In Kenya every person has the right to access education. Primary education has been compulsory and free since 2003 (for 6-14-years-old). Secondary education is also free, but not mandatory.
The public expenditure in education is USD 3.7 billion for 2017. The public education budget is about 5.3% of the GDP (in 2018), which represents almost KES 495 billion (USD 4.95 billion). Although primary education and secondary education are supposedly free, in 2017, household expenditures for education reached 33.7% of the country’s total expenditure in education. The country has approximately 4.2 million school aged children at pre-primary level, 8.3 million at primary, 7.5 million at secondary, and 4.9 million at tertiary.
Political responsibility for the education system lies with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. The education budget is divided in three; the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) covering teachers’ salaries and trainers (50%), basic education (primary and secondary school with primary being the biggest recipient of government funding), and university education covering staff costs and direct program costs.
In 2017-2018, 57.6%. of public education financing came from the central government. Of which, 92%(KES 426 billion) was spent at the central level and 8% at the subnational level. Kenya´s education resources are decentralized: 30% of spending is for transfers (grants and subsidies) to the sub-national level and county governments’ allocation for development of primary, secondary, and special schools. Substantial resources are decentralized directly to the sub national level and learning institutions for direct provision of teaching and learning materials.
By the level of education, during the schoolyear 2017/2018, the majority of education expenditure was allocated to free secondary education (KES 69.33 billion or USD 690 million), followed by the Free Primary Education Programme (KES 18.11 bn or US$ 180m). The School Readiness Programme received KES 4.85 billion (USD 48 million), the Mobile School Programme received KES 946 million (USD 9.43 million), the School Feeding Programme received KES 842m (USD 8.39million), and the Alternative Education (non-formal education, special education and adult education) received KES 85 million (USD 850,000).
Implemented by the Ministry of Education, it transfers cash to schools for the purchase of ingredients and provides hot meals to over 900,000 school children in Kenya’s semi-arid areas (0.06% of the primary and secondary school aged children). The budget for the period 2018-2019 was KES 2.4 billion (USD 237million) corresponding to 6.3% of the education sector expenditure.
National Special Needs Education Policy
The National Special Needs Education Policy is led by the Directorate of Special Needs Education. In 2014 the expenditure on special education was KES 926 million (USD 9 million or 0.32% of the 2014 education expenditure. Currently, there are 3,464 special needs institutions in the country, and 103,000 registered students (1% of primary school aged children) in special education institutions. Furthermore, the department of education has provided capitation grants to 184 special boarding schools. It also provided financial and material support to 1,703 special units attached to regular schools and 3 primary teacher training colleges, which integrate student with disabilities.
Seeks to ensures that the minority and marginalized children (especially girls) who are unable to attend formal schools have access to non-formal education. The program is implemented through two interventions: mobile schools and boarding schools. The total funding for mobile schools from 2009 to 2013 was KES 112 million (USD 1.12million), and total funding for low-cost boarding schools from 2009 to 2013 was KES 1.9 billion (USD 18.8 m). Under this program, a total of 474 Non-Formal Schools (NFS) have been registered and are currently receiving grants
Primary Education Development Programme (Priede)
In Partnership with the Global Partnership for Education the government of Kenya has invested USD 84.4 million for primary education development activities for the period 2015-2019 including:
- Disbursement of KES 1.096 billion (USD 10.8 million) to 3654 schools in 47 counties to improve the quality of schools mainly in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL). Each school receives USD 5000.
- Provision of small grants to 4,000 low-performing public primary schools to reduce barriers keeping girls out of school. Activities include waiving school fees, building toilets for girls, and programs to counter sexual harassment and violence against girls.
Aimed for orphans and vulnerable children attending secondary school to enhance enrolment, attendance, and completion. The applicants must be under 18 years and orphans should come from poor areas. Each participant receives KES 30,000 (USD 296) per year. The program reaches all 290 constituencies in Kenya.
In partnership with the World Bank, the Ministry of Education targets poor and vulnerable children from financially constrained backgrounds. The programme has 18,000 scholarships (0.24% of secondary school-aged children) available and covers secondary school fees, transport, learning materials and school kits for four years. The approved budget for the period 2019-2020 is KES 3 billion (USD 30 million or 1.44% of the education spending).
National Schools Sanitary Towel Programme
The State Department of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs provides sanitary towels for girls in poor and marginalized areas. For the period 2017-2018, the budget was KES 470m (USD 4.6m, or 0.12% of the education expenditure), and the number of beneficiaries was 3.7m girls in primary and secondary schools (24% of school aged children).
Is a cash transfer program for over 3 million orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya between 0 to 17 years (15% of school-aged population), from 365,000 households located in poor areas, and that are not beneficiaries of other cash transfer programs. The beneficiaries
Beneficiary households are identified by poverty proxy indicators and identifications by local committees and receive a cash transfer roughly equivalent to 20% of the household’s total monthly expenditures (Ksh 1500 or USD $21 initially, adjusted to Ksh 2000 during 2011–12 due to inflation and declining values in currency) every 2 months under the condition of attending health facilities and basic education institutions.
The budget for this program was USD 155 million from 2009 to 2013 (0.006% of the budget for 2013, when dividing the total by five years). The program was financed by the Government of Kenya, UNICEF, World Bank, and the UK government.