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State Departments

State Department for Basic Education


  • Basic Education (Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary) Education Policy management
  • Primary and secondary education institutions management
  • School administration and Programmes
  • Registration of Basic Education and Training institutions
  • Administration of Early Childhood and Pre-Primary Education, Standards and Norms
  • Management of Education Standards
  • Management of National examinations and Certification
  • Curriculum Development
  • Quality Assurance in Education
  • Representation of Kenya in UNESCO
  • Adult education Management

The Mandate

  • Education Policy Management;
  • Management of Continuing Education;
  • Administration of Early Childhood Education;
  • Standards and Norms;
  • Management of Education Standards;
  • Management of National Examinations and Certification;
  • Curriculum Development;
  • Quality Assurance in Education;
  • Primary and Secondary Education Institutions Management;
  • Teacher Education and Management;
  • School Administration and Programmes;
  • Registration of Basic Education and Training Institutions;
  • Special Needs Education Management; Representation of Kenya in UNESCO;
  • Adult Education Management; Tertiary Institutions and State Corporations
  • University Education;
  • Commission for Higher Education (CHE);
  • Higher Education Loans Board (HELB);
  • To promote and integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at all levels of education and training.


State Department for Higher Education and Research (SDHER)

Core Functions

The core functions of the State Department are as follows:

  1. University Education Policy;
  2. University Education Management;
  3. Management of Continuing Education (excluding TVETS);
  4. Science, Technology and Innovation Policy;
  5. Public Universities and Constituent Colleges
  6. Governance of public universities
  7. Biosafety management

The functions of the State Department are also guided by the Universities Act 2012 Revised (2015, 2016 and 2018), the Science, Technology, and Innovation Act 2013 and the Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 on a Policy Framework for Reforming Education and Training for Sustainable Development in Kenya.


The State Department for Higher Education & Research derives its mandate from executive order no. 1 of 2023 issued under the hand and seal of the President on the 6th day of January the year of our lord two thousand and twenty-three.


The main objectives of the State Department include:

  1. To enhance access, equity, quality and relevance of education and training at the university level.
  2. To promote and integrate research, science, technology and innovation at all levels.
  3. To promote and coordinate the development of Science and Technology.
  4. To provide relevant and adequate skills and competencies in strategic disciplines for spurring industrial and economic development in line with the aspirations of Kenyans.

Achievements and status of ongoing projects

The Government has expanded access through establishment of new universities and expansion of the existing ones that has increased enrolment in universities. The number of universities, both public and private increased to seventy-eight (78) in 2022/23. The universities comprise of thirty-eight (38) Public Chartered Universities, four (4) Public University Constituent Colleges, twenty-five (25) Private Chartered Universities, eight (8) Universities operating with Letters of Interim Authority (LIA) and three (3) Private University Constituent Colleges. A summary of the type and number of Universities is the table below.




Public Chartered Universities


Public Universities Constituent Colleges


Private Chartered Universities


Private Universities with Letters of Interim Authority


Private Universities Constituent Colleges







Scholarship for University Education

Administration of scholarships offered by friendly countries

One thousand six hundred and ninety-three (1693) International scholarships have been granted to the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education since 2018.

The State Department receives scholarship offers from friendly countries on an annual basis. These scholarships which are given through bilateral agreements, are aimed at building a competent workforce to meet the National development goals. These scholarships are also meant to assist bright needy students as well as build capacity in areas where the country needs specialized skills. The Ministry of Education’s Directorate of Higher Education is Mandated to process the scholarships.

The type of scholarships includes those which are either fully or partially funded. Full scholarships cater for the cost of airfare, tuition and medical insurance in addition to a stipend which assists the student in paying for accommodation and meals. In Partial Scholarships, the donor country meets only part of the total expenses. Usually the donor country pays for tuition fees only. The student is required to meet the cost of airfare, accommodation, medical insurance cover and other expenses related to the course of study.

The terms and conditions of scholarships received are announced to the general public through an advertisement on MyGov pull out on Tuesdays and Ministry website requesting the candidates to apply.

Since 2018 the Ministry of Education has processed scholarships from fifteen (15) countries. The attached list shows the applicants and beneficiaries over the years. The number of applicants and beneficiaries’ visas summarized in the table below:

























Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs) in the State Department

In order to effectively undertake its mandate, the State Department also comprises 38 Public Universities, 4 University Constituent Colleges and two (2) specialized degree awarding Public Universities, eight (8) Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs), which are charged with various responsibilities as presented in table 1.

Table1: SAGAs and their Mandate

S/No SAGA Mandate
1. National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) Was established under the STI Act 2013 to accredit and assure quality in Science, Technology and Innovations (ST&I) and advice the Government on related matters.
2. National Research Fund (NRF) Was established under the STI Act 2013 to mobilize and channel resources for research, science, technology and innovation.
3. Bio safety Appeals Board (BAB) To make rules and regulation for appeal procedure, hear Appeals from persons aggrieved by decisions made by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), and communicate decisions to the parties involved and public.
4 Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) To source for funds and finance Kenyan students enrolled in recognized institutions of higher learning, both within and outside the country. It handles loans, bursaries and scholarships for needy students in public and private universities. The Board also has the mandate of recovering all mature loans issued since 1974.
5 Commission for University Education (CUE) Was established under the Universities Act 2012 to accredit and quality assure university education in both public and private universities.
6. Universities Funding Board (UFB) Was established under the Universities Act 2012 to mobilize and manage resources for financing university education
7. Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service Board (KUCCPS) Was established under the Universities Act, 2012 as a body corporate to coordinate the placement of Government sponsored students into universities and colleges.
8 Universities and Constituent Colleges To provide university education through teaching, research and consultancies

The State Department has two (2) Directorates which are technical departments namely:

  1. Directorate of Higher Education (DHE)
  2. Directorate of Research, Science and Technology (DRST)

In addition to the two directorates, the state department has Administration Department where all other sections fall including Central Planning Unit, Accounts, Supply Channel Services,  Human Resource Management, Public Communication, Legal Services, ICT and Finance.  


The mandate and functions

  1. Formulation and review of policies on University Education in collaboration with relevant bodies and agencies.
  2. Overseeing Governance and Management of Universities.
  3. Receiving and administration of university scholarships offered by foreign countries and agencies.
  4. Coordination of admission of students to public universities in liaison with Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.
  5. Coordination of student exchange programmes.
  6. Implementing, monitoring and evaluating various projects in University education.
  7. Clearance of students going for foreign training.


Mandate and functions

  1. Promote, facilitate and guide the national research system through policies that rationalize the integration of Research and Development (R&D) into overall national economic development.
  2. Formulation and implementation of policies, strategies and programmes for research management and development;
  3. Management and development of the national innovation system;
  4. Development, promotion and application of science and technology;
  5. International collaborations, partnerships and global obligations in research, science and technology;
  6. National science, technology and innovation statistics;
  7. Linkages between government, research, academia, industry and society;


1. To develop and review Research, Science and Technology policies, strategies and related instruments including frameworks, papers and reports.

2. To promote and manage quality Science and Technology outputs through forums, repositories and National Innovation System.

3. To establish collaboration, partnerships and linkages in Science, Technology and Innovation. 

4. To mobilize resources for Research, Innovation and Infrastructure development.

5. To enhance Intellectual Property Management

6. To coordinate the establishment of Science and Technology Parks and facilitate Technology transfer.


  1. STI Mainstreaming 
  2. Strategic International Collaborations and Linkages 
  3. National R&D Projects and Programmes in STI institutions
  4. Research and Development surveys
  5. National Science, Technology and Innovation Observatory (NASTIO)
  6. STPs:1.DeKUT – STP 2. Konza  - STP
  7. National Physical Science Research Laboratories (NPSRL)
  8. Institutions sensitized to new and emerging technologies
  9. Development of Policies, Strategies and Cabinet Memos
  10. Science Technology and Innovations Policy, and the Biosciences Policy

State Department for  Technical Vocational Training


The vision for the TVET sub-sector is to provide skilled and globally competitive employable human resource


To provide, promote and co-ordinate the training sector by assuring quality, inclusiveness and relevance for the enhancement of the national economy and global competitiveness.


To provide relevant and adequate skills and competencies in strategic disciplines by 2020 for spurring industrial and economic development in line with the aspirations of the Kenyan peoples

The main objective of TVET is to develop an effectively co-ordinated and harmonized TVET system that is capable of producing quality skilled human resource with the right attitudes and values required for growth and prosperity of the various sectors of the economy.

Specific objectives of TVET are to: –

  • Provide adequate and appropriate skilled Artisans, Craftsmen, Technicians and Technologists at all levels of the economy through practical training and work experience;
  • Transfer technology continuously through collaborative approach between TVET institutions and the relevant industries;
    Promote dignity and decency of labour, particularly manual work;
  • Provide increased training opportunities for the increasing school leavers and other trainees to increase employability;
    Provide continuous upgrading of skills and knowledge at the pace and ability of the trainees;
  • Provide a dynamic curriculum responsive to the manpower needs of a dynamic economy;Impart marketable skills, technical know-how and attitudes that respond to contemporary labour market demands by the industry, informal sector and for self-employment;
    The specific functions of the Directorate are:
    • Promotion of standards for technical education
    • Practical/industrial attachment and internship
    • Facilitation of curriculum development
    • Assurance of quality of curriculum implementation
    • Registration of TIVET institutions
    • Coordination of technical and business examinations
    • Assessments of Institutional facilities and capacity for TVET.


  1. Technical and Vocational education Policy Development and Management
  2. Technical Vocational education Training
  3. Management of Institutes of Science and Technology
  4. Management of National Polytechnics
  5. Management of Educational Training Institutes (TVETs)
  6. Management of Technical Training Institutes
  7. Youth Polytechnic and Management of Vocational Training
  8. Apprenticeship and Training Management of Vocational Training