The History of Education in Kenya

Today’s post comes from a long time educator and current head school master at Nbuku high school in Meru, Kenya, Mr. Nick Nyagah.

A galaxy of events has served to redefine the Kenyan Education arrangement since independence.
1. Report of the Kenya Education Commission (Ominde Report, 1964)

Sought to realign the education inherited from the colonialists to be in tandem with the needs of the young nation.
It proposes an education that would foster National Unity as well creating sufficient human resource base to spur development.

2.  Report of the National Committee in Educational Objectives and Policies

(The Gachathi Report 1976)

Focused on Kenyan educational policies and objectives.
National Unity.
Economics social and cultural aspirations of the Kenyan people.
‘Harambee’ or community funded schools were started.
National centre for early childhood Education at the Kenya Institute of Education was also started.

3.  Report on the Presidential Working Party on the 2nd University in Kenya (Mackay Report 1981)

This recommended the removal of the 7-4-2-3 system of education and replaced it with the current 8-4-4 arrangement

It also saw the expansion of other post secondary training institutions.
Moi University was established
The commission for Higher Education CHE was established.

4.  Report of the Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the

Next Decade and Beyond. (The Kamunge Report, 1988)

–  Focused on improving education financing, quality and relevance.

–  The policy of cost sharing between government, parents and communities was introduced.
5.  The Commission of Enquiry into the Education system of Kenya.

(The Koech Report 2000)
Recommended Totally Integrated Quality Education and Training  (TIQET)
The government failed to adopt the report due to cost implications.
However some of its recommendation e.g. Curriculum rationalization have been adopted and implemented.

6. Introduction of FPE and FSE by the Narc (National Rainbow Coalition Regime) of president Kibaki in 2005 and after 2007.

However the challenge of economic down turn has dogged the policy with funds getting to the schools quite late.

The government has increased its effort in educational funding through bursaries disbursed through local authorities and the CDF (constituency development fund)

However issues of disbursement of funds to the needy are thorny as education institutions are not in charge of identifying the beneficiaries.  Many a times the really needy ones do not benefit.

The Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KSSHA) is perennially petitioning the government to give the responsibility of disbursing bursary funds to the school managers instead of the local authority and CDF. This is in appreciation of the open fact that the school managers know the deserving cases better as they deal with them directly and on daily basis.

-Nick Nyagah 2009



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2 responses to “The History of Education in Kenya

  1. Nick, thank you for writing this piece. The first part of your piece inspired a great deal of curiosity in me. I want to hear personal stories and have longer conversations about the topics that you bring up. For example, I am really interested to hear what benefits there are to releasing the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) and government from disbursal duties and giving that responsibility to school masters. How will this increase efficiency? How has the government and the CDF disbursing funds affected schools? Also, I would be interested in hearing more about cost-sharing programs between the government, the community and the family. How does this work? Who bears the brunt of the cost? Who is disadvantaged by this? Is this a good thing? How has this cost sharing affected education, family, community and government?

    I encourage you and others to write about these things by posting them as a response to your first piece.

  2. NICK


    The government of Kenya initiated the bursary scheme through the Constituency Bursary Fund (CDF) and the county councils, purely in appreciation of the fact that the majority of the citizens live on less than a dollar per day!!

    As i stated earlier the people disbursing the said bursary now do not actually know the actual level of need of the applicants and genuine cases. They simply rely on the information availed in the application forms most of which could be false.

    Sometimes the funds will be disbursed on the basis of who knows who. Consequently,very genuine cases have gone unattended occasioning mass drop out.

    The position of the Kenya Sec Schools Heads Association is that the disbursal mode needs to be changed to invlove them at the school level.
    In the event that this happens the principals will have a bursary committee with teachers and a student rep.

    The list of those earmarked for assistance can be tabled in Board of Governors meeting for ratification and the relevant report made to the ministry to facilitate disbursement of the next tranche.

    Nevertheless, the CDF fund have really benefited schools especially when it comes to improvement of infrastructure. The government is releasing substantial amounts of funds to school to develop new facilities or renovate the already existing ones.


    Despite the governments effort to provide free tuition and employ teachers, the role that the parents are supposed to play i.e pay the boarding requirements and uniform for their children is also proving very burdensome especially this time we have been experiencing serious drought in our country coupled with the global economic crisis.

    We are currently expecting the payment of bonus accrued from tea sale in the last one year and we are hopeful that the fee arrears will be cleared to facilitate the running of programmes in our schools.

    Finally, the general poverty levels coupled with untimely and inefficient disbursement of govt funds seriously affect the quality of education.

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