n Africa Education Review - 'Multicultural' science in South Africa's National Curriculum Statement
|Article Title||'Multicultural' science in South Africa's National Curriculum Statement|
|© Publisher:||UNISA Press|
|Journal||Africa Education Review|
|Author||Lesley Le Grange|
|Publication Date||Jan 2004|
|Pages||204 - 219|
|Keyword(s)||Curriculum, Indigenous knowledge, Modern Western science, Multiculturalism and Universalism|
South Africa's Revised National Curriculum Statement for Further Education and Training (FET) is premised on the view that there are competing perspectives and worldviews from which to make sense of phenomena. Accordingly, elements of indigenous knowledges have been integrated into the discursive terrains of all subjects that form part of the National Curriculum Statement. This policy statement invites several critical questions, some of which are addressed in this article in relation to science education. These include questions as to whether seemingly disparate perspectives of 'the world' are competing or complementary and whether science (education) is universal or multicultural. A universalist position holds that Western modern science has superior explanatory powers of understanding the natural world to those of indigenous knowledges. A multiculturalist position holds that science is culturally produced and that cultures have disparate ways of understanding the natural world and that different ways of knowing should be recognised as science. This article discusses critical questions arising from much contestation about the nature of science as a consequence of different perspectives on science held by universalists and multiculturalists. Some of the implications this discussion has for science education in contemporary South Africa are also examined.
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