By the 1970s 85 percent of the seven-year-olds, 59 percent of the six-year-olds and 44 percent of the five-year-olds were either in nursery or primary school.
Education was not free and not all families could afford to send all their five- and six-year-olds to primary school but they could afford nursery school.
Education and the Kikuyu of Kenya The contribution of women to a society's smooth transition from preliterate to literate, from a relatively autonomous community to a member of a nation enmeshed in a world economy, has received too little attention from social scientists and policy makers.
When the economy and political organization of a society change, families who can adjust to the new conditions will fare the best.
Now during the school hours they had only four-year-olds at home to supervise younger siblings while they hurried to take animals to the pasture, carry water from the town well, or get wood for the cooking fire.
If they went to the garden during school hours, infants and toddlers accompanied them and the four-year-old carried the infant strapped on its back while the mother worked.Throughout the Third World, schools are being introduced.Within the next decade it will become difficult, if not impossible, to find a society where the development of schooled and unschooled children can be compared.Inasmuch as women the world over are the primary caretakers of young children, they play an important role in facilitating or hindering changes in family life.The introduction of a cash economy and occupations that require reading and writing require schools equipped to teach these skills.How difficult is it for families to adjust to these new institutions?There are two major consequences that affect women - the loss of child labor and the need to make changes to help children master new skills.When the six-year-olds were no longer available during school hours, four- and five-year-old children were pressed into service as child nurses.These children are less capable of playing a consistent caretaking role.When we began our study in 1968, most of the mothers in Ngeca thought that education was necessary for success in the new nation.There had been a school in this Kenyan village I studied since 1928 but it was not until the 1940s that an appreciable number of children were enrolled.