Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and formal Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems in Uganda


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The current paradigm shift toward promoting education for skills and sustainable development gravitates toward alternative teaching and learning approaches in vocational education and training (VET) in Africa. It is argued that solutions to problems that currently plague the formal VET systems in the continent with reference to Uganda must proceed from understanding of local capacities. Such include the role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in promoting sustainable development. This can be achieved by integrating IKS into the formal VET system to address some of the knowledge deficiencies in the VET system that, in Uganda, is currently practiced according to educational paradigms acquired from Western Europe in the wake of colonialism. This paper explores the possibilities IKS have to offer to the formal VET systems in Africa, specifically in Uganda, and within my own field of art and industrial design. It discusses by relating the current training gaps in the formal VET systems with the possibilities the indigenous knowledge systems offer. The paper concludes by highlighting that, formal VET curricula ought to constitute some design elements from the indigenous knowledge systems. Specifically, the elements should relate to policy and goals formulation, content and delivery strategies, organization of learning and the evaluation criteria. It also recognizes the fact that there are other challenges in the current VET systems that affect the implementation of education programs in Africa.

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Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and formal Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems in Uganda

  1. 1. Integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems(IKS) into Formal Vocational Education andTraining (VET) Systems in Uganda: ThePotential for Sustainable DevelopmentWycliff Edwin TusiimeTampere, June 15th, 2013Myths & Brands in VET
  2. 2. Outline• Why integrate IKS into today’s VET?• IKS in Africa: Is this a myth in VET?• Possibilities of integration.•
  3. 3. Why integrate IKS into today’s VET?• VET has not yetrealized its masterkey role ofalleviating poverty,improving the qualityof life for all and helpachieve sustainabledev’t on the Africancontinent.(World Bank, 2001, 2004;UNESCO 2001, 2004, 2006, 2012;UNICEF, 2009)• Missing linkbetween formalVET and IKS andpedagogies thatmajority Africancommunities stilldepend on andare sustained.(Nyerere 1968; Ngugi (1981)Odora Hoppers (2002);UNESCO, 2003; Breidlid, 2013;Mswazie and Tapiwa, 2013)
  4. 4. IKS in Africa: Is this a myth in VET?• IK is not “myths” nor “folkknowledge” nor “primitive” nor“irrelevant” as it is branded inmost African formal educationsystems.[ Agrawal (1995); Moodie (2004);Ogachi (2011); and Breidlid (2013)]• IKS reflect local knowledge andskills embedded in traditionalcultural values that Africa’smajority rural people depend onfor survival. Such knowledge isusually transmitted throughlocal languages. (Wolfensohn ,2000;Kagoda, 2009)
  5. 5. Possibilities of integration.• VET policies and Goalsa) Re-define the role of IKS in formulating VET policiesand goals for the cultural and social-economicdevelopment of traditional mostly African ruralcommunities.b) Change perception towards IKS. IKS is not “Myths”nor “primitive” nor “irrelevant”• School curriculuma) Localize learning contentb) Medium of instruction and
  6. 6. Possibilities of integration.• Introduce and modernize indigenous pedagogiesin formal VETa) Hands-on training through apprenticeships andworkshop-based learning.b) Problem-based pedagogical methods e.g. ActionResearch• Evaluation criteriaa) Assess skills and competences rather than KnowledgeAccumulation.b) Recognize , certify and license skills acquired thruInformal systemsc) Introduce social rewards/appraisals rather
  7. 7. Conclusion• Solutions to problems that currently plagueAfrican societies and communities must proceedfrom understanding the dynamics within the localcontext e.g. IKS (Freire, 1970)• Formal VET systems should incorporate thecultural heritage and values (IKS) as thegrounding for VET policies and curriculum.• Need to also address other VET
  8. 8. Thank you!