Nairobi has a vibrant private and public education sector at both the primary and preprimary levels. Preschools abound in Nairobi and can be found on many streets and in many neighborhoods. Parents generally give a high priority to sending children to preschool and put a great deal of emphasis on academic study starting as soon as at age 3. Solid academic attainment from ages 3 to 6 is generally viewed as an important preparation for primary school. The educational landscape is changing quickly. The 2010 Kenyan Constitution guarantees all children’s right to free compulsory basic education, but the preschool sector is predominately dominated by the growing private school industry: an estimated 94% of preschool students in the study area of Mukuru are attending private preschools.
In May and June 2013 Innovations for Poverty Action conducted a data collection exercise in the Mukuru slum area of Nairobi. 221 household surveys, 29 headmaster surveys and 32 classroom observations were conducted with the aim of discovering the scale, cost and quality and preschool education in this area. This paper gives details of this research and its findings.