Universal Education and Social Class Formation in Kenya

In Kenya education is viewed as an important component of development, with over 35 percent of the national budget currently (1982) invested in education. Following the abolition of school fees for primary education, the number of schools and teachers increased conspicuously and in 1983 standard I enrollment of school age children all over the country was estimated to be 83.9 percent. This paper shows that, despite several government policy initiatives, less significant gains have been made than previously believed. The economic and cultural differentiation that characterizes the existing social classes in Kenya (and that originated in the colonial period, as is described in the first part of the paper) is reproduced in the educational sector. Four categories of primary school exist in the urban areas, corresponding with the distribution of better qualified teachers, facilities and performance in the old Certificate of Primary Education examination which determined access to secondary education. In the rural and pastoralist areas extra costs accompanying free primary education (imposed supplementary fees, boarding fees) make enrollment for poor children difficult, if not impossible. The country is far from achieving a mass education system. Note, ref.

Title: Universal Education and Social Class Formation in Kenya
Author: Sifuna, Daniel N.
Year: 1986
Periodical: Ufahamu
Volume: 15
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 164-181
Language: English
Geographic term: Kenya
Abstract: In Kenya education is viewed as an important component of development, with over 35 percent of the national budget currently (1982) invested in education. Following the abolition of school fees for primary education, the number of schools and teachers increased conspicuously and in 1983 standard I enrollment of school age children all over the country was estimated to be 83.9 percent. This paper shows that, despite several government policy initiatives, less significant gains have been made than previously believed. The economic and cultural differentiation that characterizes the existing social classes in Kenya (and that originated in the colonial period, as is described in the first part of the paper) is reproduced in the educational sector. Four categories of primary school exist in the urban areas, corresponding with the distribution of better qualified teachers, facilities and performance in the old Certificate of Primary Education examination which determined access to secondary education. In the rural and pastoralist areas extra costs accompanying free primary education (imposed supplementary fees, boarding fees) make enrollment for poor children difficult, if not impossible. The country is far from achieving a mass education system. Note, ref.