The provision of education and training to all Kenyans is fundamental to the success of the Government’s overall development strategy, especially Vision 2030. Sessional Paper No 1 of 2005 on Policy Framework for Education, Training and Research spells out the education policy in Kenya towards the realisation of the national economic blueprint.
The Government is committed to the realisation of universal access to basic education as prescribed in the Education for All initiatives and the UN Millennium Development Goals. It also recognises education as key to the development and protection of democratic institutions and human rights.
Education Policies in Kenya
The expansion of educational opportunities has been the primary objective of the Government of Kenya since the attainment of independence.
However, from the early 1990s, enrolment declines were observed and many stakeholders faulted the 8-4-4 system of education, which was blamed of re-introducing a colonial – like system of education that encouraged social stratification inequalities.
Launched in 1985, the 8-4-4 system emphasized vocational subjects and it was assumed that it would enable school dropouts at all levels to be self-employed or to obtain employment in the informal sector.
But by 1993, the Government was under intense pressure to reform the 8-4-4 system of education or to debunk it altogether. In order to address some of those concerns, in 1998, the Government carried an internal audit through the Master Plan on Education and Training,1998-2010 and Commission of Inquiry into the Education System of Kenya of 1999, popularly known as the Koech Commission.
Kenya Master Plan on Education and Training (1998)
Master Plan on Education and Training (1998) was an internal audit that was carried by the Ministry of Education to try and introduce reforms in the 8-4-4 system of education. The initiative reviewed the identiﬁed problems and noted that the solution was not to abandon the 8-4-4 system of education, as most of the problems that were not necessarily from the education sector but emanated else where in the society.
Subsequently, the panel that carried the audit highlighted the role of education as that of addressing issues beyond provision of vocational skills but to include aspects of mental, attitudinal and social abilities. They noted that development of education in the next decade and beyond should be engaged in expanding access, raising completion rates, retention, and raising relevance and quality at all levels.
The panel called for down – sizing of the 8-4-4 curriculum by making it more manageable, affordable and related to the needs of the learner. It was also recommendedthat pressure be reduced on household expenditure on education byincreasing public financing on primary and secondary education.
Noting that education system was riddled with limited access,gender disparities, high drop out rates, and poor academic achievement, the panel issued five policy guidelines:
- Decentralizing the planning, financing and management of secondary education to local government authorities, boards of governors and other school committees.
- Increasing of education and training opportunities for the youth.
- Raising transition rate of primary school leavers to secondary education to 70 per cent in 2010 and by 100 percent in 2020.
- Raising the relevance and quality of education in all secondary schools so as to increase equity with regard to achievement.
- Increasing efficiency in resource mobilization, allocation and utilization.
Education Policy in Kenya – Commission Report and Recommendations
Education Policy in Kenya – Ominde Report
Education policy has evolved over the years through the recommendations of numerous commissions. The first commission after independence, the Kenya Education Commission (Ominde Report, 1964), sought to reform the education system inherited from the colonial government and make it more responsive to the needs of independent Kenya.
Education Policy in Kenya – Gachathi Report
The 1976 Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies ( Gachathi Report) focused on redefining educational policies and objectives, giving special attention to national unity and economic, social and cultural aspirations of Kenya. It resulted in Government support for harambee schools and the establishment of the National Centre for Early Childhood Education at KIE.
Education Policy in Kenya – Mackay Report
The 1982 Report of the Presidential Working Party on the Second University in Kenya (Mackay Report) led to the establishment of Moi University and the expansion of post-secondary training institutions.
It also recommended the establishment of the 8:4:4 systems of education and the Commission for Higher Education.
Education Policy in Kenya – Kamunge Report
However, the Report of the Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond (Kamunge Report, 1988) focused on financing quality and relevance of education. From the Kamunge Report, the Government produced Sessional Paper No 6 on Education and Training for the Next Decade and Beyond. This led to cost-sharing between Government, parents and local communities.
Recent policy initiatives have focused on the attainment of Education for All and universal primary education. Key concerns are access, retention, equity, quality and relevance and internal and external efficiencies.
Education Policy in Kenya – Sessional Paper No 1 of 2005
In 2003, the Government organised the National Conference on Education and Training that brought together more than 800 players in education. The conference developed a new policy framework for education. The Sessional Paper No 1 of 2005 on Policy Framework for Education, Training and Research constitutes the Government policy on education and training and is based on the recommendations of the conference.