The UNESCO General History of Africa integration successfully piloted in Kenya
From 1 to 5 February 2021, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development hosted a virtual workshop to develop matrices for mainstreaming the UNESCO General History of Africa (GHA) into the diploma teacher curriculum in Kenya. This workshop was organized in collaboration with UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO. It drew 40 representatives from the Ministry of Education, Kenya National Examination Council, Universities, Kenya National Museums, Teacher Training Institutes as well as History teachers, from across the country. They were actively engaged through different methodologies to achieve the objective of the workshop, including through online and offline working groups, presentations as well as plenary sessions.
This initiative underpins African Union’s Decision on the adoption of GHA into school curriculum in Africa, with Kenya having taken bold steps. Indeed, integration of GHA was already done at the primary and secondary school levels, in a pioneer effort of the country to renovation of history teaching in Africa.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Ann Therese Ndong Jatta, Director of UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, stressed the importance of regaining ownership over one own past and to take control on the production of knowledge regarding our heritage and history, a key step towards reaffirming cultural identities and reinforcing the common aspiration to achieve African unity, as called upon by the Charter of African Renaissance, and encapsulated in Aspiration 2 of Agenda 2063 of African Union, she further stressed.
Emphasizing the importance of the GHA in promoting regional integration, Dr. Evangeline Njoka, Secretary-General of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO recalled the central role of the teacher to ensure quality in this process, hence the essence of this workshop looking at infusing GHA into Diploma Teacher Education Curriculum as a priority, including through leveraging on technology.
Insisting on the use of GHA for decolonizing and deconstructing the biased narratives, perceptions and thoughts about Africa and Africans, Prof. Charles Ong’ondo, Director of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), advocated for upscaling the integration of the GHA materials into the university curriculum, recalling that the bulk of teachers are product from universities.
Participating in the opening session of the workshop, the Director a.i. of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE), Mr. Ydo Yao and the Director for the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), Ms. Yumiko Yokozeki, reiterated the commitment of both institutions in supporting, through their respective mandate and mission, the integration of the GHA, building on the successful experience in Kenya.
The development of matrices for mainstreaming the GHA into the diploma teacher curriculum marks the final stage for the integration in Kenya, and the successful completion of a pilot process that could now be documented as a good practice for other countries in the region and beyond to roll out the same model.