Heterogeneity And Multicultural Education

| The Campus Chatroom | Heterogeneity And Multicultural Education | Hosted by Ogechukwu Peace Egwuatu |

As time goes on, Nigerian higher institutions draw closer to being regional schools.  The level of cultural diversity among students reduces with each admission process. This is a dangerous trend given the current situation in Nigeria. Although the presence of people belonging to different ethnic and religious groups in a class can be problematic conceptually, heterogeneity is very important especially in higher institutions.  Nigeria is a multi-ethnic country struggling tribalism and religious intolerance. The school is a model for the society: an environment where students receive training modelling the culturally diverse and interdependent world. However if higher institutions fail to expose their students to a multi-ethnic society, they have failed to fully equip their students to be better citizens of Nigeria. Students can learn to tolerate and understand others. They learn from the diversity and become more open-minded which in turn leads to national and international peace. As such, it is important for schools to adopt multicultural education. Gloria M. Ameny-Dixon summarizes why multicultural education should be promoted in and why it is more important in higher education now than ever.

The Need For Multicultural Education

1. Multicultural  education  increases  productivity  because  a  variety  of  mental  resources  are  available  for  completing  the  same  tasks  and  it  promotes  cognitive  and   moral  growth  among  all  people.

2. Multicultural  education  increases  creative  problem-solving  skills  through  the    different  perspectives  applied  to  same  problems  to  reach  solutions.

3. Multicultural  education  increases  positive  relationships  through  achievement  of   common  goals,  respect,  appreciation,  and  commitment  to  equality  among  the    intellectuals  at  institutions  of  higher  education.

4. Multicultural  education  decreases  stereotyping  and  prejudice  through  direct  contact   and  interactions  among  diverse  individuals.

5. Multicultural  education  renews  vitality  of  society  through  the  richness  of  the    different  cultures  of  its  members  and  fosters  development  of  a  broader  and  more    sophisticated  view  of  the  world.   

Getting Multiculturalism  Into  The Process

Elena Yurievna Petrova lists some ways of  bringing  multiculturalism  into  the educational  process:  

  • Inviting  foreign  professors  to  teach
  • Welcoming  foreign students  into  your  classroom
  • Organizing  cultural  events  and  celebrations around  certain  cultures
  • Holding  international  (summer)  schools
  • Arranging  online  discussion  among  students  from  all  over  the world

When in Rome, act like the Romans shouldn’t be the motto in higher institutions. As much as the students may have to conform a bit to relate well with the locals, students should be encouraged to fully embrace their ethnicity with no sense of ethnocentrism or inferiority. They should be encouraged to understand the differences and appreciate the beauty in diversity. 

Interactive Session 

Which other ways can higher institutions encourage heterogeneity?
Please share your views with us.

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The Campus Chatroom

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