Students in Kenya generally attend 8 years of primary school, followed by 4 years of secondary school.
Primary school consists of class 1 - 8. Students advance annually from one standard to the next. Students are required to take year-end examinations and may be required to repeat the year should they fail. After completing class 8, students sit for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).
Secondary school consists of form 1 - 4. Students who achieve the best primary school results may attend the better secondary schools. After completing form 4, students sit for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination (KCSE).
The KCPE covers 5 subjects: Maths, English, Kiswahili, Social Studies and Science & Religious Studies. Each section is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a total of 500 maximum marks.
The KCSE covers 7 subjects. A student may sit for a minimum of 7 or a maximum of 9 subject exams, of which the best 7 scores will be chosen to calculate the final score. Subjects are divided into 3 groups. Group 1 consists of English, Kiswahili and Mathematics. Group 2 includes Biology, Physics and Chemistry. And group 3 includes History & Government, Geography and CRE/IRE/HRE. All 3 subjects in group 1 are mandatory, 2 courses must be chosen from group 2, 1 course from group 3, and the remaining course must be a subject not included in any of the 3 groups. Exams are graded out of 12 points, with 12 being the highest, on a relative scale based on the overall performance of all the students that sat for the exam that year. Corresponding letter grades range from A to E.
Additional Education Options
Following primary school (or sometimes secondary school), many students opt to attend a polytechnical school for a trade-specific education.
Higher education institutions are also available. Top performers can choose to attend public colleges, with a wider array of scholarship options. Private colleges are also an option but generally are more expensive and offer less financial aid opportunities. Vocational schools and teacher training institutes are another popular choice and are often less competitive.