Givology Staff's Blog

Education Around the World: Kenya

[color=#00cc00]This week’s installment of the Education Around the World blog will explore Kenya’s education system. Kenya is home to one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and a developing education system. [/color]

[color=#3399ff]The Basics[/color]
The history of Kenya’s education system dates back to the mid 18th Century when Christian missionaries from Britain started to arrive in large numbers. These missionaries set up schools around Kenya, primarily in large cities such as Mombasa. From 1895 to 1963, when Kenya was a protectorate and later colony of Great Britain, the opportunities for children to receive an education expanded tremendously. When Kenya gained independence in 1963, a new government hoped to make primary education free for all children; however, it would be several years before this would be achieved.
Kenya has more than 8.5 million primary school-aged children, out of a 50 million population. [b][color=#00cc00]Based on a 2015 UNICEF study that collected data from 2009 to 2014, the average percentage of students who attended primary school was 84 percent for males, and 87 percent for females.[/color][/b] Since the beginning of the 21st Century, the number of students attending primary school has been rising steadily as a result of successful efforts by the government to eliminate tuition costs for primary schools in 2003 and secondary schools in 2008.
After Kenya gained its independence, the education system was structured on a 7-4-3-2 model, with seven years of primary, four years of lower secondary, two years of upper secondary, and three years of university-level education. However, in 1985, the structure was replaced by an 8-4-4 model with eight years of basic education, four years of secondary education and a four-year undergraduate curriculum.[color=#00cc00][b] The primary reason for the shift was centered around a lack of skilled employment. [/b][/color]The old model lacked the proper curriculum and structure to train Kenyans to occupy a wide variety of jobs requiring a range of skills. In contrast, the new system’s curriculum incorporated employable skills within the first eight years, so that a student who had to drop out to support his family could do so successfully.
In terms of curriculum, the primary level has nine different fields including English, Kiswahili, a local language, mathematics, science, social studies, religious education, creative arts, physical education, and life skills. These nine fields are standard across Kenya, and assessments mark the end of each year to test students achievement in most subjects. These assessments are known as the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination (KCPE) and determine the path the student will take after primary school. Those who perform well will continue in national secondary schools, while those with scores that are average and below can continue their education in local schools.
[color=#3399ff]Public, Private, and [i]Harambee[/i][/color]
There are three distinct types of schools at the secondary level in Kenya: Public (government-funded), private, and [i]Harambee[/i]. As mentioned in the previous section, students who perform well on the KCPE can choose to attend public schools, which are run by the national government. These schools are fully funded by the government, therefore the students who attend the national public schools have better resources and receive instruction from more qualified teachers.
In the late 20th century as the number of students choosing to continue their education increased, the government was unable to provide funding to build more schools; [b][color=#00cc00]instead, communities became engaged in building [i]Harambee [/i](Swahili: means “all pull together) secondary schools that were only partially funded by the government.[/color][/b] Unfortunately, this support does not always materialize, making it difficult for students in Harambee schools to receive a quality education. Private schools in Kenya are generally only accessible by students from affluent families. Most private schools tend to use the British education system, and therefore are popular among the families of diplomats and government officials alike.
[color=#3399ff]Literacy Statistics[/color]
According to a 2014 report by UNESCO, the literacy rate for Kenyans in the 15-24 age group is 87 percent for males, and 86 percent for females. In this age group, the difference between males and females is insignificant; unfortunately,[b][color=#00cc00] in the 65 and above age group, 75 percent of males are literate, while only 36 percent of females are literate.[/color][/b] Perhaps this staggering difference can be attributed to the fact that more males were employed than females, which would have required the ability to read.
[color=#3399ff]Assessments of Quality[/color]
Like other developing countries, it is difficult to obtain concrete measures of quality for the entire student population of Kenya. However, there are not nearly enough teachers to suit the increasing needs of the student population. [b][color=#00cc00]Furthermore, about 30 percent of teachers have not received formal training in instruction.[/color][/b] Though attendance is mandatory until the completion of secondary school, there are approximately one million students who do not attend each year - the 9th highest of all countries in the world. To increase student performance, government initiatives should focus on bringing qualified teachers to schools, and find ways to drastically increase student attendance. Givology and its partners have worked to improve upon these efforts and continue the progress Africa, and particularly Kenya has made over the past half-century in advancing education standards.
[b][color=#3399ff]Our Partners in Kenya:[/color][/b]
[color=#3399ff]Interested in learning more about our partners? Click each name for more information:[/color]
[url=][color=#00cc00]Flying Kites[/color][/url]
Flying Kites seeks to raise the standards of care for the world's poorest children by giving them the tools they will need – education, imagination, and resolution – to succeed in and contribute to a complex and changing world. Flying Kites focuses on providing a holistic education that stresses the value of extra-curricular activities and community involvement. Their goal is to foster the desire for social change in their children, as well as to provide them with the necessary tools to make their voices and actions count
[url=][color=#00cc00]Turning Point Trust[/color][/url]
Turning Point is a Christian charity working in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, Kenya. Their mission is to demonstrate God’s heart for the poor through programmes that relieve poverty, transform lives and restore hope amongst vulnerable children and their families. Turning Point offers a holistic range of programmes which provide children with access to education, healthcare and regular meals, in addition to providing them with psycho-social support.
[url=][color=#00cc00]Kakenya Center for Excellence[/color][/url]
The Kakenya Center for Excellence is a primary boarding school focused on serving the most vulnerable underprivileged Maasai girls. The first primary girls’ school in the region, the academy focuses on academic excellence, female empowerment, leadership, and community development. Located in Keyian division of the Trans Mara district of Kenya, the Center opened in May 2009 with 32 students.


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