5 Benefits of an African-Centered Education for African Children

Some months ago I read this wonderful article about the benefits of an African Centered Education published in the Atlanta Blackstar newspaper.  While the benefits and importance of African Centered education for children of African descent may seem obvious to some, it is not understood by too many.  Education has always  been viewed as a tool for uplifting people and instilling in them the tools of a better life.  Well, the right kind of education can do that.  It does not have to be in a brick and mortar facility, nor even resemble what has come to pass as education in our society, but the outcomes of a good education speak for themselves.  We see it in those who are brave enough and able to solve societies problems. In those trailblazers who are able to forge new and useful trajectories for themselves and the world.  In those who live full lives completely engaged in the day to day give and take and end up giving more than they take.  In those who refuse to be put in a box but break free of the expectations of others and present themselves unadorned and beautiful in their own unique narrative.  This kind of person starts out by appreciating themselves.  They have a clear understanding of the story that created the circumstances they are born into and then go about creating their own masterpiece of a story out of the hand that they were dealt.  This type of education is based on the ancient African call “Know Thyself” that was written above the entrance of each temple and lodge  serving as an academic and scientific learning center in ancient Kemet.   Elusive as it is, this is the kind of education we should be striving for.  A journey of a thousand steps must begin with a first step.

Enjoy the article.

Below is the Atlanta Black Star article:

5 Benefits of African-Centered Education

December 22, 2013 | Posted by Tracy http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/22/benefits-african-centered-education/5/
Tagged With: African Culture Consciousness, African Self-Identity, African-Centered Education, Benefits of African-Centered Education, Black Nation, black students, dr. amos wilson, Dr. Asa Hilliard, The Mis-education

  1. Develops African Culture Consciousness

One effect of the enslavement of African people has been the distortion of their cultural consciousness. Preeminent educator and author Dr. Amos Wilson argues that when a people’s culture is distorted, their capacity to appropriately organize, evaluate, and classify information to deal with reality is impaired.

He further argued that culture must be used as a conduit for solving problems and meeting the needs of the people.

African-centered scholars and educators argue that children of African descent must be taught their culture through a process of re-Africanization. This process begins with an African-centered education that entails studying, observing, and eventually fully practicing their culture that defines, creates, celebrates, sustains and develops them.

2.  Creates African Self-Identity

During the transatlantic slave trade that took place between the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean, millions of African people were sold into slavery. Over the course of 400 years, African people’s identity has been distorted as they were stripped of their original languages, original African names and spirituality. In addition, African people on the continent experienced a different kind of identity crisis through colonization, which divided Africa into colonies and imposed foreign languages and culture values.

African-centered scholars and educators attempt to provide a framework for the reconstruction of African cultures and identities around the best morals, values, and cultural practices that both traditional and contemporary African societies have to offer.

3.  Produces African-Institution Builders

An institution is defined as “any structure or mechanism of social order governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community and are identified with a social purpose, transcending individuals and intentions by mediating the rules that govern living behavior.”

In  “The State of African Education,” renowned educator and author Dr. Asa Hilliard writes:  “A global system of power distribution has dictated and continues to dictate the nature of the education and socialization processes.”

African-centered educators maintain that there can be no true African-centered education until people of African descent control the institutions within their community.

Institution building involves creating the necessary agencies that are designed to impart knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to survive and progress.

4. Produces Black Nation Builders

Along with culture and identity, education must help restore the concept of nationhood, manhood and womanhood for African people, according to historian and educator Dr. John Henrik Clarke.

African-centered educators believe that wherever Blacks happen to be in the world, they constitute a nation or a nation that is within a nation, and that concept is called Black nationalism.

Dr. Kmt G. Shockley states in Culture, Power, and Education: The Philosophies and Pedagogy of African Centered Educators:  “Black nationalism requires that Blacks develop a sense of agency toward fixing the problems within their own communities. Agency eventually leads toward nation building. Agency and nation building involve the intentional and focused attempt to ‘develop African youth to be specifically trained to further develop and ‘administrate the state’ (that is, control the community).

“Blacks cannot learn to ‘administrate the state’ if they are not equipped with attitudes that teach them that they, in fact, should administer and be agents for Black upliftment.”

5. Empowers Black Students

Professor and author, Dr. Wade Nobles states in Madhubuti & Madhubuti that an “African-centered curriculum appropriately connects the Black experience to the African cultural world view and value system. This connection facilitates a healthy context from which African-Americans can learn about and understand themselves and the world.”

A 2012 study published in the journal Child Development found “racial pride to be the most powerful factor in protecting children from the sting of discriminatory behavior. It directly and positively related to three out of four academic outcomes—grade-point averages, educational aspirations, and cognitive engagement—and was also related to resilience in the face of discrimination.”


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