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Legal Framework Regarding the Right to Education in Kenya



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publication of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

The realization of the right to education in Kenya is enshrined in the Constitution and provided for by various of the legislations which seek to make education for all a reality. The laws below provide for the delivery, quality, and relevance of the education systems in Kenya.

Constitution of Kenya, 2010

In line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (the provision of quality education and Sustainable Development) and Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels) the constitution of Kenya provides for the right of education to all children in and including the youth. Article 53 of the constitution of Kenya 2010 provides for the rights of children to the effect that every child has a right to free and compulsory basic education. Article 54 of the Constitution guarantees that a person with any disability is entitled to…access educational institutions and facilities for persons with disabilities that are integrated into society to the extent compatible with the interests of the person.

In Article 56, the Constitution in also secures the rights of the minorities and marginalized groups in society by guaranteeing that the State shall put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that minorities and marginalized groups, inter alia, are provided special opportunities in educational and economic fields. It has been argued that the African continent’s youthful population presents a powerful opportunity for accelerated economic growth and innovation while other world regions face an aging population with subsequent issues such as high health costs for elderly care and high demand for skilled and qualified labour. However, the same demographic group also presents economic and social challenges, as well as implications for peace and security.

By providing for the right of education to the youth, the Constitution envisions the provision of quality higher education to the youth considering that most, if not all, of the students learning at the tertiary institutions, are of the youth age bracket. The Constitution states that the state shall take measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that the youth access relevant education and training and have opportunities to associate, be represented, and participate in political, social, economic, and other spheres of life. Through this, it is evident that the Government of Kenya has adopted the provision of education as the main pillar in the national development agenda. All that is required is the necessary funding and political goodwill. Regarding the elderly in society, the Constitution in Article 57 provides that the State shall take measures to ensure the rights of older persons— fully participate in the affairs of society; and pursue their personal development.

Basic Education Act, 2013

The Basic Education Act, 2013 was enacted to give effect to Article 53 of the Constitution and other enabling provisions; to promote and regulate free and compulsory basic education; to provide for accreditation, registration, governance, and management of institutions of basic education; to provide for the establishment of the National Education Board, the Education Standards and Quality Assurance Commission, and the County Education Board and for connected purposes. The Act establishes a National Education Board and a County Education Board for every county all of which are to facilitate close working relations between the National and County governments in discharging their mandates towards the realization of the right to free and compulsory basic education for all. Notably, the Act not only provides for adequate structures and government obligations towards the provision of the right to education but also makes provisions for different forms of education targeting different groups of learners and their needs. The Act mainly requires adequate funding and goodwill in its implementation.

The National Government is bound, through the Cabinet Secretary: provide free compulsory basic education to every child; ensure compulsory admission and attendance of children of compulsory school age at school or an institution offering basic education; ensure that children belonging to marginalized, vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing basic education; provide human resource including adequate teaching and non-teaching staff according to the prescribed staffing norms; provide infrastructure including schools, learning and teaching equipment and appropriate financial resources; ensure quality basic education conforming to the set standards and norms; provide special education and training facilities for talented and gifted pupils and pupils with disabilities; ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of basic education by every pupil; monitor functioning of schools; advise the national government on financing of infrastructure development for basic education; and provide free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution who has reached puberty and provide a safe and environmentally sound mechanism for disposal of the sanitary towels.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, 2013

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, 2013 was enacted to provide for the establishment of a technical and vocational education and training system; to provide for the governance and management of institutions offering technical and vocational education and training; to provide for coordinated assessment, examination, and certification; to institute a mechanism for promoting access and equity in training; to assure standards, quality, and relevance; and for connected purposes. In the discharge of its functions and exercise of their powers under this Act, the implementing authorities are to be guided by following principles: training shall be availed to all qualified Kenyans without discrimination; there shall be instituted appropriate mechanisms to promote access, equity, quality and relevance in training to ensure adequate human capital for economic, social and political development.

Further, the training programmes are to take into account—(i) the educational, cultural and social-economic background of the people; (ii) the technical and professional skills, knowledge and levels of qualification needed in the various sectors of the economy and the technological and structural changes to be expected; (iii) the trends towards integration of information and communication technologies to multiply access and improve training capacity, delivery modes and life-long employability of graduates; (iv) the employment opportunities, occupational standards and development prospects at the international, national, regional and local levels; and(v) the protection of the environment and the common heritage of the country. The Act prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, colour, gender, religion, national or social origin, political or other opinions, economic status, or any other ground save as provided under this Act.

Teachers Service Commission Act, 2012

The Teachers Service Commission Act, 2012 as enacted to make further provision for the Teachers Service Commission established under Article 237 of the Constitution, its composition; functions and powers; the qualifications and procedure for appointment of members; and connected purposes. In addition to the functions set out in Article 237 of the Constitution, the Commission has power to: formulate policies to achieve its mandate; provide strategic direction, leadership, and oversight to the secretariat; ensure that teachers comply with the teaching standards prescribed by the Commission under this Act; manage the payroll of teachers in its employment; facilitate career progression and professional development for teachers in the teaching service including the appointment of head teachers and principals; monitor the conduct and performance of teachers in the teaching service; and do all such other things as may be necessary for the effective discharge of its functions and the exercise of its powers.

Higher Education Loans Board Act, 1995

The Higher Education Loans Board Act, 1995 was enacted to provide for the establishment of a Board for the management of a Fund to be used for granting loans to assist Kenyan students to obtain higher education at recognized institutions within and outside Kenya and for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith. “Higher education” under the Act means any course of education offered by an institution above the standard of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education or any equivalent certificate approved by the Board.

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards) and Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya): Muigua, K., “Towards Inclusive and Quality Education as a Tool for Empowerment in Kenya,” Available at: 2020/12/ Towards-Inclusive-and-Quality-Education-as-a-Tool-for-Empowerment-in-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-Dec-2020.pdf. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021. 


Basic Education Act, No 14 of 2013, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Constitution of Kenya, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi (2010).

Higher Education Loans Board Act, No. 3 of 1995, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Teachers Service Commission Act, No. 20 of 2012, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, No. 29 of 2013, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

SDG 4 Targets 4.1-4.7(a)(b)(c).

UNESCO, ‘The Right to Education – Law and Policy Review Guidelines’ (UNESCO, 28 July 2014),5 (Accessed 06/12/2021).

UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, OSAA ‘Youth Empowerment,’, (Accessed 06/12/2021).

News & Analysis

Why is THE LAWYER AFRICA Listing Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers?




The Litigation Hall of Fame | Kenya in 2023 (The Most Distinguished 50 Litigation Lawyers in Kenya).

We live in the age of information overload where too much information (TMI) is increasingly making it difficult to find actionable legal data about a good law firm or lawyer. At the same time, legal services are increasingly going digital and finding your next lawyer is a now a matter of a few clicks. Many existing, new and potential clients are interested to know more about the lawyer handling or likely to handle their next case or transaction as every HR Manager seeks to know how their In-house Lawyer or next hire compares to peers.

The biggest dilemma especially for commercial consumers of legal services  is where to begin the journey in finding the law firm or the lawyer to meet their immediate legal need created by their new venture,  business, transaction or dispute. In-house counsel are also called upon to justify opting for one lawyer or law firm or over the other.  Hence, the rise in the popularity of international law directories rankings as an attempt to fill the yawning gap by listing a few dozen lawyers and law firms in esoteric categories that often don’t align with the legal needs of the domestic legal market.

But ranking two dozen elite lawyers or big law firms in a big jurisdiction like Kenya there are over 20,000 lawyers is merely a drop in the ocean. The result is the same candidates are listed year after year and an In-house Legal Team looking to infuse new blood in their external counsel panel is left very little discretion. At best, International legal ranking only succeed to tilt the scales in favour of few big firms and their lawyers and to aid the choice of International Legal buyers who are constrained for time in picking their External Counsel in jurisdictions where they cannot find referrals.

The questions that beg are: What about the other top law firms and lawyers who are equally good if not better but don’t have the time to fill the technical paperwork that comes with International Legal Directories rankings? What about Domestic Legal Buyers who simply want to justify why they prefer a lawyer or law firm not listed in the International Directory? Can increasing the number of listed lawyers or law firms from less 0.1% of the profession (as captured by International Law Directories) to at least 1% of the profession or higher for those specializing in the practice area help in enhancing access to justice in Africa? Can ranking law firms by number of fee earners help in the quest for a more accurate bird’s eye view of a country’s legal landscape?

At THE LAWYER AFRICA, we have set out to list Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers in the various practice areas in a way that democratizes law rankings and listings and brings this essential value add within reach of most lawyers and every law firms doing top legal work. We don’t promise to list all the top lawyers or law firms, but we commit to make sure every lawyer or law firm we list is at the top of the game in the listed practice area. We aim to help both little known and already known law firms and lawyers doing top legal work in their area of specialization get discovered by discerning clients and possibly get more opportunities to do great work.

THE LAWYER AFRICA is looking to list up to Top 200 Law Firms in every African Jurisdiction based on their reputation and number of fee earners headcount with a goal of listing at least Africa’s Top 1,000 Law Firms which are leaders in their respective countries. We also seek to list up to Top 1,000 Lawyers in every country in Africa in at least five main practice areas, namely, Litigation, Commercial Law, Property law, In-house and Private Sector or more.

THE LAWYER AFRICA categorizes law firms in large jurisdictions as Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 (and allow tying where number of counsel is equal). The Top Lawyers are listed in three categories, namely, Hall of Fame (the Distinguished Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area), Top 100 (the Leading Top 100 Practitioners in a Practice Area) and Up-and-Coming (the promising Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area).  The placing of a listings depends on a number of key factors including the number of key matters or transactions handled, years in practice and experience, size of team working under a counsel, reputation and opinion of peers (where available) as established by THE LAWYER AFRICA.

THE LAWYER AFRICA prefers to list a counsel in only one listing, as far as possible. The Team tries (as far as possible) not to contact listed law firms or lawyers before the listing is finalized in the first. However, a listed law firm or lawyer may be contacted at the pre-launch stage of a list for purposes of selling merchandise relating to the launch but such engagement will not affect the listing. In case of future listings, it is expected that interested lawyers or law firms who feel they were previously left out of the list may to provide information for consideration to determine if they qualify for the next listing but that will not guarantee any listing.

THE LAWYER AFRICA undertakes not to charge for listing any lawyer or law firm. However, upon publication of a listing, as part of recovering the sunk costs we incur in the research and publication of the listings, we shall charge a token for printing and shipping of Quality A3 Certificate for listed Law Firms and/or A4 Certificate for listed Lawyers who wish to have or display the branded souvenirs or to use our proprietary digital materials in their business  branding. We may also charge listed and unlisted law firms and lawyers an affordable fee for limited banner advertising or publishing of enhanced profiles next to the listings.

For any question or feedback on any list or listing, feel free to contact THE LAWYER AFRICA PUBLISHER at info[at]thelawyer[dot]africa.

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News & Analysis

The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

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News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb, Current Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Representing the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

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