Students in a classroom in Kenya. According to the ICPC, Kenya's education system has serious structural, institutional, infrastructural and managerial failures. [Photo/ Southern Voice]
Students in a classroom in Kenya. According to the ICPC, Kenya's education system has serious structural, institutional, infrastructural and managerial failures. [Photo/ Southern Voice]

Kenya is failing the largest segment of its young people especially those coming from rural and informal urban areas when it comes to education. Although the country has made significant progress in widening access to education, this has not translated into a quality education for all pupils.

The education system continues to be dogged by stark inequalities. The result is many schools are faced with chronic problems of crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms and poor educational outcomes, says International Center for Policy and Conflict, ICPC.

The Kenya education system is broken and unequal. It has serious structural, institutional, infrastructural and managerial failures. “Kenya education system, characterized by crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms and relatively poor educational outcomes, is perpetuating inequality and as a result failing too many children, with the poor hardest hit,” notes ICPC Executive Director, Ndung’u Wainaina. He adds, “For Kenya to comply with both its own constitutional and international human rights obligations with respect to education, major change is needed urgently”.

The constitutional right to quality education includes having a school where learners are safe to learn and have the adequate infrastructure and facilities to do so. This is completely missing out in the reality for many learners in the country. Kenya education system is almost an apartheid model. This has had net effect of perpetuating social and economic inequalities and limiting social mobility of children especially for majority poor.

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The deliberate failure by the government to address the structural problems is not only a question of accountability deficit only. It has consequences for the life chances of millions of school going children and the future of this country.

It is crucial for the Kenya government to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment process across the country. This will ensure that the government has accurate, comprehensive and reliable data informing its decision making in order to enable public investment for equal and fair enjoyment of the right to education in the country. Further, the government must develop and apply appropriate human rights compliant indicators regarding the implementation of the right to education as well as other economic, social and cultural rights.

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