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School with school children at their desks.

Education is a vital element of a child’s natural development that cannot be overseen. The problem is that depending on which country you would like to put emphasis on, providing education can seem to be a problematic matter for parents and learners alike when it comes to financing.

Cost of Education in Kenya: Quick Overview:

    Since Kenya got it independence in 1963, and up to the year 1991, pursuing an undergraduate degree represented the least of the worries of the average Kenyan citizen, simply because it was free. The government even supported university students by paying their levies. So, there was no worry about tuition fees and accommodation.

Apparently, this system represented the ideal model for a country that just got its independence. However, this program didn’t last long and was even considered as a failure because it didn’t reach its objective. After that, there was the introduction of the cost sharing program by the World Bank.

The cost sharing program requires that the cost of a regular education has to be shared between government, parents, donors, and students. Students were now also required to pay a fair amount to get the education they want.

But so far, everything seems fine since the cost of education is now shared between major elements of the Kenyan society. So, where is the problematic point in all of this?

  1. Primary Education:

    The Kenyan government made a major contribution in 2003 by making the primary education free. Although such a contribution encourages parents to enroll their children in primary schools, many of these latter, approximately 3.9 million, were found playing in front of their homes instead of going to school.

The reason for this particular behavior was obvious: the cost was unaffordable for many Kenyan families.

Even though primary education was free, students had to pay for entrance tests, buy uniforms, buy their own desks and in some cases pay for tuition fees. Let alone multiplying this by three or four for families with multiple children.

It was established that the average parent would by 1764 Kenyan Shillings -Ksh- per child. And according to a study conducted by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, the unit cost of primary education over the 8 years of schooling is 166.996 Kshs. 

And for the donors, according to Aid for Africa website, a $350 donation is required to provide only a year of education in elementary schools. Let alone the $25 dollars donation for personal supplies such as toilet paper, sanitary pads, and $50 dollar donation for school and physical education uniforms.

2. Secondary Education:

    This is where the problematic aspect of the Kenyan system of education starts to come into light. And if the word “problematic” does not ring a bell in the head of the reader, just bear in mind that many Kenyans offered to sell their kidneys in order to carry on their education and join the national school they desire according to the Global Campaign for Education United States.

Starting from 2013, secondary school fees have risen in a dramatic way over the years. Some schools charge up to 1200 USD, a price that unfortunately is unaffordable for many Kenyan families and that pushed many individuals to drop out from school.

And secondary education fees vary according to the ownership and the level of school desired as well. In such cases, the individual should make the choice between joining a public school owned by the government or join the private schools which is owned by given individuals.

If the individual chooses to join a public school, he/she needs to distinguish its four categories and their pricings:

  • National and boarding schools which charge approximately 67,000 Kshs per year.
  • Special needs schools for children with disabilities charge around 70,000 Kshs per year.
  • And Day schools charge around 22,000 Kshs per year.

The Kenyan government pay a considerable amount of these fees to help make education more affordable for the Kenyan citizen -around 30% of the fees are paid by the government while the rest is left for the parents and the learners-.

For private schools, the usual pricing is around$15,000 USD (1,960,000 Kshs) which needs to be completely funded by either the individual of by his/her parents.

3. University and Higher Education:

    The cost of university education Kenya depends on many factors such as the desired type of degree course and type of institution. individuals who who choose technical courses like engineering and science related degrees pay more than the ones who follow social sciences and other degrees. And the students who feel a tendency to study in public universities will pay less than the ones who enroll in private ones.

The cost becomes cheaper when the government sponsors students with government grants. But for the self-sponsored students, the cost of education ranges from Ksh 150,000 to Ksh 500,000.

     To conclude, it seems fair to say that the cost of education Kenya is “relatively” expensive for the Kenyan citizen. According to the economy of the country and the different variations and options provided for the system of education in this particular country, a Kenyan learner can make the choice to choose the learning path he or she can afford in relation to the personal desires and future ambitions. Despite the pricy system, many learners graduate each year which proves that the system is convenient for a certain class of the Kenyan society.

If you enjoyed reading this article and you would like to hear more about the world of education, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and tell us what you think about today’s content in the comment section bellow.

Links for further reading:

http://campaignforeducationusa.org/blog/detail/addressing-the-rising-cost-of-secondary-school-education-in-kenya

https://blogs.ubc.ca/cassandrawhelan/2014/07/the-cost-of-education-in-kenya/

https://www.quora.com/How-much-are-the-secondary-school-fees-in-Kenya

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