The New 2-6-3-3-3 Education System

Kenya is in the midst of huge change regarding its educational systems. As a growing nation, Kenya has been trying different education systems to better fit its changing needs. Since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963, the country has had two educational systems and will have a third system this year. The new system will be introduced gradually until 2027 when it will be fully in use throughout the whole system.

Kenya school studentsThe new system commonly called the 2-6-3-3-3 Education System will focus on developing the competencies and skills of learners to adapt better in a global world. The learners will go through 2 years of pre-primary education (preschool) before proceeding to primary school for 6 years. Primary school will have lower and upper tiers with each covering 3 grades. Hence, primary school will cover grades 1 to grade 6. From primary school the learner will move on to junior secondary school for 3 years and then 3 years of senior secondary school depending on their competencies and natural talents. Finally, the learner can proceed to 3 years of university or other tertiary education.

The current system (8-4-4), has been criticized for focusing more on exams and neglecting other areas of talents and natural inclinations. The 8-4-4 System served the country well when it needed a lot of people to go into jobs and professions with academic emphasis. It was abruptly introduced in 1985 to replace the British-like system carried over from the Colonial Era. However, the 8-4-4 System is heavily exam oriented and does not do a decent job developing other areas (such a creative arts and sports) merely relegating them to be extra-curricular activities, with the  main order of business being to teach kids to pass their important national exams.

The 2-6-3-3-3 System will borrow from the best systems around the world to develop children in various areas. When the students reach the senior secondary school level they will be divided amongst three tracks based on their natural talents and competencies. These three tracks are Creative Arts and Sports, Social Sciences and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).


Between 2018 and 2027 there will be a lot of changes in the school to ease in the new system while taking care of the last bunch of students to go through the 8-4-4 System. Right now, the government is making sure all the students that were in primary school transition into high school, regardless of what they scored in their national exams. We are in a state of great expansion of the high schools across the country to accommodate the greater influx of students. This year, the million plus students who did their primary school exit national exams are joining high schools with orders that no kids are left out. In high schools like ours, parents only pay for meals with all other needs paid for by the government.