Home Institution

Middlebury College

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Program Name

Kenya: Development, Health, and Society


In 2003, the Kenyan government implemented Free Primary Education on a nation-wide scale. Since then, the policy has received both support and disapproval from the public. Although many analyses have examined the impacts of FPE on a nation-wide or district scale, minimal research has been done on how the policy has affected schools with different social and political characteristics. This study aims to look at how FPE has impacted schools’ learning environments and how those impacts influence the academic performance at these schools. From this information, the research determines whether or not the educational quality of these institutions has suffered under free education, and if the policy has increased, sustained, or alleviated educational disparities. By looking at the data gathered by a number of headteachers of Nairobi primary schools, this paper asserts that FPE has benefitted the most advantaged and disadvantaged schools, but puts strains on primaries in the middle-performing tier, especially those located in slums. These impacts have exacerbated disparities in the quality of education offered at various public primary institutions, which has repercussions on overall economic inequity and the reduction of poverty.


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | International and Comparative Education


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