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Basic Education Act

This Is An Act Of Parliament That Was Enacted To Operationalize Article 53 Of The Constitution And Other Related Provisions By;

  1. Promoting And Regulating Free And Compulsory Basic Education;
  2. Providing For Accreditation, Registration, Governance And Management Of Institutions Of Basic Education;
  3. Providing For The Establishment Of The National Education Board, The Education Standards And Quality Assurance Commission, And The County Education Board; And
  4. For Other Connected Purposes.

The Act Applies To Institutions Of Basic Education Under The Act. (Section 3)

“Basic education” - educational programmes offered in an institution of basic education (includes both Adult basic education and pre-primary education.

“Adult and continuing education” - learning processes within the perspective of lifelong learning where an adult or out-of-school youth is granted an opportunity in an institution of basic education for purposes of developing abilities, enriching knowledge and improving skills;

“Adult basic education” - basic education offered (full-time or part-time) to a person above 18 years.

Pre-Primary Education” means education offered to a child of four or five years before joining level one in a primary school;

“Special school” means a school established for the benefit of a particular class of children who require some special form of education, treatment or care;

Compulsory school age – at the age of Four (4) years [section 33 (1)]

  1. The right of every child to free and compulsory basic education;
  2. Equitable access for the youth to basic education and equal access to education or institutions;
  3. Promotion of quality and relevance;
  4. Accountability and democratic decision making within the institutions of basic education
  5. Protection of every child against discrimination within or by an education department or education or institution on any ground whatsoever;
  6. Protection of the right of every child in a public school to equal standards of education including the medium of instructions used in schools for all children of the same educational level;
  7. Without prejudice to paragraph (f) above, advancement and protection of every child in pre-primary and lower primary level of education to be instructed in the language of his or her choice where this is reasonably practicable;
  8. Encouraging independent and critical thinking; and cultivating skills, disciplines and capacities for reconstruction and development;
  9. Promotion of peace, integration, cohesion, tolerance, and inclusion as an objective in the provision of basic education;
  10. Elimination of hate speech and tribalism through instructions that promote the proper appreciation of ethnic diversity and culture in society;
  11. Imparting relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to learners to foster the spirit and sense of patriotism, nationhood, unity of purpose, togetherness, and respect;
  12. Promotion of good governance, participation and inclusiveness of parents, communities, private sector and other stakeholders in the development and management of basic education;
  13. Transparency and cost effective use of educational resources and sustainable implementation of educational services;
  14. Ensuring human dignity and integrity of persons engaged in the management of basic education;
  15. Promoting the respect for the right of the child’s opinion in matters that affect the child;
  16. Elimination of gender discrimination, corporal punishment or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment or torture;
  17. Promoting the protection of the right of the child to protection, participation, development and survival;
  18. Promotion of innovativeness, inventiveness, creativity, technology transfer and an entrepreneurial culture
  19. Non-discrimination, encouragement and protection of the marginalised, persons with disabilities and those with special needs;
  20. Enhancement of co-operation, consultation and collaboration among the Cabinet Secretary, Teachers Service Commission, the National Education Board, the County Education Boards, the education and training institutions and other related stakeholders on matters related to education; and
  21. Provision of appropriate human resource, funds, equipment, infrastructure and related resources that meet the needs of every child in basic education.

Parents Association  (3rd Schedule to the Act)

This is established for every public or private secondary school and should consist of;

  • ­ Every parent with a pupil in the school;
  • ­ A representative of the teachers in the school

This association should have an Executive Committee consisting of representatives of each class and two teachers elected during an annual general meeting of parents and teachers.

The Head or Principal is the Secretary to the Association.

The functions of the Parents Association shall be to—

Ø Promote quality care, nutritional and health status of the pupils;

Ø Maintain good working relationship between teachers and parents;

Ø Discuss, explore and advise the parents on ways to raise funds for the physical development and maintenance;

Ø Explore ways to motivate the teachers and pupils to improve their performance in academic and co-curricular activities;

Ø Discuss and recommend charges to be levied on pupils or parents;

Ø Undertake and oversee development projects on behalf of the whole Parents Association;

Ø Assist the school management in the monitoring, guidance, counselling and disciplining of pupils; and

Ø Discuss and recommend measures for the welfare of staff and pupils

National Education Board (section 5-16)

Board consists of a chairperson and eight other members appointed by the Cabinet Secretary

Its function is to advise the Cabinet Secretary, the department of education and related departments on policy matters regarding;

v Collaboration with the Quality Assurance and Standards Council, Teachers Service Commission and with other stakeholders to promote standards in basic education and training;

v Working with all relevant authorities and agencies to ensure that all the barriers to the right to quality education are removed and that the National and County governments facilitate the realization of the right to education by all Kenyans;

v Formulate guidelines for approval by the Cabinet Secretary on the establishment of basic education institutions;

v Putting measures in place to ensure all children attend and remain in school to complete basic education requirements;

v Putting measures to ensure, where applicable, transition to the next level of education, especially or the vulnerable and marginalized children;

v Any other matter as shall be from time to time be referred to the Board by the Cabinet Secretary.

County Education Board (section 17-25)

Established for every county and is an agent of the National Education Board.

Every County Education Board consist of a Chairperson, and 12 other members appointed by the Cabinet Secretary

The functions of the County Education Board shall be to—

ü Oversee the operation and management of youth polytechnics, pre-primary education in the county;

ü Coordinate and monitor education and training in the County;

ü Interpret national policies in education based on the county’s needs;

ü Initiate proposals for policy reforms;

ü Plan, promote, develop, and coordinate education, training and research in the county;

ü Collaborate with the Board of Management, the Principal, the Head Teacher, and other appropriate authorities in the management of basic schools;

ü Register and maintain a data bank of all education and training institutions within the county;

ü Monitor curriculum implementation in basic education in the county;

ü Monitor the conduct of examinations and assessments at the basic education and training levels in the county;

ü Collaborate with the Teachers Service Commission on teacher management within the county;

ü Prepare and submit a comprehensive school termly annual report to the Cabinet Secretary on all areas of its mandate including education and training services, curriculum, policy implementation and school based audit report within the county;

ü Coordinate with all relevant agencies to ensure that all the barriers to the right to quality education are removed;

ü Put measures in place to ensure all children and youth of school going age within the county attend and stay in to complete basic education;

ü Perform such other functions as may be necessary for the better carrying out of the functions of the county education board under this Act or any other written law.

Education Standards and Quality Assurance Council (sec 64 - 75)

Established in section 64 of the Act.

The Cabinet Secretary is mandated to make regulations prescribing the composition, appointment and terms of service of the members of Education Standards and Quality Assurance Council in accordance with the Constitution and the Act

Functions of the Council –

  • Ensure standards and maintain quality in institutions of basic education;
  • Administer policies and guidelines set for basic education;
  • Supervise and oversee curriculum implementation and delivery;
  • In cooperation with county education, monitor the conduct of assessments and examinations in institutions of basic education;
  • Monitor and evaluate standards and quality in basic education.

Go the the website of the DIrectorate of Quality Assurance and Standards (Ministry of Education)

Education Appeals Tribunal -section 93

The Act establishes the Education Appeals Tribunal in section 93.

Persons not satisfied with any decision of the County Education Board may appeal to this tribunal.

The Education Appeals Tribunal shall comprise of—

  • ­ The chairperson of the National Education Board;
  • ­ The Director-General;
  • ­ The Secretary to the Teachers Service Commission;
  • ­ A representative of the Education Standards and Quality Assurance Council;
  • ­ A representative of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance;
  • ­ A representative of the Attorney-General; and
  • ­ The Chief Executive Officer of the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya

National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (6th Schedule to the Act)

Established in section 94 of the Act

The Council shall consist of the following members—

o A chairperson appointed by the Cabinet Secretary;

o The Principal Secretary in the department responsible for education;

o The Principal Secretary in the department responsible for finance;

o The Principal Secretary in the department responsible for the development of arid and semi-arid lands;

o Three representatives of faith-based organisations;

o A representative of persons with disabilities;

o A women representative;

o A youth representative;

o Two representatives of teachers’ trades union; and

o A representatives of parents vice chairperson.


F Initiate the development of policies on all matters relating to nomadic education in Kenya;

F Mobilise funds from various sources for the development of nomadic education in order to support relevant activities of the Council;

F Institutionalise mechanisms for effective co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the activities of agencies involved in the provision of nomadic education;

F Implement guidelines and ensure geographical spread of nomadic education activities and targets for the nomadic people;

F Establish appropriate linkages and partnerships with other participating departments and agencies;

F Determine standards and skills to be attained in schools and institutions within nomadic communities and review such standards from time to time;

F Prepare reliable statistic of nomads and their school-aged children and establish a data bank; and

F Co-ordinate research activities on nomadic education in Kenya.

Roles of County Government (section 26)

  • Provide funds required for development of necessary infrastructure for institutions of basic education and training.
  • The national government may agree with county governments to transfer its functions relating to infrastructure development of primary schools and secondary schools to a county government pursuant to Article 187 of Constitution
  • In case of such transfer, the national government may allocate conditional grants to county government to cater for the additional responsibilities arising from the transfer.

Role of Sponsor (section 27)

“Sponsor” - a person or institution who makes a significant contribution and impact on the academic, financial, infrastructural and spiritual development of an institution of basic education;

Role of the Sponsor.

  1. Participate and make recommendations of review of syllabus, curriculum, books and other teaching aids;
  2. Representation in the School Management Committees and Board of Management;
  3. Provide supervisory and advisory services in matters regarding spiritual development in schools including the appointment of chaplains at their own expense;
  4. Maintenance of spiritual development while safeguarding the denomination or religious adherence of others; and
  5. Offer financial and infrastructural support.
  • Every Child has the right to free and compulsory basic education and Cabinet Secretary should implement this right by providing for establishment of schools. Section 28
  • Parents and/or guardians are NOT to pay tuition fee for children in any public school. Section 29. (“Tuition fees” here means fees charged to cater for instruction or instructional materials. It does not refer to Holiday tuition)
  • Every parent whose child is Kenyan or resides in Kenya to ensure that the child attends a school or institution prescribed by the Cabinet Secretary. Failure to do so is an offence. Section 30
  • Every parent or guardian to ensure a child is admitted in school. Failure to do so is an offence. Section 31
  • No admission fee is paid when admitting a child to a public school or a basic education institution. Section 32
  • When admitting a child to a basic education institution, their age may be determined using a birth certificate or any other document prescribed under the Regulations but no child should be denied admission in any school for lack of proof of age. Section 33
  • There should be no discrimination while admitting a child to school unless on matters of gender where a school is registered for a particular gender. No child should be denied admission to public school. In case of such denial the parent should notify the County Education Board. Section 34
  • No pupil to be expelled without being heard together with their parent/guardian. Sec 35
  • No pupil should be tortured or treated in a manner that is cruel, inhuman or degrading physically or emotionally. To do so is an offence. Sec 36
  • Holiday tuition is prohibited and is an offence. Sec 37
  • It is an offence to employ a child of compulsory school going age. Sec 38 
  • Provide free and compulsory basic education to every child;
  • Ensure compulsory admission and attendance of children of compulsory school age at school or an institution offering basic education;
  • Ensure that children belonging to marginalized, vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing basic education;
  • Provide human resource including adequate teaching and nonteaching staff according to the prescribed staffing norms;
  • Provide infrastructure including schools, learning and teaching equipment and appropriate financial resources;
  • Ensure quality basic education conforming to the set standards and norms;
  • Provide special education and training facilities for talented and gifted pupils and pupils with disabilities;
  • Ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of basic education by every pupil;
  • Monitor functioning of schools; and
  • Advise the national government on financing of infrastructure development for basic education

Where a pupil does not attend school, the head teacher or principal should establish the reasons why. Where there is no sufficient reason, he or she should; (Section 40)

  • Issue a written notice to the parent involved asking them to ensure the child attends; and
  • Submit a report on the child to the County Education Board.


Kenya has the following system and structure of education; (section 41)

o Pre-primary education

o Primary education;

o Secondary education;

o Middle level institutions of basic education

Categories of schools

Basic education institutions are categorised under: (section 43)

  1. Public schools – established, owned and operated by the Government
  2. Private Schools – established, owned and operated by private individuals and institutions

Special Needs Education (sec 44-48)

­ Cabinet Secretary to establish and maintain public special schools. He/she may make regulations to govern these schools.

­ Children with special needs include:

  • Intellectually, mentally, physically, visually, emotionally challenged or hearing impaired learners;
  • Pupils with multiple disabilities; and
  • Specially gifted and talented pupils

Any person can establish and maintain a private school as long as the school is registered. Section 49

School NOT to be registered if: (section 50)

  1. The proprietor is disqualified from being a proprietor by reason of Article 10 or Chapter Six of the Constitution;
  2. A teacher employed in the school is not registered by the Teachers Service Commission;
  3. The school premises are unsuitable for a school; or
  4. The proprietor or manager has been convicted of any crime against children under the Sexual Offences Act (Cap. 62A) and Counter Trafficking in Persons Act (Cap. 61).

Every person seeking to offer basic education in Kenya should seek for accreditation and registration under the Act. Section 76

Process – section 76 and 77

  1. Apply to the relevant County Education Board.
  2. Application should contain: (sec 83)
    1. Name, physical, postal and electronic addresses of the proposed institution;
    2. In the case of a mobile school, the name of a general area and the name of the family in which the school is situated;
    3. The governance and management structures of the institution, membership of the proposed institution, academic qualifications and experience of the promoters and managers of the intended institution;
    4. The aims and objects for which the institution is to be established and the programmes of instructions and the courses of study that will be offered;
    5. The number, qualifications and competence of the teachers and nonteaching staff;
    6. Available suitable infrastructure, and appropriate equipment;
    7. A statement of financial ability; and 
    8. such other matters as may be prescribed in the regulations made under this Act.
  3. The Board records application and if satisfied that requirements for the establishment of the institution have been complied with, shall notify applicant within 30 days.
  4. If later approved the Board shall inform the Education, Standards and Quality Assurance Council at the county.
  5. If the requirements for establishment are not met, Board rejects application and notifies the Applicant within 30 days. The Applicant may then appeal to the Education Appeals Tribunal within 30 days of the decision to reject.
  6. After the Education, Standards and Quality Assurance Council is informed of the approval by the Board, it shall then assess the application to ensure due compliance with the standards formulated and developed under this Act and submit its report to the County Education Board who may then license. Section 82
  7. Before licensing the County Education Board shall ensure that; section 82 (2)​​​​​​​
  • The institution has sufficient number of registered teachers and non-teaching staff
  • The institution has appropriate teaching and learning facilities;
  • The available premises and accommodation are suitable with regard to the number, age, gender, and security of the learners who are to attend the institution;
  • The premises and accommodation conform to the prescribed requirements of the occupational health and safety regulations;
  • The necessary and suitable infrastructure and equipment to carry out the programmes applied for are available.​​​​​​​

Financial Provisions (section 86)

The funding of the Department of Education consists of;

þ Monies provided by Parliament;

þ Any funds provided by bilateral or multilateral donors;

þ Monies that may accrue to or vest in the in the course of the exercise of its functions under this Act;

þ Gifts, grants, donations or endowments given to the Department;

þ Monies that may be borrowed by the Department ;

þ Fees for services rendered to any designated institution in terms of a service agreement; and

þ Monies from any other source provided for the Department or relevant educational institution or programme.

CS to establish mechanisms for school based auditing. Section 90

  • The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Act establishes the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (formerly Kenya Institute of Education – KIE) that is generally concerned with all matters of curricula. Go the website of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
  • The Kenya National Examinations Council Act establishes the Kenya National Examinations Council that has the following functions;
  1. To conduct such academic, technical and other examinations within Kenya as it may consider desirable in the public interest;
  2. To award certificates or diplomas to successful candidates in such examinations;
  3. to invite any body or bodies outside Kenya to conduct academic, technical and other examinations within Kenya or to conduct these examinations jointly with the Council and to award certificates or diplomas to successful candidates in these examinations;
  4. to advise any body or bodies invited under paragraph (c) upon the adaptation of examinations necessary for the requirements of Kenya and to assist any such bodies to conduct such examinations;
  5. To make rules regulating the conduct of examinations and for all purposes incidental thereto.

Go to the website of the Kenya National Examinations Council.

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