Philosophy and education: analysis and clarification in reference to education for all

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University of Dar es Salaam
This is an epistemological and axiological study of the relationship between philosophy and education. It investigated the intractable problem of vagueness among scholars of philosophy of education in their conceptualizing the discipline The study analyzed a historical evolution of philosophy of education as an academic discipline from its inception, as an institutionalized and professionalized area of expertise, to the present. The historical investigation came up with a confirmation of lack of consensus among philosophers of education in regards to the characterisation, nature or essence and basic functions, or raison d'etre of the discipline. It was found that over the duration of its existence, severa] philosophical movements and schools of thought have underpinned the discipline. The latest among such philosophical movements is the epistemological school of thought called postmodernism, which by its very nature advocates eclecticism. Thus, the study went on to search for a clarification amidst such prevailing eclectic conditions. It was found that a characterisation of the discipline as advanced by Paul H. Hirst (2005) seemed most appropriate under the prevailing circumstances. This characterisation is based on Neo- Alistotelianism as proposed by Wilfred Can (2004) and others, (Krisqasson2005). The discipline, thus characterised became clearer in its major qualities including its definition and essence.Having thus found a suitable solution to the intractable problem of vagueness in conceptualising philosophy of education, the study went on to apply such a clarification in an empirical investigation of the global policy of education for all, (EFA). This empirical investigation sought to determine Lhe epistemological sources of the global policy and how it was introduced, accepted and adopted by the world community. The study also sought to find out the extent to which the practical discourses that were proclaimed in 1990 at Jomtien and in 2000 at Dakar were being implemented and the progress made so far towards achieving the six EFA goals set at Dakar in 2000. The study concluded as follows: (1) There exists vagueness as an intractable problem among the scholars of philosophy of education in conceptualizing the discipline's characterization, and definition as well as in determining its basic functions or raison d'etre. (2) The characterisation of the discipline as advanced by Paul H. Hirst (2005) seems most appropriate amidst the current conceptual disorder underpinned by eclectic prevailing influence of postmodernism.(3) The discipline should be defined as a philosophical study of educationa] policies and practices as ends and means designed to meet society's ideals and aspirations. (4) The main functions of philosophy of education are as follows: (a) The discipline contributes in the formulation of educational policies, in the improvement of educational practices and in helping educators to detemiine the value of their engagements conceptually and practically effectively. (b) The discipline enquires into, and discems explanations or meanings of the nature, purpose, processes and issues of education while using resources, canons, and rational procedures from academic philosophy, to arrive at well formulated conclusions and to further our understanding and rational development of educational practices. (c) The discipline applies concepts and procedures from academic philosophy ta determine value judgements about what ought to be aimed at in education, while at the same time offering commentaries on educational policies and practices. (5) The Jomtien 1990 World Declaration on Education for All and the Dakar 2000 Framework of Action are the outcomes of exercises in practical reason conducted during deliberations and proceedings at both of the world summits on the global policy of education for aU. The two proclamations are"agreed upon bodies of actions and practices" (Hirst 2005) the doing of which are expected to achieve eudaimonia. (6) The right and actual access to education, for the whole human race are the pursued ends of the global policy as proclaimed at Jomtien and at Dakar Education for all is part of natural human rights, as conceived by John Locke (1690). It is an element of the natural human right to property, or means of livelihood, entailing knowledge and skills needed in the acquisition of such property. (7) Adequate progress has been made towards achieving EFA goal 2 on universalising primary education, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, as we]] as EFA goal 4 on literacy. There is also a high probability of achieving EFA goal 5 on gender parity, in spite of the existence among societies all over the world, of deep-rooted cultural beliefs and traditions posed against gender parity in the provision of education. There are no reliable measuring tools for assessing progress in the achievement of EFA goal 6 on quality education. There is therefore no conclusive evidence to warant any success or lack of success in enhancing quality education.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF LB1028.3.M3 )
Education, Philosophy, Educational research
Maganga, C.K (2007) Philosophy and education: analysis and clarification in reference to education for all.Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.