DAVID HUME’S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE AND ITS RELEVANCE TO EDUCATION IN KENYA’S SECONDARY SCHOOLS WITH REFERENCE TO BARINGO CENTRAL DISTRICT, KENYA

ABSTRACT
The theory of knowledge as espoused by David Hume is built on the principle of sense experience as a basis of human development. Kenya‟s secondary schools education appears to have borrowed from various philosophical theories, with Hume‟s theory of knowledge being one of them. Hence the study aimed at evaluating this theory and its relevance in secondary school education level in Baringo Central District as a point of reference. The study employed descriptive ex post facto research design which was supported by the social science survey. Using a simple random sampling technique, 382 students were sampled out of 7137 total student population in the district. They were chosen from 11 schools out of the possible 24 secondary schools. This simple random sampling method was further used to arrive at a sample of 202 girls and 180 boys out of a total of 3546 and 3591girls and boys respectively. Through purposive sampling method, a sample of 66 teachers from various departments drawn from the selected 11 schools was studied. Questionnaire and observation sheet were used to collect data. This enabled the researcher to gather information on the teaching methods, the content of the curriculum, and the role of the teacher and that of the learner in the teaching process. It also assisted in exploring issues of discipline of the learners. The findings of the study yielded both qualitative and quantitative data. The quantitative data was analysed using inferential statistics and it entailed making prediction about the qualities of the total population on the basis of qualities of the sample studied. The qualitative data was analysed through descriptive statistics which involved determining measure of central tendency by finding mean, mode and median. There was also the use of philosophical methods in the analysis of data specially the critical and phenomenological approaches. The critical approach enabled the researcher to make rational judgments in assessing the responses given by the participants. The phenomenological method, allowed a detailed description of what was observed in the field. The data collected was presented using tabulation. The findings are expected to be of great value to all stakeholders namely; the policy makers, students, parents, teachers, researchers and the government agencies in their endeavour to provide quality education. It is expected to help policy makers to know the areas that needed to be reviewed in the secondary school education. In addition, it is hoped that the recommendations made after the study would prove quite invaluable in assisting teachers improve on their teaching methods.

CHAPTER ONE:
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Philosophers have traditionally been concerned among other things with questions about human knowledge. Hospers (1967) discloses that epistemology is the branch of philosophy, which is concerned with the sources, nature, scope and structure of knowledge. Gusmano (1990) echoes that epistemologists ask several questions such as; what is meant by the term knowledge? Is it possible for human beings to arrive at knowledge? How is knowledge attained? Are there specific methods of discovering truth? How can one verify that his or her beliefs are true? Are human senses a reliable source of knowledge? Do human beings get all of their ideas from experience or are they born with particular ideas? Are there objective absolute truths or is all truth relative to the individual or to a culture? Are there any differences between knowing something to be the case and merely believing it to be so? A good example of an epistemologist in modern philosophy is David Hume (Whitehead, 1962). Hume is described as an 18th century British empiricist‟s philosopher who used Sir Isaac Newton‟s scientific method of knowledge, as a model to describe how the mind works in acquiring knowledge. The empiricists are of the view that knowledge comes through the senses. In the words of Kneller (1967) these entail the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting.

The issue of epistemology is not a preserve of the Western world philosophers because even the traditional African society had a rich philosophical orientation (Kwame, 1987). African philosophical thought is for instance expressed both in the oral literature and in the thought and actions of the African People. There is a great deal of philosophical materials in the proverbs, myths, folk tales, and folk songs, rituals and arts symbols of the traditional African society. The works of some African scholars such as Sifuna (2006) indicates that the traditional African society also had a rich educational background.

Sifuna (2006) puts it that in the traditional African society educators applied various methods of instructions to attain the educational goals that were desired. Children learned through play, participation in work and oral literature. The oral literature referred to includes the use of myths, legends, folk tales and songs and proverbs. Sifuna (2006) maintains that the immediate environment of the people dictated the contents of the curriculum. The children learned about the names of places, trees, animals, rivers, lakes and many others. To crown it all, they were taught how to cope with the environment, for instance, how to farm, fish, prepare food, hunt and irrigation.

The main educational goals for Kenya since independence show that Kenya still appreciates the role played by the traditional African education. This is reflected by the Ominde Report (1964) whose objective among others, was to strive for an educational system, which would preserve African cultural heritage. Kamunge (1988) argues that the national philosophy of a country dictates the main aims of education.

The national goals of education in Kenya have continued to evolve over the years as shown by the recommendations of the various commissions formed even prior to independence (1963) For example the Beecher Report (1949) outlines character formation and acquisition of practical skills as the main national educational goal. When Kenya attained political independence there was need for the country to adjust their educational goals to suit their new political status (1963). The Ominde Report (1964) laid the foundation of education pattern for the independent Kenya. The commission was set up to replace the colonial educational policies which were discriminatory in nature against the Africans. An equally pressing issue was to train African personnel to man the vacant positions in the government left by the colonialists. The Ominde Report (1964) lists the objectives of education in Kenya as;

i) Education is a function of Kenya nation; it must foster a sense of nationhood and promotes national unity.

ii) Education in Kenya must serve the people of Kenya and needs of Kenya without discrimination.

iii) Our public schools are instruments of secular state, in which no religion is privileged, but they must respect the religious convictions of all people.

iv) The schools of Kenya must respect the cultural traditions of the people of Kenya both as expressed in social institution and relationships.

v) An excessively competitive spirit in our schools is incompatible with our traditional beliefs and must be restrained. Every young person coming from our school must realise that he/she has a valuable part to play in the national life.

vi) Education must be regarded, and used as an instrument for the conscious change of attitudes and relationships preparing children for those changes of outlook required by modern methods of productive organisation. At the same time, must foster respect for human personality.

vii) A most urgent objective of education is to serve the needs of national development.

viii) Education must promote social equality and remove divisions of race; tribe and religion. It must pay special attention to training in social obligation and responsibility.

ix) An outcome of our educational provision at all levels must be adaptable to change.

The changing social, economic and political needs of the independent Kenya led to the formation of the second educational commission chaired by Ndegwa (1971) and which gives the broad aims of education as follows;

i) Education must serve the needs of national development.

ii) Education must assist in fostering and promoting national unity.

iii) Education must prepare the youth of the country so that they can play an effective role in the life of the nation whilst ensuring that opportunities are provided for the full development of the individual talents and personality of the nation.

iv) Education must in assist in the promotion of social equality and train in social obligations and responsibilities.

v) The education system must respect, foster and develop the rich and varied cultures of Kenya.

The National Committee on Education Objectives and Policies chaired by Gachathi (1976) was the third attempt to review education since independence in Kenya. This Report outlines the national educational goals as;

i) To continue promoting national unity.

ii) To remove social and regional inequalities.

iii) To create an international consciousness.

iv) To make general education give increasing emphasis to adaptability.

v) To make formal education institution, give increasing emphasis on problem solving teaching methods that have a bearing on the real life situation of the Kenyan environment.

vi) To promote the full development of talents and personalities of individuals within the context of mutual social responsibility.

vii) To develop those being educated into useful citizens capable of and motivated towards contributing to the improvement of the nation as whole as well as that of their own welfare.

viii) To instil in the students positive attitudes towards cooperative effort and mutual social responsibility by encouraging the project approach to primary teaching.

ix) To institute the teaching of religion and social ethics in education system as a basis for the continued survival and enhancement of the quality of life in the society.

x) To focus education on the basic needs and income earning opportunities for rural areas and to foster changes of social values, aspirations and motivation.

xi) To make secondary education contribute to the formulation and propagation of a national ethical code based on the values of traditional society bearing in mind that the teaching of religious education should not be regarded as the limit of the schools contribution to ethical education.

xii) To provide for ethical education and training and for such social matters as family life education, issues of the environment and national and international understanding.

xiii) To promote traditional practises that is conducive to national unity.

xiv) To direct the traditional development of the country so as to serve as an effective expression of the values and ways of life of the people of Kenya by adopting the various ethnically based traditional practises as part of a national culture.

xv) To promote traditional practises that has educational and occupational values.

xvi) To integrate traditional practises with modern scientific and technological developments.

xvii) To codify and use traditional practices which can serve as sources of basic knowledge.

xviii) To identify and catalogue traditional knowledge and theories and integrate such traditional education with the educational practices for lifelong continuing education.

xix) To bring about a sense of dignity towards social service and productive labour through appropriate programmed activities of basic education.

xx) To enable and motivate Kenyans to utilise the available resources with particular attention being given to subjects which emphasize the national value of such fundamental activities.

xxi) To expose youth to productive labour and to eradicate negative attributes towards work especially manual work.

xxii) To alter attitudes towards careers in agriculture and reinforce changes in aspirations by income redistribution which encourages self reliance, creativity, use of local resources, initiative and appropriate technology.

The fourth educational commission formed to explore the possibility of establishing a second university in Kenya was The Presidential Working Party on the Establishment of a Second University chaired by Mackay. The Mackay Report (1981) recommends the national educational goals as;

i) Education must serve to foster national unity.

ii) Education must serve the needs of national development.

iii) Education must prepare and equip the youth of this country with knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to enable them collectively to play an important role in the life of the nation whilst ensuring that opportunities are provided for the full development of individual talents and personality.

iv) Education must promote social justice and morality by instilling the right attitudes necessary for the training in social obligations and responsibilities.

v) Education must foster, develop and communicate the rich and varied cultures of Kenya.

vi) Kenya is a member of the international community and hence its educational system must foster positive attitudes and consciousness towards other nations.

The fifth attempt to reform education since Kenya attained political independence lead to the formation of a commission which was chaired by Kamunge (1988). This Kamunge Report (1988) stipulates the Kenya‟s educational goals as;

i) Education helps members of the public know methods of and their specific role in the conservation and enhancement of the environment.

ii) Education provides skills and appropriate technology for effective development of agriculture which is the mainstay of Kenya‟s economy.

iii) Education provides positive attitudes and habits towards maintaining a clean and hygienic environment.

iv) Education imparts Kenya‟s social and cultural values as documented in Sessional Paper No.10 of 1965.

v) Education should address itself to the challenges of development and provide appropriate skills and trained manpower required by the economy.

vi) Education equip and prepare the youth with knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to enable them to play an effective role in school and serve the needs of national development.

vii) Education inculcates desirable character traits and values in a learner.

Koech Report (1999) adopts a more innovative and comprehensive approach to education through the Totally Integrated Quality education and Training (TIQET) system of education. Among the key innovations proposed by the TIQET system is first, the expansion of access to basic education from 8 to 12 years. Second, the introduction of modular learning approach in post secondary education. Third step is the introduction of manageable curriculum content at all levels of educational. Fourth, the introduction of limitless opportunities for access to education through expanded alternative and continuing education. Koech Report (1999) argues that the philosophy of education and training must always be in consonance with the national philosophy. This Report outlines the aims of education as follows;

i) The articulation of Kenya‟s identity and her African world view.

ii) Personal character formation.

iii) Respect for authority, human dignity and equality of individual persons.

iv) Patriotism for the nation of Kenya and desire for its sustainable integration, stability and prosperity.

v) Enhancement moral and spiritual values in interpersonal and inter ethnic relations.

vi) Appropriation of mutual social responsibility and its corporate approach for the common good.

vii) Internationalisation of a positive and lifelong work ethic.

viii) Conservation and maintenance of a clean environment.

ix) Promotion physical, emotional and psychological health of all citizens.

x) Cultivation of national unity in the minds of youth at an early age.

xi) Appreciation of national, regional and global concerns.

xii) Development individual‟s ability to make rational decisions.

xiii) Respect and appreciate abilities and limitations of persons with special needs.

xiv) Respect for elderly persons and those in difficult circumstances such as those on the streets and AIDS infected and affected individuals.

xv) Creation of a desire for lifelong learning.

xvi) Fostering national unity within a multi cultural diversity.

xvii) Promoting national development and wealth generation through regulated effort to harness conserve and equitably utilise the natural resource for the common good.

xviii) Equipping the youth of this country with knowledge, skills and expertise necessary for the exploitation of individual potential and talent for sustainable quality of life.

xix) Promoting social justice. Moral responsibility and obligations to self and others within the society.

xx) Fostering, developing and communicating the rich and varied cultures of Kenya.

xxi) Fostering positive attitudes and consciousness towards other nations.

There are still very recent ongoing developments in the field of education in Kenya. The unveiling of a thirty five (35) member task force under the chairmanship of Professor Doughlas Odhiambo by the government (The Standard News Paper February 16, 2011) is a clear manifestation that education reform is a continuous process. The taskforce is charged with the responsibility to assess the implication of a new constitution on education and determine the content to be taught in schools. This education taskforce recommends among other changes a shift from the 8-4-4 to 2-6-6-4 system of education .The Professor Doughlas Odhiambo led taskforce on the re-alignment of education sector to the constitution of Kenya concluded that the current system has failed to deliver on practical skills and exploit learners talents. To address the apparent failure by 8.4.4 to exploit talents the taskforce recommends teaching of sports and talents in junior secondary and career specialisation in senior secondary level (The Standard News Paper May 23, 2012).

Hume‟s theory of knowledge seems to be line with any national education goal which strives to develop the potentials of the learner and equip them with skills and knowledge necessary for survival of mankind as well as nation building. This has been stipulated by the various education reports discussed above. It forms the sixth education aim on the Ominde Report (1964), the Gachathi Report (1976) and the Kamunge Report (1988). The Ndegwa Report (1971) outlines it as the third education aim while the Koech Report (1999) reiterates the same educational ideas in the eighteenth education objective. Hume has a preference for a form of empiricism that stresses on relying on experiences and observation to provide the answers to intellectual questions of all kinds (Norton, 1994). The fact that scientific knowledge taught in secondary schools relies on observation and experience, shows that Hume‟s theory of knowledge is relevant in secondary education (Popkin, 1982). This is because scientific facts such as alcohol boils at 80 degrees Celsius under normal atmospheric conditions are generally derived from observation and experience. According to Norton (1994) Hume‟s ideas in education are well grounded in many subjects in secondary schools in Kenya such as Poetry, Mathematics, physics, chemistry and Morality. K.N.E.C. (2010) reiterates Hume‟s ideas as it argues that scientific skills are mainly acquired through practical experience.

Statement of the Problem
There are different methods of transmitting knowledge to learners. Some of these methods demand experiments from the learner, while others require reasoning. These two approaches are common in Kenya‟s education system. Hume‟s theory of applying experience in learning situations appears to foster these two methods. There is however inadequate documented information in research conducted in Kenya on how Hume‟s theory of knowledge has been applied in education in secondary schools. Further, there seems to be some mismatch in regard to the utilization of some of the aspects of this theory in Kenyan secondary school curriculum. The study intended to fill this gap by investigating how Hume‟s theory of knowledge has been applied in Kenya with special reference to secondary schools in Baringo Central District.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of David Hume‟s theory of knowledge to education in Kenya‟s secondary schools with reference to Baringo Central District. Hume‟s ideas were used as a benchmark to discuss educational aims, aspects of the curriculum, and the position of the teacher and the students in the learning process and also the discipline of the student.

Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study were:

i) To assess the extent in which experience as a source of knowledge advocated by Hume is relevant in the current secondary school education in Baringo Central District.

ii) To analyse the level at which Hume‟s educational aims have been relevant in secondary school education in Baringo Central District.

iii) To evaluate the roles of teachers and students as advocated by Hume and their relevance to what currently goes on in secondary schools in Baringo Central District.

iv) To find out how the content of the curriculum as advocated by Hume can be made more relevant to the current secondary school curriculum in Baringo Central District.

Research Questions
In an attempt to achieve the above objectives, the research was guided by the following research questions.

i) To what extent does the current secondary school education base itself in the notion that experience as advocated by Hume is a relevant source of knowledge in Baringo Central District?

ii) To what level have Hume‟s aims of education been relevant in secondary school education in Baringo Central District?

iii) What are the roles of the teachers and students as perceived by Hume and how relevant is this to what goes on in secondary schools currently in Baringo Central District?

iv) How can the content of the curriculum as advocated by Hume be made more relevant to the current secondary school curriculum Baringo Central District?

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study were anticipated to yield the following benefits;

i) The findings of the study will enable educators understand better any stereotypes which students have concerning science practical.

ii) It was hoped that the study would shed some light on some of the learning methods such as observations, field trips, demonstrations and experimentation hence assisting teachers to improve on their teaching methods.

iii) To aid policy makers to know the areas that require more funding. Once they realise any activity, which promote learning, then they will channel more funds to it. For example, if the study reveals that practical oriented programmes like SMASSE and agriculture projects promote learning then there would be need for them to invest more in such activities.

iv) To assist curriculum designer in having sufficient knowledge. The curriculum designers will know which areas need more time in the school syllabus. They will know whether theoretical oriented or practical oriented subjects should be allocates more time.

Scope of the Study
The main scope of the study was a detailed scrutiny of the secondary school education in Kenya with Baringo Central District being the point of reference. The researcher appreciates the fact that Baringo Central District has a similar educational system to that of the wider Kenya. However, to gain a detailed and in depth research then the study concentrated only on one district. An attempt was made to look at the educational goals, the teachers and student role in the learning process, the methods of learning, aspects of the curriculum and the methods of instilling discipline in the student. All these were then compared with Hume‟s Educational theory.

Limitations of the Study
The possible limitations of the study were;

i) The results of the study are limited to Baringo Central District and if generalised then with a lot of caution.

ii) It was a bit very tedious to collect data owing to the geographical nature of Baringo Central which is characterised by rugged and poor transport means in some parts of the district. To overcome, this during budget some money was set aside to be used in the hiring of motorbikes so as to access all parts of the district with ease.

iii) The theoretical frame work was based on one philosophical standpoint of empiricism as postulated by David Hume yet it is known that education has more dimensions other than only empiricism one. To overcome this attempt was made to look at the ideas of various education commissions that have been formed in Kenya since independence.

Assumptions of the Study
The researcher operated on the following assumptions;

i) The respondents gave honest and correct information.

ii) Hume‟s aspects of education are captured in Kenya‟s education sytem

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