Skip to main content

Education System and University Curriculum in Kenya: Contentions, Dysfunctionality, and Reforms since Independence

  • Chapter

Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)

Abstract

Major changes have characterized the Kenyan education system since independence, most significantly massive expansion at all levels and a transformation in its model from the 7-4-2-3 bequeathed by the British colonial government to the 8-4-4 system, the brainchild of President Daniel arap Moi. Although Kenya has scored great successes in expanding education access, the country appears unsettled on the education model best for it. Since independence, there has been an ongoing debate on the question of what is the right education model for Kenya. The government has helped to fuel this debate through the commissions it has formed over the years mandated with the responsibility of studying and recommending appropriate education reforms. The debate about the most suitable education model reached a crescendo with the introduction of the 8-4-4 system in the 1980s. While Moi’s government hyped the 8-4-4 as the best education model suited to prepare students for the many challenges plaguing Kenya, the system however has had many critics with some terming it a disaster and demanding the country should revert to the previous 7-4-2-3 system. Critics have especially focused on the university level education, which underwent tremendous expansion with the introduction of the 8-4-4 system, claiming it produces “halfbaked” graduates.

Keywords

  • Education System
  • Working Party
  • High Education System
  • Education Model
  • Liberal Education

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/9781137574633_2
  • Chapter length: 20 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-137-57463-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   100.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   89.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  • Ashby, E. (1966). Universities: British, Indian African. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Behmand, Mojgan (2015). “Big History and the Goals of Liberal Education.” In R. Simon, M. Behmand, and T. Burke, Teaching Big History, 21–26. Oakland, CA: University of California.

    Google Scholar 

  • KANU (1961). Manifesto for Independence, Social Democracy, and Stability: Duty to One’s Country Is Duty to God. Nairobi: Patwa News Agency.

    Google Scholar 

  • KNA/ED/3/138 (1962). “University of East Africa.”

    Google Scholar 

  • KNA/XJ/1/184 (1975). “Proposed National Commission on Education.”

    Google Scholar 

  • KNA/XJ/27/63 (1969). “Kenya University.”

    Google Scholar 

  • Kenya National Archives (KNA) (1963). “University of East Africa.” Extracts from Education in Uganda (The Castle Report). Kenya.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kenya National Assembly Hansard (2005). April 14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kithinji, M. M. (2012). “An Imperial Enterprise: The Making and Breaking of the University of East Africa, 1949–1969.” Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 46, no. 2, 195–214.

    Google Scholar 

  • — (2011). “A Tug of War: Moi versus the World Bank and the Transformation of University Education in Kenya.” OFO: Journal of Transatlantic Studies, vol. 1, 95–118.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mbirika, A. (1970). “An Examination of the Functions of the University of East Africa in Relation to the Needs of the People.” Unpublished PhD thesis, New York University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mutula, S. (2002). “University Education in Kenya: Current Developments and Future Outlook.” The International Journal of Education Management, vol. 16, no. 3, 109–119.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ogot, B. (2003). My Footprints in the Sands of Time: An Autobiography. London: Trafford Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pedler, F. (1972). “Universities and Polytechnics in Africa.” Journal of the International African Institute, vol. 42, no. 4, 263–274.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Report of a Conference on the University of East Africa (1963). Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy, October 21–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Report of the Working Party on Higher Education in East Africa (1958). Kenya Government Printer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rono, J. (2002). “The Impact of the Structural Adjustment Programmes on Kenyan Society.” Journal of Social Development in Africa, vol. 17, 81–98.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Roth, M. (2011). Why Liberal Arts Matter. CNN. May 21. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/05/21/roth.liberal.education.

  • Second University in Kenya: Report of the Presidential Working Party (Mackay Commission) (1981). Nairobi: Government Printer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sifuna, D. (1997). The Governance of Kenyan Public Universities. Nairobi: Lyceum Educational Consultants.

    Google Scholar 

  • University of East Africa (2009). “Entrance Levels and Degree Structure: Report.” In G. Page West III, E. Gatewood, and K. Shaver, Handbook of University-Wide Entrepreneurship Education. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2016 Michael Mwenda Kithinji

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Kithinji, M.M. (2016). Education System and University Curriculum in Kenya: Contentions, Dysfunctionality, and Reforms since Independence. In: Koster, M.M., Kithinji, M.M., Rotich, J.P. (eds) Kenya After 50. African Histories and Modernities. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137574633_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137574633_2

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-56458-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-57463-3

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)