International Education in Nairobi
With stunning landscapes, cosmopolitan cities and a rich tribal and multi-cultural history, it’s easy to see the appeal of expat life in Kenya. The Kenyan expatriate community has been around since colonial times, so despite some cultural differences, integrating is quite seamless.
Kenya has the largest economy in Eastern and Central Africa, and is commonly ranked as one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. This has seen a swift change in educational trends, particularly in Nairobi.
Many native Kenyans once perceived international schools as being for expat children only. Enrolling a child in an international school was also viewed by most as too expensive. But with an increasing number of middle-class families in Nairobi, this is no longer the case. In many of the city’s international schools students of Kenyan nationality are equal or greater in number than those of other nationalities.
There is another major factor in the uptick of Kenyan students attending international schools; teacher’s strikes. For the past several years, teachers in Kenya’s national schools have protested about poor remuneration, delayed promotion and poor working conditions, among other issues. This has resulted in strike action and school closures on several occasions in the past decade, sometimes for weeks at a time.
Since international schools in Kenya are privately owned, and strike action and disputes are rare or non-existent on them, some parents in Nairobi searching for a stable, consistent and top quality education for their children may favourably consider international schooling instead.
British and International curricula are the most common in Nairobi’s international schools. Alternative curricula on offer include German, French, American, and Dutch.
The majority of Kenyans (some 85%) identify as Christian, and a significant proportion of its international schools follow a Christian ethos. Religious teachings are incorporated into day to day school life in a variety of ways. However, there is usually no prerequisite to be a practicing Christian in order to attend these schools.
While there is a decent number of international schools in Nairobi, the choice is not endless. And with increasing demand from locals as well as expats, waiting lists are becoming more and more common. You should apply well in advance of your move to Nairobi if possible - 12 months or more.
You’ll find most of Nairobi’s international schools in the two most popular expat areas; Karen and Westlands. Westlands is home to several embassies and the United Nations’ Headquarters in Africa. Karen is the epitome of a ‘leafy suburb’, with streets lined by mansions and manicured gardens.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in Nairobi. However, there are another 23 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Nairobi based on your requirements.