The Ministry of Education derives its mandate from the Constitution of Kenya, Chapter Four Articles 43, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, and 59 which provides for children’s right to free and compulsory basic education, including quality services, and to access education institutions and facilities for persons with disabilities. There are also provisions on access for youth to relevant education and training; access to employment; participation and representation of minorities and marginalized groups in governance and other spheres of life, special opportunities in educational and economic fields, and special opportunities for access to employment.
The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya Articles 185(2), 186(1) and 187(2) distributes functions between the national and county governments. The National Government undertakes; education policy, standards, curriculum, examinations, granting of university charters, universities, tertiary educational institutions, institutions of research, higher learning, primary schools, special education, secondary schools, special education institutions and promotion of sports and sports education. While the County Government in relation to education are: pre-primary education, village polytechnics, home-craft centres, farmers training centres and childcare facilities.
In addition, Parliament, over the years has enacted a series of Acts on various dimensions of education whose objects and goals the Ministry is expected to implement to give effect to the Constitutional provisions pertaining to education and training.
Under the Executive Order No. 1 of 2022 (Revised) on the Organization of the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the Ministry is headed by a Cabinet Secretary, assisted by three Principal Secretaries, each heading a State Department. The three State Departments are: the State department Basic Education; the State department for Vocational Education and Technical Training and; the State department for University Education and Research.