About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 1838
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE ROLE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRADITIONAL HEALER IN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES

J. Geldenhuys

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (SOUTH AFRICA)
After fourteen years of democracy in the Republic of South Africa (RSA), the issue of how best to meet the special educational needs of those who experience difficulties in learning and development is still both urgent and complex. This is mainly because educational support services (ESS) and specialised education services have been characterised by:
• gross inequalities and inconsistencies between the previously different racially segregated education departments
• inadequate conceptualisation of the nature of special education need in the broad South African context and the slow introduction and implementation of a national policy for ESS.
• fragmentation and lack of administrative and professional coordination between specialised education and other support services.

It is therefore expected that there is the cry for maximal democratic participation at every level of the system. The principle of representation and participation by parents, educators, specialised personnel, learners and other relevant parties (including traditional healers) in both the governance and practice of ESS is particular crucial since this has been noticeably lacking in the past.
The importance of including parents and representatives of relevant community organizations cannot be over-emphasized. For example, traditional healers are an integral and important part in the South African indigenous culture and will remain so for quite some time to come and therefore a resource which needs to be consulted and drawn into the process of meting special needs. Although this process would be problematic, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the current hard line that is drawn between western modes of practice and traditional healing is unproductive and does not respect the widespread belief in and consultation of traditional healers that occurs amongst many parents of learners with special needs. The following research question was then formulated: What role can the traditional healer play in the integrated holistic educational support services envisage for South Africa?

This poster presents findings of qualitative research undertaken to explore and describe, from an eco-systemic perspective, the possible role of the traditional healer with regard to educational support services. Data were collected by means of questionnaires from 42 educators in the Eastern Cape Province; from Port Elizabeth in the west to Umtata in the east. The responses were analysed through descriptive analysis and the following four central themes emerged:
Theme 1: Representative of African culture, customs & beliefs
Theme 2: Expert on indigenous knowledge
Theme 3: Cultural diversity
Theme 4: Co-operation with Western medicine
Literature controlled was also executed to re-contextualise the findings. Guba’s measures were applied to ensured trustworthiness.
Since the majority of the participants felt that traditional healers could make a positive contribution towards educational support services, it was concluded that they should be included in the integrated holistic educational support services envisaged for RSA. It was recommended that a better mutual understanding and co-operation among different cultural groupings in RSA should be advocated more wittingly.
@InProceedings{GELDENHUYS2009THE,
author = {Geldenhuys, J.},
title = {THE ROLE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRADITIONAL HEALER IN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1838}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Geldenhuys
TI - THE ROLE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRADITIONAL HEALER IN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 1838
EP - 1838
ER -
J. Geldenhuys (2009) THE ROLE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRADITIONAL HEALER IN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES, INTED2009 Proceedings, p. 1838.
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