Education on democracy should stress ‘collective good’

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-The Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, has called on educators to teach democracy that emphasizes the ‘collective good of the citizenry’.

Democracy is an important principle in the governance of the country, said the minister, adding that the education system has a role to play in harnessing and understanding the country’s democratic system.

“The public sphere will always be its social constituency, no doubt. Our universities should endeavour towards the right nexus between education and democracy and amplify that,” said Kandjii-Murangi who spoke at a book launch last Thursday evening. The launch of the book titled ‘Democracy and education in Namibia and beyond, a critical appraisal’ took place at the University of Namibia (Unam). The author, Professor Elizabeth Amukugo, explained that the book, which consists of contributions from other academics, was birthed from a research project that never saw the light of day.

“This project grew out of a conviction that education is a human right with immense power to transform not only individuals but communities and society,” explained Amukugo. Her contribution to the book is mainly on issues of democracy, education and social justice.

“The team I selected was absolutely committed and pleasing to work with.”
Touching on her subject, Amukugo explained that independent Namibia adopted “liberal democracy” as a form of governance, which has implications for education. While this upholds equality of all citizens in terms of the law, it hardly addresses the issue of social equity, said Amukugo, who cited other authors.

“Liberal democracy is based on pretence rather than reality – in a way it promises you the rooftop or heaven without offering you the ladder to help you get there. That makes it difficult to address matters like poverty and equity concerns within the educational system,” she added. Reflecting on the relationship between education and democracy, Amukugo said informed citizens are more likely to play an active and meaningful role in the democratic process.

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