Coverage of English syllabus in secondary schools in Kenya: A comparative study in Nairobi City County, Kenya


  • Damaris Wambui Kimamo Kenyatta University
  • Peter Mugo Gathara, Dr. Kenyatta University



English, syllabus coverage, teaching of English, policies, secondary school


Education delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income, and is the most important factor to ensure equality of opportunities. Having education in an area helps people think, feel, and behave in a way that contributes to their success, and improves not only their personal satisfaction but also their community. Worldwide, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG4 calls for access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. A Syllabus is an important tool in a bid to acquire quality education. Firstly, it delineates the responsibilities of students and the instructors. It offers information about what should be discussed, what students are supposed to do, and how these results are evaluated. In the Kenyan Education system, all the learning processes depends crucially upon the mastery of the fundamental skills of English Language, which is vital not only for educational purpose but also for economic competitiveness. The government of Kenya has come up with policies that ensure that at the end of secondary school, students are able to communicate competitively using the English language. However, there has been a worrying concern from both employers and educationists that the employees and graduates, respectively, have poor English language skills. The aim of this study was to establish the existing gaps between stated government policies on the syllabus coverage in teaching of English in secondary schools in Kenya on one hand and on the other the actual school practices during the implementation of these policies. This study was based on structural functionalism theory by Durkheim. It adopted descriptive research design which was carried out in public secondary schools in Nairobi County. The study had a target population of 480 from 60 Schools which included: the heads of English department and teachers of English. The study employed purposive sampling where the schools’ Heads of English Department (HODs) and teachers of English were purposively sampled into 62 respondents
composed of 8 HODs and 56 teachers. Questionnaires and observation checklists were used to collect data. The qualitative data was grouped into different categories depending on the responses given by the respondents. Those categories helped in establishing themes. Through the use of the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) program, quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics percentages, frequencies, and tables where appropriate. The Key finding in this study was that all the government policies on coverage of syllabus during teaching of English were not being fully implemented as required. The study recommended that teachers of English access regular professional development programs to enhance their teaching and acquire skills to enable them overcome some of the challenges they were facing during the coverage of the English syllabus during teaching; The Kenya National Examination council (KNEC) is to come up with an oral exam and a listening exam to help students achieve communication competence in English.

Author Biographies

Damaris Wambui Kimamo, Kenyatta University

Department of Educational Foundations, Kenyatta University

Peter Mugo Gathara, Dr., Kenyatta University

Department of Educational Foundations




How to Cite

Kimamo, D. W., & Gathara, P. M. (2024). Coverage of English syllabus in secondary schools in Kenya: A comparative study in Nairobi City County, Kenya. Msingi Journal, 8(1), 46–59.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.