Ethnicity, Politics, and State Resource Allocation: Explaining Educational Inequalities in Kenya

  • Alwiya Alwy
  • Susanne Schech
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 19)

Despite international and national level recognition of the importance of education for all, both for development purposes and as a basic human right, its achievement still remains a huge challenge. Persistent inequalities of gender, class, ethnic, and regional context are evident in education systems worldwide, whether at the stage of enrolment and attendance, in outcomes and achievement, or in terms of consequent opportunities to which education is expected to give rise (Watkins, 2001). While gender inequalities in education are at their most extreme in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (Challender, 2003), inequalities relating to ethnic minorities and indigenous people are widespread in many African countries, where they are often strongly linked to regional inequalities, and to the distribution of poverty (Watkins, 2001).

In Kenya, despite heavy government investment in education, enrolment at various levels of education is characterized by regional, socio-economic and gender disparities and declining gross enrolment ratios (SID, 2004). Researchers have also identified imbalances in terms of financial allocations, inadequate facilities, poor teacher qualifications, and high teacher-pupil ratios as further evidence that not all is well in the Kenyan education system (Abagi, 1997; Kimalu, Nafula, Manda, Mwabu, & Kimenyi, 2002; Oyugi, 2000; SID, 2004). But research on education, as presently constructed, has tended to treat the issues of inequality as specific to the Kenyan education system, and consequently assumed that they can be addressed through educational reform. By seeing inequalities in education as a symptom of wider social processes and structures, this chapter aims to connect the issue of educational inequality to the broader notions of equity and the right to education.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alwiya Alwy
    • 1
  • Susanne Schech
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders UniversitySouth Australia

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