Primary Education in Kenya is the second level and caters for children between 6 and 13. Pupils sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination after eight years of learning.
The objective of primary education is to attain for all and Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In pursuit of this, the Government introduced the Free Primary Education Programme in 2003, resulting in enrolment rising from 5.9 million in 2002 to 8.8 million in 2009.
Number of primary schools in Kenya
There are 26,667 primary schools compared to 26,206 in 2008. Almost 70 per cent of the schools are public. Primary completion rate has increased from 60 to more than 70 per cent in 2009. In the 2010-2011 budget, the free primary education Programme alone got Sh9.2 billion it is fully financed by the Government.
Primary education in Kenya
Primary education in Kenya begins at the age of 6 or 7 after completion of a year of kindergarten commonly known as Nursery School or pre-unit. The first class or year of primary school is known as Standard 1, the final year as Standard 8 and primary school children are known as pupils. The school year at both primary and secondary levels, begins in January and ends in November. Students get 3 school vacations in April, August and December. At the end of the school year students advances to the next grade. Students who completely fail their end of year exams usually repeat the class the following year instead of advancing to a higher grade. Most primary schools are day schools with pupils living at home. Fewer schools at primary level are boarding schools compared to secondary schools. All public primary school pupils sit for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination at the end of the school year in Standard eight.
In January 2003 President Mwai Kibaki re-introduced free primary education which previously existed before the mid 80s when the government adopted cost sharing measures that led to a minor level of school fees charged by primary schools for text books, PTA, and extracurricular activities. Since 2003, education in public schools became free and universal (but not compulsory).
Free Primary Education – Kimani Maruge
On learning that primary education had once again become free in Kenya, Kimani Maruge, an uneducated farmer and the world’s oldest person to enroll in primary school joined Kapkenduiywo primary school in Eldoret at the age of 84. He was elected head boy at the age of 86 in 2005.