• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Educational Reforms in Kenya: The Committees and their recommendations

Jul 12, 2024

Educational Reforms in Kenya

The main focus of Kenya’s education is on improving access, retention, equity, quality, relevance and the overall efficiency of the education sector. The reforms in education aim to develop critical human capital to transform the Country on a sustainable basis. Furthermore, Kenya’s Vision 2030 has identified access to quality education and training as important in transforming Kenya into a middle-income country (GoK, 2008).

In response to this, the Government of Kenya is implementing critical reforms at both the Basic and Tertiary levels of education. The reforms are taking place amidst important achievements in the education sector.

CBE has been implemented at the basic education level, enrollment figures have exponentially increased at all levels in the recent past, and the number of teaching and training institutions has also increased. Financing of the education sector has also remained a priority of the Government, receiving about a 25% share of the annual budget, equivalent to 6.4% of GDP.

Past education commissions of inquiry, taskforces, and presidential working parties largely focused on structure, curriculum, examination and assessment, human resources, legislation, education financing and policies affecting the education sector.

Table 1.2 presents a summary of the key recommendations resulting from educational reforms between 1919 and 2020.

Year Name of Working Party/ Taskforce/Commission/ Committees Key Recommendations
1919 Education Commission for the East African Protectorate •   Recommended the introduction of Grants-In-Aid. As a result, the colonial Government left significant aspects of African education to missionaries.
1924 Phelps-Stokes Commission •   Introduced the Devonshire White Paper (or Devonshire Declaration), which promoted a policy of separate development on racial lines. The European, Asian and Black Kenyan children were to go through separate schools for their education.
1934 The Annual Report of 1934 on African Education Paper 21 •   Under the Grant-in-Aid rule of 1934, aided schools were released from the necessity of training technical apprentice Federation of Protestant Missions: Donated surplus funds from the East Africa war relief to start Alliance High School in March 1926 and the Holy Ghost, Kabaa was started in January 1930.
1937 De-la-Warr Commission on Higher Education in East Africa •   Following the recommendations of this commission, Maseno and Mang’u opened as Junior Secondary Schools in 1938 and 1939, respectively.
1949 Beecher Education Committee of 1949 •    Recommended that a small selected group of African children be allowed to transition to Secondary education.

•    The Committee also recommended the opening of an additional sixteen (16) Secondary schools by 1957 in the context of the 4-4-4 system of education.

1964 Ominde Commission •   Establishment of Harambee schools;

•   Establishment of day Secondary schools;

•   Appointment of teachers by BOGs;

•   Establishment of Government assisted schools that would be under BOGs;

•   Kenyanisation of Secondary schools;

•   Uniform Secondary fee guidelines and change of structure of the education system.

1965 Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1965 •   Regarded Secondary education as the most important point in the education system, which could help in solving the manpower constraints of the nation.

•   Emphasised expansion of Secondary education as a necessity to laying a firm foundation for further education, training and work.

1971 Report of the Commission of Inquiry — Public Service Structure and

Remuneration Commission

(The Ndegwa Report)

•   Introduction of double streams; increased teachers’ salary.

•   Conversion of Aided schools to maintained schools.

1976 Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives (Gachathi Report) •    Integration of non-formal sector to Secondary education in order to take care of school dropouts;

•    Development and rationalisation of education for those not selected to government Secondary Schools through extramural, correspondence courses, radio and television;

•    Consolidation (amalgamation) of Secondary schools into larger units of at least four streams in order to share the use of expensive facilities and teachers;

•    Establishment of a national school in each district and

government support to Harambee Secondary schools.

1981 Presidential Working Party on the establishment of

a 2nd University (MacKay Report)

•   Recommended the establishment of a second University in Kenya to cater for the increasing demand for higher education and its resulting pressure on the existing institutions.

•   Proposed the introduction of the 8-4-4 system of education: 8 years in Primary School, 4 years in Secondary School, and 4 years in University. This recommendation led to the phasing out of the “A” level and the introduction of the 8-4-4 education system in Kenya.

1988 Presidential Working Party on Education and

Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond (Kamunge Report)

•   Students in public schools pay the full cost of boarding and feeding, but needy students be assisted through bursaries;

•   Establishment of day Secondary schools as a more cost- effective way of expanding accessibility; expansion of single and double stream Secondary schools to three streams; abolition of categorisation of schools as high and low cost;

•   Re-designation of Secondary schools in order to do away with Harambee and government stream students in the same school.

2000 Commission of Inquiry Into Education System of Kenya (Koech Report) •   Proposed to replace the existing 8-4-4 system of education in Kenya with TIQET (Totally Integrated Quality Education and Training).
2012 Taskforce on re-alignment of the education and training sector to the Constitution of Kenya, 2012, (Odhiambo and Some Report). •   Curriculum       reform       to      specify     the      expected competencies at every level of learning.

•   Revamp accreditation and assessment at all levels.

2020 Taskforce on Enhancing Access, Relevance, Transition, Equity and Quality for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation (Fatuma Chege Report). •   Placement to Junior Secondary Schools be based on formative and summative evaluation.

•   JSS to be domiciled at the Secondary school level.


In 2010, the Country adopted a new Constitution which provided anchorage for reforming the education sector. It included education as a constitutional right in the Bill of Rights, made basic education free and compulsory, established the Teachers Service Commission as a Chapter 15 constitutional body, and divided education delivery function between the National and County Governments.

Two task forces were then appointed in 2012 to align the education sector to the dictates of the above constitutional imperatives. They made the following key recommendations:

  • Development of a new education structure based on a reformed
  • Expansion of access to education and training by reducing the cost to the
  • Enhancement of access to education among vulnerable, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach
  • Improvement of quality and standards at all levels of education, training and
  • Setting up a national qualification
  • Emphasis on skills for industrial
  • Integration of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST & I) in all sectors; and
  • Reforming the governance structure in education, training and

Thereafter, legislative policy and administrative measures were undertaken to continue reforming the education sector. The Universities Act and the Teachers Service Commission Act were enacted in 2012, while the Basic Education Act and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act were enacted in 2013.

Other related laws were enacted simultaneously, including the Science, Technology and Innovation Act.

In 2012, efforts were made to develop a sessional paper to actualise the recommendations of the two task forces in aligning the education and training sectors to the Constitution. In 2017 as part of curriculum reforms, the Basic Education Curriculum Framework was adopted, which provided the launchpad for CBC.

In 2018 and 2019, the National Curriculum Policy and the Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 were developed and adopted, respectively. This is the context against which the sector’s performance and challenges should be viewed.