Over 7.6 million children are currently enjoying primary education countrywide because of President Kibakiís policy of Free Primary Education.
The Government of Kenya has heavily invested in education, given its role in spurring national development. The money spent on education has continued to go up over the years to match the increased school enrolment at all levels.
In an effort to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) objectives by 2015, the government adopted the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) in 2005.
Increased access and participation in education at all levels
1.0. Pre-primary and primary
The number of pupils enrolled in pre-primary institutions increased by 12.9% from 1.46 million in 2002 to 1.64 million in 2005. The government has increased the number of teachers by 44.7% to 72,182 over the same period. The pupil to teacher ratio stands at 23:1 from 28:1 in 2001
The Free Primary School Education (FPE) scheme has led to increased pupil enrolment from 5.9 million in 2002 to over 7.6 million in 2006. Gender parity has been realised, with girls constituting 49% of the total primary school children in the country.
Since the inception of the FPE in 2003, the Government has paid out Ksh. 31 billion has been to public primary schools for purchase of learning materials.
More children are joining secondary schools, with the transition rate from primary to secondary schools rising from 43.3% in 2000 to 57% in 2005.
Extra financial support to boarding primary schools for learners with special needs and those in hardship areas is being provided.
The Government has intensified provision of learning materials to integrated primary schools to increase enrolment of learners with special needs.
The Government, in collaboration with development partners such as the Organisation of Petroleum Producing Countries (OPEC), the African Development Bank (ADB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has put in place infrastructure investment programme to coordinate the construction and rehabilitation in physical facilities in learning institutions.
In 2005/06 financial year, a total of Ksh.199 million was paid out to needy primary schools for the construction of physical facilities through infrastructure development programme (IDP).
99.1 per cent of primary school teachers are now trained. The number of untrained teachers has declined from 2,245 in 2002 to 1,469 in 2005.
2.0. Secondary school
To expand the capacity of secondary schools to cope with increasing pupil population in primary schools, the following steps have been taken:
o Ksh 800 million was given to public secondary schools to support bright and needy students
o Ksh. 70 million was given to secondary schools in ASAL for the purpose of sustaining students in school
The policy governing school bursaries was changed in 2003/04 financial year. The funds, which used to be channeled to secondary schools from ministry headquarters, are now paid out at the constituency level. This is based on the total student enrolment for each constituency, the national enrolment and constituency poverty index. The amount allocated increased from Ksh. Ksh.770 million to 800 million in 2005/06 and is set to increase in the next five years. The ministry has set minimum allocations to beneficiaries in national, provincial and day schools at Ksh 15,000, Ksh. 10,000 and Ksh. 5,000 respectively.
Under a targeted programme, the government is rehabilitating some schools to improve teaching and learning facilities including laboratories/science equipment. Each identified school (10 per district) will receive Ksh. 227, 456 out Ksh. 170 million during the 2006/2007 financial year.
Ten public secondary schools in each District identified by the District Education Boards (DEBs) benefit from annual grants to enhance the teaching and learning of sciences
Grants to ASAL secondary schools: all public secondary schools in the 28 ASAL districts in the country have been considered for an enhanced ASAL grant of Ksh. 70 million to supplement their current expenditure based on students' enrolment. Ten schools have been selected in every district to each receive Kshs.227, 000 for laboratory equipment.
Pockets of poverty funds: these are funds given to assist schools in high potential areas affected by extreme poverty. Three secondary schools in each of the 43 non-ASAL districts benefit annually from these funds. The schools are identified by the District Education Boards (DEBs)
The Government plans to increase access to secondary education by introducing a day wing in boarding schools, opening of day schools in slums and ASAL areas, implementing a double shift in populated urban schools and introducing distance learning through e-learning. Such measures will increase the transition rate from primary to secondary from 57 per cent to 70 per cent by the year 2008.
Infrastructure development: two secondary schools in all districts each received Ksh 700,000 for infrastructure development. A total of Ksh 99 million was spent in the 2005/06 financial year.
Fire equipment fund: all provincial public boarding secondary schools now receive funds to purchase fire-fighting equipment. A total of Ksh 90 million was spent on this in the 2005/06 financial year.
ICT Fund: two secondary schools in every district received Ksh. 1.5 million each for computerisation. A total of Ksh 213 million was spent in the 2005/ 06 financial year.
Drought fund: all public secondary schools in districts that had been affected by drought/ famine benefited from this fund.
Technical Industrial, Vocational and Entrepreneurial Training Institutions: enrolment has increased by 51.7 per cent, from 45,076 in 2001 to 68,379 in 2005. This is because courses have been diversified and curriculum reviewed to make them more relevant to the job market.
Teacher education: there are 31 primary teacher training colleges in the country, 21 public and 10 private. The enrolment has increased from 22,280 in 2000 to 41,316 in 2005.
3.0. University Education
Commitment towards expansion and development of university education has been demonstrated by forming partnerships with private providers. A number of private universities received charters. One example is the Kenya Methodist University. GRETSA and Lake Region Universities have been given letters of interim Authority by the Commission for Higher Education. Western University College of Science and Technology is now a full-fledged university known as the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
University Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors and other senior management staff are now competitively appointed. Gone are the days when such important positions were doled out as rewards for the politically correct. Today, it is merit or nothing.
In 2005, Public Universities Inspection Board was appointed to review the establishment of the various public universities.
A taskforce on development of a national strategy for university education which is expected to give direction on university education was also established.
In addition to the above, progress has been made in the following areas:
The non-formal education curriculum has been developed and approved. The ministry of Education (MOE) has finalized the directory for non-formal institutions in Nairobi. Plans are also under way to complete directories in Mombasa, Kitale and Thika.
A strengthened immunization and de-worming programme is in place.
School feeding programmes in ASAL districts and in slum areas has been initiated.
ICT training in learning resource centres at teacher training colleges is in progress.
Careersí guide book is nearly complete and will be distributed to all schools for use by students when making decisions on career choices.
The code of regulation for teachers has been revised.
A gender desk at the ministry has been established and the development of a Gender Policy is almost complete.
The draft strategy for the university sector has been developed.
Funds for research have been disbursed to the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), which has subsequently released the same to universities.
MOE has improved its communication strategy through the media. KESSP calendar planners were produced and distributed to all education offices and learning institutions.
MOE is currently revising and updating the Education Act and all other laws which guide the management of education so as to harmonise them with the recent reforms in the sector.
MOE has established a Voluntary Counseling and Testing centre at the MOE headquarters and is making all efforts to educate the youth on HIV/AIDS and other health related issues.
In order to build on the success of FPE and other interventions, the Government will continue to undertake sector-wide development programmes to ensure that other sub-sectors are strengthened alongside the primary sub sector.
The government is implementing the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) to ensure enhanced access, equity and improved quality and relevance of education and training.
The Government will continue to tackle the daunting task of reconciling the scarce resources available with the resources needed for the various programmes. This will be anchored by the Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005 on Education Training and Research, which provides the roadmap for the education sector.