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The Council of Independent Black Institutions (CIBI), defines African-centered education as the means by which Afrikan culture -- including the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills needed to maintain and perpetuate it throughout the nation building process -- is developed and advanced through practice. Its aim, therefore, is to build commitment and competency within present and future generations to support the struggle for liberation and nationhood. We define nation building as the conscious and focused application of our people's collective resources, energies, and knowledge to the task of liberating and developing the psychic and physical space that we identify as ours. Nation building encompasses both the reconstruction of Afrikan culture and the development of a progressive and sovereign state structure consistent with that culture.

CIBI further believes that in practice, Afrikan-centered education:

  1. acknowledges Afrikan spirituality as an essential aspect of our uniqueness as a people and makes it an instrument of our liberation (Richards, 1989; Clarke, 1991; Anwisye, 1993; Ani, 1994);
  2. facilitates participation in the affairs of nations and defining (or redefining) reality on our own terms, in our own time and in our own interests (Karenga, 1980);
  3. prepares Afrikans "for self-reliance, nation maintenance, and nation management in every regard" (Clarke, 1991, p. 62);
  4. emphasizes the fundamental relationship between the strength of our families and the strength of our nation;
  5. ensures that the historic role and function of the customs, traditions, rituals and ceremonies -- that have protected and preserved our culture; facilitated our spiritual expression; ensured harmony in our social relations; prepared our people to meet their responsibilities as adult members of our culture; and sustained the continuity of Afrikan life over successive generations -- are understood and made relevant to the challenges that confront us in our time;
  6. emphasizes that Afrikan identity is embedded in the continuity of Afrikan cultural history and that Afrikan cultural history represents a distinct reality continually evolving from the experiences of all Afrikan people wherever they are and have been on the planet across time and generations;
  7. focuses on the "knowledge and discovery of historical truths; through comparison; hypothesizing and testing through debate, trial, and application; through analysis and synthesis; through creative and critical thinking; through problem resolution processes; and through final evaluation and decision making"
  8. (Akoto, 1992, p. 116);
  9. can only be systematically facilitated by people who themselves are consciously engaged in the process of Afrikan-centered personal transformation;
  10. is a process dependent upon human perception and interpretation [Thus, it follows that a curriculum can not be Afrikan-centered independent of our capacity to perceive and interpret it in an Afrikan-centered manner (Shujaa, 1992)];
  11. embraces the traditional wisdom that "children are the reward of life" and it is, therefore, an expression of our unconditional love for them. In order to best serve Afrikan children our methods must reflect the best understandings that we have of how they develop and learn biologically, spiritually and culturally.
Akoto, K. A. (1992) Nation building: Theory and practice in Afrikan-centered education. Washington, DC: Pan- Afrikan World Institute.
Ani, M. (1994). Yurugu: An African-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
Anwisye, S. (1993). Education is more than the three "R"s. Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, 2, 97-101.
Clarke, J. H. (1991). African world revolution: Africans at the crossroads. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
Karenga, M. (1980). Kawaida theory: An introductory outline. Inglewood, CA: Kawaida Publications.
Richards, D. M. (1989). Let the circle be unbroken: African spirituality in the diaspora. Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press. (originally published in 1980)
Shujaa, M. J. (1992). Afrocentric transformation and parental choice in African American independent schools. The Journal of Negro Education, (61)2, 148-159.