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Ethiopian Language Policy and Health Promotion in Oromia

Published in 2006, Dugassa, Begna F., Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare - Archived on May 5th, 2015

Title: Ethiopian Language Policy and Health Promotion in Oromia
Author: Begna F. Dugassa (Toronto Public Health, Toronto, Canada)
Published: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare Vol.1, No.2, 2011, pp. 55-64
Language: English
Keywords: public health, Ethiopia, health policy, health education, Oromia, colonial language policies

Abstract:
In the time of HIV/AIDS, epidemics for which we have no vaccination or cure, public health is bound entirely to depend on the traditional health education strategies to stop or contain this disease. This reality demands that we travel extra miles and thoroughly employ every health promotion tool at our disposal. The Ottawa Charter for health promotion stressed the need for public policy to create supportive social conditions for health. This necessitates a commitment to enduring social conditions for health and raises topics that have been neglected by the traditional public health scholars. A close examination of the colonial language policy of Ethiopia reveals that language is not value free and is intermingled with power and has significant public health impacts. In this paper, I critically examine Ethiopian language policy within the framework of health promotion and demonstrate the ways in which such policy creates a barrier for the Oromo people in making life choices. Additionally it hinders them from ensuring the conditions in which they can be healthy. This paper addresses a gap in the research literature on the impacts of colonial language policies on health promotion.

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Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation – The Experiences of Oromo People in Ethiopia

Published in 2011, Dugassa, Begna F., Sociology Mind - Archived on March 15th, 2012

Title: Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation – The Experiences of Oromo People in Ethiopia
Author: Begna F. Dugassa (Toronto Public Health, Toronto, Canada)
Published: Sociology Mind Vol.1, No.2, 2011, pp. 55-64
Language: English
Keywords: colonial education, colonial knowledge, empowering education, disempowering education and indoctrination

Abstract:
An educational system and its curricula are shaped by the culture and epistemology in which it is embedded. It is influenced by the societal knowledge, but it also instrumental in shaping the knowledge of the society. Culture influences learning style. Based on cultural diversities and social needs, different societies have distinct curricula. As such, Oromo students ought to be taught now to interrogate the colonial epistemology and ideology as well schooled in the ways of dismantling the hegemony. However, in many cases, they are simply taught to reproduce the knowledge, culture, power structure, thinking and the worldview of colonizers. This means that education, which is supposed to be about critical inquiry and social transformation has been used to indoctrinate or brainwash some students. Such colonial educational curricula have invalidated the knowledge of indigenous Oromo people and compromised their needs. This type of education system, instead of empowering the students and their society, has incapacitated them. For the Oromo people, such curricula have distorted their history, image, identity, and damaged their social fabric. In this paper I argue that, colonial knowledge and education system is not in a position to bring about social transformation among Oromo people; on the contrary it disrupts their peace (nagaa), health (fayya) and (tasgabii) social order.

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