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Discuss the missionary factor in the development of education in Kenya up to 1920?


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more than 4 weeks ago
The missionary factor played a significant role in the development of education in Kenya up to 1920. Missionaries from various Christian denominations, such as the Church Missionary Society (CMS), the Roman Catholic Church, and the Scottish Mission, were among the first to establish schools in Kenya during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

These missionaries believed that education was essential for the spread of Christianity and the promotion of European values and culture. They saw education as a means of civilizing and "civilizing" the African population, as well as a way to train future converts and leaders for the Christian church.

The missionaries established schools that provided basic education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as instruction in Christian doctrine and European languages. These schools were often located near mission stations and were primarily attended by children of converts and those who were seen as having potential for leadership in the Christian community.

The missionaries also played a key role in the development of teacher training programs in Kenya. They trained African teachers to work in their schools, providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to teach the curriculum and uphold Christian values.

Overall, the missionary factor in the development of education in Kenya up to 1920 was significant in shaping the educational landscape of the country. The schools established by missionaries laid the foundation for the formal education system in Kenya, and their influence can still be seen in the emphasis on Christian values and European languages in the education system today.
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Role of Missionaries in the Development of Education in Kenya up to 1920

Missionaries played a crucial role in establishing educational institutions in Kenya during the colonial era. Their primary aim was to spread Christianity, but they also recognized the importance of education as a means of improving local communities.

Early Mission Schools:

- 1844: Church Missionary Society (CMS) established the first mission school in Mombasa.
- 1888: Church of Scotland Mission opened schools in Kikuyu and Kijabe.
- 1899: Roman Catholic Mill Hill Missionaries founded St. Mary's School in Nyeri.

Curricula and Methods:

- Mission schools initially focused on religious education.
- Gradually, they introduced secular subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and hygiene.
- Teaching methods were based on rote learning and strict discipline.

Christianization and Westernization:

- Schools operated within a Christian framework, promoting Christian values and beliefs.
- Students were also exposed to Western culture and values through textbooks and teachers.

Government Involvement:

- The colonial government initially supported mission schools, providing grants and recognition.
- However, as education expanded, the government sought to assert more control over its curriculum and administration.

Significance of Mission Education:

- Mission schools provided access to education for many Kenyans, particularly in remote areas.
- They helped to reduce illiteracy rates and improve literacy skills.
- They introduced Kenyans to Western education and ideas, fostering a sense of societal change.
- They laid the foundation for the development of a formal education system in Kenya.

Challenges and Limitations:

- School attendance was often low due to cultural factors, poverty, and lack of infrastructure.
- Mission schools faced financial constraints and relied heavily on government support.
- Education was often geared towards preparing students for lower-level jobs within the colonial system.


Missionaries played a significant role in the development of education in Kenya up to 1920. They established mission schools that provided access to education, spread Christianity, and introduced Western ideas. However, challenges such as low attendance and limited resources remained, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive and equitable education system.

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