- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The Basic Education Act (2013) which governs all education levels, defines a private school as a school that is established, owned or operated by private individuals, entrepreneurs and institutions. The Act categorizes educational institutions as either private or public. The Act determines that any person may establish or maintain a private school (article 49) and that any person requiring basic education may attend a private school (article 51).
The 2012 Policy Framework for Education and Training defines a private institution as “an institution established as either profit or non-for profit for education and training purposes”.
State schools, which are referred to in Kenya as public institutions, account for the largest share of basic education institutions, according to the Basic Education Statistical Booklet 2019. Basic educational institutions can be categorized as public schools that are schools established, owned or operated by the Government (including sponsored schools) and private schools which are those owned or operated by private individuals, entrepreneurs or institutions. Basic education is free and compulsory for every child and spans from ages 6 to 18. The education system includes 2 years of pre-primary education (nursery and pre-unit) 6 years of primary education, 6 years of secondary education and four years of tertiary education. Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 18.
In Kenya, the secondary system evolved largely as a result of community support through Harambee schools in the 1980s. The community was actively involved in the construction and management of these schools. Harambee schools became merged into the government system in the mid-1980s when all non-private schools began to receive the same per student government subsidy.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
In 2015 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology addressed County Directors of Education regarding the compliance with gazetted school fees. The circular recommended that the maximum cost of day schooling should be KES 22,244, for boarding schools KES 66,424 and for special needs secondary schools KES 69,810. County Directors of Education were required to ensure that no public secondary schools under their jurisdiction violate the recommended fee's structure.
Independent, non-state schools
The private sector is an important partner in the provision of basic education in Kenya. In 2019, enrolment in private schools accounted for 30% in pre-primary level, 16% in primary level and 7% in secondary level. The basic education statistical blooklet for 2019 has a binary categorization of private vs. public and does not distinguishes between different types of non-state provision. In 2019, at the pre-primary level there were 18,147 private schools out of the 46,530 schools in the country. At the primary level, 9,058 private schools out of a total of 32,344 primary schools and at the secondary level, 1,554 private schools out of 10,487 secondary schools.
Partnerships with faith-based institutions have played an important role in expanding access to education, particularly in hard-to-reach areas. The Catholic Church has made an important contribution in the provision of education in Kenya. For the Ministry of Education, partnerships with faith-based organisations and other investors have had as a result improved enrolment, improved education outcomes and enhanced equality in access to quality education. The Uwezo Report of 2011 indicated that top performing schools in KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) and KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) are owned by faith-based organizations.
In 2018, the government of Kenya was in the process of operationalizing a Public Private Partnership Framework for the education sector with a view to among others to establish effective ways of facilitating and fostering public private partnership in education, introducing an Education Bond, and floating Sovereign Bonds to support funding of the sector. The government also subsidizes textbooks to private schools by allowing them to purchase the books from publishers at affordable prices.
Low-fee private schools make up an important share of schools in Kenya, especially for children in marginalized communities and slums. The limited supply of quality schools in informal settlements have resulted in the growth of low-fee non-state provision of primary education. A study was carried out in 2010 in two urban slums in Nairobi, to show how LFPSs operate in practice within a context of governmental support. Slums in Kenya are reported to house more than 50% of the population of Nairobi but they only occupy 5% of the residential area of the city. In Mathare, the slum of focus of this study, estimates indicate that up to 300,000 school-age children live in this slum, but the population is served only by three government primary schools. The lack of state provision explains the rise of LFPSs in informal settlements in Kenya, which are seen as para-formal schools, established and run with limited engagement with the government.
According to the same study, the Ministry of Education recognizes a range of LFPS providers, including those who register their schools as private institution, those established and managed by churches and those who register their schools as “school-help groups” and are considered community-based organizations. The community plays a key role in these schools, and teachers are often hired from the community.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
Some low-fee private schools receive grants from the government. Since 2005, the Ministry of Education started to provide support to LFPSs for the purchase of teaching and learning materials. However, according to a study the level of variability and unpredictability in the allocation of these funds limit the extent to which LFPSs can make or execute plans for improvement.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
Homeschooling is not addressed in the law. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) estimates that there are more than 400 families with home schoolers.
In March 2020, the government of Kenya ordered the closure of all state and non-state schools. More than 90,000 schools were closed leading to over 18 million pre-primary, primary and secondary school learners and over 150,000 refugees confined at home. The Kenya Basic Education Covid-19 Emergency Response Plan issued in May 2020 sought to ensure learning continuity through distance and home schooling
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
In 2019, the government of Kenya ordered the closure of unregistered schools offering basic education across the country. The Association of Non-Formal schools urged the government to stop the closure as the directive directly affected 20,000 schools. For the Association, the government policy, didn´t distinguish between schools that are already halfway through the government’s registration process and those who had not engaged at all.
Unregistered schools are mainly community and low-fee private schools, which provide primary and secondary education levels. Many low-fee private schools, located in informal settlements, are not legally recognized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) since they do not meet schools’ registration requirements inter alia acreage, staffing, facilities, among others. The new rules approved by the government on the closure of unregistered schools risk leaving thousands of children out of school as schools were given very few type to comply with the new norms.
No information was found.
Among the refugee population in Kenya, over half are children of school age (4-18 years). The majority of refugee and asylum-seeking learners are enrolled in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools, and tertiary institutions located in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, and Kalobeyei settlement. Camp-based learning institutions have been managed and financed by UNHCR and the international community for almost three decades. Refugees and asylum-seekers follow the Kenyan national curriculum and sit for national examinations. According to UNHCR, a small number acquire places to study in public and private universities across Kenya each year. Non-governmental organizations in Kenya such as Windle International Kenya have played a key role in providing access to education to refugees in the country through scholarships and secondary and tertiary education programmes in refugee camps.
Mobile and feeder schools
Mobile and feeder schools are an alternative for children from nomadic groups and pastoralist families. These schools offer education opportunities for children who had traditionally been marginalized from the education system. Mobile schools can be established through partnerships between MoEST, local communities, NGOs, FBOs and other development partners. APBET establishes the minimum requirements to establish mobile and feeder schools, which include mobility of the community, availability of space, involvement of the local education office, minimum enrolment, funding, and teacher availability. In 2010, the government of Kenya launched a programme to bring education to pastoralists who historically didn’t had access to education opportunities. Through this programme, the government established 91 mobile schools in the north and east regions of the country were children start their lessons early in the morning or late in the evenings, leaving them time to support their families.
But these schools are also supported by charities and NGOs, mobile schools have helped increase access to education to marginalized children such as girls. Adeso, a Nairobi based charity, runs a mobile school program in rural areas of Kenya that brings learning to nomadic students, mainly girls.
Responsibilities in the management of educational institutions are shared between national and county governments as contained in the fourth schedule of the Constitution of Kenya (2010). The national government oversees the education policy, standards, curricula, examinations and the granting of university charters as well as the functioning of universities, tertiary institutions, and other institutions of research, primary schools, secondary schools and special education. County governments oversee pre-primary education, village polytechnics, home craft centres and childcare facilities. National and county education boards include representatives of the association of private schools, the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Kenya Episcopal Conference and the Muslim Education Councils, amongst others.
Vision: The National Education Sector Strategic Plan for the period 2018-2022 of the Ministry of Education sought to provide quality and inclusive education, training and research for sustainable development. The NESSP sought to develop a multi-sectoral coordination framework for pre-primary education service providers that will create synergies between the national government, counties and service providers for inclusive and holistic provision of pre-primary education and to increase access to primary education by providing school meals, rehabilitating and upgrading existing infrastructure facilities and establishing low-cost boarding schools in all regions.
In relation to lifelong education, the government recognises the role of partnerships in enhancing access, equity, quality and relevance. Education is a public good and hence there is need to promote collaborations, linkages and networking with development partners and other interested parties to ease the current heavy household financial and technical burden in education. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has been adopted widely, internationally, over the last two decades to enable governments to obtain greater value for their investment in education.
According to strategic plan, the challenge faced by Government “is that of establishing an environment conducive for facilitating partnerships between both levels of Government, household and local communities, industry and commerce, private sector providers of educational services, development partners, NGOs, and foundations. Strengthened partnerships are likely to improve efficiency of public spending to meet the demand for education at all levels. The overall objective of this programme is to enhance collaborations and linkages in delivery of education services”.
In Kenya, various stakeholders including Faith-Based Organisations, parents, communities, and NGOs provide non-state early childhood education services. In 2006, the Kenyan Ministry of Education (MoE) developed the Early Childhood Development Service Standard Guidelines to guide the ECDE stakeholders in provision, establishment, registration and management of early childhood education (ECE) services. The guidelines distinguish between different types of ECE providers such as:
- Public/community ECD centres
- Non-Formal Education institutions
- Private ECD Colleges
- Private ECD centres
- Faith-based Organization ECDE centres (Non-profit making)
- Boarding ECDE centres (in children’s homes and special needs schools).
The 2006 guidelines included provisions for children from to 0 eight years old. In 2018, the Ministry of Education issued new National Pre-Primary Education Policy Standard Guidelines. These guidelines provided new required standards on establishment, registration, management and accountability in pre-primary education institutions. For the purpose of the 2018 guidelines, pre-primary education entailed learning in pre-primary 1 and 2 for children aged 4 and 5 respectively. The 2018 guidelines establish that pre-primary education shall be free and compulsory for all children, including those with special needs. However, in practice parents are supposed to pay fees for their ECDE service. The share of private pre-primary centres is about 40 percent with enrollment varying widely across regions. In Samburu for example, only 1,200 students are enrolled in private ECCE, while in Nakuru the enrollment reaches 57,300 students.
The National Early Childhood Education Committee (NECEC) oversees the implementation of pre-primary education. A representative of private pre-primary education providers is a member of NECEC, while a representative of non-state actors and development partners are considered as ex-officio members according to the 2018 Guidelines.
In 2014, the Kenyan government introduced an early childhood education programme called Tayari that aimed to develop a cost-effective, scalable model of early childhood development and education that would prepare children cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally for primary school. The programme was piloted over four years in more than 1,800 private and public ECDE centres reaching over 72,000 primary school learners showing positive results for transitioning to primary grade 1.
Registration and approval. The 2018 National Pre-Primary Education Policy Standard Guidelines established that the intent to establish a pre-primary education institution needed to be communicated in writing to the County Education Board that will check the suitability of the site, ascertain the size of the land and confirm government approval to construct. Once all requirements have been fulfilled, the CEB will approve the registration of the pre-primary education institution.
Licence: Public, community and private ECD colleges and centres applying for registration of ECDE institutions must pay non/refundable fees to the MoE. These fees vary by type of provider. Application to re-registration will be required under certain circumstances such as providing an additional class, introducing a new curriculum, transferring the school to a new site, re-opening a school that has been closed, changing ownership or management of the school or changing the name of the institution.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.
Curriculum and education standards: The Kenyan Institute for Curriculum Development (former KIE-NACECE) oversees the development of the curriculum/syllabus used in all ECD centres in the country.
Teaching profession: ECD teachers and caregivers shall be above 18 years and shall possess at least a certificate in ECD offered by the Government or an institution authorized by the Government. Teachers shall be registered by the Teachers Service Commission. According to the 2006 Guidelines, the Government shall undertake to remunerate at least two teachers in every public ECDE centre. The guidelines include provisions for the head teacher, manager, support staff and other caregivers. There are no specificities for the teaching profession in private sector providers.
Fee-setting: The Guidelines regulates the registration fees that those applying for the ECDE institutions will pay to the Ministry of Education, but not for parents sending their children to these institutions.
Admission selection and processes: Pre-primary schoolchildren shall start schooling at the age of 4 years at Pre-primary 1 (PP1) and transit to Pre-primary 2 (PP2) at 5years. This may vary for learners with special needs and disabilities.
Policies for vulnerable groups: No information was found.
Reporting requirements. No information was found.
Inspection: The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards ensures the establishment and maintenance of educational standards in the ECD institutions and in its service providers.
Child assessment: No information was found.
Sanctions: The guidelines establish that ECDE institutions that are considered a health hazard to children will be compelled to close.
The Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training (APBET), developed in 2009, governs the approval and operation of non-state education providers in the country, including for-profit providers, community schools, religiously affiliated institutions, and NGO-administered educational programs. The government recognized different categories of APBET institutions including Adult and Continuing Education Centres; Non-Formal Education Learning Centres; Vocational Training Centres; and Alternative Basic Education Programmes (Non-Formal Schools (NFS), Mobile Schools, Night Schools and Home Schools).
Low-fee private schools receive support and are regulated by the government. In 2005, the Ministry of Education through the Kenya Education Sector Support Program provided a policy framework which envisaged direct support to these schools in the form of grants for the purchase of teaching and learning materials and systematic verification and validation of LFPSs. The policy also specified several ways that the government engages with LFPSs, including registration of LFPSs by the Ministry of Education, supervision of schools for purposes of quality assurance and ensuring minimum standards; provision of guidelines relating to school management; access to grant funds; collaboration in the management and training of teachers; and, where long-term land ownership can be determined, support for infrastructural development.
In 2016 the Ministry of Education published new registration guidelines for APBET. While Kenya recognizes the critical role that APBET plays in increasing access to basic education, especially in informal settlements and other marginalized areas, the Ministry of Education has not legally recognized some of these institutions since they do not meet schools’ registration requirements inter alia acreage, staffing, facilities among others. Under the APBET, schools are required to satisfy registration requirements in order to gain “access to government services such as quality assurance, funding, staffing and registration for examinations among others.”
The introduction of the Free Primary Education (FPE) programme in 2003 and the Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) in 2008 resulted in the growth of enrollment from 6.7 million children in 2003 to over 12 million in 2015 accompanied by a significant growth of the private sector in Kenya. According to the Basic Education Statistical Booklet 2019, between 2017 and 2019, public primary schools increased by 0.6% while private primary schools increased by 9%. Despite this increase, public primary schools still account for the largest share of primary schools, at 72%. At the secondary level, there was a higher percentage increase in public secondary schools relative to private schools. Over the three-year period, public secondary schools have accounted for about 85 percent of all secondary schools in Kenya, partly due to the Free Day Secondary Education and the 100 percent transition policy. The reduction in the average school size is expected.
Primary and secondary enrolments vary widely by county for private and public institutions. The highest enrolment in public primary schools is in Kakamega where 519,900 students are enrolled in public primary schools. For private primary, the highest enrolment can be seen in Nairobi where 84,040 students are enrolled in private primary schools. Nairobi also accounted for the highest numbers of private secondary enrolments in 2019.
The Basic Education Act (2013) and the Registration Guidelines for Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training (APBET, 2016) govern the approval and operation of non-state providers in Kenya. While APBET focuses on basic education and vocational training, its main objective is to increase access to basic education in informal settlements and other marginalized areas. APBET also sought to ensure that the “non-formal” education sub-sector was included in national education statistics. The provisions that refer exclusively to training have been included in the section on Higher education.
Registration and approval: The Basic Education Act (2013) regulates the establishment and registration of private schools in Kenya (articles 49 and 50). According to the Act, any person may establish and maintain a private school. The Act determines that a public basic education institution cannot be converted to a private basic education institution without consultation with the National Education Board.
Registration of any private school is provisional for a term of one year renewable for one further term of one year until the institution is quality assured and notice given in writing to the proprietor that the registration is final.
Section 3.0 of the APBET includes detailed guidelines for the registration procedure. The person wishing to register an institution for Basic Education shall submit dully filled prescribed application forms through the sub county education offices to the County Education Board, who will examine the application forms and ensure that the checklist for registration has been fulfilled. The County Director of Education shall issue a provisional registration certificate within 30 days after approval by the CEB. APBET also contains provisions for re-registration and de-registration procedures.
“Any person making an application for the establishment, licensing, registration and accreditation of a basic education and training institution shall pay the prescribed fees to the relevant agencies under the Act or any other written law”.
The average school size varies widely in basic education. In primary public schools the average school size in 2019 was of 363 students. In the case of private primary, the class size was almost half accounting for 173 students. The average class size for public secondary schools in 2019 was twice as big compared to the average class size of private secondary schools according to the Basic Education Statistical Booklet 2019.
APBET includes standard requirements for physical activities and determines that institutions shall make arrangements with neighboring institutions for the use of their learning facilities, including playgrounds for co-curricular activities.
Licence: In order to establish a private school, the proprietor must not be disqualified from being a proprietor or have any criminal records, teachers must be registered by the Teacher Service Commission and the school premises must be suitable for a school.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies. No information was found.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): APBET institutions shall provide adequate resources and facilities.
Curriculum or learning standards: According to the Basic Education Act (2013), private schools must comply with and follow the approved curriculum. While the APBET doesn’t not demand to comply with the approved curriculum, it does demand learners in the institutions to sit for prescribed national examinations in the courses offered. Examinations will be conducted by the Kenyan National Examinations Council (KNEC)
Textbooks and learning materials: Private schools must maintain necessary teaching and learning materials according to the Basic Education Act (2013). APBET includes provisions for the minimum Pupil Textbook Ratio (PBR) which “in lower primary shall be 3:1, whereas in upper primary and secondary schools it shall be a minimum of 2:1”
Teaching profession: Teachers employed in private schools must be registered by the Teachers Service Commission. The APBET determines that teachers shall meet the minimum entry requirements in terms of teacher training for the level they will be teaching. Section 4.2 specifies that “a minimum 30% of the teachers at an institution of APBET shall have obtained a relevant teacher training certificate from a recognized teacher training institution at registration. The rest must be undertaking recognised in-service training and management of the institution shall progressively ensure that all their teachers are registered with the TSC by the third year of registration of the institution”. APBET also includes provisions for pupil teacher ratios in primary and secondary education.
The Act gave the chairs of school’s governing boards and the Teachers Service Commission the power to appoint head teachers along with a bigger role in the selection and management of teachers in public schools. Despite taking those decisions in consultation with the sponsors (e.g. the Church), the latter have no longer a veto power over headteachers, and their responsibilities are often limited to issues related to infrastructure and the spiritual care of the students.
Corporal punishment: Article 36 of the Basic Education Act (2013) prohibits the physical punishment and mental harassment of a child.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: No information was found.
Fee-setting: The Basic Education Act (2013) regulates the fees payable for the pupil’s attendance and his or her travelling, maintenance and other expenses in respect of that attendance.
Tuition fees in public schools may be payable by persons who are not Kenyan citizens.
Admission selection and processes. No information was found.
Policies for vulnerable groups: There is a strong equity component in APBET, whose main objective is to increase access to basic education and training in informal settlements and other marginalized areas.
School board: APBET institutions are managed by a Board of Management. The Board administers and manages the resources of the institution, receives, collects and accounts for any funds accruing to the institution and recruits employs and remunerates non-teaching staff. The Board is composed of a manager, a head teacher, two persons elected to represent parents and guardians, one person representing the County Education Board, a representative of the teaching staff, one person representing special interest groups in the community, one person representing persons with special needs and a representative of the student’s council.
Reporting requirements: No information was found.
School inspection: The County Education Board in consultation with the Teachers Service Commission shall assess a private school, including teachers, non-teaching staff, the school’s educational programmes and the school instructional materials, to inspect the school’s facilities and to perform such other appropriate functions with respect to the private school as the Cabinet Secretary may require (article 52 of the Act).
The Education and Quality Assurance Council carries out standards assessments, quality assure, monitor, evaluate and oversee the implementation of the APBET programmes for quality education
Student assessment: No information was found.
Diplomas and degrees: Non-state schools are required to track and keep records on student “admissions, daily attendance, progression, transition, transfers and placement of learners accordingly” according to APBET. Schools are also expected to track student performance and achievement growth through “value added progress” procedures.
Sanctions: The Ministry of Education introduced in 2019 a series of rules and sanctions for private schools operating without licenses or with poor infrastructure.
Tertiary education in Kenya is governed by the Universities Act (2012) which includes provisions for the establishment of private universities.
The tertiary education sector in Kenya has expanded in recent years and is operated by private and public providers. According to the Policy Framework for Education and Training issued by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology in 2012, the enrolment and growth in universities increased since the establishment of the first Kenyan university, the University of Nairobi, in 1970. In 2012, there were 7 public universities, 24 public university colleges and 26 recognized private universities. The policy promotes the promotion of private-public partnerships in university education and development and incentives to increase the number of private universities. It also envisaged expanding Government student sponsorship to private universities through the Higher Education Loans Board. According to the National Education Sector Strategic Plan for the period 2018-2022, chartered private universities increased from 15 to 18 between 2012 and 2016.
At the higher education level, Universities like Adventist University, Strathmore, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, UMMA, and Kabarak University, are among leading private universities owned by faith-based organisations.
The State Department for University Education (SDUE) is mandated to formulate and review policies in university education; ensure prudent university education management; offer guidance in the management of continuing education in universities; initiate, promote and implement cultural, technical and scientific cooperation with other countries. The Commission for Higher Education oversees the implementation of the Universities Act.
Registration and approval: The 2012 Policy Framework for Education and Training sought to develop and implement registration processes by which education and training providers are approved to deliver national qualifications or part-qualifications. The Section 11 of the Universities Act (2012) includes the provisions for the establishment of private universities. Proposals from persons seeking to establish universities in Kenya must be reviewed by the Commission for Higher Education who will submit its recommendations or observations to the Minister.
Licence: The Universities Act regulates the granting of charters for the establishment of private universities. The President may, at any time, revoke a charter granted to a university if he is of the opinion that the university concerned is not carrying out its functions in a proper manner, or is in breach of its charter, or that the revocation is in the interests of university education generally.
Profit-making: The Universities Act authorizes profit-making in higher education.
Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.
Curriculum and education standards: The Commission for Higher Education examines and approves proposals for courses of study and course regulations submitted to it by private universities.
Teaching profession: No information was found.
Fee-setting: Funds and resources of the universities are delivered from annual grants, endowments, gifts and trusts, tuition and fees and income from University auxiliary enterprises and investments according to the Universities Act. The Council of the University is in charge of prescribing fees and boarding charges.
Admission selection and processes: No information was found.
Board: Each university has its own management system.
Accountability requirements: No information was found.
Inspection: The Commission for Higher Education arranges regular visitations and inspection of private universities for quality assurance purposes. It also ensures the maintenance of standards for courses of study and examinations in the universities.
Assessments: No information was found.
Diplomas and degrees: The Commission for Higher Education advises the Government on the standardization, recognition and equation of degrees, diplomas and certificates conferred or awarded by foreign and private universities.
Sanctions on institutional closures: No information was found.
Private supplementary tutoring is a phenomenon that can be found across Kenya and is more common in urban than rural areas. In Kenya, the phenomena of private tutoring started after 1985 when the 8-4-4 system of education was introduced to replace the then 7-4-2-3 system. With the introduction of the new system, parents were compelled to send their children to private tutoring as they had to cover secondary schooling in four years instead of six. According to a study, a 1997 national sample of 3,233 Grade 6 pupils found 68.6% receiving private tutoring, ranging from 39.0% in North Eastern province to 74.4% in Nyanza Province.
Shadow education in Kenya was banned in 2011, for all secondary and primary schools in Kenya.
No information was found.
No information was found.
No information was found.