Reach, Range, Reason
Global Development Network series
Edited by José María Fanelli and Lyn Squire
Chapter 7: Declining Primary School Enrollment in Kenya
Arjun Singh Bedi, Paul K. Kimalu, Damiano Kulundu Manda and Nancy Nafula Investments in education are widely recognized as a key component of a country’s development strategy. Increases in the quantity and quality of educational provision have been associated with a wide range of benefits, including enhanced productivity, reduced poverty, better income inequality, improved health and economic growth. Spurred by such evidence, governments in developing countries continue to devote a substantial fraction of their total expenditure to the education sector. Kenya is no exception. Since independence, the government of Kenya has devoted a substantial portion of its resources to the education sector. Between 1991 and 2000, public expenditure on education accounted for 28.2 per cent of total government expenditure.1 These investments have led to a comprehensive network of schools and resulted in an impressive expansion of coverage and access to education at all levels. Adult literacy rates have more than tripled from 20 per cent in 1963 to 76 per cent in 1997, and the average educational attainment of the working-age population (age 15–64) is now around six years (see Kimalu et al. 2001). Despite these impressive gains, a variety of problems continue to hamper the Kenyan education system. In terms of achievement, mean scores in English and mathematics, as measured by the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), are about 50 per cent. With regard to efficiency, about 5–6 per cent of Kenyan primary school students drop out each year, and 15–16 per cent repeat grades;...
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