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Economy

5pc of Kenyans illiterate despite free education programme

Primary School pupils in Turkana County: The free primary education programme has increased access to schools over the last decade. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA
Primary School pupils in Turkana County: The free primary education programme has increased access to schools over the last decade. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA 

At least 5 per cent of Kenyans have no formal education while more than a third have not gone beyond primary school level, a new survey shows.

Released by Ipsos Synovate this week, the study indicates that despite Kenya introducing the free primary education (FPE) programme in 2002 and registering increased enrolment rates, more than 44 per cent of Kenyans have only primary school level education and below.

“Despite major increases in enrolment in educational institutions at all levels, still more than one third of all adult Kenyans have not gone beyond primary school,” read part of the report.

Going by the latest Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data in 2015 that estimated Kenya's population at 47.8 million people that year, it means that at least 2.4 million Kenyans have no formal education at all while a further 16.3 million (34 per cent) have only primary level education.

The survey was conducted between January 9 and 26 this year and covered a total of 2,057 respondents.

In education attainment, Nairobi region leads with only 11 per cent of its residents not having post-primary education while 15 per cent of residents have university level learning and above.

North Eastern region has the lowest literacy levels with 66 per cent not having completed primary schooling.

They are followed by Coast with 57 per cent, Western 53 per cent, Eastern 45 per cent and Rift Valley at 42 per cent.

Tertiary education

It is not all doom and gloom in North Eastern as 8 per cent of its residents have attained university level education or above.

This is more than in Nyanza with 7 per cent, Central and Rift Valley (6 per cent), Coast (5 per cent) and Eastern and Western both with 4 per cent.

Of some concern is that less than 1 per cent of Kenyans with a post-graduate degree, 3 per cent who have completed university and 6 per cent a mid-level college.

Employment

Meanwhile, the survey indicates that most Kenyans (62 per cent) are either unemployed or in self-employment.

Also, more Kenyans are in casual labour than in public-sector employment, with those in the former group making up seven per cent of the total population against four per cent in the latter.

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