MP seeks to end 8-4-4 system


A new system of education has been proposed that seeks to scrap the 8-4-4 arrangement. The plan is to have a 2-6-3-3-4 system, according to Taita Taveta Woman Representative Joyce Lay.

She thinks basic education should consist of two years of pre-primary education, six years of primary education, three years of junior secondary education and three years of senior secondary education.

“I strongly believe that the problem we are facing right now is in the foundation, so the basic education is the one that needs overhaul,” said Ms Lay.

The changes could come through a law and a Bill is in the National Assembly.

Ms Lay proposes that senior secondary schools be classified according to the specialisation of subjects offered in each school as either science, arts or vocational subjects.

She also wants it made an offence for a school to deny a pupil admission to a public senior secondary school on the account of the grades attained during the national junior secondary examinations.

The requirement to join pre-primary is to be four years old and primary school at age of six.

There will be no need to pass an examination.


A student who has completed primary education will be unconditionally admitted to junior secondary while a student who has completed junior secondary will be placed to an appropriate senior secondary school for specialisation.

“Each public primary school shall have a respective junior secondary school for the purposes of ensuring transition from primary education to junior secondary education,” states the Bill.

A student who has completed one level of education will be admitted to the next level accordingly.

The Bill also proposes that there be a principal who will be responsible for the management of the primary and junior secondary school.

A national standardised competency assessment test will be administered during primary education at the end of three years.

The assessment test will be set by the Kenya National Examination Council and administered on its behalf by the County Education Board to assess literacy and numeracy competencies, communication and life skills.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education will be required to prescribe the conduct of other school based assessments and tests.

The examination administered at the end of primary education will not be used for determining access to junior secondary education.


At the end of junior secondary education, the examination will be for the purposes of enabling a student to make the choice of the subjects they will pursue at the senior secondary education based on career preference.

The examination will also enable a student to acquire the qualification and certification for accessing vocational and technical education where a student does not progress to senior secondary.

A task force chaired by former Moi University Vice-Chancellor Douglas Odhiambo in its 2012 report proposed a raft of changes that could see the 8-4-4 education system replaced.

Ms Lay said the Bill aims to uphold the right of every child to free and compulsory education by ensuring full transition from primary and secondary education.

“The Bill seeks to restructure the education system to align it to the current global trends and best practices in order to make it competitive globally,” said the MP.