Strategies to tackle Education Challenges in Uganda

Strategies to tackle Education Challenges in Uganda
The government of Uganda should consider these strategies in solving education problems in the country. They include;
End armed conflict and ensure security and peaceful environment.
·         Develop and promote education programmes that target war-affected areas and other disadvantaged groups.
·         Strengthen laws on education and promote good governance.

Educational Challenges in Uganda.

The following are some of the challenges faced in the Ugandan education system;
·         High enrolments against limited facilities.
·         Low transition rates across the system
·         Inadequate and poorly trained teachers.
·         Gender imbalances.
·         Providing education to children from disadvantaged communities.

Trends in higher education in Uganda

Higher education in Uganda is offered at the universities and other tertiary institutions, which admit those with six years of secondary education. The universities offer degree and diploma courses, while the tertiary institutions offer certificate and diploma courses.
Higher education has grown significantly since the early 1990s, with enrolments increasing by about 90 percent to date. At least there are five public universities and 17 private universities in the country.

Adult Literacy and Continuing Education in Uganda

The revival of adult literacy programmes started in 1992 with a pilot project in eight districts of Apac, Hoima, Kabarole, Mbarara, Mpigi, Mukono, Iganga and Kamuli.  The project was then extended to cover 22 districts in 1999 and thereafter expanded to the whole country.  Evaluations carried out on the programmes show that it has improved enrolments considerably.
 According to Uganda's National Adult Literacy Strategic Investment Plan, the country's literacy rate is 68 per cent - 76 per cent for men and 61 per cent for females. 

Non-Formal Education Uganda.

Non-formal education is provided to youth who missed the chance to go to regular primary schools for various reasons such as economic and environmental difficulties, as well as political conflict mainly in the northern part of the country.
The programme targets youth in pastoral and fishing communities, those engaged in child labour and those living in conflict and hardship areas.
There are a number of initiatives by the government, civil society, religious groups and development agencies.

Special needs Education in Uganda

Special needs education has benefited from the UPE funds.  Besides, children with special learning needs are integrated into normal schools through the policy of inclusive education.  Through the various interventions, the number of children with special learning needs have increased quite significantly, from 26,429 before UPE to 218,380 in 2004.  However, this declined to 182,350 in 2005 with 98,469 boys and 83,881 girls.

Secondary Education in Uganda

Secondary education has registered high enrolment growth rates since the mid-1990s, following the introduction of UPE, which saw large numbers of children join primary schools. The number of government-aided secondary schools grew by 20 per cent while the private ones increased by 15 per cent in the past 10 years.
According to the 2005 Annual School Census, there were 697,507 students enrolled in secondary schools in 2004.  The figure was estimated to have risen to more than 700,000 in 2006. A key development in secondary education is the increased participation of girls.  According to available statistics, girls constituted 45.5 per cent of students enrolled in secondary schools, while boys were 55.0 per cent.  Some of the reasons for this was affirmative action, including providing proper sanitation for girls and creating conducive environment for them in schools. However, secondary education is still marked by low transition rates.  In 2004, for example, only 50 per cent of the 400,000 pupils who completed primary school transited to post-secondary institutions.

Another major development in Uganda's secondary education is the plan by the government to abolish fees and make it free for all qualified students.  The universal secondary education (USE) is expected to start in January 2007 and will first benefit those enrolling in Form One and then move gradually until Form Four.  Universal secondary education will put Uganda among the few countries in Africa to offer a complete free basic education covering 12 years. 

Primary Education in Uganda

Uganda was the first country in East Africa to introduce UPE in 1997, offering free schooling for four children in every family.   This increased school enrolment dramatically from less than 3 million in 1997 to 6.8 million in 2003, rising to about 7.4 million in 2004.  The figure has then stabilized at about 7.2 million in 2005, as the problem of over age learners has been contained.
The gross enrolment rates have gone down from 132 per cent in 2000 to 118 per cent in 2005, with 119 per cent and 117 per cent for boys and girls.  Similarly, the net enrolment has improved from 86.5 per cent in 2000 - 99.8 per cent for boys and 82.3 per cent girls to 93.01 per cent in 2005, comprising 95.6 per cent for boys and 92.4 per cent for girls.
The gross enrolment rates have improved from 128 per cent in 2000 to 118 per cent in 2005, with girls recording the best improvement.  The net enrolment rate has also been steadily raising, from 85.5 per cent in 2000 to 95 per cent in 2005.  The implication of this is that there are more children aged between, 6-12 enrolled in primary schools.
Although the number of qualified teachers rose to 99.6 per cent in 2002, the figure went down to 93 per cent in 2003 and 92 per cent in 2004. Similarly, the pupil-teacher ratio has come down, now standing at 51:1.

Early childhood education in Uganda

The ministry of Education and Sports through the department of pre-primary and primary education is responsible for making policies; development of curriculum guidelines, training of teachers and caregivers; coordination and monitoring of ECE interventions.  ECE targets children between four and five years.
The ministry has developed a draft ECE policy while the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) has developed a draft ECE learning framework, as well as produced and distributed non-book materials to Primary 1 and Primary 2 classes in government-aided schools.  According to the ECE policy, the government is responsible for the provision of curriculum; teacher training supervision; and developing policy
framework and guidelines for coordinating the programmes.  Parents and communities are responsible for providing teaching and learning facilities and paying teachers' salaries. According to government statistics, there were 41,775 children enrolled in ECE in 2004, comprising 21,179 girls and 20,596 boys.  The highest enrollments were recorded in 2002, when there were 78,257 pupils - 38,581 boys and 39,676 girls.  However, it is noted that the apparent decline in enrollment may not represent the real situation on the ground because many centers do not submit their statistics to the central government.
Other achievements made are the establishment of teacher training programmes for ECE teachers at the Institute of Education Kyambogo currently known as Kyambogo University. The training is offered at degree and diploma levels. 

Some of the challenges facing ECE include inadequate trained teachers, shortage of learning and teaching materials, poor curriculum, low enrollment ratios and lack of effective inspection. 

Education System of Uganda

Quality Education and Sports for All.
To provide for support, guide, coordinate, regulate and promote quality education and sports to all persons in Uganda for national integration, individual and national development.
  • To make significant and permanent gains in achieving equitable access to education at all levels;
  • To improve considerably the quality of education particularly at the primary level;
  • To enhance the management of education service delivery at all levels particularly the district level; and
  • To develop the capacity of the ministry to plan, programme and manage an investment portfolio that will effectively and efficiently develop the education sector.
Overview of education system
The current education system in Uganda has been in force since independence.  It consists of one year pre-primary education, seven years of primary education, two year of higher secondary and then three to five years of university education.

After successful completion of the primary school cycle, one can either join lower secondary school or take a three year craft course in vocational and technical training.  On average, only about 40 per cent of those leaving primary school are absorbed into the secondary cycle.  On completion of secondary education, one can proceed to high school (Advanced Level); technical training institutes for advanced craft course that takes two or three years; primary teachers college for a two-year; or join the various government training colleges.  Those completing "A" level either proceed to the university, national and technical training colleges or other higher education training institutions. 

Education in Uganda

Background information
Uganda is a landlocked country located in the eastern part of Africa.  It has a total surface of 241,039 square kilometers.  It is bordered to the north by Sudan, to the east by Kenya, to the south by Tanzania, to southwest by Rwanda and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda became in depended in 1962.  However, it went through a turbulent political history for about two decades marked by coups and military dictatorship that slowed its socio-economic growth.  It is not until 1986, when the National Resistance Movement (NRM) took over power, that the country started enjoying peace.  Since, it has recorded significant growth in various sectors of the economy.  It recorded an economic growth 5.3 per cent in 2005/6 and this is expected to rise to 5.6 per cent in 2006/7.  Similarly, it recorded an inflation rate of 5.3 per cent.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the GDP.  According to the 2002 Housing and Population Census, Uganda has a population of 24.4 million people.  However, recent estimates put the population at 28 million as of 2006, with 50 per cent being children under 14 years.  Literacy rate is 68 per cent, with 76 per cent for males and 61 per cent for females.  English is the official language, however, Ganda or Luganda and Kiswahili are also widely spoken.

Although the country has operated a no-party system in the past 20 years, a national referendum held in July 2005 paved the way for the introduction of multiparty politics in the country. 

Education Challenges in Tanzania

The following re some of the major huddles faced in the Tanzanian system of education.

  • Low transition rate from primary to secondary school. Less than one third of all candidates who sit Standard Seven (class7) examinations proceed to secondary schools yearly.
  • Regional and gender disparities in access to primary education, with some regions registering 126 per cent enrollment while others 70 per cent.
  • Inadequate teachers for the UPE programme. The national average teacher/pupil ratio ( TPR) is 1:58 although some regions like Kigoma have a ratio of 1:74.
  • Poor remuneration and lack of teachers.
  • Inadequate coordination within the departments responsible for provision of education
  • Poor learning environments
  • Shortage of teaching and learning materials.
  • Lack of adequate funds to meet the high learning costs across all the levels. 

Education laws and policies in Tanzania

These are some of the educational laws and policies in Tanzania

  • The Education act No 25 of 1978:
  • Education Sector Development Programme: Primary Education Development Plan (2002-2006)
  • The Education and Training Policy;
  • The Higher Education Policy
  • The Technical Education and Training Policy;
  • The National Science and Technology Policy;
  • Cultural Policy;
  • Tanzania Vision Development 2025; and;
  • National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty 

Policies for Education and Training in Tanzania

The broad policy objectives of education and training in Tanzania as spelt out in the various policy documents are as follows:
  • Development of integrative personalities
  • Promotion of the acquisition and appreciation of national culture and of the constitution;
  • Promotion of society-centered learning and the use of acquired skills and knowledge for the improvement of the quality of life;
  • Development of self-confidence, inquiring mind, and development oriented mindset;
  • Giving adaptive and flexible education that meets the challenges of a changing world;
  • Encouraging love and respect for work of whatever type and improved productivity;
  • Inculcating in learners ethical behavior, tenets of national unity, international co-operation, peace and justice and
  • Fostering a rational management and use of the environment.
To realize these objectives, the government developed the Education and Training Sector Development Programme, which provides the framework for implementation of education and training goals. Specifically, the programme seeks to:

  • Enhance partnership in the provision of education and training, through the deliberate effort of encouraging private agencies to participate in the provision of education, to establish and manage schools and other educational institutions at all levels.
  • Broaden the financial base and cost-effectiveness of education and training through more effective control of government spending, cost-sharing and liberalization strategies
  • Streamline and management structure of education by placing more authority and responsibility on schools, colleges universities, local communities, districts and regions.
  • Provide quality education through curriculum review, improved teacher management and introduction and use of appropriate performance and assessment strategies.
  • Strengthen the integration of formal and non-formal education relationship, by instituting knowledge comparability and inter-mobility within the two sub-sectors of education
  • Increase access to education by focusing on equity issue with respect to women, groups and regions needs.
  • Promote live-log education and training for job -creation and self-employment through increased quality and availability of opportunities for vocational education and training.
  • Promote quality non-formal education and training through the improvement of folk development centers in terms of physical infrastructure, tutors education and improved tutor management. 

Education in Tanzania

Background information
The United Republic of Tanzania comprises Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Pemba. Tanganyika got independence in 1961 and in 1964 united with Zanzibar and Pemba to form the United Republic of Tanzania. For many years after independence, Tanzania pursued a socialist political and economic policy that encouraged state ownership of public resources. The citizens were made to live in communities where they worked and collectively produced goods for common use in what was called the Ujamaa system.
But the socialist policy was later abandoned in the 1980s as it failed to transform the country's socio economic systems. However, one of the lasting legacies of the system was that it promoted mass literacy and entrenched the use of Kiswahili as a national language. Adult literacy rate is 77 per cent with 85.2 per cent for men and 69.2 per cent for women.
According to the economic Survey 2006, Tanzania had a population of 37,267,530 in 2005. Out of this, 19,009,051were females, equivalent to 51 per cent which 18,258,479 were males, or 49 per cent. The bulk of population, more than 35 million people, lives on the Tanzania Mainland. Further, the statistics show that majority of the people- 77 per cent live in rural areas and only 23 per cent live urban areas of the Tanzania Mainland.
The country's economic mainstay is agriculture. Tourism, trade and manufacturing also play a significant role in the economy. In 2005, the country recorded a GDP growth of 6.8 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent in 2004. The improved economic growth rate was mainly attributed to good performance in agriculture, trade, tourism, and transport and communication.
Tanzania, which is the biggest country in East Africa, has 25 administrative regions, namely, Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Lindi,Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Pemba North, Pemba South, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North, Zanzibar Urban/West
The country has a spectacular landscape of mainly three physiographic regions namely the Islands and the coastal plains to the east; the inland saucer-shaped plateau; and the highlands, The Great Rift Valley that runs from north east of Africa through central Tanzania is another landmark that adds to the country's scenic beauty.
Education in Tanzania
The vision of Tanzania's Ministry of Education is to provide high level of education at all levels and create a nation with people sufficiently equipped with the requisite knowledge to solve the society's problems, meet the challenges of development and attain competitiveness at regional and global levels.

The mission is to realize UPE, eradication of illiteracy and attainment of a level of tertiary education and training commensurate with a critical high quality human resources required to effectively respond to the country's development challenges. 

Strategies to address the education challenges in Kenya

The government should consider paying keen attention to problems affecting the education system and provide relevant solutions. 
Some of the relevant strategies that should be adopted include the following; 
  • The Ministry of Education has drafted a national policy on ECE, which provides guidelines on the implementation of the ECE programmes.  The draft policy is under discussion with the stakeholders before being finalized and adopted.
  • Adult literacy survey was conducts between June and August 2006 and findings should establish the actual literacy levels in the country.
  • Draft policy on gender and education is being developed.
  • Draft policy on Open and Distance Learning (ODM) being developed.
  • Review of all laws on education and training is on-going through a taskforce on legal frame work for education and training.

Ministry of Education has prepared a draft paper on teacher employment and deployment to ensure equitable staff distribution. 

Education Challenges in Kenya

The Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) identifies the following as some of the constraints facing education at various levels:
  •  Lack of adequate infrastructure and shortage of permanent classrooms in primary schools particularly in poor districts,
  • Lack of clear legal guidelines on the implementation of inclusive education and non-formal education programs;
  • Lack of reliable data on children with special needs, out-of-school children and illiterate adults and youth;
  • Shortfall of adult literacy teachers as well as teaching and learning materials;
  • Low transition rates from primary to secondary; secondary to higher education institutions;
  • Outdated curricula for technical, vocational education and training.
  • Inadequate physical facilities for technical, vocational education and training as well as mechanisms for quality assurance;
  • Limited resources for expansion of universities to cope with the number of students leaving secondary schools;
  • Mismatch between skills offered by universities and the demands of the labour market.
  • High number of HIV/AIDS orphans.
  • High pupils: teacher ratios in densely populated areas and low pupil: teacher ratios in less populated regions; and
  • Due to the need to contain the wage bull o manageable levels, the government does not employ new teachers, but only replaces those who leave through death, resignation or retirement.  This has led to shortfall of teachers in schools.

Laws governing education, training and research in Kenya

  • Education Act Cap 211 of 1968 revised 1970 and 1980 is the main legal document governing education.  It provides for the development of schools, management and administration, development of curricula and teacher education.
  • Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Act Cap 212 of 1967 provides for registration, recruitment deployment, remuneration and discipline of teachers for schools, colleges and middle-level College, including vocational and training institutions.
  • Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) Act Cap 225A of 1980 sets up the examining body regulates the management and conduct of public examinations, certification of schools and institutions below the universities.
  • Universities Act Cap 210B of 1985 establishes the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), which is responsible for accrediting private universities and maintaining quality assurance in higher education and training.
  • Acts of Parliament and Charters for the establishment and management of public and chartered private universities respectively. 
  • Higher Education Loan Board (HELB) Act 213 of 1994, which established HELB to manage and provide loans and bursaries to students pursuing higher education.
  • Board of Adult Education Act Cap 223, which promotes and regulates adult education programmes.
  • Local Government Act Cap 265 mandates local authorities to manage and develop primary education in their areas of jurisdiction.
  • Industrial Training Act Cap 237 governing training and certificate of artisans.
  • Accountants Act Cap 531, which established the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board (KASNEB).
  • There are other Acts that provide for training in various ministries like Health, Water, Agriculture and others. 

University Education in Kenya

University education is charged with the responsibility of providing high level human resource for national development. In addition, universities have the task of conducting research, development and dissemination of knowledge.  The country had six public universities and one constituent university college as well as 19 private universities in 2005/2006.  Seven of the private universities are fully chartered to offer their own degrees. According to the 2006 National Economic Survey, there were 79.735 students enrolled in public universities, a decline from 81,491 in 2004/2005.  Out of that figure, there were 52,637 males and 27,098 females.  In private universities, there were 10,244 students in 2005 up from 10,050 in 2004. Since mid-1990's, the public universities have been offering parallel degree programmes, which are open to working people or those who qualified but did not get admission during the regular intake due to lack of places.  The parallel degree programmes have offered a window of opportunities for many people to pursue university education, acquire postgraduate qualifications, and improve their skills, and change profession or just study courses of their interest.  Another mark of Kenya's higher education is the rapid expansion of private universities since the 1990's to accommodate the increasing numbers of high school leavers seeking university education.
University admission is pegged at grade C+ at the KCSE although only those with grade B+ and above get admission during the regular intake, due to limited places in the public universities.   Generally it is those who are locked out during the regular admission who go for the parallel degree programmes or join the private universities.  However, a trend has emerged in recent times where qualified students, who can afford, opt to go straight for parallel degree programmes or private universities because there they can choose the course they want to study and complete within a shorter period. 
Kenya's university education is faced with the following challenges; few places to admit the high number of qualifiers; gender imbalances, especially in science and technology courses; inadequate teaching and learning resources; shortage of lecturers; scarcity of funds for running academic programmes and conducting research.  It is notable, though, that more females than males are enrolled in private universities and as well, many pursue the parallel degree programmes at public universities.  Also, the government has created a fund to support academic research, especially in universities.

There are two state corporations working in higher education.  The Commission for Higher Education is responsible for registration, accreditation and quality assurance, coordination and regulation of admission to universities, among other functions.  The Higher Education Loans Board is responsible for providing loans and grants to university students as well as loans recovery from past beneficiaries. 

Special needs Education in Kenya

Special needs education referees to education and training programme formally organized for children with learning and physical disabilities.  The objective of special needs education is to assist those with special needs to develop so that they can realize their full participation in social life and development.
There s a unit at the Ministry of Education head-quarter that is responsible for promotion and coordination of education programmes for those with special learning needs.  Similarly, there is a unit at the Kenya Institute of Education that is responsible for developing the curriculum for special needs education.  The Kenya Institute of Special Education trains teachers for special needs education.
Special needs education caters for children with the following conditions hearing impairment, visual impairment, mentally handicapped, physically handicapped and multiple handicaps.  While a number of primary schools offer special needs education, there are only three secondary schools for the physically handicapped, one each for the blind and the deaf as well as four integrated units for the blind.  There are also three vocational training centers and technical training institute catering for those with special needs.
Special needs education suffers from inadequate funding, lack of clear policy framework, low progress in assessing and placing children with disability, few qualified teachers to handle children with special needs, lack of teaching and learning resources among others. 

Adult and Continuing Education in Kenya

Adult and continuing education (ACE) is considered very important for national development. ACE is provided by the government, faith-based organizations and NGOs. The Board of Adult Education, which is established by an Act of Parliament, coordinates all forms of adult education in the country.  The Department of Adult Education is responsible for the implementation of the board's policies and programmes.
The goals and objectives of adult and continuing education are:
  • Providing literacy and adult education for youth and adults who miss out of the formal education programmes.
  • Providing survival skills.
  • Promoting individual development and fulfillment
  • Fostering and promoting national unity through promotion of Kiswahili language.
  • Bridging illiteracy gap between men and women.
Enrolment in adult education has been characterized by decline in the 1990s, compared to the situation in the late 1970s and the ‘80s.  The decline has been attributed to low funding, negative attitude to the programme and an unsuitable curriculum that does not respond to the needs of the learners as well as shortage of teachers.  Notable feature of the programme is that it attracts more women than men.
However, there have been attempts in recent years to review the curriculum to make it more responsive to the changing times and learners' needs as well as make the programme more flexible to accommodate the learners' schedules.  The latest attempts to revitalize adult literacy programs have seen enrolment rise again.  As Table 7 shows, there were 16,324 learners enrolled in literacy classes in 2005.  Out of those enrolled, 38,902 were male and 87,422 females.  This was an improvement over the 2004 figures, where 109,923 learners were enrolled, with 31,512 makes and 78,411 females.
Further, the government is developing a national qualification framework that will allow for equation of adult learners' certificate and competences with those of the formal education system.  This will allow transfer and progression from basic adult literacy to higher academic or professional levels.  It has conducted a national literacy survey whose objective is to provide accurate and up-to-date on the level and magnitude of literacy in the country.  The findings of the survey will also help in reshaping literacy programmes to meet the felt needs of learners and service providers.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training

Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Technical and vocational training is offered at the national polytechnics, technical training institutes and institutes of technology.  Training in technical and vocational skills is also done by various government ministries and department.  Others are also offered at commercial colleges largely run by private investors.
In 2005, there were four national polytechnics with an enrolment of 18,116 students, 18 technical training institutes and 17 institutes of technology with a combined enrolment of 27,377 students, the youth polytechnics enrolled 22,887 students, comprising 8,691 males and 14,196 females.
A significant development has revived the once moribund youth polytechnics to provide skills training to post-primary pupils by proving some selected ones with resources to improve their facilities and training programmes.  This has seen their enrolments rise from 17,003 in 2001 to 22,887 in 2005 representing an increase of 35 per cent.  Table 5 shows enrolments in technical and vocational training institutions in Kenya.
The pertinent issues on technical and vocational training are: low enrolment; gender disparities; lack of modern equipment and facilities; non-marketable courses and curriculum, low funding and shortage of qualified teachers.

Teacher Training
Teacher training programmes are offered at certificate, diploma and degree level.  There were 29 public teacher training colleges and eight private school teachers in 2005.  In addition, there were three diploma awarding colleges training secondary school teachers.  Enrolment to the teachers college is open to Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates who attain a minimum of C grade for certificate courses and C+ for diploma programme.  Certificate courses run for two years while the diploma ones go for three years.
In 2005, there were 20,200 students enrolled in primary teachers colleges while 2,080 were enrolled in the diploma colleges.  Other than the certificate and diploma courses, there are degree programmes in education offered at the public and private universities.  Graduate teachers are deployed to secondary schools, teacher training colleges and technical and vocational training institutions.  With parallel degree programmes offered at the public universities, a number of graduate teachers are also deployed in primary schools

Non-Formal Education Programme in Kenya

The Kenya government has been working on non-formal education (NFE) programmes, which are expected to provide comprehensive and complementary delivery channels of quality basic education to children, especially those living in difficult circumstances, including those in urban slums and hardship areas.  Among others, the government has published a policy that guides the provision of quality education at the NFE centers.
A key feature of the NFE programmes is that they are flexible as they take cognizance of the difficult conditions under which the children live and operate.  To strengthen the non-formal programmes, the government plans to give legal recognition to the NFE centers through the Education Act so that they can benefit from the services that those in the formal education get.  In particular, the government plans to provide professional support in curriculum development, teacher training, monitoring and evaluation and resources.
Challenges facing NFE

  • Lack of clear policy framework to guide and regulate various players in the sub-sector.
  • Lack of qualified and competent teachers.
  • Inadequate and quite often substandard teaching/learning materials and physical facilities.
  • Negative social attitudes towards, NFE.
  • Lack of (assessment) monitoring and evaluation mechanisms ( and capacity)
  • Lack of clear accreditation procedures.
  • Lack of reliable data on out-of-school children and those attending NFE programmes. 

Secondary Education In Kenya

Secondary education is the third level in Kenya's education system and caters for students aged between 14 and 17 years and runs for four years - Form One to Four.  Secondary education prepares students for university and tertiary education and vocational training. Enrollment at the secondary school level stood at 928,149 in 2005, consisting of 491,157 boys and 436,992 girls with 47,435 teachers.  The details of enrollment are contained in Table 4.  A characteristic feature of secondary education system is low access.  Slightly more than half of those who complete primary school transit to secondary education.

Among the interventions to enhance retention at secondary level is the provision of bursary funds to students from needy backgrounds.  Also the government has provided guidelines on fees to control schools from imposing heavy levies on parents.  Some of the issues on secondary education are: insufficient teaching and learning resources; teacher shortage, regional and gender disparities in terms of access and performance in national examination; and low transition to university and tertiary levels. 

Primary Education in Kenya

Primary Education
Primary education targets children aged between six and 13 years.  The goal of the sub-sector is to provide access to quality education to all eligible children on an equal basis and prepare them for secondary education and training.  Primary education has witnessed phenomenal growth since the NARC government abolished levies as it introduced free schooling in 2003.  The number of primary school pupils rose dramatically, from 5.9 million in 2002 to 7.2 million, in 2003 to 7.4 million, in 2004 to about 7.6 million in 2005.  Table 3 shows enrollments in primary schools in Kenya between  2001 - 2005.  Although the national figures have gone up exponentially, there are regional imbalances.  Some regions like the North Eastern Province, parts of Coast, Rift Valley and Eastern provinces and urban slums have generally lower enrollments  which is even worse for girls.

Some of the challenges facing primary education are large numbers of pupils in classrooms, inadequate facilities in schools to meet the needs of increased enrollments  shortage of teachers and inadequate places in secondary for primary school leavers. 

Early Childhood Education in Kenya.

Early Children Education (ECE) lays foundation for development and future education of children.  Kenya's early childhood education programme caters for children aged between four to five years.  On average, about 35 per cent of the eligible population is enrolled in early childhood education programmes, with the majority being in urban centers.  ECE is largely provided by the private sector, local authorities, NGOs and faith-based groups and the communities.
The government provides policy, develops curriculum and offers training for teachers.  In 2005, there were 1,643,175 pupils enrolled in ECE with 72,182 teachers.  Table 2 shows enrolment and number of teachers in early childhood education in Kenya.
Some of the challenges facing ECE include inadequate funding from government, lack of inspection, low participation of eligible age group, low remuneration for teachers, lack of relevant teaching and learning materials and variations in the curriculum used by the various centers. 

Education in Kenya

Background information
Kenya became independent in 1963.  Since 1991, the country has been operating a multi-party democracy.  The government of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) came to power in 2003.  Currently, the country has a population of over 35 million people, with about 60 percent being youth under 30 years.  The country is divided into eight provinces namely Coast, Central, Eastern, Nairobi, Nyanza, North Eastern, Rift Valley and Western.  Both English and Kiswahili are used as official languages. After the new Constitution dispensation,  the country has been divided into 47 counties.
The economy grew by 5.8 per cent in 2005.  The main economic stay is agriculture.  The other main sources of the country's incomes are tourism, manufacturing especially of agricultural products and trade.  Since 2003, the country's economy has been improving due to improved governance, macro-economic stability, and expansion in world trade, higher demand for commodities and improved prices.
Education in Kenya
Quality Education for Development.  This can be translated to Swahili to mean "Elimu Bora kwa Maendeleo".
To provide, promote and co-ordinate lifelong education, training and research for Kenya's sustainable development.  To focus on priority areas within overall education goals to achieve EFA by 2015. 
  • Achieve EFA by 2015.
  • Achieve transition rate of 70 per cent from primary to secondary from the current rate of 57 per cent by 2008.
  • Enhance access, equity and quality in primary and secondary education.
  • Develop a national strategy for technical and vocational education and training, leading to the rehabilitation of physical facilities and equipment and making sure that vocational and technical institutions are appropriately equipped by 2010.
  • Expand public universities and increase the number and the proportion of all students studying science subjects to 50 per cent, with at least a third being women by 2010.
  • Achieve 50 per cent improvement of levels of adult literacy by 2015.
Overview of the education system
Kenya's education system consists of early childhood education, primary, secondary and tertiary.  Early childhood education takes at least one year, primary eight years, secondary four and university four or six years depending on the course.  Pre-schooling, which targets children from age four to five, is an integral component of the education system and is a key requirement for admission to  Standard One (First Grade).
At the end of primary education, pupils sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), which determines those who proceed to secondary school or vocational training.  Primary school age is 6-13 years. For those who proceed to secondary level, there is a national examination at the end of Form Four - the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which determines those proceeding to the universities, other professional training or employment.  The Joint Admission Board (JAB) is responsible for selecting students joining the public universities. The minimum university entry grade is C+ at KCSE.  However, due to stiff competition, only those with higher grades such as B+ and above are guaranteed admission.  Private universities admit students on their own but are guided by the rules and regulations provided by the Commission for Higher Education.
Other than the public schools, there are many private schools in the country, mainly in urban areas.  Similarly, there are a number of international schools catering for various educational systems such as American, British, French, German, Japanese and Swedish, Table 1 presents the type and number of educational institutions in Kenya.