Dilemmas of development: the village polytechnic movement as a shadow system of education in Kenya
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The need for training which complements the established formal school system in Kenya is indicated by the growth of the National Youth Service, Youth Centres and Village Polytechnics. This paper contends that the particular significance of the Village Polytechnic Movement lies not simply in its reflection of the 'Harambee' spirit and its role in vocational training, but also in the fact that it may contain the first faint stirrings of a new educational ideology for Kenya. The purpose of the paper is to identify from the recent experience of polytechnics some of the significant features of this emerging ideology. A model of formal institutional secondary schooling is used to contrast the ideals of the Village Polytechnic Movement which aim to create a type of training rooted in individual experience and local need. The main part of the paper draws on survey data to illustrate some of the dilemmas which polytechnics are facing in their attempt to give substance to these ideals. The data reveal the strength and pervasiveness of the myth of institutional schooling in patterning the development of polytechnics. Despite this influence however it is clear that certain polytechnics do exemplify significant new educational, principles and hold out the potential of an important contribution to solving problems associated with youth employment and occupation. Five distinct types of polytechnic are identified and briefly discussed. Salient among the principles which they exemplify is the utility of the notion of trainingas- work in the search for a relevant educational response to the developmental needs of rural communities.