The Kenyan 8-4-4 Education System

The Kenyan 8-4-4 Education System.

  • Saturday 6th August, 2016

Education System

The Kenyan 8-4-4 System

Academic Year / Calendar

January – December, divided into three school terms


Primary School

Following eight years of primary education instructed mainly in English, every pupil goes through Standard 1 – 8. This is the equivalent of British National Curriculum Year 1 – 8.

KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) is the final exam taken on average at about 14 years of age while in Standard 8. KCPE is usually sat annually in November.

KCPE examines up to five subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Kiswahili
  • Science
  • Social Studies and
  • Religious Education (Christian/ Islamic).

The KCPE results are announced by the Kenyan Education Ministry on the last week of December. The date could fall between Dec, 26th – 28th of any given year.

High School

After 8 years in primary school, Kenyan children are then taken through another 4 years of secondary school training. KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) is the final graduation exam. It is taken after the four years of high school studies and is administered in English.

Students move ranks annually through Form 1 – 4 which is the equivalent of British National Curriculum’s Year 9 – 12.

The median age for taking KCSE exams is 17 years at Form 4 level.

The exam is usually administered in October through to November annually. Students’ study a variety of subjects and are eventually graded on 7 best performed subjects.

Mathematics, English and Kiswahili are compulsory for all students across all schools.

Forms 1 - 4 correspond to the American high school’s 9th - 12th grades

The KCSE examination is in many ways equivalent to taking 7 Advanced Placement (AP) tests over a period of two month.

Tertiary Training

This is any post high school training. Could either be College, polytechnic, technical training colleges, universities and institutes of technology

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