The right to Education

The right to education is a Human Right recognized and protected under both national and international laws. This means that it is an important milestone in the process of ensuring provision of quality education by making sure that education is accessible, affordable, available and acceptable for all people.

Which are the National Laws?

  1. The Constitution of Kenya 2010
  2. The Basic Education Act, 2013
  3. The Children’s Act, 2001

Which are the International Laws?

The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 under Article 2 (6) provides that any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the laws of Kenya. The conventions ratified by Kenya and containing provisions that protect the right to education include:

  1. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966
  2. Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989
  3. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesConvention Relating to the Status of Refugees

What is Basic Education?

It refers to education at early childhood education level, primary level and secondary level; and includes adult basic education.

What is meant by Free and Compulsory Basic Education?

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Free simply means that no public institution offering basic education shall charge admission and tuition fees while admitting any child. These are provided for Under Section 29 and Section 32 of the Basic Education Act respectively.

Are the Children free from abuse in Basic Education Institutions?

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corporal punishment is illegal.

Basic Education Act under section 36 (1) provides that no pupil shall be subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in any manner, whether physical or psychological. Section 36 (2)  further provides that a person who contravenes this commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.

Article 29 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 further provides that every person has the right not to be subjected to any form of violence from either public or private sources. Article 53 (1) (d) also provides that every child has the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.

What of Education for Children with Disability

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The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, under Article 54 (1) (b) provides that persons with disability have a right to access educational institutions and facilities that are integrated into society to the extent compatible with their interests and needs.

Section 18 of the Persons with Disabilities Act provides no person or learning institution shall deny admission to a person with a disability to any course of study by reason only of such disability, if the person has the ability to acquire substantial learning in that course.


What of Education for Children who are in conflict with the Law?

Children who commit crimes are usually sent to borstal institutions. Section 4 (b) of the Borstal Institution Act provides that every borstal institution shall provide the means of giving such inmates educational, industrial or agricultural training.

Section 29 of the Basic Education Regulations 2015 provides that learners of school going age residing in children’s homes, borstal institutions or other corrective facilities shall be provided with basic education and training pursuant to Article 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the Constitution.

Can I Employ a Child to Work for Me?

Yes as long as the child is above the age of 13 years, the duties are light, not harmful to the child’s health & development does not prevent the child from attending school and the employer keeps a register of this child. The Employment Act further prohibits written contracts for these children and employing a child in any opencast workings or sub-surface workings that are entered by means of a shaft or adit.

Section 38 (1) of the Basic Education Act provides that no person shall employ a child of compulsory school age in any labour or occupation that prevents such child from attending school.


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