The role of the friends Africa mission in the development of secondary education in Western Kenya: the case of friends school Kamusinga, 1950-1985
Nabiswa, Martin Wasike
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This study discusses the role played by the Friends Africa Mission (F.AM.) in the development of secondary education in Western Kenya. This has been done by focusing on the establishment and development Friends School Kamusinga whose history from 1950 to 1985 has been documented. This is a historical study which has utilised both the primary and secondary sources of data. For better and clear insights into this topic, the study starts by discussing the efforts of the F.AM. Towards the introduction of Western education in the said area. It is shown that just like other missionaries that evangelised that part of the country, the F.AM. Also took the education of Africans, an exercise which started at Kaimosi in 1903, as one of the most powerful tools for the process of African evangelisation. It emphasised a lot on mass education where religion and industrial work featured prominently. Industrial education was purposely meant to combat African heathenism as an important step towards the formation of responsible Christians in line with the Mission’s avowed objective of establishing a self-propagating, self-supporting and self-governing church within the shortest time possible. African agitations especially after the Second World War and a change in the Mission's policy towards the advancement of their adherents led to demands for a senior secondary school at Kaimosi. The Government finally yielded to these demands in 1950 following its acceptance of the Beecher Education Committee's recommendations. The Government however later on rejected plans to establish this school at Kaimosi and decided to relocate it to the northern part of North Nyanza District in 1952. The wrangles which ensued following this decision not only delayed the establishment of the school but also had far reaching effects on the unity of the church. Although managed by the African Friends, the school project was wholly funded by the Government. The day-to-day running of Kamusinga was however the responsibility of the English Quakers who provided most of the teachers. A part from this, they also financed the 'A' Level facilities during the early 1960s which say Kamusinga match the other older schools in the country. The Friends also continued to assist the school for sometime after independence through the provision of finances and teachers. The study also shows that Kamusinga faced a lot of difficulties especially after 1970, which did a lot in lowering the status of the once prestigious school. These problems had to do with finances, management, discipline and political interference among others. Despite these shortcomings, the study shows that the school has had a lot of influence to the local community especially in socio-economic and educational fields. At the same time, Friends School Kamusinga has also contributed enormously to national development through some of the roles played by members of its alumni in society. Besides this, the study has also recommended some pertinent areas for further research.