All Things Kenyan

A School Day in Kenya

Getting ready to begin a new school year? Students in Kenya are returning for their third trimester. Kenyan students begin their school year in January and is broken up into three trimesters. Students are not required to attend school nor is education free as it is in the United States.

Chamasiri Secondary School

Chamasiri Secondary School

I taught math, English, and physics at Chamasiri Secondary School while I was a teacher in Kenya. This school had four classrooms – one for each grade, Form 1, Form 2, Form 3, and Form 4 (the equivalent to our 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades). Teachers traveled from classroom to classroom instead of the students going from room to room. The Form 1 class had 60 students, Form 2 had 45, Form 3 had 30, and Form 4 about 12 students. The class sizes became smaller as the grades continued on simply because many families could not afford the school fees.

A typical Kenyan student’s school day would go something like this…


7:00 – 7:30 Students arrive at the school and begin quietly studying.
7:30 – 8:00 Parade – announcements for the day. Similar to home
room or an assembly in the US.
8:00 – 8:40 Period 1
8:40 – 9:20 Period 2
9:20 – 10:00 Period 3
10:00 – 10:40 Period 4
10:40 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:40 Period 5
11:40 – 12:20 Period 6
12:20 – 1:00 Period 7
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 2:40 Period 8
2:40 – 3:20 Period 9
3:20 – 4:00 Student Preps (Study Hall)
4:00 – 5:30 Games (sports – all students participated)


Kenyan students study ten different subject areas. You can see they spend the bulk of their day at school. Some of the students have over an hour’s walk or run home where they do chores at home and hopefully manage to find some time to study before it gets dark. Most families do not have electricity and may not even have a lantern or candle for their children to study by.

Students in Classroom

Students in Classroom

Chamasiri Secondary School had some of its male students board at the school. They had dinner from 5:30 to 6:30 and then were to study in one of the classrooms from roughly 7 pm to 9 pm. The school supplied a lamp for the boys to use. They would hang it off one of the rafters of the ceiling. Sometimes, I would join them and do my preparations and correcting for the next day.

Most rural schools in Kenya do not have a lot of money. Consequently, there are very few textbooks for the students to use. I had seven math texts for my Form 2 class and 14 for the Form 1 class. To circulate the textbooks among the students I would give them to the students who had the best grades on the previous exams. This worked out very well and the books changed hands quite a bit. I don’t think the students with the books knew how to use them to their advantage and the students without the books would work hard to get the books for the next chapter. Anything the students needed to know was put up on the chalkboard and the students copied it down into their notebooks. The notebooks became the students’ textbooks.

Toward the end of each trimester the school would begin to run out of money for supplies. The paper, exercise books, and chalk would run out. When this happened, the trimester would end a little earlier than expected. I bought and kept my own chalk, marker, and paper supply at my house so I could keep teaching as long as I could. Unfortunately, things can tend to be corrupt and all I can say is that the headmaster had a pretty nice house.

Kenya has some very hard working students and teachers who do their best with the few resources they have. I enjoyed teaching in Kenya even if the rain came down so hard and loud on the corrugated tin roof that sometimes I had to stop teaching my class.

3 thoughts on “A School Day in Kenya

  1. Jeanne Post author

    Previous Comments From Old ATK Site:

    lj said: i feel sorry for them

    Anonymous said: i feel sorry for kenyan kids

    Amy said: this is bad

    Anonymous said: Wow

    said: i liked it so much

    olivia said: i loved it so much it helped me for school a lot to and my school day is not that long

    I cant believe I said: They have school years that long and 10 hr. school days??? I pity the kenyan students

    Student 🙁 said: Long day is right!!

    shymila said: interesting

    Sophie said: I agree with you Jilli I think some of us complain to much but we never think about the people that go to school for 9 hours and probebly have to walk very far to get there!

    jillian said: ausome and they love school

    jillian said: wow 10 and a half ours at school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    our school is only 6 hour but we have 2 hour in total with all of our resses and evry thing!!!!!!!!!

    dock said: realy bad school

    Oliver Wilkes said: Like Blog xD 🙂

    ron k peny said: Wow. Long day

    hayden said: who provides he school

    Anonymous said: what a long day

    Judith said: thanks very informative and interesting!

    Anonymous said: omg they finish school at 5.30

    allie said: how old do they half to be to start school in kenya

    chynia again said: I go to school in virgina and we have 8 periods a day

    chynia said: whoa awesome cool facts

    lexie said: awesome facts

    aralinda said: cool

    Mamamia said: Good. Great! AWESOME!!
    Really, really, really, great
    This is incredible!

    Jason said: Awesome picture! It is very realistic.

    Helen said: Your facts are only about one thing mostly.

    pop said: cool

    jaclo said: awesome

    tyjuhgfdfghjkg said: thats messed up

    yo mamama said: crazy!!

    joey bob said: every hour u learn something new but i think the kids that go to school in kenya must have a lot of different things to do during the is what it looks like. i even feel bad 4 the kids almost we only have 6 periods here in edgewood middle school

    gabby volle #5 said: i love school but i sure wouldn’t like to be in school that long. i think that school is on over drive is what it looks like to me

    Sam said: What a long day

    ??????? said: thanks a lot this helped me loads

    zana walthall said: Every hours means something to these kids and its amazing, i want the best for you guys and i hope you all carry on strong and finish bold as kings and queens for that’s who you are. follow your dreams and never give up for a wise man once told me. Make a living you can do it for, ME, I, have faith in YOU!

    Phiiiiiiiiiill said: thanks man this rally helped with a project

    poo tart said: to long day for me

    yo lils said: wow long time for school soooo glad i dont go their!!!!@@

    Yo mother said: why do they go to school for so long? 7:30 – 5:30 thats crazy!

    Jazzyhaz1 said: nice, all i can type.

    somone said: cool, more hours a day then me

    Penguin Lover said: Do you guys get to use computers in class?

    michael said: love it, thankyou!

    Anonymous said: wow

    serecrt said: 8:30 hours and i complain about school

    Anonymous said: i feel for students in kenya!!tata

    dimesticated cow said: that is pretty cooool

    onomus said: wow 8:30 hours

    john said: funtastic i love it to very helpful

    sophie said: very helpfull, this is

    chloe said: this is really good site xxxxx

    anonymous canadian moose said: thanks for sharing the info

    amya.s said: i like this site it helped me whith a progect!!!!!! love it!!!!!

    bob said: i hope people learned alot about kenya

    Jilli said: I hope American students would learn from these remarkable kids in Kenya. Here the kids complain about having too many chores and too much homework but they don’t see how lucky they are compared to others.

    Bird said: WoW

    Steph said: @Joana
    Well…you kind of get used to it, especially if you’re in a boarding school, like me. We have it better at school I guess, what with having electricity, being in an urban area and all that. But I wouldn’t mind trading places with a kid from the US…but it’ll take a little convincing to make the latter agree…

    Joana said: Wow, and kids here in the US conplain about how much time we have in school and we learn to much.
    Kenyan kids have it tough,

  2. kendra

    omg i cant belive it thtas way to long I would hate that I feel bad how old do u have to be to start school

  3. Anita

    @Kendra. Kindergarten starts at 3 years, primary school at 6 years and high school at 14 years. Hi so to be honest most of that stuff I’ve experienced but in my school its alot better. I’m in a kenyan high school and although sometimes it gets hard your taught on different skills and it becomes fun. Feel free to ask any question thankyou:-)