Kenya is located in equatorial east Africa abutting the Indian Ocean on its southeast coast, Tanzania on the south, Lake Victoria, Uganda and Sudan on the west, Ethiopia on the north and Somalia on the east. The country consists of 582,650 sq km (roughly twice the size of Nevada). The population is estimated at 34 million of whom more than 40% are under the age of 15. The largest cities are Nairobi, Meru and Mombasa.
Kenya Is named for a mountain now known as Mt. Kenya, but known to the indigenous Kikuyu people as Kirinyaga or Kerenyaga, “white mountain,” so called because of its snowcap. Mt. Kirinyaga was the main feature of the colony the British called Kenya because they were unable to pronounce the Kikuyu name.
Kenya was the home of the earliest species of modern man, homo habilus, during the Pleistocene era 1.5 to 2 million years ago. In more recent times, Kenya has been under the colonial occupation of Portugal, Germany and Great Britain, obtaining its independence in 1963. The current government is a constitutional republic.
Primary and Secondary Education
Modern Kenyan education has its roots in the British system, maintaining many British features to the present day. Since 1985, however, an “American style” 8-4-4 system has become standard in Kenya, replacing the old 7-4-2-3 system. Education is compulsory through the eighth grade, but it is not universal. The primary language of instruction at all levels is English; although great emphasis is placed on the learning of Kiswahili, the other official language of Kenya and numerous other languages regarded as mother tongues.
University admission is open to students who complete secondary school and receive acceptable marks on the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations. There are public universities, several private and religiously affiliated colleges and universities, as well as numerous polytechnics, health training centers and teachers colleges. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has responsibility for all public education activities. University higher education is in the purview of the Commission for University Education.