Artemis Kenya +254 20 231 5530

+254 20 231 5530
Tue, 9th Aug 2022

Universal primary education is one of the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015, while governments across the world aim to guarantee basic education for all - meaning primary and secondary educaton.

Apart from the need to provide education as a basic human right, developing economies especially have a pressing need for education and training as a means to addressing rising unemployment in both rural and urban areas as well as a means to achieving national socio-economic development through increased productivity.

Education in Africa especially has made phenomenal gains over the last fifty years.  Much has also changed, however, over the same period and a considerable shift in education strategy is called for in many African countries.

Education in Africa arguably remains the most important means to socio-economic empowerment and the continent as a whole has put in great push to education.  The value and real contribution of the education available in Africa is however increasingly being put to question given the various challenegs that governments and education providers are faced with...

  • Capacity constraints More
  • Africa’s growing population has for a long time outstripped the continents ability to provide matching investment in education and related facilities.  In Kenya, for example, in the year 2013, the country’s 7,425 secondary schools could only absorb 628,051 of the 819,295 students that sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, meaning that high school education for up to 191,244 (23%) was in jeopardy.

    This implies a transition rate of 77%, which is undesirably low at this level of education, particularly at a time when the government is pursuing universal basic education, understood to mean primary and secondary education.

    Primary school enrollment rates in East Africa are as high as 90%, but 30-40% of students leave before they complete primary school, with a significant other proportion simply not accessing secondary school education for a host of reasons.

    This capacity gap subsists through to tertiary institutions.  For example, though the official minimum entry grade to Kenyan universities is C+, the country’s twenty-two chartered public universities’ limited bed and classroom capacity does not allow them to absorb all qualifying students.

    In the year 2011, for example, public universities were only able to admit 35% of the qualifying students, leaving the rest to seek alternative, and the more expensive, route to a university education as private students in local public universities (approximately 30%); as students in local private universities, which take up approximately 20% of eligible students and the balance of university seeking students pursuing undergraduate education outside the country.

    Private educational institutions, if their quality of management and education can be guaranteed, provide an ideal solution for Africa’s education capacity constraints since they expand public access to education without adding pressure to government expenditure. 

  • Affordability of education More
  • In a country such as Kenya, where close to 50% of the population lives in poverty, and the middle class earning between Ksh. 23,672 (USD 283) and Ksh. 119,999 (USD 1,433) per month, the cost of education can easily translate to between 55 and 70% of the average household’s income.

    With competing demand for food, healthcare, housing and transport added to demands accruing from the country’s high dependency rate, (good) education is frequently simply unaffordable.  Affordability of education is one of the key challenges that Kenya sought to address through the introduction of free primary education in 2003.

    To finance free education, the Government of Kenya, for example allocates Ksh. 1,020 (USD 12) per pupil per year for the 9 million primary school pupils in public primary schools, and Ksh. 10,265 (USD 121) per student per year, for 2 million secondary school students in 6,654 public secondary schools.  At individual level, this amount may not seem much, but collectively translates into a considerable amount for the government.  Notwithstanding, the level of government funding in education has far reaching implications for the quality of education that a majority of the country’s population is able to access.

    While primary education is “free” in much of Africa, however, there are several additional levies and costs charged, which mean that for the very poorest and most vulnerable, school remains out of reach.  Fees and charges levied on parents and guardians are, nonetheless, somewhat understandable given the level of funding that government gives to free education.

    Teachers are the most expensive, and the most important, resource in the education process.  According to a study by UNESCO, teacher costs as a percentage of total education expenditure range from 40% (Botswana) to 90% (Ethiopia), noting that in the primary education sector this figure is consistently in the range between 85% and 99% for almost all developing and least developed.

    The high cost of teacher salaries is, however, somewhat misleading.  Due to the very low funding of education in many countries, teacher salaries may consume up to 99% of primary education expenditure, but with teachers’ salaries starting at an average of Ksh. 20,000 (USD 235) a month, individual teachers live barely above the poverty line.

    The challenge in affordability of education arguably negates the importance of education as a means to socioeconomic empowerment and the redistribution of income, since the wealthier continue to access good education for their children, and the poorer continue to access poor quality education, and status quo is maintained.

  • Quality of education More
  • Free Primary Education (FPE) is a response to the World Conference Education for all held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and the World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000, in pursuit to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2000 targeting Universal Primary Education (UPE) by the year 2005.

    Many African countries have significantly raised school enrollment rates on the back of the FPE programme, with Kenya, for example, having increased primary school enrollment by over 66% between 2003 when the government launched the programme and 2011, with 5.9 and 9.8 million annual primary school enrollments respectively.  The number of students that sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) has also increased from 587,961 in 2003 to 811,930 in 2012.  Primary school transition over the same period has been above 70%, which has transferred the pressure to secondary schools too.

    This sharp increase in school enrollment has, unfortunately, led to serious challenges relating to the quality of education in much of Africa, and jeopardized the socioeconomic benefits otherwise attainable from increased school enrollment.

    In Kenya, for example, classrooms, especially in primary schools, are overcrowded – some having up to 80 students, teachers are inadequate, and teaching resources simply not enough to match demand.  More than half of the students that have sat the KCPE examination between 2003 and 2012 have scored less than 200 out of a possible 500 marks and are unable to secure high school education.  Public schools that previously sent more than 50% of their students to public, national high schools now send less than 5%. 

    In 2009, the government of Kenya introduced Free Secondary Education (FSE) in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goal “universal education for all by the year 2015”.  This was hit by problems relating to underfunding, with the government currently providing only Ksh. 10,265 (USD 121) per student per year, which is not enough for finance the many learning requirements that secondary education places on schools.  The resultant low quality of free public secondary education cannot therefore be said to be adequately preparing secondary school students, and especially those that do not move on to university, for modern, progressive and competitive living.

    With the decline in quality and test scores at public schools, the number of graduates of private academies across Africa have increased in the best high schools, colleges and universities, forcing governments to take affirmative action, such as in Kenya where two-thirds of the seats in public secondary schools are reserved for students coming from public primary schools, but which practice has been criticized as reverse discrimination.  Currently, over 100,000 Kenyan students pursue university studies abroad, at a cost of over Ksh. 90B (USD 1.07B) to the country each year.

    Access to education may have been enhanced over the last ten years, but the quality of education in sub-Saharan Africa continues to present a serious challenge to the attainment of the many national development goals that depend on a well educated population in each country.

  • Teacher training and development More
  • Professional, trained teachers are in high demand all over Africa.  At primary school level, for example, with student-teacher ratios as high as 60, many more teachers are required to realise the continent's potential through education.  This shortage of qualified teachers both impacts on accessibility to education, and on the quality of education that those that are able to access education actually receive.

    Four million new primary school teachers are needed in East Africa alone to reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

    Because of the overall underfunding of education in much of Africa, very little is put to the training and development of teachers.  In addition, while teachers' salaries take the biggest part of education budgets across the world, earnings accruing to individual teachers are not attractive, and do not help to reduce the prvailing shortage of teachers.

    Competition in the job market has also pushed the qualifications that teachers are pursuing, to the point that it threatens the close relationship that needs to exist between the continent's real manpower requirements and the quality of manpower available to meet these requirements.

    While, for example, there is definitely need to upskill Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers, their contribution to baic education must not be locked out through the introduction of advanced ECE degrees.

    For Africa to fully exploit its potential for economic growth and reduce its growing social inequalities, African governments need to urgently increase their fn addition to better resourcing educational institutions, this must ideally also include increased budgetary allocation to teacher training and all levels, and particularly in the development of technical and vocational education and training.

  • Relevance of education and training curriculum More
  • Increased investment in education, healthcare and the elimination of dire poverty in many African countries over the years has considerably reduced investment in job-creation, leaving the continent with many highly educated but with not as many jobs for them to get into.

    This has put education in the continent under further scrutiny in terms of its relevance, benefit and usefulness as a means to personal development and the redistribution of income.

    This problem is most acutely felt at tertiary level, where educational curriculum and the number of graduands does not seem to match the continent’s job market and national development requirements.

    Development of middle-level technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions is an ideal way of making education respond to Kenya’s and Africa’s real development requirements.

    Investment in middle-level technical institutions and technical universities, would form a strong base for the development of a technically competent labour force, which the continent needs industrialise and to otherwise optimally exploit its potential through the advancement of manufacturing, engineering and other technical professional disciplines.

    In Kenya, for example, there are 47 TVETs, which are nonetheless under-resourced, and for which reason they are not able to effectively play their role in the country’s development.

    Due to the high investment and recurrent costs related to science, engineering and medicine programmes, few private universities offer courses in this area, which arguably defeats the contribution they might otherwise make to the job market and the continent’s overall human resource requirements.

  • Governance and management of educational institutions More
  • Though community and private investment in education contributes significantly to bridging capacity gaps in education across the continent, governance and management of private educational institutions is always a concern.

    Global research in education has, in particular, shown that that when public expenditure on education declines, there is almost always a decline in access and quality which inequitably impacts on girls, minorities, the poor and other marginalised groups.  Yet, existing policies for financing, management and accountability have not kept pace with the growth of private investment in education in Africa.

    In Kenya, for example, the government’s Ministry of Education issues guidelines for the management of private educational institutions through licensing requirements but is not able to do much with respect to operations management, quality of faculty, fiscal management and academic performance among other critical elements that impact on the quality of education that such institutions are able to deliver.

    Well managed private educational institutions focused on providing relevant and wholesome education have, over time, distinguished themselves and created a competitive niche within which they are able to obtain profitable fees, attract various academic, industrial and commercial partnerships and on the whole guarantee their growth and sustainability.  This is hard work for educational institutions, which for the large part are considered somewhat different from corporate organizations.

    Even in the management of public schools, devolution and decentralisation of education management would need to be accompanied by the enhancement of local capacity for fiscal planning and management, as well as a reliable process of ensuring equitable access to education and a commitment to monitoring performance standards across the country.

We provide advisory solutions for clients in Education and Training in three areas:

  • Strategy More
  • Our work with clients in Education and Training has mainly been with private education providers, with whom we have worked on strategy and institutional strengthening, with their greatest needs being growth and sustainability.

    Like most businesses, schools and other learning institutions are started by educationists and entrepreneurs with a passion for a specific area of work; in this case education.  This makes their growth and development requirements somewhat similar to those of most other enterprises.

    Through our work in Strategy, especially, we work with school owners, boards and management to develop growth and sustainability strategies on which investors, management and professionals within such institutions can project the future and take on the opportunities it presents with greater success.

  • Finance More
  • Whether you are in the business of education or running your educational institution as a business, you need a sound fianancial strategy, on which your  institution can sustainably, reliably and competively continue to provide relevant education, attract competent faculty and mangement, as well as provide for its growth own and development.

    Our advisory work in Finance will afford you an integrated planning approach through which your institution's sustainability objectives will be achieved

  • Microsoft Certified Partner learning solutions More
  • Microsoft Certified Partners for Learning Solutions (CPLS), are certified organizations in the conduct technical training for IT professionals and software developers.  CPLS include Microsoft IT Academies, Universities, Technical Colleges and other institutions involved in IT education.

    CPLS  are the only training providers, worldwide, that meet Microsoft international standards of excellence, and they provide authorized technical training using Official Microsoft Learning Products.  By attaining and maintaining the Microsoft Learning Solutions competency, an institution accesses a broad range of tools and benefits, which help it to achieve the following:

    • Access to Microsoft Official Curriculum;
    • free access to the complete library of Official Microsoft Learning Products;
    • substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products;
    • MCT members-only newsgroups and online community resources;
    • Enhanced visibility with Microsoft and other partners
    • Formal market recognition of in their areas of expertise
    • Considerable expansion of business opportunities, as well as;
    • invitations to Microsoft exclusive events and programs.

    We work with CPLS to equip them with technical instruction transfer skills through our tailored trainer programmes, which include preparation of qualifying trainers for Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification.

Competency development for primary school teachers

This competency framework is produced by a team of educators to guide the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by teachers to teach in primary schools within Kenya.


Please get in touch with me. I would like to discuss your Education, Training and Research industry solutions further.
Below are my contact details.

I have read and agree to the terms of the ARTEMIS Transition Partners Online Privacy Policy