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Educational attainment, Kenya

Codes and Frequencies

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      class Educke:public Editor {

    Educke(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::ke1979a:
            if (KE1979A_0407() == 99 && KE1979A_0402() >= 5 && KE1979A_0402() < 99)
                a = 0;
            if (KE1979A_0407() >= 1 && KE1979A_0407() <= 7 && KE1979A_0406() == 1)
                a = KE1979A_0407() + 1;
            if (KE1979A_0407() >= 11 && KE1979A_0407() <= 16 && KE1979A_0406() == 1)
                a = KE1979A_0407() - 1;




EDUCKE indicates the person's educational attainment in Kenya in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

Kenya changed its educational system in 1985 to an 8-4-4 system: 8 years of primary education (Standard 1-8); 4 years of secondary education (Form 1-4); and 4 years of university education. Previously, Kenya had used a 7-6-3 system, with the 6 years of secondary education further subdivided into two levels: a basic level (Form 1-4) and an advanced level (Form 5-6). However, responses in all Kenya samples include Standard 1 to 8 (primary) and Forms 1 to 6 (secondary), which do not exactly match either education system.

EDUCKE does not attempt to classify the responses into larger categories such as primary and secondary; instead, the variable simply provides the levels and grades as they were reported. In the 1979 sample, the Standard 7 and Standard 8 categories were reported as one combined category.

There are some comparability issues across samples, particularly for tertiary education. For the 1969 and 1979 censuses, there is a single category for university education and completion is not explicitly stated. The 1989 and 1999 samples distinguish between those who did not complete (or are attending) university and those who completed it.

The 2009 sample is more detailed: it includes information on non-formal education, different forms of tertiary, and Madrassa (religious-based education). Non-formal education categories include literacy programs and youth polytechnic, the latter being technical education offered to primary school leavers or persons with some secondary school. Tertiary education categories include completed college, undergraduate, masters and PhD degrees. Middle level colleges offer technical post-secondary education leading to certificates and diplomas.

The 1969 and 1989-2009 samples refer to education level completed, while the 1979 census asks only about the highest level reached. Therefore, one year of education was subtracted for persons currently in school, but only for those in primary or secondary education for whom the grade within level is available. The 1999 and 2009 samples include a separate source variable for highest level reached, in addition to the education level completed, which allows to identify also incomplete non-formal, tertiary, and Madrassa education.

A harmonized international classification of educational attainment is available in EDATTAIN, which imposes a number of compromises to regularize the data across countries. The number of years of schooling completed is available separately in YRSCHOOL. YRSCHOOL makes assumptions, based on year of birth, concerning which Kenyan educational system a person attended, from which years of schooling is then inferred.


  • Kenya 1969: All persons
  • Kenya 1979: Persons age 5+
  • Kenya 1989: Persons age 6+
  • Kenya 1999: Persons age 5+
  • Kenya 2009: Persons age 3+


  • Kenya: 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009