Original Research

Integral education and Ubuntu: A participatory action research project in South Africa

Kanyakumarie Padayachee, Savathrie Maistry, Geoffrey T. Harris, Darren Lortan
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 13, No 1 | a1298 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v13i1.1298 | © 2023 Kanyakumarie Padayachee, Savathrie Maistry, Geoffrey T. Harris, Darren Lortan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 2022 | Published: 24 October 2023

About the author(s)

Kanyakumarie Padayachee, Department of Public Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Savathrie Maistry, Rhodes University Community Engagement, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa
Geoffrey T. Harris, International Center of Nonviolence (ICON), Department of Public Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Darren Lortan, Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: South Africa is beset with violent, antisocial practices and ways of life hindering peaceful co-existence and participatory democracy. This makes a targeted early education programme to develop a socially responsible generation imperative.

Aim: Based on a larger research project, this study aimed to highlight the value of participatory action research in determining the outcomes of an early childhood development (ECD) Integral Education (IE) and Ubuntu approach for incorporation in the education and training of practitioners.

Setting: Three ECD practitioners were selected to participate in this study, which was located in a township in the south of Durban in three preschools (urban, semi-urban and rural).

Methods: Lewin’s PAR method was used to explore, develop and evaluate an intervention for change. Data were collected through focus group and participant interviews, observations and journal entries and then analysed thematically.

Results: The findings revealed that, personally and professionally, the practitioners experienced positive changes through adopting an integral approach that included becoming more introspective and reflective in their practice.

Conclusion: Educating and training early childhood practitioners to develop the appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to adopt and implement an ECD IE and Ubuntu approach are essential for developing a new generation of socially responsible citizens for participatory democracy in South Africa.

Contribution: The findings highlighted key components of an ECD IE practitioner training programme based on the integrality of the mind, body, heart, spirit and community. Thus, the development of a caring, compassionate and humane society in democratic South Africa can be enabled.


Keywords

Early childhood education and training; participatory action research; integral education; Ubuntu; social responsibility; active citizenship; South Africa

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Crossref Citations

1. Power sharing: participatory research as democracy in early childhood education and in education
Jane Murray
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doi: 10.1080/09669760.2024.2342068