Continuity and change In Samburu Education
This research was designed to di.scover the effects of modern, Western-type education upon the traditional ways of life of the Samburu people of Kenya. Traditionally, the Samburu had adapted well to an arid habitat by nomadic pastoralism. Population growth, overgrazing, erosion and dessication of their environment have seriously threatened that adaptation. Modern schools among the Samburu were o~ened in 1935 and had increased in number to enroll about 20% of school age children by 1977. Thus, by this date the effects of these schools were clearly observable during my research visit (from January - August, 1977). Initial interviews were conducted with Samburu youths, and middle-age and older adults of both sexes, to determine what cultural changes were disturbing to them. An interview schedule was formulated from these jnitial interviews, embracing the various aspects of their culture. The interview schedule was administered to a research sample of six groups, of 20-25 individuals each, controlled for age, years of school and sex. xiv Information from respondents was supplemented by observational data, written essays by secondary school students, and recorded life histories and oral literature. Questions in the interview schedule attempted to ascertain: (1) whether specific cultural items were considered traditional or modern by the respondents, (2) whether the respondents approved or disapproved of these i~ems, and (3) from whom the respondent acquired his/her opinions. In most aspects of culture respondents with more schooling registered ~ore choices for modernizing ways of life. A majority still preferred traditional social values. A pigher percentage of girls registered choices for change in questions of social relations and education than did boys. Traditionally males were more dominant than females, and more were permitted to attend school. Parents, aunts and uncles, elders, and unschooled warriors were , the chief transmission agents for traditional ways of life, whereas school teachers, students, civil servants and missionaries were the primary transmission agents· for modernizing ways of life. Schools are seen -to be a very imporeant but not the only source of profound cultural change occurring among the Samburu.