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. 


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