Education in Kenya

Budd Junior Academy in Trans-Nzoia County, Western Kenya

The education system in Kenya is similar to the system in the United States. They have Pre-primary, which corresponds with preschool and kindergarten. Next comes primary school, which is similar to elementary and middle school. Finally they have secondary school, which corresponds with high school. Kenya is transitioning their education system to a 2-6-3-3 system. The first two years are pre-primary, 6 years of primary school, 3 years for Junior Secondary School (JSS) and 3 years of Senior Secondary School (SSS). 

Primary education has been funded by the Kenyan Government for years, allowing all children access to education. Since the commencement of the Budd Scholarship, more primary schools have been built around the country to support an influx of students. Mainly, the subjects taught in primary school are English, Kiswahili, Math, Science and Agriculture, Social Studies, Arts, and Life Skills. Students in Primary school must pass the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) to attend Secondary school. 

After completing the KCPE, students attend secondary school. When a student receives a higher score, they can attend a higher quality school. There are three main types of secondary schools in Kenya. Public schools receive government funding, and there are 3 categories of these schools, National, Provincial, and District levels. These categories distinguish who is in charge of the admittance to each of the schools. Harambee schools receive partial government funding, and are known as preparing students for “self-reliance”. Most students who attend Harambee pursue careers in agriculture and business. Private schools do not receive any government funding. Many Secondary students are boarders at their school due to long travel times to their schools. 

Students in secondary school take biology, chemistry, and physics in addition to English, Kiswahili, History, Geography, and Religious Studies. They have the option to take fine and practical arts classes, computer classes, agriculture classes, and business studies, music, and a third language with options being French, German, Arabic, and Sign Language. 

After their final year of Secondary school, students take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam. These exams show their competency in 7 subjects. If a student takes more than 7 subjects, then the top 7 scores count towards their overall score. The KCSE exams are similar to standardized tests that students take in the United States. Students who receive sufficient scores on the KCSE exam are eligible to attend post-secondary school, which can be a university or technical school. 

The William and Nancy Budd Scholarship Fund provides school fees for students starting in the second year of secondary school. It also provides for incidentals, which include school supplies and uniforms. If scholarship students obtain a high score on their KCSE exam, the scholarship fund provides funds for them to attend a post-secondary school. 

Supporting Education in Kenya