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Kenya - Summary

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Historically, the Kenya educational system underwent drastic and rapid changes within a short period. As in most African countries, Kenya has been faced with a fast population growth rate and low economic development that contribute to an environment where the educational system is very competitive and high educational attainment does not guarantee occupational mobility (Buchmann 2000). Kenya has accomplished its goals of educational development since independence, according to the normative and organizational triumph of mass schooling theory. The promotion of education, along with credential inflation, resulted in the slow growth of wage employment and an overabundance of educated job seekers. As Buchmann (2000) points out, the result has been a highly expanded educational system that rivals those in the most industrialized countries in terms of its complexity and competitiveness. At the same time the strength of extended kinship networks and the prevalence of polygyny along with a high demand of agricultural economic base indicates very little has changed for the better.

The educational system in Kenya alienated the masses from their traditional cultural ways, which served as the fabric to sustain a healthy climate in the society. Thus, the educational impact on society has resulted in corruption and institutional breakdown, lack of infrastructure to utilize the human capital available, and, above all, the disillusionment that education does not equal economic or social mobility. As a result, education has become a handicap, leading to oppressive social, economic, and psychological conditions. The symptoms that have surfaced are a decline in ethnic pride, patriotism, and the attitude that "what is Kenyan has no value, but that which is imported is much better," and urban life is better than rural. Another impact is the loss of skilled workers who cannot flee to other countries for improved economic conditions. The future of the Kenyan educational system is uncertain; however, the Kenyan people appear to still believe in education as progress, and future reforms may consider including character education, which would foster moral ethics and a revitalization of indigenous cultures.


Buchmann, Claudia. "Family Structure, Parental Perceptions, and Child Labor in Kenya: What Factors Determine Who is Enrolled in School." Social Forces 78 Issue 4 (2000): 1349-79.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Fact-book 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 1 January 2000. Available form

Court, D. and Ghai, D. P. Education Society and Development: New Perspectives from Kenya. Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1974.

Ehusani, George, O. An Afro-Christian Vision "Ozovehe": Toward A More Humanized World. Lanham: University Press of America, 1991.

Embassy of the Republic of Kenya. 2001. Available from

Kenya Information Center, The. Kenya Education. 2000. Available from 2001. Available from

Mbiti, J. S. African Religions and Philosophy. 2nd ed. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1992.

Quyum, Abdul. Kenya Government Organization 2000. Available from

Rharade, A. "Educational Reform in Kenya." Prospects Quarterly Review of Comparative Education XXVII, Issue 101 (March 1997): p 162-178.

Sifuna, Daniel, N. Development of Education in Africa: The Kenya Experience. Nairobi: Initiative Publishers, 1990.

University of Pennsylvania. Living Encyclopedia for Kenya. 2001. Available from

—P. Masila Mutisya

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over 8 years ago

Kenyan educaton still requires so many reforms for the true meaning of education to be realized.Education in Kenya should be more practical and corruption free.No wonder Kenya produces professionals who know nothing in their areas of profession.That's why we're having buildings collapsing and killing people because of very poor Engineers who know nothing about engineering.Reforms especially at university level should be done.SOMETHING NEEDS TO DONE URGENTLY.

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over 8 years ago

Kenyan Education was doing good not until 2007 when politicians stated competing on who is to offer more free education. Free education has been up to secondary but resources are not available eg less teachers.

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almost 9 years ago

Kenyan Education sytem is best for All, Being young or old, Black or white,Poor or Rich, Illiterate or Literate,an orphan or a Widow. Government of Kenya has made available for and affordable for all class of people.YOU CAN REALY ENJOY A TASTE OF IT.