Kenya National Adult Literacy Survey report

Kenya National Adult Literacy Survey report

More than one in three Kenyan adults are illiterate: survey findings

This report presents the findings of a 2006 baseline survey on the status of literacy in Kenya. The survey used self reporting together with direct assessments of literacy competency skills, and was designed to assist in the development of indicators that can be used to design and assess progress on the implementation of education-related programmes.

The report presents information on school attendance; awareness, participation and attendance in adult education programmes; disability status of the respondents; results of self-assessment of literacy and numeracy skills; construction of test items; field administration and scoring of test items; definition of competency levels and score ranges; literacy and numeracy competency levels; adult literacy and numeracy rates; minimum and mastery desired levels of literacy and numeracy.  The report also presents information gathered from adult literacy centres/classes.

Key findings include:

  • on average 38.5 per cent of the Kenyan adult population is illiterate
  • there are very wide regional disparities; for example, Nairobi had the highest level of literacy, 87.1 per cent, compared to North Eastern Province, the lowest, at 8.0 per cent
  • males had higher literacy and numeracy rates of 64.2 per cent and 67.9 respectively, compared to 58.9 and 61.4 per cent for females
  • a high turnover of teachers, together with poor pay and conditions for a largely voluntary staff hinders access to adult education programmes
  • only 31 per cent of the adult population was aware of the existence literacy programmes
  • other barriers to effective participation in adult literacy programmes included: lack of relevant teaching and learning materials; costs of learning materials; and lack of centres within reach of most adults; curricula that are not relevant to learners’ needs.

The report recommends that the Government of Kenya:

  • increase funding and support for youth and adult literacy programmes
  • establish more learning centres in each region and equip them with teaching and learning materials
  • recruit 25,000 more adult education teachers
  • increase the pay of full-time teachers to at least the equivalent wage, per hours worked, of a primary school teacher
  • provide programmes that can support effective participation by people with special needs
  • link with Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) Centres
  • improve quality and relevance of ACE programmes
  • increase promotion of adult literacy programmes
  • promote learning and reading through a variety of locations within the community
  • provide programmes that can support the ongoing learning skills development of those with basic literacy skills.