Kenya Government is committed to Education for All (EFA) and attaining the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Consequently, the number of education institutions has increased over the years. The number of pre-primary schools increased from 38,523 in 2010 to 39,500 in 2011. During the same period, the number of primary schools rose from 27,489 in 2010 to 28,567, of which 19,848 were public schools and 8,719 private schools. Secondary schools increased from 7,268 in 2010 to 7,297 in 2011. Enrolment in primary education rose from 9.4 million in 2010 to 9.9 million in 2011. During the same period, enrolment in pre-primary education sector went up from 2.2 million in 2010 to 2.4 million in 2011. Besides, enrolment in non-formal schools increased from 169,591 in 2010 to 177,837 in 2011. Majority of enrolments were in Nairobi slum areas and in the arid and semi-arid districts. Total enrolment in secondary schools stood at 1.8 million in 2011 from 1.7 million in 2010.
Free primary education
The history of free primary education in Kenya goes back to 1974 and later in 1979 when the Government launched free primary education programmes aimed at achieving free and universal primary education. Lack of funds derailed those two initiatives but in 2003, the Government reintroduced free primary education. Eventually, free primary education has reduced the cost burden on households by providing learning and teaching materials to public primary schools and non-formal schools. Enrolment and completion rates in primary education have gone up. Transition rate from primary to secondary increased from 72.5 per cent in 2010 to 73.3 per cent in 2011.
School feeding programmes
The School, Health and Nutrition Programme is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the World Food Programme. The objective of the programme is to increase enrolment, improve attendance, increase completion rates and improve children’s ability to learn. Target groups are pre-primary and primary school pupils in areas with high incidences of chronic food insecurity and poor education indicators as low access, low net enrolment ratio, high drop out rates and poor attendance. In 2011, the programme is targeting about two million children for mid-day meals in arid and semi arid districts and urban slums.
Special needs education
The Government has set up a grant for special education. Funds are provided to buy learning and teaching materials for children with special needs. As a result, assessment of children with special needs has improved. Special education has for a long time been provided in special schools or units attached to regular schools and more recently at inclusive settings in regular schools. However, the schools and units only cater for children with special needs in hearing, visual, mental or physical challenge. Excluded from the programme are children with other special needs- the gifted and talented, psycho-socially different, autistic, multiple- handicapped and with severe learning difficulties and communication disorders. However, a national policy is being worked on to define special needs and design programmes to enhance their inclusion. In addition, the Kenya Institute of Education will be restructured to train special education teachers in autism, communication disorders and multiple handicaps.
Secondary education bursaries
Provision of free tuition in public secondary schools is a major landmark in improving performance. The programme was introduced in 2008 and has boosted access and retention. Bursaries are provided to orphans, children from poor families in ASAL districts, urban slums, and the poor in high economic potential areas. The bursary fund is managed by the Constituency Bursary Management Committees in consultation with the Ministry of Education through District Education Boards. Plans are underway to review the scheme in accordance with Vision 2030 strategy on equity and poverty reduction in most parts of the country. More girls will be targeted.
Health and education
Promotion of health in education is an initiative of the World Health Organisation launched in 1995 as a viable approach to improve the quality of life of children and local communities. The Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation has developed schoolbased de-worming programmes to improve health services and hygiene