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Education stakeholders want cultural studies included in curriculum

Stakeholders in the Education sector want cultural studies to be incorporated into the school curriculum to enable children understand their culture as well as appreciate different cultures including the country`s heritage.

In the face of modernization and increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled devices, there are fears of possible erasure of culture in society of which 70 per cent of the population comprises the youth.

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Nakuru School Director Tabitha Waitindi expressed concern that Kenyan cultural heritage has been one of the most neglected subject over the years. Fewer of the 40-odd ethnic tribes, she added, maintain their traditions as modernization sweeps across the nation.

Waitindi says the integration of cultural studies in the school curriculum will inculcate in young learners the value of appreciating their different cultural heritages.

In addition, she pointed  out it was ironic for  African educational institutions to offer programs in Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic languages yet local dialects were threatened with extinction.

“Kenyans need to celebrate their rich cultural diversity in a manner that promotes unity, national cohesion and economic progression. The Government should incorporate cultural studies in the school curriculum from primary level all the way to tertiary institutions,” Waitindi averred.

She was speaking at the sidelines of the Nakuru Cultural extravaganza organized by the Nakuru School in Lanet.

Residents, parents and students were treated to displays of traditional villages from East African communities’ with the aim of preserving and promoting the rich and diverse cultural values of the region’s tribes.

At the event that was characterized by pomp and color local residents and parents got a sense of the traditional way of life of various ethnic communities with ‘villages’ complete with their tools of communication, hunting, storage facilities and traditional utensils.

Some of the communities on display included the Dinka from South Sudan, the Baganda from Uganda, the Kikuyu, Somali, Maasai, Kalenjin, Kamba, Luhya, Mijikenda, Luo, Teso, Embu, Kisii, among other communities.

A parent, Grace Namunyak, expressed regret that some symbols of Kenyan culture like the kiondo or Maasai shuka  have since been claimed and even patented by westerners, adding that this indicates that citizens had low regard for the country’s heritage.

“It is time we secured our cultural heritage from the pervasive nature of Western civilization. Let us protect what is good for posterity,” said Namunyak.

On her part, the school’s Principal Velma Namachemo stated that Kenyans must think of children as participants in, and carriers of African culture, as they are a critical part of the population -the future of our societies.

Namachemo noted that no culture is an island. She argued that whilst culture shapes experiences and influences children’s development, cultural background gives them a sense of identity.

“The unique cultural influences children respond to from birth, including customs and beliefs around food, artistic expression, language, and religion, affect the way they develop emotionally, socially, physically, and linguistically,” noted the Principal.

She indicated that culture is a powerful indicator of a child’s future well-being, and those who work with children, including social workers, and advocates of child rights, need to understand the influences on child development and how they impact the way people grow and learn.

Meanwhile a teacher, Felicia Olando said during such events, friendships are built simply because one saw a dance style that was intriguing and asked to be taught or loved the traditional food prepared by people of community X considering they belong in community Y.

Olando stated that cultural events bring out a side of people that students will never see while sitting in that Swahili, mathematics or physics class.


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