In 2009/2010 Kenya spent over 6% of GDP, 20% of public expenditures and 27% of domestic revenue on the two education ministries.
Education Sector in Kenya
The education sector has undergone accelerated reforms that include launch and implementation
of Free Primary Education (FPE), adoption of sector wide approach to planning and financing of
education and training, and Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE). Implementation of these
reforms requires heavy investment in construction of educational infrastructure, modern
machines and technical training needs.
Overall the Kenyan education sector is strong and dynamic, responding to a huge, widespread
demand for education. By far the largest part of public spending within this sector comes from
Government’s domestic resources; development partners make important contributions to
investment and system strengthening.
In 2009/2010 Kenya spent over 6% of GDP, 20% of public expenditures and 27% of domestic
revenue on the two education ministries, Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of High
Education, Science and Technoloby (MoHEST). Additional spending on school construction and
rehabilitation comes from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the Local Authority
Trust Fund (LATF); complementary activities are also funded by other ministries, such as,
Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development in support of orphans and vulnerable
children, Ministry of Youth Affairs for youth polytechnics and Ministry of Labour for other
technical training centres. Kenya education spending, even if failing, is relatively high compared
to countries in the East Africa region and other African countries.
National Education System: The national education system has an 8-4-4 structure. This structure
has expanded to incorporate technical skills and pre-primary education (4-5 year old children).
The primary education cycle caters for 6-13 years; and secondary education targets 14-17 years.
The Technical, Industrial and Vocational Education Training (TIVET) catchment population
includes youth who for some reasons do not enrol in the regular education system either at
primary, secondary school or university levels.
Primary Enrolment: The education revolution of 2002, Free Primary Education (FPE) brought a
million more children into primary school. Total enrolment went up from 94% in 2002 to 111%
in 2003, then rising slowly to 113% in 2009. Numbers enrolled in public schools have grown by
2.4% a year since 2003, roughly the same as the increase in population. Estimates of primary
enrolment have recently been revised to take account of the large number of non-government
schools which had not earlier been registered. The revised data show that there were more
children enrolled in primary school following FPE than had previously been thought, and that
gross enrolment has remained high, but only growing slightly from the 2003 level. Net primary
enrolment is about 93%. At least 650,000 primary-age children are still not in school.
Secondary Enrolment and Capacity: The secondary sector has expanded rapidly in the past eight
years, both in number of schools and enrolment. Double-shift use of facilities is being piloted.
The public sector accounts for a larger part of the total than for primary. Government strategy
envisages a continued expansion, requiring careful planning both of development and recurrent
resource use (especially of teachers). Planning needs to use school mapping and EMIS
information, together with an enrolment projection model.
Universities: The public tertiary sector has undergone dramatic growth, with conversion of some
polytechnics into universities, opening of new university colleges, and of branches of existing
universities. The private sector has also expanded. Female enrolment in public universities is
38%. Most of all growth has been of fee-paying parallel students in public universities: growth
which has been profitable for public universities, but raises quality control issues. Government
wants universities to expand.
Although the 8-4-4 structure and system was supposed to provide for a student to progress from
the first year of primary through TIVET or tertiary, many primary level graduates have in fact
been ill-prepared to enter post-primary sub-sectors. In addition, it has not catered adequately for
the disadvantaged, those with special needs and those outside the formal education system.
Consequently, many school age children have remained uncatered for..
ξ Construction of more schools and rehabilitation of existing ones to address the inadequate
physical facilities at primary and secondary schools to support the attainment of the
desired transition rate of 75% by 2012.
ξ Construction of private schools to meet the exceeding demand.
ξ Construction of higher education institutions i.e. colleges and universities. Despite having
a large number of universities, only 20% of the students completing secondary school are
admitted to public and private universities, forcing many able parents to send their children
overseas. There is also a growing demand of students coming into Kenya from the East
and Central Africa region for higher education.
ξ Refurbishment of training centres and institutes, including curriculum development.
ξ Provision of products and services for the use in e-learning.
ξ Professional development training opportunities with various sectors e.g. financial
services, human resource, ICT etc.
ξ Partnerships with existing organisations to provide a larger variety of courses with
ξ Opportunity to work with regulatory institutions to ensure all new regulations in line with
the emergence of a new constitution strengthens the sector.
ξ Introduction of new, innovative courses to meet the global changing market needs and
development of new sectors within the economy.
Latest export opportunities – Education & Training
Latest export opportunities - Kenya
Getting into the market
The most suited market entry strategy is through formation of a partnership with an existing
institution. This model is currently in existence and has been working well between foreign and
local colleges and universities. Through partnerships UK colleges and universities are able to
offer a number of their courses at the local colleges which then result in UK accreditation. This
option gives the local colleges an edge over their competitors as UK accreditation is regarded
highly in the Kenyan/East African market.
More about doing business in Kenya
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Misbah Mughal, British High Commission, Kenya. Tel: +254 (0) 713331187 or email:
Contact your local international trade team
Kenya International Education Fair
Date: 8 to 11 March, 2012
Website address: www.biztradeshows.com/trade-events/kenya-education-fair.html
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events – Education & Training
Latest events – Kenya
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters