A Critical Reflection of Martins Buber’s Philosophy of Education and its Relevance in the New-State


  • Helen Chukwudi Oribayo University of Lagos, Nigeria
  • Ayodele Olalekan Shotunde University of Lagos, Nigeria
  • Godwin Ehi Azenabor University of Lagos, Nigeria




Buber’s Philosophy of Education, Holistic Encounter, I and Thou, Nigerian Educational System


The aim of this essay is to examine the relevance of I and Thou through the lens of Martins Buber’s philosophy of education. The fundamental problem is that the educational system in the new-states like Nigeria is in need of re-orientation. Owing to this, policy formulators and educational practitioners need to see education in relational terms with regards to its relevance, implementation and its methodology together with the ends which education wishes to serve to as a facilitator of societal development. The method of critical analysis is useful to facilitate the re-orientation exercise. Findings show that Buber’s philosophy of education as embedded in the idea of I and Thou encourages interaction among individuals which are integral to the flourishing of positive relationship between the educational system and the community. Consequently, the paper attempts to unveil how this value position could impact positively on the Nigerian educational system in a bid to avert its decline. Buber’s I-Thou (You) relationship opens avenue for encounter in which people could engage with each other fully through dialogue. The education is based on authentic relations between teachers and learners where knowledge that is not imposed by the teacher is the basis of true pedagogy. In Buber’s idea of “I and Thou (You)”, personal relation should tend beyond individualism and collectivism for the future generations. The knowledge of self should be first and foremost: learners must be taught to explore their two autonomous instincts: the originator and the communion. Buber explains that the goal of the learner is to turn objective knowledge into active knowledge which helps in self actualization in the relational world.

Author Biographies

Helen Chukwudi Oribayo, University of Lagos, Nigeria

 holds B.A. (Hons.), M.A. degrees from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where she is currently working on her PhD. Her areas of specialization include: African Philosophy, Philosophy of Education and Ethics. She is currently an Administrative staff of the University of Lagos.

Ayodele Olalekan Shotunde, University of Lagos, Nigeria

(Corresponding Author) Department of Philosophy. His area of competences and interests include Social and Political Philosophy (Western and African traditions), Philosophy of Education, Criminology and Security Studies, Conflict Resolution and Gender Studies. He is an E-Tutor of General African Studies and Introduction to Philosophy and Logic at the Distance Learning Institute, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Shotunde is a member of the Philosophical Association of Nigeria (PAN) and Associate member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPMN). Shotunde has staggering publications that have appeared in internationally indexed journals. He is a reviewer for a number of credible journals in his area of speciality.

Godwin Ehi Azenabor, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Department of Philosophy. He holds B.A. (Hons.), M. Phil. and PhD degrees in African Philosophy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he is currently a Professor. Apart from his specialization in African philosophy, his other areas of research and competence include: Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Metaphysics. He is the immediate past Head, Department of Philosophy. Azenabor is the author of several indexed and well–cited articles in both local and international journals, books and monographs. Azenabor won the 2007 University of Lagos best research Award for Arts and Humanities.


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How to Cite

Oribayo, H. C., Shotunde, A. O., & Azenabor, G. E. (2020). A Critical Reflection of Martins Buber’s Philosophy of Education and its Relevance in the New-State. Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 25(2), 114–126. https://doi.org/10.31874/2309-1606-2019-25-2-6






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