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The People of Kenya, Education

Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture, Moi University, University of Nairobi, examination performance

Kenya’s educational system, established in the 1980s to replace the system that existed under British rule, consists of eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school, and four years of higher education. Schooling is compulsory for 8 years. Primary education is nominally free in Kenya, but pupils must meet the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, and school-related fees. Examinations taken at the end of the 8th and 12th grades determine whether students will be admitted into high school and university.

Although 92 percent of school-age children attend the first years of primary school, factors such as cost, examination performance, and inadequate facilities eliminate large numbers from secondary and university education. The percentage of boys and girls attending school is roughly equal at the primary level, but the percentage of girls drops at the secondary level and again at the university level. Kenya has made great progress with adult literacy since independence. In 2001, 95 percent of the adult population was literate, although the rate was significantly higher for adult males (96 percent) than females (94.6 percent).

Kenya has five public universities, as well as a number of private ones. The public universities are the University of Nairobi (founded in 1956); Kenyatta University (1972), in Nairobi; the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (1981), near Nairobi; Egerton University (1939), near Nakuru; and Moi University (1984), outside Eldoret. The government also provides opportunities for higher education through 3 polytechnic institutes (in Mombasa, Nairobi, and Eldoret) and about 20 teacher-training colleges.



Article key phrases:

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