Phelps-Stokes Commission

Name ID 1978

See also

Nettelbeck, David A history of Arusha School, Tanzania
Page Number: 10


From the very earliest post war years, the missions were feeling their way toward some kind of partner ship with Government in education. The following; missionary comment was no doubt typical:

"It seems to as quite evident that in view of the present financial stringency, neither the Government nor the missionary facilities can carry on the work alone, but that working in conjunction they can bring to a successful issue the aims which they both have at heart. It is a simple matter of fact that missions can secure the services of men and women of the best type and training who for the highest motives will give their life service at a very much lower cost than those who do not have similar motives to inspire them. Therefore if a system of grants-in-aid could be coupled of course with inspections, missions could largely augment their schools and raise their standard of education, introducing; a large measure of industrial training for which fresh instructors will be obtained from England and elsewhere".

This rather pious statement stands at the right wing., of a universal debate on state aid for church schools and is in marked contrast to the realities of occasional antagonism between the churches and the Government in the 19408 and 1950s.

The Ormsby-Gore Commission in 1924 criticised the back of educational provision and claimed that the education system had not returned to the level it had reached under the Germans.

The Phelps-Stokes Commission, a missionary inspired and privately financed commission in the same year called for partnership between missions and government, not separate development, and this policy was delineated in a subsequent Colonial Office Memorandum of 1925 entitled, "Education Policy in British Tropical Africa". There was also a significant "Protestant Lobby" at Westminster which supported the partnership concept.

An African Education Ordinance came into effect on lst January 1928. It set up a Central Advisory Committee on Education and authorized the payments of Grants in Aid (G.I.A.) to voluntary schools which fulfilled certain standards of efficiency. In 1924/25 the total Government expenditure on education had been "15,754 or 1.18% of the territory's revenue; by 1928/29 it had risen to "80,000 or 3.35% of the revenue.

The Government's aim in education was to provide a small but efficient system to fulfil clearly identified purposes of development, while the missions in addition aimed to use Government money to "Christianize" the country by education. In actual fact the peak of the independent mission enterprise in education had passed, and their work was now increasingly underwritten by Government money and came more and more under Government control. The last grants were paid in 1969 when all grant aided schools cane under full Ministry of Education management.

The Dutch community, many of whom had trekked from South Africa, and which was one of the largest groups to take up land abandoned by the Germans during the war, was one of the first to take advantage of the G.I.A. system. While the British settlers were waiting for the Government to do something for them, the Dutch had built 3 schools and received grants for them from 1928 on. The Government also began to assume some responsibility for financing Asian schools which had come into being on the initiative of various communities of parents, notably those of the Aga Khan's community.

The G.I.A. payments system which had such small and tentative beginnings had risen to "285,000 in 1949 and "824,000 in the 1963/64 financial year.

Extract ID: 4919