Kenya: Investing in Education for a Better Future

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kenya is committed to becoming a newly industrialized nation by 2030 and acknowledges that quality education is vital to achieving this vision.
  • Within a short time and with GPE support, Kenya has made impressive progress, including a 70% reduction in the cost of textbooks, the equal enrollment of girls and boys, and the training of 102,000 teachers in innovative teaching methods.
  • A new information management system has transformed the delivery of education in Kenya. Real-time data allows the government to monitor indicators such as attendance, enrollment and staffing in a transparent and reliable way.

In 2008, Kenya committed to an ambitious vision: to become a newly industrialized nation by 2030. The country has prioritized reforming its education system as key to achieving this goal.

With support from GPE, the government of Kenya is systematically removing the barriers to quality education. From raising teaching standards to providing greater access to textbooks and clean and safe sanitation, emphasis is placed on reaching the most marginalized, including girls and refugee children, to ensure education is accessible to all.

Working Together to Boost the Education System

GPE and the government of Kenya have developed a strong relationship since Kenya joined the partnership in 2005, with GPE supporting the country’s education plans through both expertise and financing. Since 2015, a GPE grant of US$88.4 million has helped the country make impressive progress in several key areas.

Kenya’s National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 incorporates lessons learned from previous education initiatives and is regarded as a rigorous, government-owned strategy. The plan has been widely praised by development partners and civil society for moving Kenya in a positive direction, proactively addressing challenges such as governance and accountability.

As well as achieving almost universal primary education, Kenya is improving the quality and relevance of education. GPE has supported the country in the introduction of a competency-based curriculum, which places emphasis on what children can do, rather than on what they know, and improves the chances of student success.

Comprehensive and robust data is key to transforming the management and delivery of education in Kenya. With GPE support, Kenya launched the National Education Management Information System.

This online platform generates accurate and reliable data, allowing the government to address efficiency, accountability and transparency issues.

Transforming Teaching in Kenya

The database will also carry report cards, allowing researchers to assess the factors that trigger both success and challenges for a student, or group of students, throughout their education. Tracking student enrollment, attendance, textbook distribution and staffing needs will ensure better planning in the coming years.

Changing the Ecology of the Education System

Kenya’s Primary Education Development program addresses multiple barriers to learning, including measures such as improved sanitation, enhanced teaching standards and access to textbooks. Significant strides have been made in gender equality in particular, with the gross enrollment for girls and boys almost equal.

The GPE grant is used to improve performance while increasing girls’ enrollment and retention. GPE funding also supports the allocation of school grants to implement activities outlined in schools’ improvement plans. So far 4,000 schools have participated, including 1,400 schools located in the more marginalized arid and semi-arid counties.

Each school received a US$5,000 grant towards initiatives including the construction of toilets, activities to raise community awareness about the importance of girls’ education and training of volunteers to keep girls safe on their way to school.

Other activities include providing girls with scholarships, free menstrual pads and collecting household information on girls at risk of dropping out, in order to find ways to support girls to continue with their studies.

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