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Early childhood education as a space for liberation, participation, and social transformation in Tanzania: Possibilities and constraints

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Abstract:

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is critical to the attainment of Education for All and the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring that, by 2015, all children are able to complete a full course of primary school. The need for universal access to ECCE programs has become a focus of global policy discourse, in light of research indicating that participation in these programs increases children’s chances of attending and completing primary school. More importantly, quality ECCE is purported to play a significant role in creating more just societies by reducing the inequities that plague children as they progress through formal schooling (UNESCO, 2006). Bearing this in mind, my paper examines the potential for ECCE programming to ‘liberate’ young Tanzanians. With the understanding that childhood is a socially constructed and contested space (Aries, 1962; Cheney, 2007), I examine the policies, curricula, and local discourses that, taken together, create a composite vision of the ‘Tanzanian child’. I argue that the ways in which the roles, responsibilities, and rights of children are understood and defined by policy and discourse impacts the potential for ‘the child’ to be liberated by her education. A close analysis of the Tanzanian context reveals discrepancies and inconsistencies in the portrayal of ‘the child’ and her right to take an active role in her education. These contradictory views of the role of 'the child' in Tanzania lead me to question the potential for ECCE programs to foster possibilities for children to be liberated by their education. In light of this, I ask: Is it possible for ECCE programs in Tanzania to live up to the promise of liberation and social justice proffered by global discourses? What can the Tanzanian context teach us about the constraints and possibilities for the envisioning of ECCE programs as spaces of liberation, participation, and transformation?
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486263_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Wilinski, Bethany. "Early childhood education as a space for liberation, participation, and social transformation in Tanzania: Possibilities and constraints" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486263_index.html>

APA Citation:

Wilinski, B. , 2011-05-01 "Early childhood education as a space for liberation, participation, and social transformation in Tanzania: Possibilities and constraints" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486263_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is critical to the attainment of Education for All and the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring that, by 2015, all children are able to complete a full course of primary school. The need for universal access to ECCE programs has become a focus of global policy discourse, in light of research indicating that participation in these programs increases children’s chances of attending and completing primary school. More importantly, quality ECCE is purported to play a significant role in creating more just societies by reducing the inequities that plague children as they progress through formal schooling (UNESCO, 2006). Bearing this in mind, my paper examines the potential for ECCE programming to ‘liberate’ young Tanzanians. With the understanding that childhood is a socially constructed and contested space (Aries, 1962; Cheney, 2007), I examine the policies, curricula, and local discourses that, taken together, create a composite vision of the ‘Tanzanian child’. I argue that the ways in which the roles, responsibilities, and rights of children are understood and defined by policy and discourse impacts the potential for ‘the child’ to be liberated by her education. A close analysis of the Tanzanian context reveals discrepancies and inconsistencies in the portrayal of ‘the child’ and her right to take an active role in her education. These contradictory views of the role of 'the child' in Tanzania lead me to question the potential for ECCE programs to foster possibilities for children to be liberated by their education. In light of this, I ask: Is it possible for ECCE programs in Tanzania to live up to the promise of liberation and social justice proffered by global discourses? What can the Tanzanian context teach us about the constraints and possibilities for the envisioning of ECCE programs as spaces of liberation, participation, and transformation?


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