they are culturally outside of the educational experience.

What is wrong with Eurocentrism?

Eurocentricity is the interpretation of reality from a European perspective. Eurocentricity puts European history, culture and interests at the center of one’s worldview. As such, it is a natural and self-validating approach for European Communities or those that identify with Europe. Eurocentrism on the other hand is characterized by the drive to impose by open or covert methods the Eurocentric worldview on all the other peoples of the world. In its crude and uncouth manifestation, eurocentrism openly asserts the superiority of the western civilization. But the most subtle, widespread and lethal form of eurocentrism is the erroneous claim to the universality of the European experience.

Why is African Centered Education needed?

The current educational systems in African countries are rooted in colonial education. Ministries of Education are still struggling to find a balance between curricula that are culturally relevant and prepare the students to be effective players in a globalized world. On the other hand, French, British and American internationals school curricula, by undermining the contributions of Africa to world civilization, instill in young Africans a deep sense of inferiority. A child thus (mis)educated tends to become not an asset, but a liability to its People.

By emphasizing African worldview, knowledge systems, history, culture, and interests, African centered Education gives to African children the competency and the commitment to play leadership roles in today’s tough and competitive international environment. African centered Education grooms an international citizen proudly rooted in his/her culture with open arms reaching out to other members of the human family. It is a prerequisite for African renaissance, world peace and international morality.

What will my child learn in an African Centered School?

African Centered Education is holistic, meaning that the student will be involved in cross discipline learning, meeting core curriculum goals in Math, Science, Language, arts and social sciences. Additionally, the student will be introduced to critical and creative thinking, self-concept development, character development and moral education.

Will children learn more at an African Centered School?


Yes. The African student will be exposed to a world-view experience that relates to all people, cultures, and traditions from the context of their reality which will enhance their own self esteem, positive self imaging and higher standard of educational excellence.

Will teachers and staff be retrained?

Teachers and School staff “standard” Training has been and still is basically eurocentric. The contribution of non-Europeans to world civilization is marginalized. Other knowledge systems are excluded. Such training develops in teachers and staff  a number of barriers to good instruction. The greatest of these barriers stem from the teachers attitudes and behaviors which are themselves the result of the teacher’s training: Lack of understanding of the “other cultures”, low expectation for African students, the imposition of double standards etc. . . Teachers  must thus be retrained to deliver an African centered curriculum. The training workshops will assure that the instructional staff is competent in the delivery of African Centered Education as well as the core curriculum.

How will parents be involved?

Parents will be essential to the success of the African Centered Schools. There is an African proverb that states: "It takes an entire village to raise just one child." Parents will be partners of the village and will work closely in the planning, decision-making, development and evaluation of the African Centered Education model. The parents will help to develop a Covenant of Excellency between the community and instructional staff.

Why are some people against African Centered Education?

Because of misinformation and misunderstanding about what African Centered Education really is and what it is not."

Does African Centered Education teach racism?


No! Racism is a power relation where one group is able to deny other groups equity of power, based on the criteria of a superior race. Racism requires two elements: a racial prejudice and the power to institutionalize the prejudice. To the contrary, African Centered Education is an inclusionary  educational process with emphasis on the African experience that teaches all people are equal.

Will students just learn about "black stuff" or will they learn about other cultures and ethnic groups?

African Centered Education acknowledges the scientific fact that humanity began in Africa. Therefore, African Centered Education is an approach which celebrates the culture, heritage, contributions and traditions of all humans.

What is Ma'at and the Nguzo Saba?

Ma'at is an ancient Kemetic concept. The Nguzo Saba is a term popularized by Dr. Maulana Karenga. As used by the Ancient Africans, Ma'at was a concept that stood for "universal order." Ma'at represents realty in all its manifestations both spiritual and material. It is the divine force that encompasses and embraces everything that is alive and exists. As an ethical system, Ma'at is often discussed as seven cardinal virtues (truth, justice, righteousness, harmony, balance, reciprocity, and order). As part of Karenga's Kawaida philosophy, the Nguzo Saba are seven principles (Umoja, Unity; Kujichagulia, Self-determination; Ujima, Cooperative Work and Responsibility; Ujamaa, Collective Economics; Nia, Purpose; Kuumba, Creativity; and Imani, Faith). The Nguzo Saba is most widely recognized in relation to the seven days of Kwanzaa.

What is Afrocentricity?

Afrocentricity is a special quality of thought and practice which is rooted in the cultural image and interest of people of African ancestry. It is a concept that guides the intellectual investigation and understanding of reality. African studies is simply the designation given to the body of studies primarily concerned with the experience of African people. It is an academic discipline like Political Science or Economics.

Does the African emphasis on spirituality contradict, differ, or conflict with orthodox religion?

The short answer is no. The traditional African belief that everything is spirit does not differ from the foundation of orthodox religion. In fact the African belief in spirit allows for an appreciation and a respect for every religious tradition. Often, people confuse the African recognition that western religion was used to oppress and colonize African people with being against religion. One having a belief in African spirituality does not mean that one has to reject his/her religion. There is no conflict. To the contrary, it is probably because of the African's sense of spirit that African people are amongst the most religious people in the world.


 
   
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