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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

9 - Protecting Education from Ethnic Politics

from Part II - Policies and Institutions for Social Cohesion

Summary

By comparing the educational attainment of Kenyans whose years of primary schooling did and did not correspond with the tenure in office of a president from their own ethnic group, we provide evidence suggesting that Kenyan presidents have favored their coethnics in the allocation of educational resources. We discuss the implications of such bias, emphasizing that the main impact is to reinforce perceptions of ethnic favoritism in government allocation decisions that, in turn, fosters resentment across group lines, undermines trust in government, and raises the stakes of elections. We suggest that protecting education from ethnic politics might be achieved by three means: devolution, which may limit executive power and discretion over the distribution of resources; fostering public awareness and social mobilization in favor of more equity in the education sector; or the promotion of private schools as an alternative to the state-sponsored educational sector.

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