n South African Journal of Education - Emancipatory Indigenous Knowledge Systems : implications for environmental education in South Africa




Indigenous Knowledge also termed Traditional, Endogenous or Classical knowledge, often fails to contribute to the improvement of the quality of human life. This failure can be attributed purely to the lower status accorded to this type of knowledge in society. This knowledge is accorded low status because it belongs to a particular racial or ethnic group which often, it is assumed, lacks the necessary cultur al capital. Despite these negative perceptions of Indigenous Knowledge, there is a growing realisation that this knowledge is part of the global heritage and a national resource to be utilised for the benefit of all humanity. This article presents an argument that there is a major role to be played by Indigenous Knowledge Systems in education in general and environmental education in particular. Environmental education as stated in the Brundtland Commission, the South African Environmental Education Policy Initiative (EEPI), and the NGO Form Principles, is seen as a key process that could enhance Indigenous Knowledge in formal education. The article further argues that the production of Indigenous Knowledge is contextually grounded through social constructivist approaches. However, it has the potential to be contextually and widely used.


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