Home Education in Kenya: Is It Evolving?

By Sally Perkins:

Homeschooling is permitted in Kenya, but many parents are pushing for its official recognition given the absence of a legal basis. The limitations posed by the current education system entice parents to provide home education to give these kids a competitive advantage in both the home and international fronts. Two things surface why homeschooling is not covered by the law, namely: inadequacy of the curriculum and lack of social interaction for children. There are, however, more than 400 families in the country that homeschool their kids showing that there is a growing interest in this type of education.

Current Education Set-Up

Primary and secondary education is compulsory in Kenya. At the age of 5 years, every child must be in school. Currently, the 8-4-4 (8 primary, 4 secondary and 4 university) system is going to be replaced by the curriculum which aims to improve the education of children by empowering them with a set of skills and knowledge. Summative assessments are also better distributed throughout the primary and secondary schooling.

Complementary to this, the ‘Alternative Basic Education and Training’ in Kenya policy of 2011 by the Ministry of Education is already a step that recognizes and supports non-formal schools. Kids of all ages and abilities learn at their own pace given the available resources. Different subjects may be introduced that interest students such as learning to sew for children or sports classes. This move paves the way for home educators to lobby their case.

Home Education is An Alternative

It is common knowledge that Kenyan education is very academic in nature.  Special circumstances also exist preventing education from taking place at all. Children whose families are nomadic cannot go to a proper school given their lifestyle. Rural dwellers find it hard to get to the nearest school or certain disabilities may prevent kids from attending classes. Limited resources also mean that special needs schools are few and are likely to cost a lot of money. For the average Kenyan, this will take a huge chunk of their take-home pay. World Bank statistics indicate GNP per capita in Kenya is at USD 3,130 in 2016. In these cases, home education is an alternative that would provide continuous education to youngsters without the prohibitive costs.

Home teaching is gaining ground and provides Kenyan families with the option of giving an education that not only includes academics but also life skills. It offers flexibility suitable for those with different lifestyles or to cater to special needs of children. Kenyan homeschoolers receive support from organizations that advocate home education helping them find the right curriculum or qualified instructors.

The major benefits of home instruction are enormous for both parents and children enabling teachers to tailor curriculum based on the needs and interests of pupils. It also allows families to spend more time together and bond. As to the social interaction aspect, it really depends on how families interact with other groups (co-ops) that are in the same situation. At the end of the day, it takes a commitment from parents to ensure that they raise well-rounded and educated kids who are going to be the future leaders of the country.

About the Author:

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.