Education Reforms in Kenya since Independence


Several education reforms have been undertaken since independence to address the challenges facing the education sector and to keep up with the ever changing world. This ensures that the content being taught is relevant and adequately responds to the current and emerging trends while solving the world problems promptly.

Education and training in Kenya is currently being governed by the basic education act of 2013.

The current education system being implemented is the 2-6-3-3- based on the competency based curriculum.

Education reforms in Kenya

Let’s find out where the education reforms have originated and where they are now;

The Ominde commission 1964

This was the first commission after independence. It came up with the report of the Kenya education commission in 1964.

It sought to reform the education system to make it responsive to the needs of the country by then. The commission proposed an education system that would foster national unity and create sufficient human capital for national development.

The Ominde report was formally adopted in 1965 as a basis for post-independence educational developments.

Some of the recommendations of the Ominde Commission were;

  • Free primary education.
  • Creation of the 7-4-2-3 system of education i.e. seven years of primary,4 years of secondary ,2 years of secondary education and 3 years of university education.
  • Regulation of harambee schools.
  • Singing of the Kenyan national anthem in schools.
  • Raising of the Kenyan flag in schools.
  • Use of the English language as a medium of teaching.
  • Establishment of the East African Examinations Board to replace the Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate.
  • Offering of bursaries to African children.
  • Creation of national secondary schools.
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The Gachathi Report 1976

The National Committee on Education objectives and policies focused on redefining Kenya’s educational policies and objectives taking into consideration national unity and the economic, social and cultural aspirations of the Kenyan people.

It resulted in government’s support for ‘Harambee schools’ and led to the establishments of the Kenya Institute of Education .

The Mackay report 1981

The report of the presidential party on the second university in Kenya led to the removal of the advanced A level of secondary education and the expansion of other post-secondary training institutions.

It led to the establishment of  Moi university ,the 8-4-4 system of education and the commission of higher education.

It was intended to inculcate self- reliance, increase access to education, enable learners to mature physically and get prepared for secondary education and the world of work.

It was also aimed at promoting acquisition of technical and vocational education and training.

The Kamunge report 1988

The report of the presidential working party on education and manpower training for the next decade and beyond focused on improving education financing, quality and relevance. This led to the policy of cost sharing between the government, parents and communities.

The Koech report 1999

The commission of inquiry of the education system of Kenya was mandated to recommend ways and means of enabling the education system to facilitate  national unity, mutual social responsibility accelerate industrial and technological development, lifelong learning and adaption in response to changing circumstances.

It recommended totally integrated quality education and training. The government did not adopt the report due to its cost implications but recommendations such as curriculum rationalization were adopted and implemented.

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The basic education curriculum framework

The basic education curriculum framework is the outcome of extensive stakeholder engagement and deliberations from a national curriculum conference and several benchmarking studies.

The framework puts a strong emphasis on the importance of science, technology and innovation as the 8-4-4- system did not provide policies and sufficient resources for the development of these skills.

A summative evaluation conducted by KICD in 2009 on the primary and secondary school curriculum, revealed gaps in achievement of national goals of education, curriculum objectives,  capacity of the implementers, assessment and management structures that support curriculum implementation.

The evaluation recommended that the curriculum should put more emphasis on practical and vocation education, nurturing of talents and inclusion of critical life skills.

Another taskforce that was tasked to conduct a study of the education status in Kenya was the reform of the task force on the re-alignment of the education sector to the Kenya vision 2030 and constitution of Kenya 2010.

It was chaired by Professor Odhiambo and they developed the session paper no 2 of 2015 on reforming education and training in Kenya.

The task force recommended;

  • Reforming the education and training sector to provide for the development of the individual learners potential in a holistic and integrated manner while producing intellectually, emotionally and physically balanced citizens.
  • A competency based curriculum.
  • Establishment of a national learning assessment system.
  • Early identification and nurturing of talents.
  • Introduction of national values and national cohesion and their integration into the curriculum.
  • Introduction of three learning pathways at senior secondary level i.e. Arts and Sports Science, Social Sciences and STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
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