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date: 01 March 2024

History of Higher Education in Kenyafree

History of Higher Education in Kenyafree

  • Michael Mwenda KithinjiMichael Mwenda KithinjiDepartment of History, University of Central Arkansas


The history of higher education in Kenya is defined by a struggle for domination by the various forces that have sought to influence the country’s social, economic, and political trajectory in the colonial and postcolonial periods. During the colonial period, the church had a major interest in education, which they viewed as an important tool in their evangelizing mission. However, the colonial government regarded education as an agency for social control as it attempted to mediate the competing interests of the missionaries, white settlers, and African nationalists. Similarly, the postcolonial governments saw education, especially at the higher level as significant due to its role in forming the elite class and as a mechanism for ideological control. Consequently, Kenya’s higher education landscape has witnessed a striking transformation as it served as an arena for powerful competing interests from the colonial period to the present.

The period between the inception of higher education in the late 1940s until the early independence period in the late 1960s was dominated by the colonial inter-territorial policy that severely limited the opportunities to access higher education. While the first postcolonial government of President Kenyatta largely upheld the colonial elitist ideas on higher education, this approach changed when President Moi came into office in 1978. President Moi wanted to leave his mark on education by increasing access to higher education. Many students were thus able to access university education, previously a preserve of the privileged few. University expansion remains an enduring legacy of President Moi’s administration, which the succeeding government of Mwai Kibaki inherited and enhanced.


  • Colonial Conquest and Rule
  • Early States and State Formation in Africa
  • East Africa and Indian Ocean
  • Intellectual History
  • Political History
  • Social History

Kenya’s Higher Education Experience

Higher education is central to Kenya’s colonial and postcolonial historical experience. As in many other parts of Africa, western education in Kenya is a product of European imperial incursions of the 19th century. Consequently, the country’s education, especially at the higher level, was conceived and shaped to serve the vested interests of either the church or the ruling elites. During the colonial period, the church had a major interest in education, which they viewed as an important tool in their evangelizing mission. However, the colonial government had to manipulate education to not only control Africans but also check against the competing interests of the missionaries and the white settlers. Similarly, the postcolonial governments viewed education, especially at the higher level, as critical due to its role in forming the elite class and as a mechanism for ideological control.

Historical Background

The genesis of higher education in Kenya is in the immediate post–World War II period when the British embarked on reforms that involved the provision of social welfare services to its colonial subjects. Britain expected the new reforms to appease its critics and reinvigorate its faltering colonial enterprise.1 One of the key elements of colonial reforms was the provision of university education, which would help forge an educated African elite class to serve as new agents of the colonial government and replace the largely illiterate traditional African chiefs. This policy saw the co-option into the colonial administration of hitherto marginalized educated Africans who were becoming increasingly restless and critical of colonial rule.

The postwar colonial reforms were preceded by a decades-long struggle over the question of the kind of education that Africans deserved that pitted missionaries against the British colonial administration. Education would ultimately become one of the key issues that animated the African nationalist movement. Missionaries had pioneered the provision of a Western-style education in the coastal communities in the middle of the 19th century before spreading their activities to the hinterland following the securing of European colonial control of East Africa. Education was an important element of European-style social services integral to the missionary effort to convert Africans to Christianity; it was regarded as part of the missionary commitment to catering to the well-being of Africans. According to J. L. Krapf, one of the pioneer missionaries in East Africa, “provision of extra-religious services was a temporal means of attracting Africans to the church and instructing them in the principles of inculcating European civilization.”2 It is, however, not until the last quarter of the 19th century that mission work began in earnest. The Berlin Treaty of 1885 and the granting of the imperial charter to the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) in 1888 provided missionaries with the freedom to operate and some degree of protection. As the missionaries set up stations in the interior of East Africa, the Imperial Company followed close behind. Together, the pioneering evangelists and the traders explored the hinterland, the former hoping to proselytize, the latter seeking new avenues of trade.

As missionary activity increased, African leaders resisted what they viewed as a threat to their own authority. The missionaries soon realized that they could not continue relying on the protection provided by the IBEAC, as the company’s fortunes faded due to financial problems. They therefore began to urge the British government to establish direct administration of East Africa, referring to the Brussels Conference (1890), where Britain and other Western powers agreed to suppress the slave trade and prohibit the sale of spirits and arms to Africans.3 In June 1894, the House of Commons voted for the establishment of a protectorate and, one year later, allocated funds for the construction of a railway into the interior.

The forces of Western civilization in the guise of trade and Christian missions now had access to East Africa under the protection of the British flag. These traders and missionaries believed an educated population to be a precondition for the spread of commerce and Christianity; the first European educational ventures were a direct product of their activities. The political and economic transformation of the late 1890s and early 1900s characterized by the proclamation of the British East Africa protectorate, the building of the Uganda railway, and the influx of white settlers had a major impact on education. The deepening of colonial rule raised the profile of missionary education. The British government viewed missionaries as critical to the success of its imperial mission by “softening” the traditional societies, which removed impediments to the extension of the colonial administration. Subsequently, the missionaries performed another essential service to the imperial mission by “training interpreters and policemen . . . builders and joiners . . . messengers, orderlies and domestic servants.”4 Thus, from the very beginning, missionaries specialized in the provision of educational services in colonial society, a role that was welcomed by the government.

Settlers and Vocational Training

However, with the influx of settlers in Kenya, the colonial government realized that it would not continue with its laissez-faire educational policy for long. In order to cater to the needs of the growing number of European settlers, the colonial government gradually became involved in education, with the creation of an education department in 1911. This department institutionalized the racially separate education system for Europeans, Asians, and Africans that came to characterize the rest of the colonial period. The hierarchical racial order in colonial education policy placed Europeans at the top of the social ladder, followed by Asians, while indigenous Africans were at the bottom. Although in this early period the colonial government had not yet established higher education, primary and high schools for Europeans and Asians were better financed and equipped than those for Africans. European education, in particular, was government-financed, free, and compulsory and aimed at imparting an academic education to match the needs of the modern capitalist economy. However, African education was limited to basic levels, with the colonial government requiring missionaries to incorporate manual and vocational training into their curriculum. The vocational curriculum was aimed at imparting to Africans the skills needed to execute manual labor in the colonial economy.5

The policy of racial separatism denied Africans a chance to benefit from a fully public-funded education system like the Europeans, and, to a lesser extent, the Asians, enjoyed. African education was the sole domain of missionaries, unlike secular public education that equipped Europeans with intellectual knowledge and skills. African education was not only religious but also vocational and basic, lasting at most only four years, ensuring a steady supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor to the colonial economy. According to J. R. Orr, the first director of education in Kenya, missionaries were supposed to focus on “teaching Africans the twin values of industrial training to the individual and to the native community in the reserves.”6

The technical and manual training of Africans received endorsement from the Phelps-Stokes Commission, which visited Kenya in 1923. Sponsored by the Phelps Stokes Foundation of the United States, the commission was charged with the responsibility of surveying the nature and quality of education in Africa. The Phelps Stokes Foundation had initially been concerned with “Negro” education in the United States, but later the North American Foreign Mission Conference persuaded it to examine African education. Between 1920 and 1924, the Phelps-Stokes Commission visited various regions of Africa and produced reports on the conditions of, and future prospects for, African education. In East Africa, and specifically in Kenya, the Phelps-Stokes Commission implored missionaries to provide industrial education in the reserves that would not interfere with the settler labor supply.7 This proposal echoed existing colonial education policy that opposed the advancement of Africans to higher levels of learning. Consequently, the development of African education in Kenya remained stunted. It was not until 1926 that an alliance of Protestant churches, including the Church of Scotland Mission, the Church Mission Society, the African Inland Mission, and the Methodists, established the first secondary school for Africans in Kenya, the Alliance High School. Nevertheless, the development of post-primary institutions in the subsequent period remained dismal. As Sheldon Weeks observed, “The educational development especially at post-primary level was consciously limited by the influence of European settlers in Kenya.”8 Racist colonial education policy in Kenya had the effect of ensuring a steady labor supply to the settler farms at the expense of Africans who had very limited opportunities for basic education and none at all at higher levels of learning.

Early Nationalist Demands and the Rise of Makerere

Demands for expansion and diversification of educational opportunities in Kenya, as in other parts of Africa, became a rallying cry for early African nationalists. One of the earliest political organizations in Kenya, the East African Association founded by Harry Thuku in 1921, and its successor, the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), formed in 1925, were vocal in demanding increased higher education opportunities. In a 1925 memorandum to Sir Edward Grigg, the governor of Kenya, the KCA petitioned the colonial government to provide Africans with opportunities to pursue secondary and higher education.9 Predictably, the colonial government did not accede to these demands. A colonial district commissioner in the Central Province of Kenya reported in 1926 that, “although the Kikuyu Central Association’s educational demands were genuine, they had to wait until the Kikuyu tax payers could afford them.”10 The rejection of African demands for higher education by the colonial government only served to strengthen the resolve of Kenyans to acquire more education. In 1929, Jomo Kenyatta, the secretary general of the KCA, presented a petition to the secretary of state in London, requesting the provision of compulsory and free primary and secondary education, as well as the establishment of higher education institutions.11 Predictably, the secretary of state did not accede to the demands contained in Kenyatta’s petition.

While Kenya experienced dismal progress in the provision of educational opportunities, especially at the higher level, neighboring Uganda fared much better following the transformation of Makerere Technical College into a higher college offering preparatory courses in medicine, agriculture, surveying, and veterinary science. The British colonial government had founded Makerere in 1922 as a technical institute providing courses in carpentry, masonry, and mechanics. In 1937, a Commission on Higher Education in East Africa led by Lord De La Warr, the parliamentary under-secretary of state, proposed the provision of university-like facilities in East Africa by converting Makerere into a higher college for East Africa. Furthermore, the report proposed the setting up of a Makerere endowment fund to which Britain and all East African governments would contribute. After protracted deliberations, the East African governments and Britain raised over £600,000 for the Makerere endowment. Uganda contributed the highest amount of £437,550, Tanganyika £100,000, the United Kingdom £100,000, and Kenya £50,000.20.12 The settler-influenced Kenya Legislative Council was apathetic to the idea of funding an African college at Makerere, Uganda, as reflected in their meager allocation to the college’s endowment fund compared to the other East African territories. The response by the Kenyan colonial government was consistent with the settler ideology of continued European domination by denying a liberal and academic education to Africans, especially at higher levels.

O. W. Furley and T. Watson have noted that there were many adverse comments in the settler press against sending Kenyan students to Makerere. Accordingly, when the De La Warr Commission asked the Kenya government for estimates of the number of Makerere-trained men it could use in the next few years, “the answers given were extremely guarded.”13 The reactionary attitude by the settlers and the colonial officials in Kenya was contrary to developments occurring in Britain where an ascendant liberal lobby had since the early 1930s stepped up calls for the imperial government to address the social welfare needs of people in the Empire. In education, a powerful lobby of academics had gained control of the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies (ACEC), the successor in 1929 to the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa (ACNETA), which had been established in 1923:

to advise the Secretary of State on any matter of Native Education in the British Colonies and Protectorates in Tropical Africa which may from time to time refer to them; and to assist him in advancing the progress of education in those Colonies and Protectorates.14

In 1929, the focus of ACEC was expanded to include all the British colonies rather than tropical Africa alone. The membership of the ACEC was broadened to include renowned British academics who took an interest in the development of higher education in the colonies.15 In the first decade after its constitution, the ACEC played a significant role in pushing for the elevation of Makerere College to a higher college and, by so doing, laid the basis for the future growth of more university colleges in Africa. In Kenya, the fact that the government agreed to contribute to the Makerere endowment fund, albeit hesitantly, reflected the immense influence of the ACEC and other political groups in London that advocated for social change. Changing global attitudes toward colonialism and the growth of African nationalism in the post–Second World War period would later weaken settler influence on higher education policy in Kenya.

Meanwhile, the paltry contribution by the Kenyan colonial government to Makerere College limited the number of Kenyan students admitted to the institution, owing to the quota system for admission determined by the relative amounts contributed to the college’s endowment fund. In 1940, for instance, actual enrollment at Makerere College comprised 113 students from Uganda, 31 from Tanganyika, and 21 from Kenya, reflecting the proportional financial contributions of the three territories. However, Kenya benefited from the elevation of Makerere to a higher college of East Africa with the 1938 establishment of a veterinary branch of Makerere College at Kabete near Nairobi.16

The World War II and the Change of Policy

The outbreak of the Second World War created an added urgency to address the social welfare needs of the colonies, as advocated by the liberal wing of British politics. This culminated in a social welfare program that included the provision of higher education opportunities in the colonies. Through this effort, Britain aimed to create a new kind of partnership with its subject people in the colonies after the end of the war. Oliver Stanley, Britain’s secretary of state for the colonies, expressed the centrality of universities in advancing colonial reforms in February 1943 noting it was “one of the most important questions in connection with the post-war reconstruction and development of the Colonial Empire.”17 In the same year, Stanley appointed the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies, under Cyril Asquith, to look into the general question of the principles that should guide the development of universities in the colonies. The Asquith Commission report, which was submitted to the secretary of state in June 1945, became the blueprint for the development of universities in the British colonies in Africa. It recommended the establishment of university colleges, affiliated with the University of London in a special relationship scheme. Regarding East Africa, the report recommended converting Makerere College in Uganda into an inter-territorial university college affiliated with the University of London.18

The inter-territorial university concept came to dominate the higher education discourse in East Africa for the rest of the colonial period and the immediate post-independence era. While the vibrant political dynamics of the 1950s and early 1960s characterized by African nationalism and decolonization contributed to the establishment of additional university colleges in Kenya and Tanganyika, the spirit of inter-territorial cooperation continued to influence university policies in East Africa. Initially, the common university policy for East Africa faced intense opposition from European settlers in Kenya. The settlers preferred the provision of technical education to Africans instead of the liberal education at Makerere, which they described as contributing to “the moral degeneration of the African.”19 To counter Makerere, settlers planned to establish a technical institute in Nairobi in the late 1940s. At the same time, the Indian community in East Africa through their organization, the Gandhi Memorial Academy Society (GMAS), also threatened to upset the Colonial Office’s university policy with its plan to establish a university in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian anti-colonial icon. The proposed GMAS university would be open to members of all races and would offer a curriculum incorporating the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, commerce, and applied arts. Indians, in essence, were reacting to both the lack of university opportunities in East Africa and the establishment of Makerere, which, in the racially segregated environment of the colonial period, was perceived as an African institution.20

The events of the early 1950s, a period characterized by the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, ironically presented the Colonial Office with an opportunity to arm-twist the settlers and the Indians to abandon their disparate plans. The military intervention by the British forces allowed the Colonial Office to dominate over the powerful settlers and the local colonial officials who hitherto controlled the political affairs in Kenya.21 Ultimately, the Colonial Office coerced the settlers and the Indians to close ranks and contribute to the foundation in Nairobi of an East African tertiary institution called the Royal Technical College (RTC), which would specialize in technical vocational training. To accommodate the interests of the GMAS, the new college would also have an academic wing providing university-type education. It would, however, take sustained pressure and a shift in the political landscape before the colonial government honored the promise to the GMAS.

The Inter-Territorial University Policy

The implementation of the inter-territorial university policy commenced in the 1950s following the appointment of two education commissions by the Colonial Office. The first commission appointed in 1955 and chaired by Alexander Carr-Saunders, was charged with the responsibility of planning the future development of university education in East Africa. In a report released at the end of its visit to East Africa, the Carr-Saunders Commission endorsed the inter-territorial plan reiterating the “fundamental principle that higher education is indivisible, that it is in the truest sense inter-territorial, and that it must be so planned as to meet the collective needs of the East African territories.”22 The commission, however, left room for some tertiary-level training that would be provided territorially. The report articulated a three-tiered higher education policy for East Africa consisting of university-level, higher technical, and lower technical work. Makerere College in Uganda would be the base for university-level work, while the RTC would offer higher technical education, with lower technical training handled at various territorial institutions. The report further conferred on the RTC a special status as both an inter-territorial higher technical college and a territorial institution offering lower technical courses to Kenyans only.

The recommendations of the Carr-Saunders Commission were very modest and did not reflect the intensifying nationalistic activities and concomitant growing ambitions of different territories to possess institutions of higher education. The nationalistic fervor was reflected in the growing number of Africans who were leaving the region for higher education abroad. Moreover, East African Indians, through the GMAS, were forcefully demanding the elevation of the RTC into a degree-granting institution since they had contributed immense resources to its establishment on the understanding that it would have an academic wing. The GMAS opposed the Carr-Saunders recommendation that the RTC should become an inter-territorial higher technical college because it precluded the possibility of becoming a university. The situation was compounded by territorial disagreement on the financing of the RTC. The main cause of disagreement was the dual nature and role of the RTC as both a territorial college providing lower technical courses to Kenyans and an inter-territorial higher technical college for East Africa. Uganda and Tanganyika viewed Kenya as enjoying disproportionate advantages from the RTC due to its location in Nairobi, which allowed Kenyans to enroll for part-time and evening courses, unlike students from other territories. The territories also disagreed over what courses at the RTC to classify as either of higher or lower technical level. These disagreements created a funding crisis since the territories could not agree on a financing formula for the RTC.

The higher education crisis that engulfed East Africa in the second half of the 1950s led to the appointment of a second commission on higher education in East Africa led by J. F. Lockwood charged with:

Examining and advising on the proposals for the creation of new institutions of higher education in East Africa . . . and in this connection to examine the desirability and practicality of carrying out any such development within the scope of a single university college of East Africa of which all colleges territorially situated would be constituent units.23

The Lockwood Commission visited East Africa in mid-1958 and, in its report, supported the GMAS by allowing the RTC to offer “not only courses of training in technological and other professional subjects to the highest professional standards but also courses leading to university degrees.”24 The commission also proposed “the need to undertake measures to make practicable the opening of a university college in Tanganyika” and added that the university colleges in East Africa would be associated inter-territorially through a common University of East Africa arrangement that would “bind the current and proposed East African colleges in a single regional university.”25 The recommendation to associate university colleges in a single regional university crystallized around the idea of the University of East Africa, which became a reality in 1963. The Lockwood report provided a framework that guided the future development of higher education in East Africa. The implementation of this framework began with the 1960 elevation of the RTC into the second inter-territorial university college of East Africa. The RTC was renamed the Royal College followed by the establishment of the University College, Dar es Salaam, in 1961.

Initially, the Royal College in Kenya and the University College, Dar es Salaam, became, like Makerere, affiliate colleges of the University of London. This relationship lasted until June 1963 when the University of East Africa (UEA) came into existence with the three university colleges in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika as its constituent colleges. The inter-territorial principle as crafted by the Asquith Commission in the 1940s sought to establish a few university colleges in Africa aimed at producing a new class of educated Africans who, the Colonial Office hoped, would “lead the process of colonial development.”26 Access to the hallowed colonial university colleges therefore had to be limited to the cream of African society. Accordingly, the inter-territorial policy contradicted the principle of democratizing access to university education and thus went against the aspirations of Africans who expected their newly independent governments to provide them with more higher education opportunities. The inter-territorial policy would, however, run into the headwinds of national competition as the East African countries began to violate the principle of non-duplicity and economic rationality that justified it.

The Fall of the Inter-territorial Policy

The main culprits in this regard were Kenya and Tanganyika, who sought to expand the university colleges located in their territories, which were undeveloped compared to the older Makerere in Uganda. In recognizing the ambitions of Kenya and Tanganyika to develop their university colleges the UEA Development Committee in its 1964–1967 triennium plan proposed achieving full parity among the three university colleges in the common basic faculties of Arts, Science, and Education by 1967. This suggestion, however, created a conundrum because it meant slowing or halting the pace of development at Makerere College, a risky proposal likely to offend Ugandans. Realizing the likelihood of igniting a crisis, the Development Committee amended its proposal to extend the timeframe beyond 1967, when parity in the levels of development at the common faculties of Arts and Science at the three university colleges would be achieved. The committee adopted a modest plan of establishing small faculties of Arts and Science at Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Furthermore, the committee planned to establish a wide range of professional degrees in engineering and commerce at Nairobi. At Makerere, the committee planned to expand the faculty of Medicine. The committee’s plans seemed to favor Nairobi and Makerere over Dar es Salaam, which angered Tanzanian officials.27

It is Kenya, however, that ignited the biggest crisis when it announced that it had begun clinical training for its staff at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. This announcement by Dr. J. C. Likimani, the chief medical officer, was quite misleading since in reality, Kenya had begun academic and clinical training of medical practitioners. The announcement prompted protests from Uganda’s government, which accused Kenya of undermining the UEA by training its own medical doctors. Uganda was not persuaded by Kenya’s claims that it had not acted unilaterally but rather that the clinical training it was conducting was “an extension of the facilities that are available at Makerere.” In response, Uganda accused Kenya of flouting “the laws . . . that entrusted the University with responsibility for the planning of higher education in East Africa.”28

Not only was Kenya training medical doctors, but plans were also afoot to establish a school of pharmacy in Nairobi. Kenya had kept the plan to establish a school of pharmacy confidential, only revealing it after securing funding. In establishing the schools of medicine and pharmacy, Kenya had subverted the spirit of cooperation and non-duplication of expensive programs that the East African nations were expected to uphold in their relationship with the UEA. It was obvious that barely a year after the UEA’s creation, national ambitions and conflicting priorities were endangering its existence.

Despite the obvious role of Kenya in undermining the UEA, the country’s permanent secretary for education, Kenneth Matiba, lamented the lack of coordination among the East African countries on the issue of the UEA. In a memo to his East African colleagues, Matiba wanted their governments to guarantee that the UEA would continue to exist for at least ten more years to provide a chance for the colleges in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam to grow before becoming full universities. Matiba also suggested that the supranational East Africa Common Services Organization should administer the UEA to contain the competing interests among the East African governments. Matiba noted that Tanzanian officials supported his idea, while “Uganda had not yet indicated their position.”29 Matiba’s memo demonstrated that Kenya and Tanzania wanted the regional university arrangement to be maintained while they continued to develop the university colleges located in their territories. Both countries saw an early collapse of the UEA as prejudicial to their interests since their university colleges were still in their infancy compared to Makerere. Furthermore, they had contributed immensely to the development of Makerere; therefore, they felt that they had to reap the full benefits of their investment.

Uganda, however, viewed Kenya and Tanzania as holding back the development of Makerere as revealed in a tense presentation made by the country’s education minister, J. S. L. Zake, to the UEA Council. Zake, in a presentation titled “Uganda Government: Views on the Future of the University of East Africa,” attacked the very grounds for the federal university’s existence. In dismissing the principle of “non-duplication,” one of the pillars justifying the federal university arrangement in East Africa, Zake noted that while it is a “sound principle on economic grounds, it collapses in the face of the requisites of political status symbol.” He further noted that, since the needs of each country varied accordingly, “each of the three constituent colleges of the University will have to be an autonomous university sooner or later.”30

The breakdown of cooperation within the UEA mirrored the emerging political differences among the three East African countries. The ruling elites in East Africa were beginning to identify themselves with one or the other ideological blocs that defined global politics. While President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya remained in the Western fold ideologically, by the mid-1960s, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Milton Obote of Uganda were moving left to embrace socialism. These ideological imbalances in East Africa affected universities, with political leaders trying to use the constituent colleges of the UEA located in their countries to popularize their ideological positions. According to David Court, Nyerere aimed to use the Dar es Salaam University College as an intellectual hotbed that would lead to the creation of “a society based on socialism, and self-reliance.”31 Likewise, Furley and Watson observed that Uganda’s “Move to the Left” of the late 1960s “was a move intended to take Makerere with it.”32 In Kenya, Kenyatta aimed at controlling University College, Nairobi to prevent the spread of what he considered socialist radicalism. In essence, the three East African governments had hijacked the university colleges located in their territories, turning them into instruments to advance their political and ideological goals.

The UEA crisis became one of the major issues that the East African heads of state had to address when they met in 1967 to review the status of regional cooperation. This meeting resulted in the signing of the Treaty for East Africa, which founded the East African Community and replaced the East Africa Common Services Organization that hitherto supervised all regional common services besides the UEA. While the Treaty for East Africa aimed at giving a new lease of life to East African cooperation, significantly, it excluded university education on the basis that the demand for higher education necessitated the growth of more universities. The three governments agreed to form a commission on higher education that would work out “the way in which and the pace at which the various facilities now provided by the three colleges could be expected to develop as purely national concerns.”33 It was now time to make university education a national concern in order to allow expansion of opportunities without the constraints placed by the regional UEA arrangement. The appointment of the commission in August 1968 sealed the fate of the UEA. The commission report released in 1969 recommended that “the constituent colleges of the University of East Africa should be given full university status and become national universities for the three East African republics on 1st July 1970. Concurrently, the University of East Africa would be dissolved.”34

Creating a National University

Once the East African countries resolved to disband the regional university and elevate its constituent colleges to national universities, in 1969, the Kenyan government appointed a committee to develop a plan for a new Kenyan university. The committee comprised two academics: Professor Arthur Potter, principal of the University College, Nairobi, and his deputy, Professor Bethwell Ogot. The other members were civil servants including permanent secretaries of education and finance J. K. Njoroge and J. N. Michuki, respectively, and the comptroller of State House E. Mathu. An unusual addition to the committee was Emma Njonjo, a junior official in the Ministry of Education who was a sister to the powerful attorney general of Kenya, Charles Njonjo. The involvement of Emma Njonjo indicated that the government considered the establishment of a national university a sensitive matter that needed close monitoring by trusted insiders in its founding committee.

The two academics in the committee did not have an easy time as many of their suggestions were dismissed offhand by the government bureaucrats who dominated the committee. It is important to note that the government of Jomo Kenyatta had by the late 1960s started viewing the University College, Nairobi, with disdain because of the frequent student protests against the state. The government even banned the members of the faculty from using publications such as the Political Thoughts of Mao, Quotations from Chairman Mao, and the Communist Manifesto, which it considered subversive and responsible for inculcating students with radical ideas.

The suspicions of the government toward the academics at the University College, Nairobi became clear in 1970 when upon the elevation of the institution to a national university known as the University of Nairobi (UON), the government appointed Josphat Karanja, a career civil servant who had until then served as Kenya’s High Commissioner in Britain, as its vice-chancellor. The appointment of Karanja came as a shocker to the university fraternity who had expected Professor Ogot, who had served as deputy principal of the college, or any other senior African professor would be appointed as the vice-chancellor. The irregular appointment of Karanja pointed to a trend of erosion of university autonomy and academic freedom that would characterize Kenyan universities for a long time to come. The trend set by President Kenyatta in interfering with university administration was emulated by his successor, President Daniel arap Moi, who made sure that he filled the vice-chancellor positions in public universities with those he deemed to be political loyalists. In Kenya, like in many other Commonwealth nations, the vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university while the chancellor is usually a ceremonial nonresident head of the university. During the reigns of presidents Kenyatta and Moi, the president served as the chancellor of all public universities, a position that allowed them to keep a tight leash on the affairs of the institutions of higher learning. The consequence of the executive interference in the affairs of universities including the appointment of university heads, a practice that disregarded skills, credentials, and competencies resulted in the erosion of academic freedom and university autonomy.

The UON and Kenyatta Policies

In the meantime, the early 1970s witnessed a remarkable expansion of university opportunities in Kenya. As the government established UON in 1970, it also transformed the Kenyatta Teachers College into its constituent college, thus expanding its size. As UON expanded, student enrollment at the institution also increased. In its first year of existence, the university registered an admission of 1,254 new undergraduate students, bringing the total enrollment to 3,438 up from 2,666 in 1969, marking a 29 percent student increase.35 UON continued to register high growth rates in 1971 and 1972. However, this expansion suddenly stopped when the World Bank began to pressure the government to curtail “the rate of rapid growth of educational expenditures in the budget.”36 The World Bank’s position was influenced by the then popular “rate of return” studies that postulated the benefits of basic education vis-à-vis university education in national economic development. The Western scholars who conducted these studies expressed outrage over the highly subsidized university education in developing countries. Daniel Rogers, for instance, noted that in Kenya, “a year of secondary school costs five times and a year of university costs thirty-three times the average income per capita.”37 The government acceded to the World Bank’s advice by limiting the number of students gaining university admission. In a 1973 circular, the government stated that it could not “afford to give every qualified Kenyan a university education except in those areas where manpower shortages are still a reality.”38 The government stepped its austerity measures a notch higher in 1974 by introducing a university loans scheme. While the government continued to provide free tuition, university students would have to repay the subsistence allowances that the government provided them for their upkeep. Due to the Kenyatta government policy of limited expenditure in university education, the expansionist program that began in 1970 slowed down tremendously as the decade wore on.

President Daniel arap Moi

Upon coming to office in 1978 following the death of Jomo Kenyatta, President Moi embarked on a reform agenda based on a populist platform that aimed at enhancing university access, a clear departure from the colonial and Kenyatta-era policies of restricted access, which had limited the size and the scope of the national elite class, thus adversely affecting the marginalized communities, especially the nomadic pastoralists. Moi’s reforms aimed at shoring up support for the new administration among those hitherto politically and economically marginalized and addressing historical injustices directed against these communities. Moi laid his vision for university expansion in October 1978 when he presided over the graduation ceremony at UON. The following year at the same institution, he reiterated his vision to establish a second university, justifying it on the need to “open new horizons of opportunity for those who would otherwise be deprived.”39 This was the first indication that Moi’s university policies aimed at engineering a social transformation by providing opportunities to the excluded groups.

Subsequently, Moi became intimately involved in the affairs of UON, including ordering the construction of facilities such as the library and insisting on the relaxation of admission policies. Moi’s intrusion into university affairs riled some bureaucrats at the Ministry of Higher Education who were concerned that the modest increase in enrollment was causing the university to “burst on the seams in almost all the buildings.”40 The complaints by the bureaucrats in the early days of Moi’s administration were definitely premature considering the impending transformation.

In January 1981, Moi appointed the Presidential Working Party on the Second University led by Colin Mackay, a Canadian educator. The recommendations of the Mackay commission released later that year marked a turning point in Kenya’s education history. Instead of confining itself to the narrow mandate of planning for the establishment of a second university, the commission further recommended the overhaul of the education system from 7-4-2-3 to 8-4-4. On university education, the commission recommended the establishment of a medium-sized university with a total enrollment of between 3,200 and 5,000 students.41

The 8-4-4 education system went a long way in advancing Moi’s plan for university expansion due to the elimination of the two years of Advanced Level high schooling (A-Levels). Under the previous 7-4-2-3 system, students had to pass three competitive national examinations before qualifying for university admission. With the elimination of the A-Levels, more students could now compete for university places after completing only four years of high school education, thereby increasing pressure for university expansion. In its 1983 report, UON’s Grants Committee expressed concern that in 1990, when the first cohort of the new 8-4-4 system was expected to sit for the end of high school examination, “over 200,000 candidates will be competing for university places compared with the present 17,000.”42 Obviously, President Moi did not share the Grants Committee worry about the looming enrollment cataclysm. If anything, the enrollment pressure generated by the restructured education system provided Moi with the justification to vigorously pursue the university expansion program.

The government enacted the Mackay recommendations by establishing Moi University in 1984. It is noteworthy that the president named the new university after himself and located it in Eldoret, which is in his home region, underscoring the personal stake he had in the new institution. Nevertheless, the Mackay recommendations for setting up an additional midsized university did not go far enough to embrace the kind of university transformation that Moi envisioned. Thus, even before setting up Moi University, the president was considering additional universities. In December 1983, Moi directed the Ministry of Agriculture to start planning the upgrade of the Egerton Agricultural College in Nakuru, and a committee was immediately set up to implement the directive.

The president did not wait for the Egerton committee report before announcing during a visit to the Kenyatta University College in March 1984 his “hope that next year I will award degrees here.”43 Moi’s desire was fulfilled in August 1985 when parliament enacted the Kenyatta University Act that created the Kenyatta University. In 1987, Egerton University became a full university. Within a short span between 1984 and 1987, Kenyan universities had increased from one to four. The expansion trend continued with the establishment of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 1994 and Maseno University in 2001.

The massive university expansion program under Moi demanded enormous resources. In 1990, in anticipation of a huge increase in enrollment, and already financially strained, the government appealed for a US$752,035,097 loan from the World Bank to be distributed to public universities as follows: “Egerton University, $81 384 900; Kenyatta University $133 592 419; Jomo Kenyatta University College for Agriculture and Technology, $76 763 870; Nairobi University, $233 136 000; and Moi University, $227,157 908.”44 The government justified the huge loan request on the basis that it aimed to enhance access to university education, thus preventing it from being “a domain of the privileged.”45 Furthermore, it would help deal with the problem of brain drain and address the shortages of highly trained personnel such as “doctors, engineers, scientists and teachers.”46 Other benefits of university expansion cited by the government included “high productivity of the citizenry, an enhanced sensitivity to health and fertility issues, institutional development, political democratization, and a general ability to learn and respond.”47 Finally, the government justified expansion on the basis that in the long run, it would yield some economies of scale since it would “compel universities to more fully utilize existing facilities as well as current staff.”48

The World Bank, however, was not convinced. In its response, the bank demanded the Kenyan government undertake structural reforms that would substantially reduce university subsidies and halt the ongoing expansion.49 Reacting to pressure from the World Bank, the government introduced structural reforms including the 1995 establishment of the Higher Education Loans Board, a body that would decide “who qualified for higher education loans, dispense loans, determine the interest to be charged, and undertake recovery efforts from former students.”50 Other reforms undertaken during this period included the abolition of free meals and the introduction of a pay-as-you-eat system that required students to purchase their food in a cafeteria system. Finally, the government abolished the unrestricted stipend popularly known as the “boom,” which had been part of the loan advanced to students but had all along been treated as free cash. The bank reacted to the structural reforms by announcing in September 1995 that it would release KSh 2.7 billion to support public universities in Kenya.51

While the austerity measures enacted in the early 1990s were significant, the most critical structural reform that left a lasting impact on Kenya’s higher education was the requirement for universities to become financially self-reliant by finding ways to raise their own revenue. The main method that universities adopted to raise revenue was admitting self-sponsored students who paid the full cost of their education without enjoying any benefits of government subsidy. In 1995, Kenyatta University became the first public university to admit self-sponsored students to pursue a postgraduate diploma in education.52 Soon other universities began to admit self-sponsored students.

The introduction of self-sponsored students created two sets of students in public universities. The first set constituted students admitted through the regular program by the Joint Admissions Board from the list of the best-performing students at the end of high school exams, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The second set were self-sponsored students who paid the full cost of their education and did not receive any form of government subsidy. Self-sponsored students had to have attained a grade of at least C+ in the KCSE, which qualified them for university admission but failed to gain them entry into the regular program owing to stiff competition. The semi-privatization of public universities through the enrollment of unsubsidized students opened up an opportunity to access university education for thousands of qualified students who had in the past failed to gain entry owing to the stringent admission policy. With the introduction of the self-sponsored program, the elitist policy had come full circle since the best and average students had an opportunity to access a university education. Universities were no longer the preserve of high-achieving high school graduates. The university expansion program during President Moi’s tenure in office would see student enrollment rise from about 7,000 in 1978 to 60,000 by the time he retired in 2002. Moi’s university expansion program remains an enduring legacy that the succeeding government of Mwai Kibaki inherited and enhanced.

President Mwai Kibaki

During the ten-year Kibaki presidency, between 2003 and 2013, university enrollment grew from 60,000 to 324,560, with the number of public universities increasing from six to thirty-one while private universities rose from nine to thirty-six. While Kibaki adopted and enhanced the university expansion trend set by Moi, he, however, discontinued the practice of having the president serve as the chancellor of all public universities signaling that his government would desist from interfering with universities. Still, the university legal framework that Kibaki inherited continued in place until the enactment of the University Act of 2012. Among other fundamental reforms, the act of 2012 granted the powers of appointing the chancellor to the senate and alumni associations. Furthermore, the act provided for competitive appointments of vice-chancellors, with the university councils serving as the interviewing panel that would recommend to the cabinet secretary of education who to appoint. While this law seemed to have created a fair process for appointing vice-chancellors, it should be noted that university councils consisted mostly of bureaucrats and members appointed by the cabinet secretary, mostly cronies of powerful politicians. This dysfunction allowed powerful politicians to continue influencing the appointment of the vice-chancellors.

The expansion of universities in the early 21st century turned them attractive to politically connected commercial buccaneers. By 2019, the three largest universities of Nairobi, Kenyatta, and Moi had a student population of about 84,000, 62,000, and 52,000, respectively, representing more than a third of the total university enrollment in Kenya. To political and commercial wheeler-dealers, this huge student population created an incentive to influence major university appointments. The flaw of the 2012 law came to full light in 2017 when Isaac Kosgey was appointed as the vice-chancellor of Moi University amid claims that some panelists deliberately downgraded Laban Ayiro, who was considered a stronger candidate for the position. The intrigues surrounding the interview process at Moi University prompted Margaret Kobia, who chaired the Public Service Commission (PSC), to lament “the worrying trend where some council members award scores that are outliers. It makes one wonder if the panel members are measuring agreed competencies or had a predetermined candidate.”53

The 2012 law underwent major amendments following the enactment of the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2018 No. 18 of 2018, which took away the university councils’ role in appointing university administrators transferring it to the PSC. Under the 2018 law, the PSC became responsible for appointing public university chancellors, vice-chancellors, and other administrative positions, including deputy vice-chancellors, principals, and deputy principals of constituent colleges. The 2018 law therefore effectively eroded university autonomy and granted the state the ultimate powers in university governance. Despite the 2018 law, the appointments of university administrators continued to generate controversy as demonstrated by the crisis surrounding the selection of Stephen Kiama as the vice-chancellor of UON. George Magoha, the cabinet secretary of education, revoked Kiama’s appointment, although he later beat a retreat after the intervention of the courts. This controversy demonstrates interference by the state in university governance, a reversal of the gains of the Kibaki era that saw universities regaining their autonomy.

From Elitist to Populist Higher Education Policies

The transformation of Kenya’s higher education landscape since the colonial period to the present is striking. The period between the inception of higher education in the late 1940s until the early independence period in the late 1960s was dominated by the colonial inter-territorial policy, which severely limited the opportunities to access higher education. While the first postcolonial government of President Kenyatta largely upheld the colonial elitist ideas on higher education, this approach changed when President Moi came into office in 1978. President Moi wanted to leave his mark on education by increasing access to higher education. Hence, during the twenty-four years that he spent in office, there was rapid growth in the number of universities and student enrollment. Many students were thus able to access university education, which had previously been the preserve of the privileged few. University expansion remains an enduring legacy of President Moi’s administration, which the succeeding government of Mwai Kibaki inherited and enhanced. During the Kibaki administration from 2003 to 2013, Kenya experienced a further expansion of public universities, with the mushrooming of constituent colleges and satellite campuses around Kenya. The Kibaki government also conferred university status on over a dozen technical institutes and university colleges. This period also witnessed an explosion in the number of new private universities.54 Consequently, the massive expansion of university education that started during the Moi administration continued during Kibaki’s tenure in office, with student numbers increasing from about 60,000 in 2003 to more than 300,000 in 2013 and 500,000 in 2020.55 The synthesis of the neoliberal market reforms and politically motivated expansionist policies had an enduring transformative impact on university education in Kenya.

Discussion of the Literature

There are few comprehensive studies on the history of higher education in Kenya. The main book exploring the history of higher education in Kenya is Michael Kithinji’s The State and the University Experience in Kenya (2018). This book investigates the dynamics that have influenced higher education policies in Kenya and the wider East African region. The book links the higher education discourse with the state-building narrative and conceives university policies as a product of the forces informing the historical trajectory of Kenya and the wider East African region. Other significant works include Margaret Macpherson’s They Built the Future (1964) and Carol Sicherman’s Becoming an African University (2005), which focuses on the foundation and evolution of Makerere University as an East African institution. While Makerere University is critical for being the first university serving the entire East African region, Macpherson’s and Sicherman’s books do not provide a comprehensive analysis of the entire higher education landscape. Other studies by W. Furley and T. Watson, David Sifuna, Okwatch Abagi, Kilemi Mwiria, and Rees Hughes, while highlighting the functional roles and challenges confronting university education at various junctures of Kenya and East African history, are limited in scope and hardly attempt to relate their discussion to the historical process of state formation in Kenya and the wider East African region or conceive of universities as institutions interconnected with the body politic.56

Primary Sources

The Kenya National Archives (KNA) holds the most significant primary sources on education in Kenya. The KNA houses government documents covering the colonial and postcolonial periods. Since the KNA is not digitized, a researcher has to personally visit and spend extended time studying the files. While a researcher can find a lot of information from the sources at the KNA, if you are researching higher education, it is useful to visit various university repositories. The most important university repository is that of UON. UON is of historical value because it is the oldest university in Kenya. The UON repository houses documents internal to the operation of the institution including minutes of the university council and senate meetings, texts of important speeches, personnel files, and files of various student organizations. The various government ministries such as planning, education, and treasury also have repositories that would be useful to researchers interested in education.

Further Reading

  • Abagi, Okwach. Resource Utilisation in Public Universities in Kenya: Enhancing Efficiency and Cost Recovery Measures. Nairobi, Kenya: Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, 1999.
  • Adar, Korwa. “Human Rights and Academic Freedom in Kenya’s Public Universities: The Case of the Universities Academic Staff Union.” Human Rights Quarterly 21, no. 1 (1999): 179–206.
  • Alwy, Awiya, and Susanne Schech. “Ethnic Inequalities and Education in Kenya.” International Education Journal 5, no. 2 (2004): 266–274.
  • Amutabi, Maurice. “Crisis and Student Protest in Universities in Kenya: Examining the Role of Students in National Leadership and the Democratisation Process.” African Studies Review 45, no. 2 (2002), 157–178.
  • Ashby, Eric. Universities: British, Indian, African. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966.
  • Furley, Oliver and Thomas Watson. A History of Education in East Africa. New York: NOK, 1978.
  • Gregory, Robert. The Rise and Fall of Philanthropy in East Africa: The Asian Contribution. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1992.
  • Harper, Jim. Western-Educated Elites in Kenya: The African American Factor, 1900–1963. New York: Routledge, 2006.
  • Havinden, Michael A., and David Meredith. Colonialism and Development: Britain and Its Tropical Colonies, 1850–1960. New York: Routledge, 1996.
  • King, Kenneth. Pan African and Education: A Study of Race, Philanthropy and Education in the Southern States of America and East Africa. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.
  • Macpherson, Margaret. They Built the Future: A Chronicle of Makerere University College, 1922–1962. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1964.
  • Maxwell, Ian Marfrey. The Inter-university Council and the Growth of Higher Education in Developing Countries. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1980.
  • Muriuki, Godfrey. United States Educational Influence on Kenya. Nairobi, Kenya: University of Nairobi, 1995.
  • Mwiria, Kilemi, Njuguna Ngethe and Charles Ngome. Public and Private Universities in Kenya: New Challenges, Issues and Achievements. Oxford: James Currey, 2007.
  • Ogot, Bethwell. My Footprints in the Sands of Time: An Autobiography. London: Trafford, 2003.
  • Oliver, Roland. The Missionary Factor in East Africa. London: Longmans, Green, 1952.
  • Sabar, Galia. Church, State, and Society in Kenya: From Mediation to Opposition 1963–1993. London: Frank Cass, 2002.
  • Saint, William. Universities in Africa: Strategies for Stabilization and Revitalization. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1992.
  • Sheffield, James. Education in Kenya: An Historical Study. New York: Teachers College, 1973.
  • Sicherman, Carol. Becoming an African University: Makerere, 1922–2000. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005.
  • Sifuna, Daniel. The Governance of Kenyan Public Universities. Nairobi, Kenya: Lyceum Educational Consultants, 1997.
  • Southall, Roger. Federalism and Higher Education in East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: East African Publishing House, 1974.
  • Ssekamwa, John C., and S. M. E. Lugumba. A History of Education in East Africa. Kampala, Uganda: Fountain Publishers, 2001.
  • Weeks, Sheldon. Divergence in Educational Development: The case of Kenya and Uganda. New York: Teachers College Press, 1968.


  • 1. Robert Pierce, “The Colonial Office and Planned Decolonisation in Africa,” African Affairs 83, no. 330 (1984): 77–93.

  • 2. Johann L. Krapf, “Travels, Researchers and Missionary Labours in Eastern Africa,” cited in Galia Sabar, Church, State and Society in Kenya: From Mediation to Opposition, 1963–1993 (London: Frank Cass, 2002), 28.

  • 3. George Urch, “Education and Colonialism in Kenya,” History of Education Quarterly 11, no. 3 (1971): 251.

  • 4. Roland Oliver, The Missionary Factor in East Africa (London: Longmans Green, 1952), 177.

  • 5. John C. Ssekamwa and S. M. E. Lugumba, A History of Education in East Africa (Kampala, Uganda: Fountain Publishers, 2001), 28.

  • 6. Cited in Kenneth King, Pan Africanism and Education: A Study of Race, Philanthropy and Education in the Southern States of America and East Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), 104.

  • 7. Thomas Jesse Jones, Education in East Africa: A Study of the East, Central, and South Africa Education Commission under the Auspices of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, in Co-operation with the International Education Board (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1924), 107.

  • 8. Sheldon Weeks, Divergence in Educational Development: The Case of Kenya and Uganda (New York: Teachers College Press, 1968), 36–37.

  • 9. Anne Beck, “Colonial Policy and Education in British East Africa, 1900–1950,” The Journal of British Studies 5, no. 2 (1966): 128.

  • 10. Beck, “Colonial Policy and Education,” 128.

  • 11. Beck, “Colonial Policy and Education,” 129.

  • 12. Oliver W. Furley and Thomas Watson, A History of Education in East Africa (New York: NOK, 1978), 303.

  • 13. Furley and Watson, History of Education, 304.

  • 14. Apollos Nwauwa, Imperialism, Academe and Nationalism: Britain and University Education for Africans, 1860–1960 (London: Frank Cass, 1996), 48.

  • 15. See Nwauwa, Imperialism, Academe and Nationalism, 34–63, for the politics behind the formation of both the ACNETA and the ACEC.

  • 16. Eric Ashby, Universities: British, Indian, African—A Study in the Ecology of Higher Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 211.

  • 17. Eric Ashby, British, Indian, African: A Study in the Ecology of Higher Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 211.

  • 18. British Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies, Report of the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies (1945), 12–14. See also Apollos Nwauwa, Imperialism, Academe and Nationalism: Britain and University Education for Africans (London: F. Cass, 1997), 134–165.

  • 19. Kenya National Archives (hereafter cited as KNA) AV/12/228, “Higher Education.” The file contains the 1949 Third Report on higher education in East Africa (44) by the Inter-University Council Delegation to East Africa that visited between July and August 1949.

  • 20. Michael Mwenda Kithinji, The State and the University Experience in East Africa: Colonial Foundations and Postcolonial Transformations in Kenya (Pretoria, South Africa: UNISA Press, 2018), 27.

  • 21. Wanyubari Maloba, “Nationalism and Decolonization, 1947–1963,” in A Modern History of Kenya 1895–1980 in Honour of B.A. Ogot, ed. William Ochieng (Nairobi, Kenya: Evans Brothers, 1989), 198.

  • 22. Edmund Giffen and D. H. Alexander, Report of the Working Party on Higher Education in East Africa, July–August 1955 (Nairobi: Government Printer, 1956), 46.

  • 23. John F. Lockwood, Report of the Working Party on Higher Education in East Africa, July–August 1958 (Nairobi: Government Printer, 1959), 2.

  • 24. Lockwood, Report of the Working Party, 6.

  • 25. Lockwood, Report of the Working Party, 6.

  • 26. Nwauwa, Imperialism, Academe and Nationalism, 212.

  • 27. KNA/ED/3/2918, “Higher Education, University of East Africa.” The file contains a “Report on Dar es Salaam Medical School by the Tanganyika Ministry of Education,” December 5, 1963.

  • 28. KNA/ED/3/2918, “Higher Education, University of East Africa.” The file contains minutes of the sixth Meeting of the University Development Committee held at University College, Nairobi on Friday, February 3, 1964. Kenyatta National Hospital was formerly known as King George VI Hospital.

  • 29. KNA/ED/3/135, “University of East Africa,” a memo by Kenneth Matiba, the Permanent Secretary for Education to the Minister of Education, November 2, 1964.

  • 30. Bethwell Ogot, My Footprints in the Sands of Time: An Autobiography (London: Trafford Publishing, 2003), 174.

  • 31. David Court, The Experience of Higher Education in East Africa: Prospects for a Developmental Role (Kenya, Nairobi: University of Nairobi, 1975), 24.

  • 32. Furley and Watson, History of Education, 344.

  • 33. East African Authority, Report of the Working Party on Higher Education in East Africa (Nairobi Kenya: Government Printer, 1968), 6.

  • 34. East African Authority, Report of the Working Party, 67.

  • 35. Speech by Dr. J. N. Karanja at a congregation for the conferment and presentation of degrees and diplomas, October 26, 1971.

  • 36. KNA XJ/7/71, “Planning and Development Papers,” Letter from G. Pennisi, World Bank official to P. J. Gachathi, P. S. Education dated September 11, 1974.

  • 37. Daniel C. Rogers, “Student Loans Programs and the Returns to Investment in Higher Levels of Education in Kenya,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 20, no. 2 (1972): 243.

  • 38. KNA/XJ/3/222, “Commission of Inquiry” file. Contains circular by G. R. M’Mwirichia, a Ministry of Education official, responding to the University Grants Committee recommendations, January 13, 1973.

  • 39. Speech by President Daniel T. arap Moi at the University of Nairobi Graduation Ceremony on December 14, 1979.

  • 40. KNA/XJ/7/83, “University of Nairobi Estimates,” file contains “University Development” an Internal Memo at the Ministry of Higher Education by W. W. Njaga, the Assistant Director of Education (UE) August 16, 1980.

  • 41. Colin Mackay, Second University in Kenya: Report of the Presidential Working Party, 65 (Nairobi, Kenya: Government Printer, 1982).

  • 42. KNA/XJ/3/224, “University of Nairobi,” Second Report of the 1980–1983 University Grants Committee led by Dr. Kiano, June 30, 1984.

  • 43. “Be Proud of Kenya, Moi Urges Students,” The Nation, Tuesday, March 20, 1984.

  • 44. Ministry of Education, Request to World Bank for Financing University Education in Kenya (accessed from the Ministry of Planning Library, Nairobi, June 1990), 5.

  • 45. Ministry of Education, Request to World Bank.

  • 46. Ministry of Education, Request to World Bank.

  • 47. Ministry of Education, Request to World Bank.

  • 48. Ministry of Education, Request to World Bank.

  • 49. Ministry of Finance and Planning, Kenya Development Plan 1994–1996 (Nairobi, Kenya: Government Printer, 1994).

  • 50. “Drastic Changes in Varsity Loans Fund,” Nation, July 25, 1995, 1.

  • 51. Wycliffe Otieno, “Student Loans in Kenya: Past Experiences, Current Hurdles, and Opportunities for the Future,” JHEA/RESA 2, no. 2 (2004): 78.

  • 52. Kilemi Mwiria et al., Public and Private Universities in Kenya: New Challenges, Issues and Achievements (Oxford: James Currey, 2007), 99.

  • 53. Michael Mwenda Kithinji, “Crisis at Nairobi University Has Its Roots in Decades of Political Interference,” The Conversation, January 29, 2020.

  • 54. Charles Kibanani Ngome, “Massive Growth of University Education in East Africa and the Challenges Facing the Sector between 2000 and 2010: The Case of Kenya” (paper presented on October 20, 2010, during Celebrations of the Tenth Anniversary of the Revitalisation of the Inter-University Council for East Africa [IUCEA], Kampala).

  • 55. Julia Faria, “Kenya: University Enrollment 2020,” Statista, May 19, 2021.

  • 56. Michael Kithinji, The State and the University Experience in East Africa: Colonial Foundations and Postcolonial Transformations in Kenya (Johannesburg: University of South Africa Press, 2018); Margaret Macpherson, They Built the Future: A Chronicle of Makerere University College, 1922–1962 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1964); Carol Sicherman, Becoming an African University: Makerere, 1922–2000 (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005); Furley and Watson, History of Education; Daniel Sifuna, The Governance of Kenyan Public Universities (Nairobi, Kenya: Lyceum Educational Consultants, 1997); Kilemi et al., Public and Private Universities in Kenya; Okwatch Abagi, Resource Utilization in Public Universities in Kenya: Enhancing Efficiency and Cost Recovery Measures (Nairobi, Kenya: Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, 1999); and Rees Hughes and Kilemi Mwiria, “An Essay on the Implications of University Expansion in Kenya,” Higher Education 19, no. 2 (1990): 215–231.