Communitarian Ethics and Work-Based Education: Some African Perspectives

  • Thaddeus Metz


In this chapter, I would critically address the desirability of work-based education in an African context. After explaining what I mean by ‘African’, namely, roughly, having to do with ideas and practices salient among the black peoples below the Sahara desert (‘Introduction’ section ), I would recount the respects in which the dominant form of education in traditional African cultures was ‘on the job’ (‘Work-Based Education in Traditional African Culture’ section ). I would take care to spell out why that type of learning made particular sense for small-scale societies with a low division of labour, little economic surplus and no literacy. Next, I would consider to what extent work-based education is still right for today’s Africa, which features many urban and specialized environments that are comparatively more wealthy and literate than precolonial societies (albeit still suffering from underdevelopment), and furthermore, I would do so in light of an underappreciated moral philosophy with a sub-Saharan pedigree. After spelling out this globally neglected but philosophically attractive theory of morality (‘An African Moral Theory’ section ), roughly according to which it is a matter of respecting communal relationships, I would consider the respects in which the theory would probably support work-based education (‘Work-Based Education and Character’ section ) and the respects in which it might not (‘Work-Based Education and Justice’ section). I would conclude by making all things considered recommendations that would be applicable for a wide array of sub-Saharan countries (‘Conclusion’ section).


Moral Theory Restorative Justice Black People Moral Enquiry Sahara Desert 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland Park 2006South Africa

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