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Secondary Education in Kenya



Secondary school education starts right after primary school education. There are government schools, private schools and Harambee schools. Government schools are broadly divided into national schools, provincial schools and district schools. Students with top tier scores in the KCPE exam, typically go to national schools.


There are four years in secondary school. Each class year goes from January to December with month long breaks in April, August and December. The first year is called Form one followed by form two, three and four. At the beginning of form 4, students typically select the Tertiary Education or University courses they would like to study upon completion of secondary education. At the end of form 4, students take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam. This is a national exam taken by all form 4 students nationally and at the same time. A students score in this exam determines whether they get to join one of the State Universities and also determines their University courses.




KCSE typically involves taking exams in 8 subjects. Each subject has to exam papers:  paper 1 and paer 2. For the sciences, paper 1 is the theory exam while paper 2 is the practical exam. For the language exam, paper 1 is the grammar and essay exam while paper 2 is the literature exam. Each exam lasts 2 to 4 hours. Each subject has 12 possible points for a possible total of 72 points. The possible scores are as  follows:


Grade A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E
Points 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Scores are described based on the average score in all 8 subjects. Thus a student with an average score of 10 points in the 8 subjects is said to have earned a B+ in the KCSE exam.





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