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Education Commissions in Kenya

List of Education Commissions in Kenya

Ominde Report 1964 — it sought to reform colonial education. It proposed one that would foster unity and create human resources for national development.

Gachathi Report 1976 — redefined policies and emphasised national unity and socio-economic and cultural aspirations of Kenya.

Mackay Report 1981 — removed A-Level education and established Moi University, 8-4-4 and Commission for Higher Education.

Kamunge Report 1988 — focused on education financing, quality and relevance. This led to cost-sharing.

Koech Report 1999 — proposed Totally Integrated Quality Education and Training. The Government did not adopt it, but some proposals have been.

Education Commissions in Kenya – Ominde Commission:

In 1964, Education Minister Joseph James Otiende appointed the Kenya Education Commission (1964-65), under the chairmanship of Prof Simeon H. Ominde with the express mandate of restructuring the entire education spectrum. Members ofthe Commission Were:

  1. Prof Simeon H. Ominde (Chairman)
  2. Jeremiah Nyagah
  3. A.I. Pandya
  4. K. Ndile
  5. Taaitta Toowett
  6. Mrs. Ruth Habwe
  7. J.B. Wambugu
  8. J.D. Ochieng
  9. Thomas Lung’ah0
  10. Paul Fordham
  11. Dr Mohamed Hyder
  12. Israel Somen
  13. David N. Michuki (co-opted)
  14. C.P. Vivian (co-opted)
  15. G. V. Krishna (co-opted)
  16. S.J. Kioni (Co-opted)
  17. David Mwiraria (co-opted)


  1. Roger Carter
  2. G. Kiti

Mrs. M.P. D’Souza


A.D. Collop

V.L. Griffiths

Prof Arthur Lewis

The commission, commonlyreferred to as the Ominde Commission, published its findings and recommendations in a report releasedin two parts in 1964 and 1965. The

report contained 160 policy recommendations on various aspects ofthe Kenyan educational system.

The Commission urged theGovernment to reform the systemtowards national development,which they viewed as the mostimportant role that education could play in an independent country. In this regard, the Ominde Commission identified nine specific objectives, describing what the purpose of education in Kenya was to be.

The team recommended thateducation being a function of theKenyan nation had to foster a senseof nationhood, promote nationalunity, and serve the people ofKenya Without discrimination.

It also stated that public schoolshad to respect the religious convictions and cultural traditions of allpeople of Kenya.

Education as an instrument forthe conscious change of attitudesand relationships, had to preparechildren for those changes of outlook required by modern methodsof productive organisation, fosterrespect for human personality,observe the needs of national development, promote social equalityand remove divisions of race, tribeand religion.

From the recommendations, theGovernment set out six clear broadgoals of education:

  1. National unity
  2. National development
  3. Individual development and self-fulfillment
  4. Social equality
  5. Respect and development ofcultural heritage
  6. International consciousness

The Commission endorsed free primary education, the creation of the Kenya Institute of Education, and recommended a 7-4-2-3

system model of education, sevenyears of primary cycle, four years ofsecondary education, two years ofadvanced secondary education and a minimum of three years of university education.

Regulating harambee schoolsThe Ominde Commission noted the rapid growth of Harambee andother unaided secondary schoolsbecause of the demand that therewas for secondary school education. But many of these schoolswere unregistered and lacked basicfacilities and qualified staff, andgenerally admitted students whomay not have performed very Wellat the end of primary education.The Commission recommendedgovernment regulation of those schools to avoid encouraging unemployment and frustration of theirgraduates.

It also urged the Government toinclude unaided schools in educational planning and avail professional advice by the inspectorate tothese schools.

Universal primary education

The Commission advocated for freeuniversal primary education (UPE). It called for a curriculum that wassuitably related to the land andpeople of Kenya, inclusion of topicsrelating to citizenship and regularsinging of the National Anthem and raising of the flag in schools.

Ominde recommended English as the medium of instructionfrom grade one in primary school.Kiswahili was to be a compulsorysubject in primary and secondaryschool in preparation of eventuallyadopting it as the national language.

Examinations board

The Commission recommendedestablishment of the East AfricanExaminations Board to replace theCambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate.

This was to ensure that theproposed curriculum change wouldbe reflected in the examinationsrequirements. The team supportedthe Government’s initiative of abolishing racial segregation in schoolsand urged the Government to offerbursaries to African children so thatthey could join schools dominatedby Europeans and Asians.

The Commission the creation ofnational schools as Well encouraging all government maintained secondary schools to have 20 per centof their students from other partsof the country. Teachers had to beready to Work outside their homesand develop a national rather than atribal outlook.

Economic development

The Commission encouraged development of adult education to enablepeople with elementary educationto participate in national and economic development.

It recommended that religiouseducation be treated as any other

academic subject and should notbe used to entrench any particularfaith in children.

However, churches and otherreligious bodies were to remain assponsors and offer pastoral care tothe schools.

Teacher education

The Commission felt that unqualified teachers in the schools, lowmorale in the teaching professiondue to poor pay and poor Working conditions would hinder achievement of educational goals. It recommended in-service training forprimary school teachers and thatprimary school graduates shouldnot be recruited as untrained teachers.

Planning of education

The Commission recommendedrestructuring of the curriculum from the model of 4:4:2:2 system— four years of lower primary,four years of upper primary, and twoyears of lower secondary and twoyears of Form 3 and Form 4- whichrestricted many African children from proceeding to higher education. Ominde recommended a7:4:2:3 system, which would enablechildren go through seven years of uninterrupted primary education, our years of secondary fromForm 1 to Form 4, two years ofadvanced secondary education anda minimum of three years at theuniversity.

It recommended that generalplanning of education be takencentrally by the Government, with school committees and Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) overseeing administration andmanagement of primary schools.

The Commission supported the Governments move to give secondary schools and other tertiaryinstitutions Boards of Governors to manage them but called for suitable government control over theBoards’ activities.

Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965

Besides the Ominde Report, theSessional Paper N0. 10 of 1965 onAfrican Socialism and Its Application to Planning in Kenya examinedKenya’s educational needs from anideological aspect, which was different from colonial administrationapproaches.

The paper viewed education as ‘theprincipal means for relieving theshortage of domestic skilled manpower and equalizing economic opportunities for all citizens.

The paper emphasized the needfor the country to Work towardsthe Universal Primary Educationas well as expansion of secondaryschools to facilitate higher education in order to hasten economicand national development.

Five years after OmindeCommission

The Government responded positively to the Ominde CommissionReport by effecting a raft of reforms. Immediately after the reportwas published, the Governmentenforced the policy of establishment of non-racial schools in thecountry by giving African studentsbursaries to join high cost Asian andEuropean schools.

By 1966, the African populationin these schools was 30 per centand increased to 65 percent in 1969 and almost to a 100 per centin 1970.

Another change concerningthose schools was that their foreign names were changed to localnames. For instance Duke of Yorkbecame Lenana High School, Princeof Wales became Nairobi School,Duke of Gloucester changed toJamhuri, Duchess of Gloucesterbecame Pangani Girls SecondarySchool and Delamere High Schoolchanged to Upper Hill SecondarySchool.

In 1966, a single common syllabus was also introduced with onecommon examination. The KenyaPreliminary Examination (KPE)was replaced by Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) and the EastAfrican Examinations Council wasestablished in 1967 to administerthe East Africa Certificate of Education (EACE) to replace the Cambridge School Certificate (O-Level),and the East Africa AdvancedCertificate of Education (EAACE) toreplace the Cambridge AdvancedSchool Certificate (A-Level) examination.

The change in the syllabus andexamination bodies led to improvement in localizing the content ofeducation. Demand for secondary education continued and development of those Harambee secondaryschools increased to 226 in 1966 compared to the 199 government-maintained schools.

The Kenya Junior SecondaryExamination (KJSE), Which Was tobe sat at the end of Form Two wasreintroduced in 1966 to help someof students in harambee schools tojoin government schools or to terminate their education to join thelabour market.

Nonetheless, the Governmentstarted taking over some of theseschools in 1967 and in 1969, itstarted aiding most of them byproviding and paying qualifiedteachers.

Kericho Conference

Influx of primary and secondaryschool—leavers to towns in searchof salaried employment createdavenues for criticizing educationsystem. Due to intense reactionto the colonial experience,Ominde Commission had ignored,vocational education in favourof elitist academic education. By1966, there was an outcry that thereexisted dichotomy in education asit had no correlation with the needsof the labour market.

Amid efforts to address the situation, the Government requestedDr Arthur T. Porter, the Principalof University College Nairobi, toconvene a conference of experts to advise on how to deal with unemployment crisis of young peopleleaving school.

The key recommendations of theconference held at Kericho were:

  1. Restructure education systemand relate it to rural and urbandevelopment;
  2. Increase primary education tonine years;
  3. Delay entry to primary education to age eight;
  4. Establish village polytechnics;
  5. Create sufficient technical skillsat village level in marketing andproduction;
  6. Reform the school curriculum to cater for vocational education.
  7. Wide extension of youth clubs and in all primary and secondary schools
  8. Primary school be made centres of identifying and developing hidden talents scatteredthroughout the population.
  9. Redirect some harambeeschools to provide training forrural development.
  10. Aim of primary educationshould not simply to prepare the lucky minority for secondary school but to prepare the remaining majority for successful entry into a satisfactory life of Work and to continue education through less formal means.

Teachers Service Commission Act(1961)

In 1967, the Teachers Service Commission Act was enacted, ostensiblygiving all teachers one employer,the Teachers Service Commission(TSC). The Act clearly spelt out theteachers’ terms of service makingthe job acquire a more professionalstatus.

In 1968, Primary Teacher Training Colleges Were consolidated from36 to 24.

Education Act (1968)

In 1968, the Education Act (Cap211) was published and placedthe responsibility of all educationmatters in the hands of the Government. The Act saw the establishment of the Kenya Institute ofEducation.

It provided an explicit legal frame work of education in Kenya, andgave guidelines on promotion ofeducation in the country and management of schools.

It also gave direction on registrationof private schools, inspection andcontrol of schools, examinations and financing of education.

Through the Act, the Governmentassumed full responsibility of alleducation. It also gave school committees and Boards of Governors legal framework for their operations.

Educational policies

Although the Government had implemented most of recommendations made by Ominde and had also acquiesced to some of the urgent public demands by expanding education in all sectors by 1970, there had emerged new clamour for reforms. Educators and parents argued education had failed to address adequately needs of the country and its people.

Education Commissions in Kenya

Education Commissions in Kenya

Education Commissions in Kenya – Ndegwa Commissions:

The Commission of Inquiry (Public Service Structure and Remuneration Commission (1970-71) was chaired by Head of Public Service Duncan N. Ndegwa.

Although its mandate concerned the whole of the Civil Service, it made specific recommendations on education that were to influence its development.

The Commission recommended re-establishment of District Education Boards to enable the primary school system to respond effectively to local requirements by the active participation and involvement of the local community.

But more important, Ndegwa commission recommended phasing out of teachers without secondary education.

On secondary education, the Commission recommended diversification of the curriculum to allow more secondary schools to provide technical and vocational subjects. The recommendation was meant to enable secondary education to meet the manpower needs in the country.

It also recommended that the Government should take over all harambee schools and maintain them in order to improve the standards. On technical and vocational education, the Ndegwa Commission said there was a mismatch between technical and vocational education and the job market needs. It recommended reviewing of the curriculum in liaison with commercial and industrial organisations to offer relevant education.

On teacher education, the Commission called for expansion of training of teachers, especially in sciences. The commission urged the Government to ensure that good salaries were offered in order to attract high calibre students in to the teaching profession.