Education in Kenya is divided into four segments: primary school (8 years), secondary school (4 years), and college (4 years). 85% of Kenyan children attend primary school, with many dropping out subsequently. Many Kenyans who can afford to study abroad do, with nearly a million Kenyans having earned degrees from the UK, Canada, the US, or other Western schools.
The Kenyan government has recently invested substantially in improving education in the country. Recent years have seen improved markers indicating success in improving the quality and accessibility of education across the nation. Regardless, Kenyan children still lag behind their counterparts in more developed nations. However, literacy rates and other markers trending upwards provide an optimistic outlook for the future.
Since 2003, public primary education is free. Attendance is mandatory, although not enforced in some more rural areas. The switch to government-subsidized education has enabled many children from poor families to attend schools who otherwise could not afford to. At the end of the 8-year primary schooling, students must take a test called the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination.
Primary education includes basic math, English language reading and writing, and Kiswahili reading and writing, the native language of Kenya. Secondary and university education curriculum expands into more specialized areas of study such as physics, civics, and geography.
As wealth in the African nation has grown in recent years, the number of foreign teachers (specifically English teachers) has grown. When given an option to learn with native speakers, most students and their parents jump at the chance. However, the relatively high pay that these teachers command means that only schools with sufficient budgets can afford to bring these teachers into the fold. Usually, this means private or “international” schools which have more money.
Education is increasingly important to Kenyans who correctly view earning more advanced degrees as a way to earn higher incomes and improve their living situations. As such, students are generally very eager to learn. As opposed to the West, where more comfortable living situations make for more complacent students. A foreign teacher spending time in Kenya will likely notice a significant difference in the motivation of students and willingness to receive instruction.