“A liberal education…frees a man from the prison-house of his class, race, time, place, background, family and even his nation.”
PEARLS HOUSE, also trades as PEARLS PUBLISHERS, is a Kenyan press publishing creative books of special interest to peacebuilding and social justice. Our list is a mix of fiction and non-fiction books for young readers and adults. The MISSION of PEARLS is to provide students, parents, educators, and stakeholders access to relevant and affordable publishing services to meet their educational needs. Our VISION is to be a leading provider of publishing services in Kenya.
We are committed to the following CORE VALUES:
At PEARLS, we believe that publishing is of great importance to the cultural, intellectual and educational life of a nation and that the development and dissemination of knowledge products is a matter of the utmost importance for any civilization. Thus, we seek to be a voice of reason, and a leader in developing and publishing works that will steer our generation into a sustainable future. PEARLS HOUSE offers space and resources to writers of all walks to share their observations, reflections, and creations with readers of all generations.
We seek to address challenges in the Kenyan educational system, which since the founding of our nation over five decades ago has failed to live up to its expectations, that is, to help students (1) become interested in our environment, (2) learn leadership and the responsibility of leading fellow human beings, (3) become aware of their strengths and limitations, and acquire the courage to accept failure, (4) be life-long learners and researchers always looking for solutions to world problems, and (5) become skilled professional workers who are willing to contribute to the welfare of Kenyans in particular, and the world at large.
The question of what constitutes right, relevant, beneficial, and ideal education has pricked our consciences since colonial days and is now the subject of many government legislation and policies. The greatest desire of parents is to enable their children to access the ‘ideal’ education, which many interpret as the kind of education that can secure their future (especially financial future). Thus, the government has tried to steer policy into supporting education within certain fields they consider important for the economic development of the country.
The aims of education in Kenya has always differed from one stakeholder to another. During colonialism, the British offered Kenyans vocational training and denied them from accessing literary education. They argued that literary education was a waste of resources because in their imagination Kenyans only existed to serve colonial purposes and therefore, they just needed to learn ‘crafts’. In a debate in Kenya Legislative Council, W. Maclellan Wilson opined, “literary education will turn a good African into a bad European.” He urged his fellow legislators to consider implementing the findings and recommendations of the Phelps-Stokes Commission Report.
The Phelps-Stoke Commission, which carried a few studies in Africa is perhaps the greatest insult to the African mind and intellectualism. For instance, in one of the reports, they recommended “for the education of women the school system should provide instruction and training for women in the care of children, cleanliness and the simple essentials of
The commission called for the establishment of schools that will lead an African mind into eliminating political, social and economic awareness of the colonial inequality. They sought the development of colonial patriotism and loyalty to the crown through carefully crafted religious and moral education.
The commissioners assumed that Africans had an inferior mind, this could only be taught ‘simples’ of life such as lessons of hygiene, home life training, industry especially simple agriculture, and basic recreational activities. They denied Africans the benefit of liberal education.
Unfortunately, since independence, the Kenyan government has contributed less to redefining the ideal education for our people. In some ways, some colonial traditions continue to dominate our minds.
The search for an ideal education is not simple. With our continued emphasis on strict specialization right from the undergraduate level, many young people may never know what an ideal education looks like. At PEARLS, we believe the failure of Kenyan higher education is in its lack of breadth. Students are not truly broadened, hence have remained ignorant of too many aspects of our world of knowledge and aesthetics.
The over-emphasis of industrial and technical professions has denied students the wide perspective that a good general education can provide. Our undergraduate degrees are so poorly designed that they do not equip students with the necessary skills and the curiosity that is needed for innovation. One often feels compelled to undertake a graduate degree to make up for the inadequacies of the college education. A master’s degree was meant to train masters of fields, not to train students on how to think critically (although it might), a skill that a good general education can provide.
PEARLS does not have all answers to our educational problems, ours is to provide a forum for debating these issues and for accessing a wide variety of educational resources. We call upon all students, parents, teachers, and policymakers to join our network of authors and editors who are committed to finding solutions to our educational problems.