Kenya Set to Introduce Free Secondary Education
In about 27 days Kenya is set to head to the polls again to elect a new president. Top on the campaign promises from the two top presidential aspirants the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga is to offer free secondary education once they get elected into office.
Free secondary education is set to kick off in January 2018, this is after KSh 8.6B have been released to cater for free secondary and primary education. About KSh 6.6B will cater for 2.5M students in 8,526 Secondary schools around the country. 2B will cater for 8.9M learners under the Free Primary Education Programme in 22,262 primary schools. An additional KSh 226M has been disbursed for Special Primary Schools and Unit grants that will cater for special needs education in special and integrated primary schools.
This year the number of learner sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education is at 1,003,552 out of which 903,200 will transition to public secondary schools while 100,322 will transition to private secondary schools. With the increase in the number of learner transitioning to secondary school there is a need to improve on the infrastructure to accommodate the increased number as well as higher more teachers.
In 2003, under the leadership of retired President Mwai Kibaki, free primary education was introduced. This followed the enactment of the Children Act 2001, which indicates education as a basic human right. It was aimed at offering quality education to thousands of children who could not secure a place due to the high costs. Since its introduction in 2003 to the year 2010 there has been a 59% increase in the Gross Enrollment Rate. The programme has been beneficial in upgrading the literacy levels of the Kenyan population however it has also experienced misappropriation of funds.
In Africa, Ghana is already offering free secondary education which started out this month under President Nana Akufo- Addo. In 2015 Gambia removed fees for all public primary and secondary schools, while in 2016 Tanzania removed lower secondary school fees.