Education in Maasailand
Education is critical to our future
Western education provides the Maasai community, with tools to protect itself and its land, to start local businesses, populate schools with Maasai teachers and elected offices with Maasai leaders. But education is a double edged sword where it denigrates traditional education systems and corrosive of Maasai society and culture. If there is a single consensus emerging in Maasailand, it is that the surest way to end social, economic and political marginalization is by creating and implementing culturally competent education in Maasailand that teaches both Western and Maasai based curriculum.
Partial education does not serve us
These challenges add up to a crisis in the Maasai community where youth receive a partial education that does not prepare them adequately to succeed in modernized Kenya but which has also removed them from education in Maasai culture and economy. Even those who do graduate from secondary school, even those at the top of their classes, are typically poorly prepared for the job market. But while in school they may have also missed Maasai cultural training, taught through the ceremonial life of our communities. In some cases they have learned to disdain our own culture, which they are taught to think of as backwards.
Schools like Siana Primary in Mashinani teach Maasai culture along with Western subjects.
Ultimately, the challenge of creating educational opportunities in Maasailand will be met with the establishment of a university in Maasailand. We envision the University becoming a center for research into issues of indigenous rights, cultural survival, environmental conservation, and models of social change. The MaasaIand University will provide a core curriculum relevant to Maasai and other indigenous leadership in areas such as environmental conservation, global development, and culturally supportive education.