Exploring the Integration of Indigenous Science in the Primary School Science Curriculum in Malawi

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Virginia Tech

Moving out of theoretical academic constructs, the indigenous movement has attracted the attention of the Malawian education system to explore the value for contextualizing science by way of indigenous technologies. This is a milestone decision but the beginning is not smooth. However, indigenizing the curriculum has a promise of hope to invigorate science educators to pursue the search for the science out of indigenous technologies out of the "taken for granted" and "place-based" traditional knowledge systems. This is only the beginning of the journey in pursuit of local sciences that bear a promise for sustainability in development without relying exclusively on the outcomes of globalization.

This study sought to unravel the issues that surrounded implementation of ground braking primary school science and technology curriculum, which has integrated indigenous knowledge in the learning of science. Commencing prior to the implementation of the new curriculum, this was a pilot study strategically conceptualized and timed to inform the curriculum developers and other stakeholders about issues to pay attention to as the curriculum implementation process unfolds.

The study revealed that teachers are likely to face multiple challenges stemming from the design of the curriculum, teachers background knowledge in academic science, pedagogical knowledge, and cultural foundations. The outcome of teaching was negatively affected by the design of the curriculum, teachers' knowledge of science, and attitudes toward indigenous knowledge. Recommendations for improving the integration of indigenous knowledge and science in the curriculum include the need to better articulate the scientific principles involved in indigenous technologies and to involve learners in meaningful "practical work" in science lessons, supported by further research.

Technology, Indigenous knowledge, science, integration, primary school, curriculum implementation