An investigation into the way African Traditional Religion as a form of Indigenous Knowledge is taught in the two Senior Secondary School Religious Education Syllabuses in Zambia : a case of two Schools in Southern Province in Zambia


Publication date



Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Fakultet for lærerutdanning og internasjonale studier

Document type


Master i flerkulturell og internasjonal utdanning


African Traditional Religion, ATR, forms part of African Indigenous Knowledge. The two senior secondary school Religious Education syllabuses in Zambia have a component of African traditional religion or beliefs which the learners are supposed to understand and compare with other religious traditions in the syllabuses. The other religions in the syllabuses are Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. This study sets out to explore how ATR is actually taught and learned in class so as to ascertain whether traditional beliefs are appreciated and given space in the Western hegemonic kind of education. To get full understanding of the position of ATR in the Religious Education syllabuses, a mixed data collection strategy was employed to allow for methodological triangulation to achieve greater validity and reliability. Document analysis of pupils’ text books and teachers’ handbooks was done. In addition, semi-structured interviews were carried out with teachers, pupils and the Religious Education subject specialist. A questionnaire was also administered to some pupils to augment the responses obtained through semi-structured interviews with pupils. Lastly, classroom ethnography was done to observe the actual teaching of ATR in Religious Education. Findings of the study show that African Traditional Religion is not given due attention in the syllabuses. To begin with, most of the content of ATR in the pupils’ textbooks is presented in a manner which suggests that the religion or belief is dead and no longer applicable in present day Zambia. Secondly, some teachers are not conversant and willing enough to teach this body of knowledge to the pupils. On the other hand, while a small proportion of the pupils in the study did not see the need to learn this part of the Religious Education syllabus, the majority acknowledged that ATR would be beneficial to their lives if it was properly taught to them.


Permanent URL (for citation purposes)