JULIUS NYEREREOne of Africa’s most respected figures,Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu or teacher he had a vision of education andsocial action that was rich with possibility
The objective of socialism in the United Republic of Tanzania is to build a society in which all members have equal rights and equal opportunities; inwhich all can live in peace with their neighbours without suffering or imposing injustice, being exploited, or exploiting; and in which all have a gradually increasing basic level of material welfare before any individual lives in luxury. (Nyerere 1968: 340)
NYERERE’S PHILOSOPHYNyerere set out his vision in ‘Education for Self Reliance’ (reprinted in Nyerere 1968)Education had to work for the common good, foster co-operation and promote equality. Further, it had to address the realities of life in Tanzania.
EDUCATIONAL POLICYThere was a strong concern to counteract the colonialist assumptions and practices of the dominant, formal means of education. He saw it as enslaving and oriented to ‘western’ interests and norms.As Yusuf Kassam (1995: 250) has noted, Nyerere’s educational philosophy can be approached under two main headings: education for self-reliance; and adult education, lifelong learning and education for liberation. His interest in self-reliance shares a great deal with Gandhi’s approach.
SELF RELIANCE VS WESTERN EDUCATION Formal education is basically elitist in nature, catering to the needs and interests of the very small proportion of those who manage to enter the hierarchical pyramid of formal schooling (Nyerere, 1968 267). The education system divorces its participants from the society for which they are supposed to be trained. The system breeds the notion that education is synonymous with formal schooling, and people are judged and employed on the basis of their ability to pass examinations and acquire paper qualifications. The system does not involve its students in productive work. Such a situation deprives society of their much-needed contribution to the increase in national economic output and also breeds among the students a contempt for manual work. (Kassam 1995: 251)
LIFELONG LEARNING AND EDUCATION FORLIBERATIONIn the Declaration of Dar es Salaam Nyerere made a call for adult education directed at helping people to help themselves and for it to approached as part of life: integrated with life and inseparable from it. It had two functions. To:Inspire both a desire for change, and an understanding that change is possible.Help people to make their own decisions, and to implement those decisions for themselves. (Nyerere 1978: 29, 30)
CHARACTERISTICS OF NYERERE’SPHILOSOPHY It should be oriented to rural life. Teachers and students should engage together in productive activities and students should participate in the planning and decision-making process of organizing these activities. Productive work should become an integral part of the school curriculum and provide meaningful learning experience through the integration of theory and practice. The importance of examinations should be downgraded. Children should begin school at age 7 so that they would be old enough and sufficiently mature to engage in self-reliant and productive work when they leave school. Primary education should be complete in itself rather than merely serving as a means to higher education. Students should become self-confident and co-operative, and develop critical and inquiring minds. (summarized in Kassam 1995: 253
METHODOLOGIESgeneralists like community development workers, political activists and religious teachers. Nyerere : 31) specialists like those concerned with health, agriculture, child care,management and literacy. Educators do not give to another something they possess. Rather, they help learners to develop their own potential and capacity. Those that educators work with have experience and knowledge about the subjects they are interested in - although they may not realize it.
SUCCESSES OF NYERERE’S PHILOSOPHYHe has built up the self-confidence of the man who wants to learn, by showing him that he is capable of contributing. He has demonstrated the relevance of experience and observation as a method of learning when combined with thought and analysis. And he has shown what I might call the "mutuality" of learning—that is, that by sharing our knowledge we extend the totality of our understanding and our control over our lives. (1978: 33)The teacher of adults is , for Nyerere, a leader - a guide along a path which all will travel together (ibid.: 34).
MORE SUCCESESMass literacy campaigns were initiated and carried through (for example, between 1975 and 1977 illiteracy fell from 39 to 27 per cent - by 1986 it was at 9.6 per cent); and various health and agricultural programmes were mounted e.g the Man is Health campaign in 1973, and Food is Life (1975) (Mushi and Bwatwa 1998). Adult education initiatives have made a significant contribution to mobilising people for development (Kassam 1979).Primary education became virtually universal; curriculum materials gained distinctively Tanzanian flavours; and schooling used local language forms (Samoff 1990).
CHALLENGESThe policies were never fully implementedThe Philosophy operated against a background of severe resource shortage The world orientation was more individualistic and capitalist understandings of the relation of education to production.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Books by Julius Nyerere: Nyerere, J. (1968) Freedom and Socialism. A Selection from Writings & Speeches, 1965-1967, Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press. This book includes The Arusha Declaration; Education for self-reliance; The varied paths to socialism; The purpose is man; and socialism and development. Nyerere, J. (1974) Freedom & Development, Uhuru Na Maendeleo, Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press. Includes essays on adult education; freedom and development; relevance; and ten years after independence. Nyerere, J. (1977) Ujamaa-Essays on Socialism, London: Oxford University Press. Nyerere, J. (1979) Crusade for Liberation, Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press. See, also: Nyerere, J. (1978) "Development is for Man, by Man, and of Man": The Declaration of Dar es Salaam in B. Hall and J. R. Kidd (eds.) Adult Learning: A design for action, Oxford: Pergamon Press. Material on Julius Nyerere: Assensoh, A. B. (1998) African Political Leadership: Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius K. Nyerere, New York: Krieger Publishing Co. Kassam, Y. (1995) Julius Nyerere in Z. Morsy (ed.) Thinkers on Education, Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Legum, C. and Mmari, G. (ed.) (1995) Mwalimu : The Influence of Nyerere, London: Africa World Press. Samoff, J. (1990) ‘"Modernizing" a socialist vision: education in Tanzania’, in M. Carnoy and J. Samoff (eds.) Education and Social Transition in the Third World, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Other references Barker, R. (1994) Philosophies of Education: An introductory course, Harare, College Press Publishers Hinzen, H. and Hundsdorfer, V. H. (eds.) (1979) The Tanzanian Experience. Education for liberation and development, Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Education