The contestation, ambiguities and dilemmas of curriculum development at the Solomon Mahlangu freedom college, 1978 - 1992.
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This thesis is an appraisal of curriculum development at the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College and the Dakawa Development Centre established by the ANC in exile, in Tanzania in 1978 and 1982 respectively. In 1960 the ANC went into exile when it was banned under the Unlawful Organisations Act in the wake of the Sharpeville crisis. The ANC's record in the educational arena from 1912 to 1960 was characterized by reactive responses to state policy as it did not have a structured educational programme that it could offer as an alternative to education for blacks. In the post-1960 period it was faced with a new set of priorities, that is, the huge and complex task of re-organising itself both within South Africa and in exile. In 1978 the ANC established its educational institution, the SOMAFCO High School, in Mazimbu, Tanzania, in the wake of the 1976 uprisings in Soweto and elsewhere in South Africa. In 1980 the project was extended by the establishment of the SOMAFCO Primary School, followed by the Dakawa Development Centre in 1982. Three broad emphases came to the fore when the ANC Education Policy was being formulated in the late 1970s: emphasis on Academic Education; emphasis on Political Education and an emphasis on Polytechnic Education. The ANC Education Department claimed to have formulated a clear and concise education policy in 1978 but sharp debates over the appropriate curriculum for ANC education in exile persisted up to 1992, when the institutions were closed and repatriation to South Africa began The main problem being investigated is why there were such divergent views on the appropriate curriculum for ANC education-in-exile from within the ANC, and in the light of this contestation, what happened in reality to curriculum practice at the institutions. The arguments for Academic, Political and Polytechnic Education are contextualized in the curriculum debates of the times, that is, the zo" century international policy discourse, the African curriculum debates and Apartheid Education in South Africa. This study examines how Academic Education, despite the sharp debates, was institutionalised at the SOMAFCO High School. It also analyses the arguments for and various notions of Political and Polytechnic Education as well as what happened to these in practice at the school. The SOMAFCO Primary School went through three phases of curriculum development. The school opened in 1980 under a 'caretaker' staff and without a structured curriculum. During the second phase 1980-1982 a progressive curriculum was developed by Barbara and Terry Bell. After the Bells resigned in 1982, a conventional academic curriculum was implemented by Dennis September, the new principal. There is debate over why the Dakawa Development Centre was initially opened in 1982. lts objectives were identified at the First Dakawa Seminar in 1982. This study examines curriculum development within its structures: the Vocational Training Centre, the Ruth First Education Orientation Centre and the Raymond Mahlaba Rehabilitation Centre. This study analyses whether the Vocational Training Centre was intended to train students in skills required for the construction of Dakawa or whether it would provide Vocational Education which would lead to the attainment of recognized certification for future employment. It examines whether the Ruth First Education Orientation Centre was an educational facility or a security centre. It also examines the nature of rehabilitation at the Raymond Mahlaba Rehabilitation Centre. The other structures like the farm, small industries and other social facilities are also examined. The study finally traces the relocation of the Dakawa Development Centre to Grahamstown in South Africa.