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Integration by Education: A Study of Cameroon‘s Bakola-Bagyeli

Tucker, Sarah

The process of Bakola-Bagyeli integration into the public school system of Kribi, Cameroon entails a delicate balance between modernization, preserving tradition, and protecting human rights. In the case of the Bakola-Bagyeli, education has the potential to foster empowerment, but also to erode culture. Increased integration into the education system decreases time spent learning traditional knowledge and skills, increases sedentarization, and creates a need for money to buy necessities such as books and school uniforms. Seeking money obliges Bakola-Bagyeli families to join the market economy through working and shopping, further detracting from their culture of self-sufficiency. The alternative to education is a continuing rural subsistence of their life in the forest, isolated from—and thus left vulnerable to—the processes that impact the forest and their way of life. The lack of Bakola-Bagyeli presence in the broader community in and around Kribi has meant that their voice has been largely missing from decision-making processes, despite the efforts of organizations and individuals to speak on their behalf. I focused my research on the challenges faced by the Bakola-Bagyeli, the potential of education as a tool to address these challenges, and the utility of education as perceived by the Bakola-Bagyeli themselves, school officials, and members of Kribi civil society.

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Journal of Politics & Society

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Helvidius Group
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October 5, 2011