The contribution of the mill hill missionaries in the development of secondary education in Bomet county, Kenya: A case of Kaplongs boys/girls secondary schools, 1951 -1974
Author(s)Menjo Simon Kiprotich
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AbstractThe study aimed at examining the contribution of the Mill Hill Missionaries (MHM) in the development of Secondary education in Bomet County. The institutions of interest were Kaplong Boys and Kaplong Girls Secondary schools. The study confined itself to a time period, between, 1951 and 1974; 1951 being the time MHM initiated secondary education in Bomet County while 1974 is the year they handed over the schools to the Africans. The main community that was examined in relation to the two schools was the Kipsigis community. The study was guided by four specific objectives namely; to document the role of MHM in the development of education in Bomet County, to examine the historical development of Kaplong Boys/Girls Secondary schools, to establish the contribution of Kaplong Boys/Girls secondary schools in the development of secondary education in Bomet County and lastly to ascertain ways in which Kaplong Boys/Girls Secondary schools benefited members of the local community. The MHM ventured Bomet County in 1930s and carried out educational activities within the context of evangelization which was their main enterprise in Africa. These activities had never been keenly and adequately studied. Furthermore, studies on Kaplong Boys/Girls Secondary schools to establish their historical development and benefit to the local community had not yet been carried out. This is the problem which this study undertook to address. The study being historical necessitated the employment of historical approach to carry it out. A historical approach to a study seeks to reconstruct a previous age in a spirit of critical enquiry; it aims to achieve a faithful representation of the age in question. This study sought to reconstruct the MHM’s contribution to education in Bomet County; it sought to achieve a faithful representation of their educational activities in the county and hence, the reason the approach was deemed appropriate for the study. The study utilized both primary and secondary sources of information. Oral data was collected mainly from informants within Bomet County. Interviews informed by interview guide schedules were used to obtain data from respondents. Archival material was sourced from KNA, KParchs, KBHarchs, KGHarchs. Other secondary materials were obtained from libraries. Information from secondary sources supplemented data from primary sources. Collected data was subjected to evaluation through both external and internal criticisms. This gave rise to verified data accepted as credible historical evidence. This was then analyzed through thematic categorization, discussion and interpretation in the light of study objectives. This led to the establishment of historical facts which were then written in prose to produce this work. Secondary sources informed this study that there are two concepts of missionary/western education which puts scholars into two groups. When viewed from the context of its effects on those who received it, Western education is said to have effected either positively or negatively. This study adopted the first concept which views missionary or western education in terms of development. Thus, employing the concept of development, this study showed how western education brought in the context of Christianity effected tremendous transformation on the people of Bomet County. Therefore, mainly interested in spreading the gospel, the MHM were also concerned with improving the socio-economic conditions of the people. The findings of this study revealed that in establishing Kaplong Boys/Girls and other schools, MHM laid the foundation of education in Bomet County, and thus played a role in its development. The study findings, further revealed that Kaplong Boys/Girls secondary schools have grown to their present magnitude motivated by certain factors including the MHM themselves, both colonial and post-colonial governments as well as the local community leaderships among others.