Bokaa: living and learning in a African village.

Kooijman K
Cambridge, England, International Extension College, 1980. 102 p. (IEC Broadsheets on Distance Learning No. 14)

Field work was conducted for 3 months in the Botswana village of Bokaa in an effort to determine the educational needs of the village. Bokaa, a village of 1976 inhabitants, is situated in the southwestern corner of Kgatlong District, roughly 40 kilometers from Gaborone. The fieldwork on which this report is based was conducted from August 1977 until November 1977. Most of the research was based on the standard anthropological methods of participant observation, interviewing, and the collection of case studies, genealogies, and life histories. The survey that was conducted was focused primarily on household economics and involved a different method of working. 4 wards -- 1 of the chief line, 1 of nobles, 1 of commoners, and 1 of low status foreigners -- comprising 124 households, over 1/2 of the households in the village, were selected. A major conclusion of this report is that a village such as Bokaa should not be viewed in isolation but rather as part of a much wider social and economic system and that the nature of this system imposes restraints upon the directions which are open to village development and upon the rate at which these developments can occur. Any program which aims to promote the acceptance of self-help, cooperation, and non-material rewards will face resistance and rejection and would have more chance of success if this were taken into account from the start. Simultaneously, participation in industrial society through migrant labor or employment in towns has created social problems to which there are no easy answers. In terms of the role of education in Bokaa in this context, some tentative conclusions were reached in 3 areas: informal education, formal education, and nonformal education. At this time the traditional informal learning situations are inadequate educational channels, and it is important to devise alternative means of preparing young people to cope with their world. Young people themselves, as a group, have begun to develop their own identity with beliefs and values which differ radically from those held by the older generation. Formal -- school -- education is successful in the sense that villagers are well disposed towards it and recognize it as an essential requirement for their children. It also is successful in that a considerable number of children attend school in a more or less regular fashion. It is unsuccessful in that it fails to prepare children adequately for the life they will lead, and it has a low achievement record. Nonformal education is the most difficult form to evaluate. Many of the results are not measurable for they are not evident in clear-cut behavioral changes. The most successful nonformal courses and programs will be those that meet a need which the villagers themselves perceive. As the major felt need is more money and as earning more is viewed in the context of wage employment, educational courses which train people towards that end will be popular.

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