Pragmatism and the primary school: the case of a non-rural village
The successful adaptation of an educational system to the needs of a particular area of a country requires that those needs be carefully investigated and that they not be assumed apriori. Too often economic patterns and behavior styles arg polarized as either "rural" or "urban", "agricultural" or "industrial",or "traditional" or "modern". Such dichotomies may exist more in the minds of the educational planners than they do in reality. The aim of this paper is to analyse the educational needs of one small community in Kenya in terms of its changing socio-economic patterns and to show how attitudes towards the school system have their roots in this setting. The data are drawn from a 19 month anthropological study in South Maragoli Location- of Ivakamega District, Western Province. The first section of the paper presents a short description of Maragoli's social setting, concentrating upon those characteristics of the area which seem to have direct bearing upon the educational system and implications for educational polics. Parental attitudes towards the primary school are then set against this backdrop. There follows an examination of the processes by which these attitudes are transformed into actions which inhibit the institution from acting as an independent variable in the initiation of social change. In the final section, the expectations and experiences of the school leavers are analysed within the context of the community's educational needs.