Community Schools and Society: An Analysis of Curriculum Conflict and Resolutions through South Africa's and United States’ Perspectives

By Dolapo Adeniji-Neill and Berte van Wyk.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 11, 2016 $US5.00

This essay focuses on how communities respond to curricula they see as subversive or that does not have the best intent for their community, schools, culture, or religion: responses that ensue and what informs such responses. Education in South Africa, as well as in the United States and many societies, is rooted in culture. The majority group, or the most powerful group as in the case of South Africa, usually dominates the community, schools, and society (CSS) culture. Thus, any attempt to adjust the status quo can lead to a cultural rift that threatens to tear apart the fabric of the community in question. A couple of examples from the United States are the Great Textbook War of 1974 in West Virginia, a conflict that was caused by the introduction of a new textbook to the school system; and the desegregation busing riot in Boston, Massachusetts (1974). In South Africa, the Soweto Uprising was caused by the apartheid government Medium Decree of 1974, which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50:50 mix as languages of instruction. Contemporary South Africa faces many challenges in relation to poverty, race, and language. What we have learned from these incidents and the future of curriculum in the digital age is the major focus of this paper.

Keywords: Culture, Community, Schools and Society, Textbook Wars

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 16, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 11, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 752.897KB)).

Dr. Dolapo Adeniji-Neill

Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA

Dr. Berte van Wyk

Associate Professor, Educational Policies Studies, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa