The inception of European ascendancy since 1350 AD, the formation and dominance of formal education has contributed to rendering indigenous knowledge and ways of knowledge around the globe virtually untenable, and thus deprived the world of rich variety of categories of philosophy and and epistemology.
Irrespective of what country or society are developed in, all philosophies address the design and variegated implementation of the basic principles of general philosophy (i.e., love of wisdom and overall cosmological inquiries about life), complemented by related discussions and operationalizations that are relevant to education.
With the marginalization of African philosophies of education and epistemologies, for example, pre-colonial African systems of learning were protrayed as essentially useless in contributing to the development of local communities. Here, the combination of willfully demeaning African interesections of life and learning, the impositions of European programs of education immediately weakened all aspects and prospects of viable, livable contexts that could be harnessed by the people.
Interestingly, the most important European thinkers and philosophers of history, society, and knowledge were the vanguard of these scheme of epistemological and, by extension, ontological deprivations of Africa. In this case one can cite the works of W.G.F Hegel, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes, and David Hume. In that temper, Hegel (1965, p.247) was, for example, sure that “Africa was not interesting from the point of view of its history…and that, Africa was in a perpetual state of barbarism and savagery which was preventing it from being an integral part of civilization.” Such problematic description of Africa and Africans is also seen with French philosophers: Voltaire (1826) and Montesquieu (1975), who were seen as more open-minded and promoters of Liberty and Freedom. In this regard, Montesquieu (P.332) was apparently sure that “the greatest part of the people on the coast of Africa are savages and Barbarians.”
It is these philosophers and thinkers with such problematic view and understaning to the continent who also significantly shape the European education system which was imposed on Africans by salaried colonial adminstrators and soldiers.
The possible epistemological and onotological deprivations that could be done by the Colonial Adminstrators and soldiers were defended by our forefathers. However, interestingly, Ethiopians themselves imposed the European education system which is based on a wrong Epistemological assumptions and structures about African and Africans.
The general understanding of epistemological questions is that they focus on the questions that examine the theories of knowledge and ways of knowing. As such, different epistemic (knowledge) traditions should be expected to develop diverse trajectories of knowing and constructing select bodies of knowledge.
Epistemes cannot and should be limited to the colonially imposed (in our case, self-imposed) systems of #text_borne_concepts, #languages, and #structures but should include all that one could know in different contexts, cultures, and social relationships.
Indeed, knowledge cannot be limited to what is linguistically articulated, because everything we talk about tacitly which should also refer to the wider world of artifactual culure.
Knowledge and all its related packages are socially constructed, locational, undoubtly temporal, and selectively fluid. By self-imposing their education system, Ethiopians submit ourself to the European hegemony and still we are conceptually colonized!!!
Eurocentric Discourse and African Philosophies and Epistemologies of Education: Counter Hegemonic Analysis and Responses.
Ali A. Abdi (2006)
University of Alberta (Canada)