The Contribution of the German Neukirchen Mission (GNM) in the advent of Western Education in Tana River County, Kenya 1885-1986
Kimani, Gitonga P.
Otiende, James E.
Karugu, Augustine M.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the contribution of the German Neukirchen Mission (GNM) in the advent of Western Education in Tana River County, Kenya in the period 1885-1986. The historical research design was preferred as the topic in question was a historical survey of the establishment and development of Western education in Tana River County from late 19th century to the last two decades before the close of the 20th century. Both primary and secondary sources of data were utilized. There were three research instruments namely; interview schedules, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Document Analysis. Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques were utilized though the latter to a larger extent. Documents were analyzed through external and internal criticism. The results revealed that Western education was introduced in Tana River County majorly by the GNM. This was in spite of many hardships and challenges that saw some other Christian missionary organizations like the Swedish Mission, Holy Ghost Fathers (HGF) and United Methodist Mission (UMM) vacate the area to other more friendly locations. The British colonial government equally shied off from the area probably for perceiving it as an area without immediate and direct economic gains to the colony. At independence, of all primary schools in existence in Tana River County, over 90% of them had been started by the GNM. The four leading secondary schools in Tana River County namely Tarasaa, Hola, Wenje and Ngao all developed out of GNM initiatives. The GNM achieved this even after being deported twice by the British Government during the WW I and WW II which put Germany and Britain in opposing camps. The findings point out the need to acknowledge the role of the German Neukirchen Mission (GNM) in the introduction of Western Education in Tana River County. The findings also show that there is need as much as possible to ensure that differences of political nature are not allowed to affect the provision of vital social amenities like education. The German missioners ought not to have been deported due to the conflict pitting their country and the British at the international level. Moreover, the resilience and success of GNM where everyone else seems to have failed or avoided should be a reference point to stakeholders in education, notably, both the county and the national government on how to improve the education sector in the county and similar arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs).