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Wellings, P. A. (1980) Education and Development in Central Kenya: Problems of Spatial and Structural Inequalities in the School System. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Massive and sustained expenditure on educational development has been a consistent feature of Kenyan government policy since independence. Education is seen as a means of promoting national unity, establishing political ideologies and, most importantly, as a catalyst of social change and economic development through the production of appropriate skills and attitudes. In the light of recent policy intentions to concentrate upon rural development it is pertinent to evaluate the efficacy of the education sector's contribution. The thesis briefly documents the history of Kenyan education and examines influential research and reports within several disciplines in terms of their impact upon current educational policy. It is shown that, despite rapid growth and administrative changes, the present formal school system exhibits, in structure and direction, no fundamental departures from the inherited colonial framework; moreover, the informal sector's contribution, although specifically oriented to rural development, is far from significant. Inequalities within the educational system, particularly between secondary schools of different type, grade and location, are identified and the implications of these inequalities for the developnent-priority educational policy are discussed. The field data were provided by a questionnaire survey of students in secondary schools in central Kenya. The information referred to students' socio-economic and educational backgrounds; occupational and educational aspirations; and their attitudes towards development, social class and elitism. Analysis reveals that school standards are highly variable and that the system is still oriented to the urban/white-collar sector; access to this is rigidly restricted and biased towards students of high-graded Government schools serving the more affluent socio-economic groups. These findings are interpreted in terms of Kenya's political structure, ideologies and developing class relations. It is concluded that the educational system, far from generating an infrastructure conducive to rural development, acts to legitimize and reinforce elitism.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:59

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