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Education as a strategy to mitigate harmful cultural practices and value systems

Author: 
Dr. Florence K. Nyamu, Dr. Leah N. Wanjama, Ms. Rose M. Irungu Mr. Fred N. Kariuki
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

As the basic root of a community, culture defines a way of life, value systems, beliefs, attitudes, structures and systems of education. Each society has clear expectations and outcomes of the education process. Learning is through observation, imitation, participation and instruction particularly during ceremonies associated with rites of passage. Within culture are social, economic and political systems of educating the young to uphold the value systems of the community. Culture also provides mechanisms of moulding the behaviour of the youth to conform to societal expectations as they transit from childhood to adulthood. Within the culture, the young are assigned socio-economic roles that prepare them for adult life. However, some of the values inculcated are at variance with the realities in modern society causing feelings of inadequacy and pressure to conform. There is evidence that as dynamics of the world change, culture also evolves such that some practices become unnecessary, harmful and repugnant. Despite increased access to formal education and new knowledge, harmful traditional processes and practices continue unabated resulting in increased incidences of psycho-social trauma and health challenges. The purpose of this paper was to document stories and experiences of randomly and purposively selected young men and women at university level regarding harmful traditional practices and value systems. The stories from the young men and women provided evidence that despite gains in formal education, there are differences between the socialization processes and experiences from earlier years that make it difficult for them to fit in and enjoy their time at the university. They also intimated that they were aware of the existence of harmful cultural practices that are still propagated at the family/community level which are at variance with the behaviour expected at the university level.

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