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Self-Help Secondary Education • in Kenya

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Diverse viewpoints on the role of education in the development of Third World countries have spawned a variety of theories of Third World education. Some scholars contend that Third World states are too weak and "fragile" to implement development programs for education, health, and other social services. This paper examines secondary education in Kenya with regard to issues of educational inequality and quality of education, emphasizing the role of civil society in the provision of education. The role of the state as a major actor in the provision of education, and additionally as a determinant of who gets the benefits from educational efforts of both the state and the civil society, is also discussed in detail. It is argued that despite the major expansion of secondary education, the overall provision of education remains inadequate in relation to equity considerations. Although impressive quantitative expansion has occurred, access to educational opportunities in Kenya is still not evenly distributed with respect to gender and region. With regard to regional inequalities in the provision of education, it clearly emerges from this analysis that educational benefits are distributed in favor of the economically and politically dominant districts and provinces in the country. It is argued that, despite the state's ceding of most of its influence on the educational arena to the civil society, educational outcomes are still largely determined, directly or indirectly, by structures instituted, or supported, by the state. The paper demonstrates how an intricate interplay of social, political, and economic factors has worked against the efforts of the state and the civil society to improve the quality of education and eradicate inequality in the provision of education in Kenya.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociglogy, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, U.S.A.


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