Elite schools boom as parents seek top-class education for children

Tuesday August 27 2019

Students going to class at Nova Pioneer Schools. The desire by Kenyans to give their children quality education is the reason behind the proliferation and expansion of elite schools in the country. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The desire by Kenyans to give their children quality education is the reason behind the proliferation and expansion of elite schools in the country.

Mr Christopher Khaemba, a former Alliance High School principal and co-founder of Nova Pioneer Schools told the Nation in an interview that congestion and overstretched facilities in public schools are forcing parents to look for schools with a more conducive learning environment for their children.

He added that, as a result, more investors are putting their resources in education since they are sure of getting good returns.


“The middle-class is taking their children to private schools, and that is where investors are seeing opportunities. This now calls for public-private partnership in setting up schools,” Mr Khaemba noted.

He said that, due to congestion in public schools, certain values are compromised since teachers have to deal with huge student numbers.


And to tap into the growing demand for quality education, Nova Pioneer now plans to put up at least 10 primary and secondary schools by 2022.

Mr Khaemba said that, once they complete the two Sh1.5 billion secondary schools in Eldoret, they will shift their focus the focus to Mombasa.

He said they are implementing the project jointly with the Local Authorities Pensions Trust (LAPTRUST), which have leased the land for the complex.

The institution, to admit both boys and girls, is expected to admit its first batch of students in January 2020.


Early this year, the 40-year old Riara Group of Schools was acquired by Sweden’s largest private school chain, Actus Education Holdings.

This came a year after UK-based investor Scholé Limited, and ADvTECH acquired the 40-year old Makini School.

Last year, the 1,700 capacity Crawford International School, which offers the Cambridge syllabus, opened in January.

It is part of South Africa’s JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa’s largest private education provider.

This year the high-end Dubai-based GEMS Cambridge International School closed f its Karen campus and moved all learners to its newly acquired Hillcrest International Schools campus.

The campus on Magadi Road was purpose-built by a developer for GEMS Education at a cost of Sh3 billion.


It was the first learning institution that the Dubai-based group opened in Kenya about six years ago, before it acquired the Hillcrest Schools at a reported cost of Sh1.5 billion.

The GEMS office in Nairobi oversees its schools in Kenya and Uganda.

The elite schools charge as much as Sh800,000 per term.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion told Nation, that the government should not put resources in private schools fee since they are in business.

“Private institutions are doing business using children and we will not allow foreign investors to come to Kenya to do such business. The government should channel its resources to public schools,” he said.