The role of indigenous knowledge in teaching social studies to nomadic pastoralists lower primary learners

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Darcey M. Dachyshyn

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Wachira


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Studies have shown that education service delivery to nomadic pastoralists communities cannot be done in isolation as social, cultural and economic issues also need to be addressed which is embedded in their indigenous knowledge(Ministry of Education, 2010). According to UNESCO(2006), Education for Sustainable Development starts from recognizing the function of indigenous knowledge. The government of Kenya therefore launched the Nomadic Education Policy (2010), which calls for use of traditional nomadic pastoral knowledge and techniques in teaching nomadic pastoralists children. Despite the policy, text book driven teaching is still rampant in nomadic pastoral schools especially in the teaching of social studies. This research therefore set out to explore the role of indigenous knowledge in teaching social studies to nomadic pastoralist lower primary learners in a public primary school in Kenya using a qualitative case study. The study relied on data collection methods such as focus group discussions, interviews, document analysis and observations. The research participants included the head teacher, lower and upper primary social studies teachers. The study findings show that although teachers understand indigenous knowledge and attest to its benefits they do not use it frequently to teach social studies. They cited inadequate time to employ the strategy because of a demanding syllabus to be covered and lack of familiarity with the community’s indigenous knowledge because they are not natives. Additionally, they cited a challenge in coping with what learners learn from other influences in their lives while they rely on course books to deliver information. From these findings therefore it is recommended that the Ministry of Education should roll out and follow up the implementation of the Nomadic Education Policy of 2010 in nomadic pastoralists schools. Curriculum developer should also develop detailed guidelines on iv how indigenous knowledge can be used in teaching especially social studies in nomadic pastoralist schools while updating social studies textbooks from time to time

This document is available in the relevant AKU library