Before the families decided that education was essential, mothers who were not able to hire help kept some children at home to care for infants and toddlers during the hours that they worked in the fields and performed chores outside the homestead.
Before the families decided that education was essential, mothers who were not able to hire help kept some children at home to care for infants and toddlers during the hours that they worked in the fields and performed chores outside the homestead.Tags: Deforestation Case StudyEssay Directional StatementSourcing Research PaperEssays On Australian FederalismPay For A PaperNewspaper Glossary TerminologyCelebrating Teachers Day EssayMusic Writing PaperEssay Poetry WritingSocial Causes Of The French Revolution Essay
Historians estimate that their forebears set out from the Niger River delta around the beginning of the Christian era and over a period of 2,000 years colonized south and east Africa, reaching Mt. The women socialized their small children, teaching them the Bantu language and traditions, including agricultural practices.
At the same time, however, as wives, the Bantu adjusted to the customs of their husbands.
Older children could be called upon to do agricultural work and relieve the women of some of their heavy workload.
However, once free education was introduced, and once it became obvious to the families that subsistence agriculture and cash cropping on small holdings was no longer viable, that literacy and school diplomas or even university degrees were essential for success in the modern world, most fathers and mothers decided that all children should attend school.
By the 1970s 85 percent of the seven-year-olds, 59 percent of the six-year-olds and 44 percent of the five-year-olds were either in nursery or primary school.
Education was not free and not all families could afford to send all their five- and six-year-olds to primary school but they could afford nursery school.How difficult is it for families to adjust to these new institutions?There are two major consequences that affect women - the loss of child labor and the need to make changes to help children master new skills.Now during the school hours they had only four-year-olds at home to supervise younger siblings while they hurried to take animals to the pasture, carry water from the town well, or get wood for the cooking fire.If they went to the garden during school hours, infants and toddlers accompanied them and the four-year-old carried the infant strapped on its back while the mother worked.Working in a village in Kenya that is undergoing rapid social change, I have been able to observe the consequences of the introduction of schools and some of the adjustments women have made.Coping with change is not new to the Bantu women of sub-Saharan Africa. It was the policy of these colonists to arrange marriages of their women to the local inhabitants of the land they coveted.When the six-year-olds were no longer available during school hours, four- and five-year-old children were pressed into service as child nurses.These children are less capable of playing a consistent caretaking role.With no effective contraception and large families, with growing dependence on products of the industrial world, the need for cash continued to increase.As men found jobs in the towns and cities, women were left to take care of all farm work, including the tending of the livestock and cash crops.