International Education Journal


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Ethnic Inequalities in Education in Kenya

Alwiya Alwy
Centre for Development Studies, Flinders University

Susanne Schech
Centre for Development Studies, Flinders University




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This paper uses Kenya’s survey data to explore ethnic inequalities in education in Kenya. It focuses on some ethnic groups that may have resources and opportunities as a result of their geographical location and ethnic proximity to the ruling elite. The factors examined to explain potential educational inequalities among ethnic groups include the Gross Enrolment Ratios, the number of schools, and the number of qualified teachers. The results suggest a close correspondence of differentials between inequalities in education and ethnic affiliation to the ruling elite. Relatively small, clearly defined ethnic groups have accumulated an advantage over the majority in the national population, in terms of the education infrastructure and resources. Based on these results, this paper argues that ethnicity should be placed at the forefront of analyses of educational development in Kenya, as well as in policy efforts to reduce inequalities in education.

Kenya, Ethnicity, Inequalities, Education, Ruling Elite


Alwy, A. and Schech, S. (2004) Ethnic Inequalities in Education in Kenya. International Education Journal, 5 (2), 266-274.

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