The treatment of Indigenous Languages in Kenya’s Pre- and Post-independent Education Commissions and in the Constitution of 2010

Martin C. Njoroge, Moses Gatambuki Gathigia

Abstract


An indigenous or community language is the language that nurtures the child in the early years of his or her life. The UNESCO land mark publication in 1953 underscores the importance of educating children in their community languages: an education that is packaged in a language which the child does not understand is simply difficult for the child. Kenya has had a number of education commissions that significantly address the place of indigenous languages in a child’s education. Further, Kenya Constitution on its part tackles language issues too. This paper, therefore, examines how the Constitution and the various colonial and post-colonial educational commissions that have been undertaken in Kenya treat indigenous languages. Should these indigenous languages be used as a medium of instruction? What are their benefits to a child’s life? To answer these questions, the historical method of study which utilizes mainly secondary and primary sources of data is adopted. The main sources of primary data which form the basis of the discussion and analysis in the paper are Kenya’s constitution (2010) and the educational commissions and reports in the two epochs: colonial and post-colonial periods. The main sources of secondary data scrutinized include: written documents such as books, journals and newspapers. The paper notes that the various educational commissions contain numerous recommendations that have informed Kenya’s education sector over the years on the way indigenous languages should be utilized for both individual and national development. This notwithstanding, the paper concludes that indigenous languages in Kenya have been given a short shrift to the advantage of English language hegemony. The paper proposes a sound implementation of the commissions’ recommendations in order to revitalize indigenous languages so that a Kenyan learner can reap benefits that accrue from the use of indigenous languages in education.


Keywords


Indigenous languages, treatment, colonial, post-colonial, education commissions, constitution

Full Text:

PDF

References


Amutabi, M. N. (2003). Political interference in the running of education in post independence Kenya: A critical retrospection. International Journal of Educational Development 23, 127–144.

Baker, C. (2000). A parents’ and teachers’ guide to bilingualism. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Bogonko S. N, (1992). A history of education in Kenya, 1895-1991. Nairobi: Evans

Brothers.

Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Chimera, R. (1998). Kiswahili Past Present and Future Horizons. Nairobi, Kenya: Nairobi University Press.

Gorman, T.P. (1974). The development of language policy in Kenya with particular reference to education system. In Whiteley, W.H. (Ed.) Language in Kenya (pp.397-446).Nairobi: Oxford University Press.

Kioko, A., Ndung’u, R.W., Njoroge, M.C. & Mutiga, J. (2014). Mother tongue and education in Africa: Publicising the reality. Multilingual Education Journal, 4:18.

Lunga V. B. (2004). Mapping African postcoloniality: Linguistic and cultural spaces of hybridity. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 3(3), 291–325.

Martin, N. (2014). Cultural Value at the British Council and BBC World Service: A comparative examination of Annual Reports, 1952-1978.

Mazrui, A.A. & Mazrui, A.M (1996). A tale of two Englishes: The imperial language in the post-colonial Kenya and Uganda. In Fishman, J. Conrad, A. & Lopez, A.L. (eds.) Post Imperial English (pp.271-302).Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Mazrui, A.A. & Mazrui, A.M. (1998). The power of Babel. Oxford, England: James

Currey.

Mukuria, D.M. (1995). Kenya’s language policy with special emphasis on Kiswahili. In Senamu K. and Williams D. (eds.). Creative Use of Language in Kenya (pp.34-44). Nairobi: Jomo Kenyatta Foundation.

Muricho, P.W. & Chang’ach, J. K. (2013). Education Reforms in Kenya for Innovation. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3 (9), 123- 145.

Nabea, W. (2009). Language policy in Kenya: Negotiation with hegemony. The Journal of Pan African Studies, 3 (1), 121-138.

Njoroge, K. (1991). Multilingualism and some of its implications for language policy and practices in Kenya. In Legere, K. (ed.). The Role of Language in Literacy Programmes with Special Reference to Kiswahili (pp. 249-269). Bonn: German Foundation for International Development (DSE).

Ogechi, N. (2005). On Lexicalization in Sheng. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 14 (3), 334– 335.

Otiende, J. E., Wamahiu, S. P. & Karagu, A. M. (1992). Education and development in Kenya: A historical perspective. Nairobi: Oxford University Press.

Republic of Kenya (ROK). (1963). Education at Independence (The Ominde Commission Report). Nairobi: Government Printers.

Republic of Kenya (GOK). (1964). Kenya Education Commission Report. Nairobi: Government Printer.

Republic of Kenya (GOK). (1965). Sessional paper No. 10 of 1965: African socialism and application to planning in Kenya. Nairobi: Government Printer.

Republic of Kenya (ROK). (1976). Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and policies (Gachathi Report). Nairobi: Government Printers.

Republic of Kenya (GOK). (1981). Second University in Kenya (Mackay Report). Nairobi: Government Printer.

Republic of Kenya (GOK). (1988). Report of the Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond (Kamunge Report). Nairobi; Government Printer.

Republic of Kenya (GOK). (1999). Report of the Inquiry into the Education System of Kenya (TI QET) (Koech Report). Nairobi; Government Printer.

Republic of Kenya (GOK). (2012). Report of the Taskforce on the Re-alignment of the Education Sector to the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Nairobi; Government Printer.

Sifuna, D. N. (1980). Short essays on education in Kenya. Nairobi: Kenya Literature

Bureau.

Sifuna, D.N. (1990). Development of education in Africa: The Kenyan experience. Nairobi: Initiatives Ltd: Kenya.

Sifuna, D. N., & Otiende, J. E., (2009). An introductory history of education, Nairobi: University of Nairobi Press.

UNESCO 1953. The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education. Paris: UNESCO

Wangia, J.I., Furaha, M. & Kikech, B. (2014). The language of instruction versus learning in lower primary schools in Kenya. In D. O. Orwenjo, M.C. Njoroge, R.W. Ndung’u and P.W. Mwangi (eds.). Multilingualism and education in Africa: The state of the state of the art (pp. 8-23). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Whiteley, W.H (1974). Language in Kenya. Oxford University Press, Nairobi.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.6p.76

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.