Past Event

Africa and Africanity Lecture Series; Ethics in Higher Education: An African Perspective

November 20, 2020
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Online Event

Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi invites you to part two of our webinar series, this webinar will focus on 'Ethics in Higher Education: An African Perspective'

The English word “Education” has to do with the formation of persons for responsible adulthood in particular cultural settings. At the same time “Schooling”, has to do with young horses undergoing the drills for enabling them to perform routines. “Training” has to do with dogs undergoing routines that must be followed when responding to a disturbance. Training also refers to the drill of athletes while doing practice in preparation for competitions. People requiring technical skills undergo training. Trainees ought as early as possible to make decisions on the basis of rationalized processing.

While it is relatively easy to train a dog and also school a horse, educating a person is complicated – especially because the circumstances in real life are neither predictable nor routine. Thus a horse and a dog can be schooled or trained with robotic drills. A person who is educated will bear full responsibility for his or her choices, and actions. Cultural alienation makes education difficult in situations where the curriculum is alien and alienating.

Thus colonial and missionary indoctrination in Tropical Africa was designed for alienating African learners from their own cultural and religious heritage; robotically adopt the alien culture, in the name of Progress and Civilization. This process was rationalized through trivialization and condemnation of the African cultural and religious heritage. These routines were neither voluntary nor anticipated; Africans had either to comply or suffer punishment. In order to survive the majority complied, at least partially, resulting in double-dealing between the old and the new.

Citizens of nations in Tropical Africa, irrespective of their former imperial powers, to survive complied with the imperial rule; at the same time sustaining their traditional norms and values. Achievement of national sovereignty for most African nations was based on negotiation for the transition from colonial domination to independence. Africans continued with their traditional way of life while on paper they complied as required. In Post-Independence Africa the Colonial Era has not been forgotten, especially in urban areas now surrounded by informal settlements in the periphery. Former Protectorates had less pressure to conform to imperial demands, and for that reason have normatively been closer to their cultural and religious heritage. Africa, anticipating the first centenary of sovereignty in 2063, is formalizing integration, as other continental blocs have done. Higher Education must be at the forefront of this endeavor.

Moderator Bio

Prof. Jesse N.K. Mugambi.

Professor Jesse N.K. Mugambi – Alumnus of the University of Nairobi – is a member of academic staff since 1976 in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. On Leave of Absence he taught at other universities– including 1990-91 at Rice University, Houston, Texas, as Visiting Mellon Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religion. Among other responsibilities he has been Resource Person for the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) since 1974; World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) since 1974; and World Council of Churches (WCC) since 1975. His professional training is in Education and Communication; and his academic specializations include Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies. He rose through the ranks to full professorship in 1993. In the University of Nairobi Administration he  served as Chairman of Department (1986-90); Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts (1990); Academic Registrar (1990-94). On Leave of Absence he taught at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis (1982-83; Guest Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1997); Visiting Professor at Emmanuel College, Toronto, Canada (1999); Visiting Professor at the University of South Africa, Pretoria (2000). He also served as Director of Starehe Boys Centre, Nairobi (2007-2008), on Leave of Absence from the University of Nairobi.

His works (as author/co-author and as editor/co-editor) include African Religious Heritage (1976); Philosophy of Religion (1988); African Christian Theology (1989); African Heritage and Contemporary Christianity (1992); Critiques of Christianity in African Literature (1992); Moral and Ethical Issues in African Christianity (1992); Christianity and African Culture (1989, 2002); A Comparative Study of Religions (1990, 2010); From Liberation to Reconstruction (1995); Religion and Social Construction of Reality (1996); Christian Theology and Environmental Responsibility (2001); Religions in Eastern Africa Under Globalization (2002); Christian Theology and Social Reconstruction (2003); Church State Relations (2004); Responsible Leadership: Global and Contextual Ethical Perspectives (2009); Contextual Theology Across Cultures (2009); Applied Ethics in Religion and Culture (2012). He is a Contributor of Articles in the Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity (2010); Handbook of Theological Education in Africa (2013); Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa (2015); T&T Clark Handbook of Theology and Climate Change (2020). The CGC Webinars addressed by Professor Mugambi are pointers to the dialectical relationship between the global and the local; religious and secular; the individual and society; the long-term and the short-term.

Respondent Bio

Prof. Roy Joydeep

Prof. Roy Joydeep, is the Adjunct Professor of Economics and Education - Columbia Teachers College.