Critical Understanding of John Dewey’S Progressive Theory: A Solution to the Problems Facing Current Educational System in Kenya

Eric Thomas Ogwora, Gerishon kuria, Evans Nyamwaka, Paul Ondima


The inquiry into Dewey’s thought in education is gradually justified by profound interest regarding the type of education that is offered currently in Kenya. There is a need to revise the whole system of education if it has to meet Kenyans expectations. This is because it has the tendency to divorce academic from practical skills. It forms individuals who are intellectually arrogant, who despises the wisdom of the old, pretending to be superiors and this creates the system of conflict between the educated and illiterate. Such individuals, in our honest submission, are not ready to participate in societal development through manual works like agriculture. They are only white job color oriented.

This paper will therefore, try to suggest ways through which we can make our education more balanced in terms of academic and practical life, learning and doing so as to be self reliant in terms of job creation, societal development and innovative in the field of science and technology. In order to achieve these aims, we will borrow the ideas of Dewey and compare them with our current education system in Kenya. It is our concern that the views and thoughts of these two system coincides in some degree to challenge as well to rescue the modern man from the evident threatened enslavement of mere academic knowledge without practical skills.

Education should trigger a paramount importance to man since it is the only way to reveal man’s ability to interact authentically with others in the society. It is important that the present research is meant to provide a genuine understanding of Dewey’s view of education briefly compared to current education system in Kenya. We reaffirm that a good education involves the acquisition of both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Hence, we will approach Dewey not only to look for solutions, but also, to ask profound questions on the value of education and how to make it efficient and practical in a broader perspective.

Keywords: Dewey’s pragmatism, education by acquisition of theory and practical skills.

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