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History of Higher Education in Kenya  

Michael Mwenda Kithinji

The history of higher education in Kenya is defined by a struggle for domination by the various forces that have sought to influence the country’s social, economic, and political trajectory in the colonial and postcolonial periods. During the colonial period, the church had a major interest in education, which they viewed as an important tool in their evangelizing mission. However, the colonial government regarded education as an agency for social control as it attempted to mediate the competing interests of the missionaries, white settlers, and African nationalists. Similarly, the postcolonial governments saw education, especially at the higher level as significant due to its role in forming the elite class and as a mechanism for ideological control. Consequently, Kenya’s higher education landscape has witnessed a striking transformation as it served as an arena for powerful competing interests from the colonial period to the present. The period between the inception of higher education in the late 1940s until the early independence period in the late 1960s was dominated by the colonial inter-territorial policy that severely limited the opportunities to access higher education. While the first postcolonial government of President Kenyatta largely upheld the colonial elitist ideas on higher education, this approach changed when President Moi came into office in 1978. President Moi wanted to leave his mark on education by increasing access to higher education. Many students were thus able to access university education, previously a preserve of the privileged few. University expansion remains an enduring legacy of President Moi’s administration, which the succeeding government of Mwai Kibaki inherited and enhanced.


Kilwa and its Environs  

Elgidius B. Ichumbaki and Neema C. Munisi

Between the 10th and 16th centuries ce, the coast of eastern Africa and the adjacent islands developed commercial interactions with many parts of the Indian Ocean and beyond. The interactions resulted in the growth of coastal towns built of coral stones bonded with lime mortar. One of the key coastal towns along the coast of Tanzania is Kilwa, part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage property. Kilwa, off the coast of southern Tanzania, was once a celebrated maritime city-state. The town grew significantly to the extent of minting its coins, becoming a main trading center, and dominating a large part of the Swahili coast, especially between the 11th and 15th centuries ce. Due to commercial growth, Kilwa attracted merchants worldwide to trade in gold, mangrove poles, animal skins, and slaves, among other products. Because of its archaeological and historical potential, Kilwa has attracted research attention from a multidisciplinary perspective since the 1950s. Results of several research projects ranging from historical, archaeological, anthropological, genetics, and heritage management studies inform that Kilwa was the center of a unique coastal culture famously known as “the Swahili civilization.” Because of this uniqueness, the site receives significant national and international support for unraveling more site histories and preserving the existing integrity. Indeed, there is a need to continue conducting research and implementing monument conservation projects; hence, keeping the momentum for the locality remains important in the early 21st century and the future.