Currently in Nairobi, Kenya


Bringing hope, changing children's lives:
Making a difference in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children,
one child at a time, community by community.


The Kenyan Educational System

The basic education system in Kenya is the same as in many western countries including the United States. In Kenya, the education system is referred to as 8-4-4. The first level which is primary school (elementary school) lasts for 8 years. After that, there are 4 years of secondary school (high school) and then, there may be 4 years of college or university for those who can afford it and have high enough grades. 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. In Kenya, school enrollment drops dramatically after the primary school level, mainly due to the high cost of school fees.

Primary Education

Primary education in Kenya begins at the age of 6 or 7 after completion of a year of kindergarten commonly known as Nursery School. The first class or year of primary school is known as Standard 1, the final year as Standard 8. Most primary schools are day schools with pupils living at home. All public primary school pupils take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination at the end of the school year in Standard eight. At the end of the school year, students advance 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, or may pursue technical training opportunities.

Secondary Education

Secondary schools in Kenya fall into three categories - government funded, Harambee and private. Government funded schools are divided into national, provincial and district levels. Harambee schools receive partial funding from the government and private schools are run by private organizations or individuals. The first grade or year of secondary school is known as form 1 and the final year is form 4. After taking the Certificate of Primary Education exam and successfully passing, government funded schools select students in order of scores. Students with the highest scores gain admission into national schools while those with average scores are selected into provincial and district schools. Harambee schools accept students with low scores. At the end of the fourth year, from October to November students take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination.

Vocational Schools and Colleges

These are two or three year post-secondary school institutions also termed colleges. They award certificates, diplomas and higher national diplomas in various disciplines after successful completion of relevant courses. Courses offered by these institutions include Business Education, Accounting, Secretarial Studies, Nursing, Teacher Training, Computer Studies, Journalism, Media, Design, Culinary Studies, Foreign Languages, Tourism and Technical Skills. In order of credibility or accreditation, national polytechnics rank first, followed by government training institutes, teacher training colleges and private institutions. Although generally termed colleges, these institutions do not award degrees. Degrees are only awarded by universities.

University Education

There are 30 universities in Kenya, 7 of which are public and 23 private. The 7 public universities have a total of 12 constituent colleges. The University of Nairobi is the oldest university in Kenya.