Addresses by George Saitoti

Below we list addresses and articles by George Saitoti after his election to political office in 1983. We follow that with giving the Abstracts or Introduction to three of these. For one we give the text of a selection of slides from a talk he gave.

1. Addresses by George Saitoti after 1983.
  1. Major Issues in Implementing District Focus (1985).

  2. A View from Africa (1986).

  3. Inter-African Conference on Adolescent Health (1992).

  4. Statement of Kenya (1994).

  5. Speech on the occasion of the World Population Day celebrations on 11 July 1997.

  6. Key note address. Strengthening mathematics and computer science and research in Kenyan universities (2000).

  7. The challenges of economic and institutional reforms in Africa (2002).

  8. Education Sector Review: How far have we come since independence and what still needs to be done to meet the Education needs of all Kenyans (2003).

  9. Reflections on African development (2003).

  10. Education Sector Review: How Far Have We Come And What Still Needs To Be Done To Meet the Education Needs of All Kenyans (2003).

  11. Ministerial Statement on Free Primary Education (2003).

  12. Education in Kenya: Challenges and policy responses, Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations Washington DC (2004).

  13. Education in Kenya: Challenges and policy responses (2004).

  14. Ministry's plan to boost mathematics and sciences (2004).

  15. Bias keeps girls away from sciences (2005).

  16. Statement by Hon G Saitoti delivered to the 34th UNESCO General Conference (2007).

  17. Provision of Education in Kenya: Challenges and policy responses (2005).

  18. Keynote address given during the official opening of the sub-regional seminar for TIVET policy makers and UNESCOUNEVOC Center Coordinators (2005).

  19. Shillings three billion spent on free learning so far (2007).

  20. Education in Kenya: Challenges and Responses, Presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C. (2013).
2. Abstracts and Introductions.
1. Presented at the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, Egypt, 5-13 September 1994.

Abstract: In his address to the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, the Vice-President and Minister for Planning and National Development of Kenya stated that the choice of Egypt as the site of the conference focussed the world's attention on the host of development problems affecting Africa in particular and developing countries in general. These problems include balance of trade deficits, domestic fiscal crisis, a lack of investment capital, unemployment, poverty, and environmental degradation. Developing countries need help in transforming their economies as well as in managing their population growth. The significant accomplishments in lowering the birth and death rates should provide governments with the enthusiasm to work harder to achieve their goals. Since the 1984 conference, Kenya has moved into demographic transition. In 1979, total fertility rates in rural and urban locations were 8.1 and 6.6, respectively. By 1993, these rates had decreased to 5.8 and 3.4. Thus, it seems likely that Kenya will meet its target of 2.5% population growth by the year 2000. This success is linked with the provision of family planning services, an improvement in the status of women, and an increase in contraceptive usage from 7% in 1978 to 33% in 1993, with modern methods now accounting for 84% of use. The use of modern methods is strongly associated with higher levels of education. Therefore, Kenya's dual investment in girls' education and in service delivery is having a positive influence on fertility decline. Another factor is the improved infant survival rate which is due to overall improvement in health services and is correlated to education. Kenya's population programs have been decentralized through the use of local and community organizational structures, and the government has encouraged the involvement of nongovernmental organizations. Kenya recommends that the role of women in development be improved as a first step in the successful reduction of fertility. Kenya is seeking to increase urbanization in a rational fashion as a means of improving economic opportunities. Kenya decries coercive methods of fertility control and labels simplistic the argument that fertility control would solve the problems of poverty and environmental degradation. Kenya's population policies, therefore, respect individual rights, seek to improve women's status, and recognize the importance of a stable family. The multiple relationships between population, the environment, and development should unite people in an integrated effort to find solutions rather than causing false divisions among people.
2. Speech on the occasion of the World Population Day celebrations on 11 July 1997.
Abstract: Development of Kenya's national family planning logo was initiated in 1994 as a subproject of the Client and Provider Project with assistance from the US Agency for International Development and the government of Kenya. The development process is described. Concurrent with the launching of the logo, the government of Kenya will make public the family planning projections and the national information, education, and communication (IEC) advocacy strategy for sustainable development. The family planning projections will help program managers and directors plan for the future, while the national IEC/advocacy strategy will help them create and implement appropriate educational campaigns in the media. Kenya's history of family planning policy and programs, the activities of the National Council for Population and Development, and the goals of the National Population Policy for Sustainable Development are described. Policy targets have been set with regard to demographics, health, and social services.
3. Reflections on Africa Development (2003).
Introduction: Africa has entered the twenty-first century with a multitude of development problems: economic stagnation, widespread poverty, malnutrition and disease, destructive ethnic mobilization, and a wide range of social ills. Today, most of the world's least developed countries are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. Contrary to the theory of convergence that postulates that poor countries can be expected to grow faster than developed countries, thereby resulting in global convergence in income levels, poor economic performance in Africa has resulted in divergence. As such, the quality of life enjoyed by the majority of Africans has deteriorated both in absolute and relative terms. After some initial gains following independence, many countries in Africa have actually regressed and their citizens arc worse off in terms of social and economic development today than they were at independence. The state of affairs has tended to create a sense of pessimism as to whether Africa can be able to emerge from the current "low growth trap" and successfully embark on a self-sustaining growth and development path.
4. Education in Kenya: Challenges and Policy Responses.
Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations
Washington DC
Prof George Saitoti
Minister for Education, Science and Technology,
Government of Kenya
April 2004


This presentation is organized as follows:

(a) A brief overview of Kenya and challenges that the country is faced with;
(b) A broad overview of Kenya's education system and the challenges facing  the sector;
(c) Policy responses with an emphasis on the implementation of free primary education;  and
(d) Concluding remarks
  1. Kenya Basic Facts and Indicators

    - Population 32 million with 57% between ages 0-19 years - meaning high dependency rates;
    - Economic performance-strong during 1960s and early 1970s; slowed in 1980s and 1990s;
    - The poor performance of the economy attributed to a combination of factors including drought, poor donor relations, ethnic conflict associated with transition to multiparty democracy, advent of HIV/AIDS, weak institutions and governance;
    - Economy largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture, but increasingly diversifying into services and horticulture
    - Government spending is about 22% of GDP, education takes largest share of government spending.

  2. Sectors' Share in public expenditure

    - Education takes one of the largest share of resources allocated to a single function.
    - The figure below provides details of the share of public expenditure by sector for  2002/2003 financial year.
    - At about 20%, education sector is one of the priority sectors in  government expenditure.

  3. Kenya: Key Challenges

    - Poverty - 57% of the population live in poverty
    - HIV/AIDS - prevalence- 9.4%
    - Malaria - costly and reduces productivity
    - income distribution - inequality very high
    - Limited access to development goods-health, education, clean water, etc.
    - Poor infrastructure (hence cost of doing business), crime
    - Entrenching democracy, constitutional reform.

  4. Structure of Kenya's Education System

    The education and training sector contains:
    - Early Childhood Development and Pre-school Education
    - Primary Education
    - Secondary Education
    - University Education
    - Technical and Vocational Education and Training
    - Teacher Education and Training
    - Non-formal Education and Adult Education
    - Special Education

  5. Primary Education

    - Is first phase of formal education system.
    - The start age is 6 years and runs for 8 years.
    - Promotes growth, imparts literacy and numeracy skills.
    - Lays a firm foundation for further formal education and training and life-long learning.

    Challenges in primary education

    - Declining enrolments in primary school (before 2003)
      - Cost
      - Low access, retention and completion rates
      - Poverty
      - HIV/AIDS
      - Distance and poor facilities
      - Books
      - Low private returns to primary education

    - Primary school completion rates was 43.2% in 1990 with a slight increase over the years to 56.4% in 2003.
    - The proportion of girls not completing their primary education is higher than that of boys - in 2003 Boys 60.3% as compared to 53.2% girls.
    - Wide regional and gender disparities in participation in education especially at the primary school level.
    - The figure below illustrates the evolution of regional disparities in primary school enrolment over the period 1995-2003

  6. Secondary Education

    - Secondary education caters for primary school leavers in the 14-17 years age group.
    - There are about 3,500 public and 500 private secondary schools
    - The net enrolment is about 22% of the eligible age group.

    Enrolment and Completion rates

    - The enrolment rates for both males (24.0%) and females are very low (21.4%).
    - There  are wide disparities across administrative regions of the country .
    - About 79% of students joining secondary school complete their secondary education.

    Transition from primary to secondary education

    - Transition rate from primary to secondary schools is low, with only less than 50% of primary school graduates entering secondary school.
    - The low transition rates are due to several factors:
    - Low quality of some of the existing secondary schools,
    - High cost of secondary education,
    - Lack of perceived incentives to continue education.

    Challenges in secondary education

    - High drop out rates (21% do not complete)
    - poor performance
    -limited spaces in secondary schools
    - cost of secondary education
    - rigidity of academic programs
    - poverty and impact of HIV/AIDS
    - student/teacher ratio high
    - textbooks and other complements inadequate
    equipment-especially science laboratories inadequate
    - Inequalities
     - regional and gender disparities
    - gender
    - limited opportunities for handicapped population

  7.   University Education

    Kenya has
    - 6 public universities
    - 17 private universities.
    - Undergraduate education takes a minimum of 4 academic years.
    - Enrolment is about 63,000 students.
    - Annual intake into public universities is about 10,000 and Private universities , 6,000.
    - University education in public universities in Kenya is mainly financed by the government.
    - The government (through the Higher Education Loans Board) provides loans to needy students.

    Challenges in university education

    - Limited physical facilities  leading to low access and participation rates (10%)
    - Poorly equipped (Lecture theatres, laboratories, workshops etc.)
    - Cost - unaffordable to majority of Kenyans
    - Mismatch of training programmes with the labour market.

  8. Tertiary Education

    - Tertiary education covers, Technical training Institutes, Institutes of Technology and National Polytechnics.
    - Other middle level colleges including Youth polytechnics.
    - They form Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET)

    Challenges in Tertiary Education

    - Under utilization of the capacity of TVET institutions and the non-relevance of some of their training programmes
    - Poor management and governance of TVET institutions.
    - Lack of enough trained teachers/instructors
    - Lack of facilities/equipment.

Last Updated May 2019