ERIC Number: ED367972
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-May
Reference Count: N/A
The Social and Political Context of Literacy Education for Pastoral Societies: The Case of the Maasai of Tanzania.
Part of a large study in Tanzania, a study provides a broad context of obstacles to literacy, particularly those affecting migratory subpopulation groups. Subjects, 480 adults who participated in national literacy programs and belonged to one of two communities of the Maasai, were interviewed. The first group--the Maasai of Longido--represent a section of the pastoral community with a high degree of nomadism. The second group--the Maasai of Monduli--show a lower degree of nomadism with more literacy gains, but nevertheless fall far behind compared to the settled neighbors. Data were collected on migration patterns, family uses of literacy, design and flow of information and knowledge in the pastoral community, and sources of information about drought, livestock diseases, and family health. Preliminary results indicated that: (1) ages of those interviewed ranged from 18 to 79 years; (2) one-third did not attend formal schooling at all; (3) participation and attendance at literacy classes was minimal; (4) attending class meant walking long distances; (5) newspapers, leaflets, posters were rarely seen in the local shops or markets; (6) books were rarely used outside the context of school; (7) local traditional learning systems were closely linked to the Maasai community's survival needs; and (8) the practice of nomadism was an esteemed lifestyle by the Maasai. Findings suggest that the Maasai's social, cultural, and political environment exerts considerable influence on their everyday literacy practice, and that imposition of alien educational systems may have alienated the Maasai. (Contains 38 references; two charts listing migrant societies and pastoral nomads societies are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Literacy as a Social Process; Maasai People; Tanzania
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (43rd, Charleston, SC, December 1-4, 1993).