There is a vast difference between Kenya’s educational system and the United States public education. In Kenya students go to Primary school for 8 years which would be considered Elementary and Middle school in the United States. Did you know in Kenya public education is not free? Parents are required to pay for all school fees, from Primary to University. If they are not able to afford school fees unfortunately students are not allowed to be in school and in fact they are sent home. There are government subsidies available, however that is not enough to help cover school expenses. All to often young students are unwillingly forced to drop out of school due to the inability to afford school fees.
Those who are fortunate enough to complete all 8 years of Primary School, are required to take an exit exam the KCPE during their last year as a Primary Student. The KCPE exam scores determine which Secondary School (High School) students will be able to enroll and attend. Some schools require a minimum score on the KCPE in order to be an eligible candidate for enrollment. Once students have been accepted to a Secondary school they will continue their education for 4 years. During their 4th year of Secondary School (high school) they will take an exit exam KCSE. Test scores for this exam will determine which University students are eligible to apply for.
There is usually a transitional period from the time students take their KCSE exams to when they begin University, which is typically about 9 months later.