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Is free education failing Kenya’s children? A mother’s dilemma

A student at a public primary school in Kenya takes notes during a lesson - Adrian Gathu | Panos London

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It’s almost ten years since the Kenyan government announced free primary education for the country’s children. In that time enrolment rates have soared to up to 97 per cent. But with class sizes of up to 70 children and government corruption, which has seen millions of shillings siphoned off the free primary school fund, free education has sadly not necessarily meant good education.

A 2011 survey by education think-tank UWEZO estimated that around 60 per cent of children aged 14 were unable read a simple sentence in a test aimed at eight-year-olds. As a result even those Kenyans who are not at all wealthy are taking on extra jobs to pay for a private education for their children.

Journalist and mother, Audrey Wabwire, talks about her dilemma over where to send her son, Andrew, to school, and speaks to other parents about their decisions.


Children enjoy free primary schooling in Kenya. Yet many fail basic literacy tests and corruption has affected schools. Journalist and mother Audrey Wabwire explores the problems in this audio report.






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