Education for Sustainable Development at the problem-posing nexus of re-appropriated heritage practices and the science curriculum

  • Kenneth Mlungisi Ngcoza Rhodes University, South Africa


Indigenous knowledge is approached as an adaptive and responsive sphere of Mother Tongue meaning-making and innovation, an indigenous epistemic capital that has been marginalised by continuing colonial modernity and an associated urbanisation in Africa. The exclusionary and epistemicidal impacts of colonialisation and the hegemony of meanings imposed in a westernised curriculum have played out as a double blow impeding many learners from relating knowledge to the world they live in and achieving their potential in the sciences. Research on indigenous knowledge and schooling is reviewed to critically explore this premise. A dissonance between prevailing theory, changing socio-cultural realities and diversity in urban classroom contexts is also probed. This enabled us to contemplate a Mother Tongue re-appropriation of heritage practices amongst teachers, their learners and parents as urban custodians of indigenous knowledge and to work with this as situated heritage practices for working with the modern scientific knowledge in the school curriculum to contemplate future sustainability. Mother Tongue re-appropriation is thus proposed as a starting point for a research collaboration to enhance epistemological access to decontextualised scientific knowledge in the curriculum and for exploring how this might be achieved in ways that open up a ‘third space’ of empowering socio-cultural innovation through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 1810-0333