Kenya’s commitment to improve learning outcomes

Read how the country is implementing reforms to transform its education system.

June 28, 2022 by Dr Julius O. Jwan, State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education, Kenya, and Charles North, GPE Secretariat
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4 minutes read
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A teacher with her students in class. Kenya, April 2017. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
A teacher with her students in class. Kenya, April 2017.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

Kenya is one of six countries piloting the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) new operating model – the GPE 2025 strategic framework. This framework aims at helping partner countries align all elements of their education system to a priority reform that leads to transformative change.

It is an ambitious goal set in the context of the deepening learning crisis. Widening educational inequalities and slow progress, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, means that the ‘business as usual’ approach to education matters is not enough to support young people with their learning requirements.

When introduced to GPE 2025, Kenya was already in the process of implementing education reforms in the spirit of system transformation.

GPE’s new operating model helped the government prioritize reforms and align partners, including private sector partners, and resources behind the priorities, establishing a sense of collective ownership of the challenges facing their education system.

Priority reform: Improving learning outcomes

Using available data and evidence, Kenya reviewed its education sector performance, developed a deeper understanding of obstacles to reform, and identified a priority reform with the potential to catalyze system change.

Based on the country-led assessment, partners agreed to prioritize improving learning outcomes to strengthen the foundation for human capital development. The Kenya GPE Partnership Compact was developed through a consultative and participatory process under the leadership of the government of Kenya, during which the partners committed to work and support efforts by Kenya in the realization of the reform agenda:

“We shall work together around this priority, mobilize resources, and strengthen interventions to support efforts to contribute to this goal.”

Statement of Endorsement by Partners, Kenya GPE Compact

A key element of GPE 2025 is the development of a Partnership Compact, which articulates how the government intends to work together with partners on its priority reform.

The compact also serves as the basis for determining GPE grant resources by partners and mobilizing additional resources. Kenya is the first partner country to complete its compact – a milestone for both Kenya and GPE.

The government and its partners are in consensus that to achieve improved learning outcomes, they need to pursue the following broad outcomes:

  • Enhancing quality teaching and learning, and pre-primary education through enhancing implementation of competency-based curriculum and competency-based assessment, improving literacy and numeracy in early years, teacher proficiency and reforming teacher education.
  • Achieving gender parity in education through a multi-sectoral and multi-agency approach to, among others, support implementation of re-entry guidelines and enhanced health and psychosocial programs to ensure the well-being of learners.
  • Enhancing access to education to mitigate against regional and gender disparities at early learning (preprimary) and constrained access at primary and secondary school levels.
  • Enhancing equity and inclusion in education by emphasizing on reaching the most marginalized to ensure that education is accessible to all. This will be done through improvement of infrastructure for provision of quality education in lagging counties, scholarships for needy learners, gender responsive pedagogies, and redeployment and redistribution of teachers.
  • Strengthening system capacity to support the reform interventions, including supporting institutionalization of the use of data to inform decision-making, and strengthening system coordination at all levels.

The context shaping the priority reform

Kenya – a GPE partner country since 2005 – has made significant progress in expanding access to education and improving learning outcomes. Despite these interventions, there are persistent challenges including, regional disparities in access, transition, completion, and learning outcomes.

The realization of gender equality and equity remains a challenge in some regions, with the greatest gaps observed among children with special needs and disabilities.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning in 2020 and early 2021 and reversed the progress made in improving access and general learning outcomes.

While acknowledging these challenges, Kenya remains committed to its quest to attain upper-middle-income country status by 2030 and emphasizes the vital role education plays in achieving this vision.

GPE-supported grants in Kenya have achieved substantial results so far, which include one set of textbooks for each child, effective school grants, rollout of early childhood education, and an advanced data system.

In addition, the government of Kenya initiated curriculum reforms resulting in the roll out of the competency-based curriculum, which is currently in progress.

All these reforms have made Kenya well-positioned to accelerate improvements towards a more equitable, inclusive, and resilient education system fit for the 21st century skills.

Moving forward on the pathway to system transformation

The partnership compact is a living document and will be updated on a need basis. As Kenya moves forward, updates to the compact will draw on ongoing sector planning and policy processes to ensure priorities are aligned to national plans and policies. A mid-term review will assess progress in key areas of the compact.

Kenya’s local education group will jointly support and monitor the implementation of the compact. To facilitate learning and adaptation, the compact includes monitoring, evaluation and learning elements for tracking progress in the reform area. This enables course correction as more is learned about what is happening in the system.

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Governance, SDG 4
Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya

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