The Government of Kenya is committed to the provision of quality education, training and research for all Kenyans. In the recent past the education sector has undergone accelerated reforms that include launch and implementation of Free Primary Education (FPE), adoption of sector wide approach to planning and financing of education and training, and Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE).
Implementation of these reforms requires heavy investment in construction of educational infrastructure, modern machines and technical training needs.
There are over 19,000 public primary schools in the country with an enrolment of 8.2 million children and an additional 600,000 others in private schools as at 2010. The completion rates in primary level education are 83.2% while transition rate to secondary schools stood at 64.1 % at 2009. There are about 4,500 secondary schools in the country which reflects a disproportionate relationship between primary school and secondary school investment strategy.
The Ministry of Education through the Medium Term Plan of Vision 2030 has construction of New Secondary schools as a flagship project. The aim is to construct and fully equip 560 new secondary schools and in addition expand and rehabilitate the existing ones during the period 2008-2012. The Ministry’s revised investment blue print (KSHSSP II) which is currently at advanced stage of development will be implemented from 2010 to 2015 and also focuses on enhancing transition to higher levels of education and training in order to contribute to the social pillar of Vision 2030. The objectives will be achieved with close partnership with the
private sector which has been very active in establishment of new schools particularly those targeting a large expatriate community in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Current policy initiatives aim at the following;
- Construction of 8,000 classrooms in existing 1 & 2 stream day schools
- Construction of 130 new secondary schools
- Construction and equipping of laboratories
- Establishment of 22 boarding wings in public secondary schools in ASAL areas
- Upgrading of 40 extra secondary schools to cater for learners with special needs
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(i). Construction of new schools and universities
In order to address the inadequate physical facilities at secondary level to support the attainment of the desired transition rate of 75% by 2012, there is need to construct more schools and expand and rehabilitate the existing ones. In addition, construction of private
secondary schools is encouraged and this offers excellent opportunities for investors in this sector. The newly developed school mapping (Geographical Information systems) undertaken by the government will assist in identifying the needy regions for this intervention. Similarly there is a high demand for university education. Out of the secondary school leavers who qualify to enter university, only 4.6 per cent are admitted to public and private universities, forcing many able parents to send their children overseas. There is therefore a great investment potential for private investors in the higher education sub-sector.
Investment opportunities in the education sector exist under various arrangements:
- A Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) initiative by private sector will be a good measure in tackling the shortage as well as recouping the costs of their investments
- Investment in production of school learning materials and laboratory equipments will see the country meet local demand and serve regional markets
- Provision of long term concessional loans and grants to local entrepreneurs carrying out investments in education will help avoid use of short term credits to support schools development plans
- Joint partnerships with leading chains of international schools will help promote quality and meet the need of many expatriate communities currently based in the country and around the region besides making the country an “Education Hub” in the region
There are over 25,000 public primary schools with an enrolment of about 9.5 million learners as at 2011 and over 600 private schools. Primary completion rate stood at 76.8% transition rate from primary to secondary stood at 73.5% (2011).
The Ministry of Education through the Medium Term Plan of Vision 2030 has construction of new secondary schools as a flagship project. The aim is to construct and fully equip 560 new secondary schools and in addition expand and rehabilitate the existing ones during the period 2008-2012.
The Ministry is developing an investment blue print National Education Sector Programme (NESP) which is currently at advanced stage of development will be implemented from 2013 to 2018. The plan focuses on quality, access and relevance in education at all levels of education in order to contribute to the social pillar of Vision 2030.
The ministry will work closely with the private sector which has been active in the establishment of new schools particularly those targeting a large expatriate community in Nairobi and Mombasa. Current policy initiatives aim at the following;
- Construction of 9,000 classrooms in existing 1 & 2 stream schools.
- Construction of 290 new day secondary schools.
- Construction and equipping of laboratories in secondary schools.
- Establishment of 22 boarding wings in public secondary schools in ASAL areas.
- Upgrading of 40 extra secondary schools to cater for learners with special needs.
(ii). Establishment of TIVET Centers of Excellence
Centers of Excellence are aimed at making the technical training institutions focus and specialize on specific technical courses for training. This will enable the Government to use scarce resources and to concentrate on full development of the capacity to deliver priority skills which are competitive in industry. Training equipment and infrastructure manufacturing to support centers of excellence is a key investment opportunity. The demand for modern equipment and infrastructure is very high since the Government has embarked on an upgrading programme for TIVET institutions which will see some being upgraded to Universities of Technology while others to national polytechnics. The investment in equipment and infrastructure will also foster the appreciation of Chinese technologies by Kenyan industries and the community at large thus providing market demand for industrial equipment, products and services. In addition, partnerships in training between the two countries will provide opportunities for employment as well as strengthening the capacities of the teaching force.
3.Industrial business incubators
The technical institutions under this Ministry are implementing a programme on establishment of industrial and business incubators for strengthening the entrepreneurship education component of the TIVET Curriculum at all levels and more so with emphasis on entrepreneurship incubation. This has the potential of the establishment of technology based businesses. This is one key investment area that technology business incubation can be supported and nurtured.
4. Skills for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
The BPO industry is a technology-intensive industry. Thus the success of the BPO sector in Kenya will require that it focus a lot of attention on the acquisition and development of skilled human resources who are not only adept in technical skills but also in soft skills. The very nature of the BPO business thus poses challenges in appropriate skills and training programs.
Investment in private universities/schools establishment to support skills development in this regard is viable. There are investment opportunities in the manufacture of software in Kenya to supply to industry and to train the human resources for skills in this industry.
5. Establishment of Science/Technology parks Science and Technology Parks are a means of supporting a knowledge-based economy, and fostering market-oriented technological development. They typically accomplish this by bringing together academic, business and governmental organizations into one physical location, and supporting interrelationships between these groups through incentives. China has a long term history and success in the implementation, operation and management of highly successful technology parks. Since Science and Technology parks actualize the ‘Triple Helix’ Concept where the Government provides the facilitative infrastructure, the Universities provide the research and innovation ideas for incubation and Industry commercializes the
prototypes there are investment opportunities in the establishment of the park and establishing uptake industries for the commercialization of the prototypes. This is an investment opportunity that Chinese investors can consider for development.
6. Construction and Rehabilitation of facilities for TIVET
To increase access and quality of TIVET, the Ministry has embarked on improving the capacity of training institutions in terms of physical facilities and equipment to bring them to international standards and meet the market requirements. Expansion of TIVET facilities targeting national priority sectors and disadvantaged areas has also been prioritized but the cost implications are also high. This is an area that support and investment is required. The demand of skills training is higher than the supply given that out of about 650,000 students who complete secondary education yearly about 30,000 access university education. The rest seek opportunities in TIVET institutions which have a capacity of 60,000. Therefore, there is an opportunity for Investment in construction of extra TIVET institutions to carter for the high demand.
7. Opportunities in Higher Education
Kenya has a high demand for higher education, but has limited chances to meet this demand. This has led to a majority of potential students seeking chances abroad. Investment in construction of private universities is potential opportunity. In addition, most facilities and equipment in Kenyan universities are of low quality and require urgent upgrading. This posses an opportunity for investment in supply of equipment and teaching facilities, and construction of infrastructure. In addition, investors can set up manufacturing centres for training equipment focusing in university education.
Kenya has great opportunities in investments and partnerships in Research and Development. A special area of interest where China has done well is research in indigenous knowledge, medicinal plants and tropical diseases. Collaborations between Kenyan researchers and global researchers provide good potential of scientific advancement.
9. Establishment of the Computer Supply Programme
Objective of the programme is to equip students with modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills in order to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of mainstreaming information technology in schools and teacher training colleges for improved
curriculum delivery. To date all the 21 Teacher Training Colleges have been granted with 2.1 million Kenya shillings. The Ministry under the e-learning programme equipped 1683 public secondary schools with ICT infrastructure and 1065 teachers were trained from the beneficiary institutions on use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). To strengthen the impact of ICT integration, the Ministry of Education is engaged in a number of private public partnerships that target a diversity of areas in the broad sector of ICT Integration in Education.