Accepted Paper:

Ge'ez intellectual tradition and its critique on modern education system  


Setargew Kenaw Fantaw (Addis Ababa University )

Paper long abstract:

Ethiopia has been known for its longstanding tradition of Ge'ez education system - also known as church or Abinet education - , covering from elementary literacy to instructing students in poetry, liturgical music, and exegesis. It was on top of this that Western, modern education was introduced about one-hundred and twenty years ago. Since then, there has been a confrontational - open and at times oblique/disguised - relationship between the two education systems. But then, much of the critique of those who subscribe to classical, traditional scholarship on the modern education system has not been closely considered, explored and studied. Assuming the victor's stance, it was the voice of the critics of the Ge'ez education that has come out more explicitly and boldly over against the nature and mode of offering of its lessons. This paper inquires into what has been neglected so far and try to articulate the observations of the scholars of the Abinet schools on the basis of selected critics. There have been generic criticisms such as that modern education has instilled a lot of egotism into its apprentices, that it has only created power-mongers, generations of atheists, etc. But then, these reprimands (which may not be totally unfounded) and other well thought out critiques have not been subject of reflection and scholarship so far. This study, based on quite scanty beginnings in this this direction, makes therefore an in-depth investigation into the assessment that Ge'ez education scholars have made on the modern education system and bring out insights that could be useful for a fruitful and dialogical meeting between the two systems.

Panel A02
History of education in Africa [initiated by URMIS - Nice]