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Changes of Government Policies Towards Mission Education in Colonial Kenya and Their Effects on the Missions: The Case of the Gospel Missionary Society

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Before the First World War, the provision and management of African education was almost entirely in the hands of the missionaries. After the war, the government enacted a series of laws that were designed to improve the quality of education. However, the new policies placed a heavy financial burden on the missions, which found it difficult to function without government grants. This paper analyzes the effects of government education policies on the fluctuating fortunes of the Gospel Missionary Society (GMS). It shows that, although the GMS was not opposed to the grants, its small size and faith basis made it impossible to meet the government's conditions for receiving the grants. The government's pressure and the mission's inability to implement the policies eventually forced the GMS to withdraw from the mission field altogether, and that is why there are today no schools or churches associated with it in Kenya. The paper is based on secondary sources and primary materials obtained from the Kenya National Archives (KNA) and the GMS's and other missionary societies' archives.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, Biola University, 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639, USA;, Email:


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