Failed Policy? The Effects Of Kenya's Education Reform: Use Of Natural Experiment And Regression Discontinuity Design

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr.. Hye-Sung Kim, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Objective: Kenya's 1985 education reform implemented curriculum changes to prepare children for the job market and changed the instructional language from English to local ethnic languages during the first three years of primary education. This article examines the reform's impact on (i) level of education completed, (ii) income level, and (iii) preference for national versus ethnic interests. Methods: Using survey data collected from randomly selected Kenyan citizens in Nairobi, this article uses a regression discontinuity (RD) design comparing the first cohort exposed to the reform to those who were not. Results: The education and income levels of those beginning their education under the reform were higher. The reform did not influence preference for national or ethnic interests. Conclusions: The reform partially increased children's job market preparation but was unsuccessful in addressing unemployment. Teaching children in local languages exhibited no negative effects on ethnic as opposed to national interests.

Additional Information

Kim H-S. Failed Policy? The Effects of Kenya’s Education Reform: Use of Natural Experiment and Regression Discontinuity Design. Social Science Quarterly. 2020;101(1):406-419. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2019
Education, Policy, Teaching, Kenya, Africa

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