Educational Reform and Value Re-Orientation for Preservation of African Communalistic Principles

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Published on International Journal of Social, Politics & Humanities
ISSN: 2797-3735, Volume 2, Issue 2, page 1 – 5
Publication Date: March 11, 2019

Linus Oluchukwu Akudolu
Department of Philosophy, Alex Ekwueme Federal University
Ndufu Alike, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Journal Full Text PDF: Educational Reform and Value Re-Orientation for Preservation of African Communalistic Principles.

Education is a vital instrument for inculcating and transmitting those cultural values that are necessary for making the child a better human being for his own benefit and that of other members of the society. Africa is blessed with such values that are capable of making one a better human being but these values are neglected by our educators in preference to what is western. This paper therefore highlights some of these values which are the principles of our communal society. It calls for redirection of our interest and value system towards these African communalistic principles which are vital values and the need to reform our education for proper integration of these values. We believe that if we succeed in this assignment, we would produce a better Nigerian society.

Keywords: Education, Values, Educational Reform, Value Reorientation & Communalism.

1. Introduction
This work is concerned with the need to re-orientate our value system towards African communalistic values and reform our education system to be instrument of preserving and transmitting this cultural heritage. In order to achieve this, we shall begin the study by explaining what is this educational reform, value reorientation, communalism and communalistic values and how we can reform our education in order to serve as instrument of preserving and transmitting the values.

2. Educational Reforms
For us to understand what an educational reform is, we have to make conscious effort to understand the concepts of education and reforms. Etymologically, education is derived from two Latin words, namely educere and educare. The first word educere means to lead forth or draw out. Among scholars that viewed education from this perspective were Plato and Socates. Socrates always emphasized “ I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think”. This is because he believed that ideas are innate from cradle, and as such the function of any educator or teacher is to help the child bring out what he already has. On the other hand, educare means to train or mould. The scholars who see education as educare believed that a child has no idea from birth, that is tabular rasa(a blank sheet of paper) and the responsibility of the teacher is to feed or send in ideas that will make him knowledgeable. This has generated the issue of nature nurture controversy. None of these is totally wrong but each moves to the extreme level. The issue came up as a result of extremism and exclusivism.
Education is neither a mere product of nature nor nurture as education has to do with the development of natural endowments in man through the process of nurturing and training for a better and useful living. This is similar to the conception of education by Igboabuchi and Ofojebe (2010) as a group of processes by which individuals are assisted in life through proper direction and guidance, to develop their potentials and capabilities for their own benefit and that of society in which they live. In developing the individual, education tries to inculcate that value that is necessary to make the child a better human being for his own benefit and that of other members of the society.
Reform means transform, to form, remove defects, to make better and to bring to a better way of life. According to Akudolu (2009), reform is an introduction of new methods, ideas which focuses on making changes on what has bee in existence. Educational reforms emphasize the need for making changes in our educational system for the purpose of inculcating those values necessary to make the individual a better human being useful to himself and to the society.

3. Value Re-Orientation
Value is simply defined as the worth of a thing. When some thing is said to have value, it means it worths something and should not be disregarded. It generally means something which is good, esteemed, desirable, liked and worthwhile. It may be considered as what is preferred or cherished by an individual or group. Ezejiegwu (2012) defines it as concepts widely held by people in society about what is important to the well being, survival and identity of a society. It includes all kinds of rightness, virtue, obligation, truth, honesty, beauty, justice, fairness, peace, love, unity and so on. People do not value the same things. Different cultures emphasize different values. Our value system is determined by our upbringing and experience. Our behaviours and decisions are determined by our values. We tend to pursue those goals in life which we value.
To orientate means direct interest of somebody to something while to re-orientate means to redirect the interest of somebody to something which is important but is neglected. Our value system indeed has gone off from what is African. Some of these African values are very vital to our being, existence and development. We have taken in to anything foreign as better than ours even when they are detrimental to us. Thus the need for value re-orientation in Nigeria. One of the core values neglected which if transmitted well through educational process would help to curb various social vices in our society is our African Communalistic Values. What is communalism and communalistic values? This is what we shall move to study.

4. Concept of African Communalism
Communalism is a way of life which is community oriented that has a greatest manifestation in traditional African society as well as other primitive societies. The family bond expands into the extended family system, and extends into the communal life. The underlying principle could be stated thus, “I exist because we are” The individual finds himself inexorably connected to the community. He can only define himself in the context of the community. It is a unique phenomenon that binds the community in a brotherhood of well-being. It is truism that communalism is found in many communities in the world but in varying degrees depending on its level of development. Growth in economy, science and technologies cause the decline of the practice. This is because many modern technologies distance people from others, weakening the traditional practice in a great way. The Western world, with its growth in science and technology, as well as its high advancement in civilization, has its communal relationships among people therein negatively affected. Similar scenario is gradually taking place in many African societies today. It is becoming a case of everyone to himself and nobody for the other; a society wherein the ‘I’ reigns.

5. African Communalistic Principles
To understand what communalism is all about, it is imperative for us to highlight some of the principles that underlie the practice both in Africa, Igbo land and many other societies where it is practised. These principles are values that are very vital for the development of society and need to be preserved through our educational system.
a. Love and Sense of Brotherhood: Communalism is a social system in which a people or a community lives together as one family. It is based on the brotherhood of all in the community. It is a social system that perceives every person in the society as a member of one family with a duty and a right to contribute and share in the well-being of that society. Family, in Igbo-African society is more than European father, mother and children but includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, in-laws, cousin, nephew and others who may have their children. In some cases, a number of kindred with their wives and children come together as one large family. Since all this family can trace their common descent and share a common living place, they enjoy some consciousness of their identity and a sense of solidarity. Many communities in Igbo land were said to have are a common origin and live together in particular geographical location and this makes the members to see each other as nwanne (brother or sister).