Study in Kenya

Have you ever wondered what could be the lifestyle of Kenyans? Are you planning to pursue your higher studies in Kenyan university? Are you interested in knowing about Kenyan visa and other requirements? If yes, then you are at rights place. All the details can be obtained from below.

Kenya Overview

Officially the Republic of Kenya is mostly addressed as “Kenya” and it is a country in Africa. The territory of Kenya overlies the East African Rift and it lies on the equator. The south and southwest part of the country is surrounded by Tanzania, Uganda is in its west, North-west part is surrounded by Sudan. Ethiopia and Somalia are present are the North and North-east of the country respectively. Capital and the largest city of Kenya is Nairobi. The area is around 581,309 sq Kilometers and is occupied by the population of more than 48 million people.
The climate of Kenya varies in different regions. The Indian Ocean coastline is having a warm and humid tropical climate where as it is cooler in the Savannah grasslands near Nairobi. Mount Kenya is covered with snow permanently. The largest tropical fresh-water lake in the world is ‘Lake Victoria’ which is in Kenya.
Due to the varied geography and climate, national parks and expansive wildlife reserves like East and West Tsavo National park, Maasai Mara, Amboseli National Park, Aberdares National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, etc. Kenya also has many world heritage sites including Lamu and so many beaches like Bamburi, Diani, and Kilifi. These beaches are known for conducing international yachting competitions every year.
Agriculture is the main occupation in the country and tea and coffee get exported in huge. Kenya is also a member of the East African Community trading organization.

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About Kenya

Top Universities in Kenya

Kenya is a country when can consider when we talk about quality education in Eastern Africa. There are lots of universities in Kenya including public government-funded universities, universities with a letter from Interim Authority and Chartered Private universities. It is difficult to pick the best universities from so many universities but there are some parameters like research and publishing, web presence, etc which make it easy to choose the best one of all.
Below is the list of some top universities of Kenya-
University of Nairobi (UoN)-It is the oldest and the largest university in Kenya and is based in the capital city Nairobi. It was founded as the Royal Technical College in the year 1956 at first and then in 1970, it became the University of Nairobi after many transformations. It was the only option for higher education in Kenya during the old days and was focusing on the training need of students. Gradually it developed many special programs in technology, applied science, humanities, arts, etc. Currently, there are 900 different programs are available and around 80000 students are pursuing their studies in the university.
The main campus has 6 more branches – the college of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Biological and physical sciences, Architecture and Engineering, Health Sciences, Education and External studies, Humanities, and Social sciences.

Kenyatta University-It started in the year 1965 and is located in Nairobai having its main campus in Kahawa. It is the second largest university in Kenya and is holding a very good record of scholars. The university is good for its infrastructure, facilities, staff and serene surrounding that attracts international students. The university is also having accreditation to Commission of University Education, Commonwealth Universities, Inter-university Council for East Africa and International Association of Universities.
The university is working with an objective of enhancing the level of participation in research and preservation of knowledge for societal and academic development.

Maseno University-It was founded in the year 1991 as a nonprofit public higher education institute. It is located in Maseno town in Kisumu. The university has branch Kisumu main city.
This university is officially accredited by the Commission for University Education, Kenya. The number of enrollments in the institute is comparatively quite less and ranges between 4000 - 5000 only. It supports coeducation and offers degree courses in different areas including Arts and Humanities, Medicine and Health, Engineering, Business and Social Sciences, etc.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology-The University started as a Middle-Level college “Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Technology (JKCAT) in the year 1981. It is located in Juja, around 36 kilometers far from the capital of the country. It got established as the university by JKUAT Act in the year 1994. There are branch campuses of this university in Mombasa, Nakuru, Taita Taveta, Kitale, Arusha, and Kisii. There are around 25000 students studying in this coeducational institute. Apart from agriculture, it has other specializations like Engineering, architecture, Building sciences, etc for students having respective interest.

Strathmore University-It started as a Strathmore college in 1961 and then got established as the university in the year 2002. It is a non-profit private higher education institute. It is located in the urban area of Nairobi. The university is having around 5000 students studying in different fields and different courses including diplomas, certificates, and foundation degrees. It has some remarkable achievements in the field of commerce and information technology.

Egerton University-It is a public university started in the year 1987 in Njoro, Nakuru. It has some branches in Laikipia, Kisii and Nakuru town. It is a large university having around 15000 enrollments for different courses. It was actually started quite before as a premier Agricultural public university with a purpose to prepare European youth for the career in Agriculture field. Gradually is broadened and started other courses as well like research, teaching, computer science, business studies, applied sciences, etc.
Apart from these above mentioned top universities, there are many other educational institutes which are doing well in the direction of education and are supporting the international students in pursuing their higher studies. These institutes include African Virtual University, Moi University, University of Eastern African Baraton, Daystar University, etc.

Quick Facts

  1. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and is also the largest city of the country. The second largest city is Mombasa.

  2. The official language of Kenya is English whereas the national language is Swahili. There are many other languages spoken in different parts of the country.

  3. It got freedom from the United Kingdom on 12th December 1963 and declared republic on 12th December 1964.

  4. The total area of Kenya is 580,367 sq kilometers.

  5. The currency of the country is ‘Kenyan shilling (KES)” which is equivalent to 0.68 INR.

  6. The population is around 49,125,325 as per the data collected in the year 2017.

  7. The calling code for Kenya is +254.

  8. The ISO 3166 code is KE and the internet TLD is .ke.

  9. The world’s second largest lake in Kenya “Lake Victoria” is shared with Tanzania and Uganda.

  10. Many large animals like leopards, buffaloes, lions, rhinoceros, elephants, etc can be easily found in Kenya.

  11. The name of the country “Kenya” is named after “Mt. Kenya”. It is the tallest mountain in the country with the height of 5199 meters.

  12. Kenya is still a developing country where half of the population is living in poverty.

  13. Agriculture is the main occupation in Kenya and especially they grow tea, flowers, and coffee for export purpose.

  14. The main source of electric supply in the country is Hydroelectricity.

  15. Kenya is known for runners and the country has already got many Olympic medals in the same.

  16. The largest sector in the economy of Kenya is Telecommunication and Agriculture comes in second place.

  17. The country imports vehicles, machinery, plastics and transport types of equipment from neighboring countries.

  18. Kenyan men can legally have more than wife if they want.

  19. Most of the beverages in Kenya are consumed at room temperature only. People do not own refrigerators in most of the houses.

  20. The size of Kenya is almost equal or comparable to Texas.

  21. Kenya also follows dowry system but in their case, groom’s parents need to pay the dowry to the bride’s family. The dowry can be in the form of farm animals like cows.

  22. The country has only 2 distinct seasons- Rainy and a dry season.

  23. British has rules Kenya for almost 100 years.

  24. Children have a free education in schools in Kenya but many children do not go schools as they prefer supporting their parents in fields, fetching water and other house holding tasks,

Admission Process in Kenya

Admission process in Kenyan universities is not universal and varies from one to another university. But there are the following main factors you need to check for admissions-
Entry requirement-Interested candidates need to check for the entry requirements for the specific university. It can be checked on the website of the university.
English language requirement-It is very important for the students from non-English language background. They need to appear in Language proficiency test like TOEFL and the score certificate needs to be submitted with the application.
Fees and finance arrangement-In Kenya, universities and international educational institutes are expensive and students need to check the fee structure of the selected institute. Once the application gets approved, students need to pay the fee and keep the receipt for Visa application.
Apart from fee payment, students need to arrange the finance for their stay in Kenya during the course.
Once all the above-mentioned entry requirements are fulfilled, candidates will receive their official letter of acceptance or confirmation letter for enrollment. This letter is very important for pupil pass application Visa and candidates are advised to keep it safe until they arrive in Kenya.
The duration of the Visa is usually equivalent to the duration of the course applied for and if a student wants to extend the same, he or she needs to get his or her visa renewed from the Ministry of Immigration.

Student Visa Application Process

If you wish to pursue studies in Kenya, student visa the very first requirement but that needs an admission letter from the selected institute in Kenya and a Pupil pass. It is clearly mentioned on the Ebassy of Kenya website that any non-Kenyan student who wants to study in Kenya need to get a Kenya Pupil Pass which will be issued from the Director of Immigration Services.

Kenya Pupil pass

It is a very important document for foreign students who want to study in Kenya. It is usually for 2 types- Kenya Student pass and Kenya Internship/Research pass. The Student pass is for applicants who are willing to pursue education in Kenya’s university, education or training institutes and they have got their letter of acceptance.
The Kenya Internship/Research pass is a document for candidates looking forward to entering or remaining in Kenya for undertaking an internship or an academic research in Kenya. This also requires a letter of acceptance from the institute as an intern or researcher.
Requirement for Student pass
  1. A completely filled and stamped form 30 by the institution is required. An applicant can fill and then print the form online. This application can be reprinted in “My application” section online only.

  2. A cover letter mentioning every detail about the course to be pursued and its duration addressed to the Director of Immigration Services from the institution. It must be signed.

  3. National passport copy of the sponsor.

  4. If the student is minor, consent letter from the parents is required.

  5. Students who will be bearing their own expenses need to submit the proof of funds.

  6. For minors, a copy of parent’s national passport and a copy of applicant’s birth certificate mentioning the details of parents need to be submitted as a proof of relationship.

  7. Copy of applicant’s passport.

  8. Two recent passport size color photographs of the applicant.

  9. Current immigration status of the applicant is required to be enclosed.

  10. Copies of academic certificates are required for the applicants who are joining tertiary level of education.

  11. If the documents are translated into English, it must be done only by Embassy, Public Notary or the authorized institute.

  12. A Clearance letter from the Department of Refugee Affairs is required for Refugees.

  13. A copy of School/ college registration certificate is required from the Ministry of Education.

  14. A Police Clearance Certificate from the native country of applicant.


Requirement for Internship/Research passThese documents are almost similar to the above-mentioned list.


Application Process


  1. For the application, you need to create an account with the Government of Kenya Single Sign on Portal.

  2. Now you are able to log in and once you are logged in at an eFNS portal, click on “Apply now” link.

  3. The press “Submit Applications” tab and choose the Student Pass tab. There you will find an option to make an application.

  4. Once the application is approved, you will get an invoice. You can make the payment for that online itself and if you are not able doing that, you can print your invoice. You can approach the Immigration Counter at Nyayo House with invoice and Banker’s cheque for payments.

  5. Once all this is done, other updates will be received by you via email.


For Visa application, it can be done online by following below mentioned 3 steps-
  1. Online application Submission-

  2. Payment-

  3. Receipt of approved visa-

These 3 steps are common for all types of Visa for Kenya but the documents required for student visa will be different as mentioned in the below section.
The eVisa for Kenya has 3 types on the basis of time it takes for approval. It is around 3 business days for Normal visa, 2 business days for Urgent visa and it may get approved within a day in super urgent case. The visa fee will be different in all the 3 cases.

Lifestyle

The lifestyle is having variations depending upon the cities and locations around the city.
The things are explained in detail below-

Family trends-

In Kenya, multiple marriages or Polygamy is in tradition and men used to have 5-6 wives earlier but nowadays it is becoming less popular because the Christian missionaries are against it. The financial condition of men is also not sufficient to support multiple partners and big families. Men need to pay for the wife to her parents and a potential wife demands more. A bride may negotiate the bride price of money or even cattle with her parents. All the marriage-related ceremonies are performed in Husband’s house.
Houses are made in such a way that each wife get a separate portion to live with her kids and it is the responsibility of the youngest son to take care of his parents.
As per the traditions, son gets the property of parents as inheritance and their law supports the same.
Families are big and even extended families live together in Kraal.

Education-

As the families are big and staying together, the child rearing is taken as a joint responsibility. Boys and girls have separate upbringings and each of them gets to learn about their respective duties towards the family. The rituals on the basis of age get conducted in groups of all belonging o same age group.
Primary schooling is free from the age if 7 years to 14 years and most of the children go for this. The secondary schools become a bit expensive for most of the families; hence hardly one-seventh part of the enrollment of primary schools continue to secondary schools.
The education system in Kenya is facing the shortage of qualified teachers and the government-funded schools are facing the shortage of funds and accusations of cheating.

Religion-

Kenya has a mixed population with different religions and different beliefs. 38 percent of its total population is Protestant, 28 percent are Roman Catholic, 7 percent are Muslim, and many other religions are having small proportion. The Kikuyu and many other religious groups worship the God Ngai, who is living on the top of the Mount Kenya as per their belief.
They also have the religious belief that the diviners are having the power to communicate with the spirit world and are able to use their powers to cure diseases. They are also called upon to bring rains if required.
During the beginning of the rainy season, they celebrate it with singing, dancing, eating and praying for the good health of themselves and their animals. It lasts for several days. It is a kind of ritual for which, the performers die their hairs red and black strips on their body.
The initiation ceremonies are also considered as a religious part but it varies from tribe to tribe. Both sexes have different rituals and are performed separately. Boys and girls are considered marriageable after this ritual.

Healthcare and Medicine-

It is really in bad condition in Kenya. They do not even have good staff for the same. Government is running clinics in the whole country but they are primarily focusing on preventive medicines. These clinics are having credits for treating sleeping sickness, and malaria vaccines but the country needs support in treating dysentery, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, trachoma and sexually transmitted diseases.
They rarely have access to modern healthcare systems, especially in rural areas. In rural areas, people still go for home remedies and herbal treatments. AIDS is considered a national disaster in the country but still, the use of the condom is not encouraged.

Holidays

There are some fixed celebrations in Kenya like New Year on 1st January, Labor day on 1st May, Madaraka Day anniversary of self-rule on 1st June, Independence day which is called as “Jamhuri Day on 12th December, etc. They also celebrate Kenyatta Day, Jomo Kenyatta, Harambee Day, Moi day etc with great enjoyment.

Food and Economy-

Corn or Maize is the staple food in Kenya. It is used in the grounded form and people prepare as a porridge known as “Posho”. It got served with mashed beans, vegetables, and potatoes to make a dish like “irio”. Another famous dish is “ugali”- a beef stew and is eaten from a big pot. Each person takes a piece of ugali and uses it as a spoon to pick beans and vegetables. Other common dished includes “Matoke”- a Banana porridge, “mboga”- boiled greens, etc. Kenyans rarely eat meat as it is expensive. People living neat coast area and near Lake Victoria love fish as their food and Herders depend on Milk.
Among drinks, they like tea mixed with sugar and milk, Palm wine, locally brewed beer and “uki”.

Cost of Living for Students

Kenya is a cheaper country than most of the European or North American countries. But still, there are some points where you need to make expenses. Private educational institutes, international schools, private healthcare centers and comfortable homes are quite expensive in Kenya. You also need to pay for drinking water and security guard here in Kenya which you may not have to pay in your own country.
Details are mentioned in detail below-
Accommodation cost-It is the most expensive thing you will need to manage in Kenya. People usually prefer rented accommodation if they do not have plans to settle down there and are there for study or job purpose. The rent in big cities like Nairobi and Mombasa will be higher than other small cities and rural areas. The rent also varies depending upon the size of the property.
Security deposit needs to be paid in advance and the amount will depend upon the owner of the property. Families prefer secure and gates properties which costs almost equal to European properties.
Bachelors staying for study purpose choose to have sharing apartments at cheaper rates.

Groceries-It is quite high and the reason is that these products are mostly imported. Food products, electrical appliances, and basic house holding products are expensive in Kenya.
Some supermarkets and their chains like in Nakumat, Chandara and Uchimu are comparatively reasonable and one can find anything from dairy products to furniture, mattresses, electronics and alcohol there.
To save money, it is advised to buy the products locally. Due to the supportive climate, the fruits and vegetables grown locally are of excellent quality and are available are very cheaper rates.

TransportThe public transport in Kenya is not comfortable and are very inefficient but those are available at cheaper rates. Foreigners prefer private care or taxi to roam around the city. People with a plan to stay for the longer period may buy a car and arrange a local driver but please note that buying car will be an expensive plan.

Entertainment-When you consider eating out as an entertainment, you can get lots of good options in Kenya. There are many Western restaurants offering imported food are higher rates and on another hand, there are many stalls available selling healthy and quality local Kenyan food are reasonable rates.
Other entertainment options including modern clubs, bars, etc are growing in the country. Kenyans usually do not prefer going in such bars and to enjoy the nightlife as the entrance fee and drinks are mostly expensive. There are some small bars selling local beer are reasonable rates.

Documents for University Admissions in Kenya

The documents required for student visa vary depending upon the home country of the applicant.
But the main basic requirements are as mentioned below-
  1. As per the new rule implied by the Kenyan government, foreign students who are willing to pursue higher studies in Kenya need to get a Police clearance certificate from their own country before applying to the Kenyan Universities. So this documents is very important and need to be issued at the first.

  2. Copy of passport is required and it must be having at least 6 months validity from the date of application.

  3. An acceptance letter from the respective university or institute is required.

  4. 2 Recent Passport size photographs.

  5. Student pass or pupil pass is again a mandatory requirement for the student visa.

  6. A proof for financial suitability of applicant in bearing all the expenses during his or her stay in Kenya.

  7. A detailed C.V. is required.

  8. For the students of below 18 years of age, a copy of parent’s passport and the copy of applicant’s birth certificate is required.

Most of the documents are already arranged for pupil pass or students pass, so candidates will not face any issues for getting student visa once the pupil pass is approved.

The visa can be obtained for single entry, multiple entries, as per your requirement but the duration or validity will be equal to the duration of your course. You can get renewed if required.

Education in Kenya

The education system of Kenya has the following 5 levels-
  1. Early childhood educations (ECE)-It is the very first level. It is having 3 years duration divided into Kindergarten year 1 (KG 1), Kindergarten year 2 (KG 2) and Kindergarten year 3 (KG 3) or nursery school.

  2. Basic education (KCPE-KCSE)-This level has 4 parts- Lower primary having duration of 4 years, Upper Primary having the duration of 4 years, Hugh school for 4 years and then the last is Adult education or Gumbaro.

  3. Vocational training-It has 2 terms, Artisan level is the first term/ semester and Craft level is known as second term/ semester.

  4. Professional Training-This level of education has different fields. Technician certificate is having 6 terms, a technologist is of diploma level with 9 semesters, statutory registration and licensing is actually the examination level for a 1-year duration. Next is Specialist technologist level which is also known as a higher diploma or master’s degree and is having 3 semesters. The last one is Sub-specialist level or Ph.D.

  5. University programs-This level includes Certificate for 1 semester, ordinary diploma for 2 semesters, undergraduate degree for 8 semesters, Postgraduate diploma for 2 semesters, Bachelor of Philosophy or Master’s degree for 4 semesters and the last one is Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D. degree.

The education in Kenya was not free before the year 2003. The government of Kenya instituted free education till the primary level for all the programs in 2003. In 2008, it got extended for secondary education also. The step of government has increased the enrollment and the education got improved drastically.
The primary education of Kenya is having the duration of 8 years and is free but it is not compulsory. Most of the primary level schools are owned by states and children get promoted to next year after passing the examinations at the end of every year. If they fail the same, they need to repeat the same year again.
For secondary level education, there are 3 categories- State funded schools, private schools, and Harambee. Harambee schools are also similar to state-funded ones as they receive state support. Students performing well in Primary school exams will get good secondary schools. The secondary school has 4 years duration and at the end, students need to appear for Kenya certificate of secondary education examination.
After secondary education, interested students can go for vocational education. Vocational schools offer certificates and diplomas in different professional subjects like polytechnics, teaching, training, etc.
The last one is tertiary education during which students enroll in universities for higher education. There are around 30 universities in Kenya and 23 of them are private. Universities are offering different programs in various fields like agriculture, architecture, health science, biological and physical science, veterinary science and many more.

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