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Public and Private Provision of Education in Kenya


  • Tessa Bold
  • Mwangi S. Kimenyi
  • Justin Sandefur


Over the past decade, Kenya's traditional model of local, community finance and management of schools has been crowded out from two directions. First, the Kenyan government has expanded its role in public education, through free provision of primary and, more recently, secondary education. Second, the market for private, fee-charging schools has grown rapidly, particularly at the primary level. We examine whether the abolition of fees presented a trade-off between quantity and quality in primary schools, comparing Kenya's experience with others in the region. We examine the superior performance of private primary schools and elite, public secondary schools in examinations and summarise research testing whether this performance reflects causal returns to these school types. Finally, we explore the potential implications of expanding public finance for private schooling or incorporating organisational structures from the private sector into public schools, making particular note of possible general equilibrium effects and political economy constraints to doing so. Copyright 2013 , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Tessa Bold & Mwangi S. Kimenyi & Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Public and Private Provision of Education in Kenya," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 22(suppl_2), pages -56, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:22:y:2013:i:suppl_2:p:-ii56

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    Cited by:

    1. Wamalwa, Fredrick M. & Burns, Justine, 2018. "Private schools and student learning achievements in Kenya," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 114-124.
    2. Julius Muthike Njiiri & Dominic Mwenja & Kellen Kiambati & Levi Mbugua, 2020. "Financial control and growth of private primary schools in Kenya," International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147-4478), Center for the Strategic Studies in Business and Finance, vol. 9(7), pages 267-273, December.
    3. Nadel, Sara & Pritchett, Lant, 2016. "Searching for the Devil in the Details: Learning about Development Program Design," Working Paper Series rwp16-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Sara Nadel and Lant Pritchett, 2016. "Searching for the Devil in the Details: Learning about Development Program Design," Working Papers 434, Center for Global Development.

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