Who are | We? |

Kenya Independent Schools Association (KISA) leads, supports, represents and advocates for the independent (low-cost) schools in Kenya to enhance the success, sustainability and strength of its member schools. KISA is duly registered by the registrar of societies according to the laws of Kenya.


Our | History |

In the year 1999, a gathering of directors from private low-cost schools convened at Nyayo House in Nairobi City to discuss their shared challenges and establish an organization to advocate for their rights. Initially known as the Kenya Non-Formal Schools Association, we officially registered in 2000. In 2006, we underwent a rebranding process and became known as the Kenya Independent Schools Association (KISA) under the guidance of the registrar of societies.
During the KANU government led by the late President, in the mid-’80s, his government introduced the COST-SHARING system. This was to have Kenyans pay half of the expenses for receiving essential services such as Health and Education. Parents had to pay for the admission of their children to public schools.
The cost was for each child getting admission to the schools, this became very expensive for parents to afford, hence many children were not able to attend schools and ended up just walking into their homes doing nothing. In urban centers, they turned to be children in the streets or started selling some goods to help their parents put food on the table.
Through provincial administration, some officials came together with local leaders and raised buildings within their areas, hired temporary teachers, who were form four leavers without a job to take the work of teaching children. This kind of arrangement made the schools called COMMUNITY SCHOOLS initially.
Schools then developed in many numbers to create access to many children who were out of school as the need was huge.
Schools were struggling to teach 8-4-4 which is the curriculum that is Kenyan approved for educating pupils/students in schools.
By the mid-90 these schools had grown in big numbers and were over 1000 in Kenya, the need to work with the Ministry of Education was a must as some of the schools had reached class eight and candidates had to sit for national exams test called KCPE. This then made the owners of the schools engage MoE.
The experience owners of the schools went through made them think of having a body to fight for them, then KISA was born.
Before association came in, schools were treated harshly by the Ministry of education officials, these are just a few issues the schools were going through,
1) Candidates were forced to pay a double registration fee to sit for national exams, while public school candidates were charged 2 dollars, Candidates in private low schools were paying 4 dollars for the same. This is because schools were not registered so they had to take all their Budget without support from MoE.
2) When results of the national exams came out, candidates from Private Low-Cost Schools were not selected to join high schools, since these schools were not registered with MoE, did not have exams centers, and did their exams as private candidates, private candidate was not considered by MoE of Education for high schools selection
3) Negative perception from MoE officials, they used to hate owners of private low-cost schools, calling them people taking advantage of the poor in the name of education. This even created the name non-formal schools (name initially given to private low-cost schools).
4) Private low-cost schools were not allowed to participate in co-curriculum activities. Schools Calendar for games included Ball games, athletics, songs, and drama. Schools prepared for the games, but when they applied to participate in schools competition, they were denied the chance to participate. This was a big let-down to children and their parents
5) During annual meetings for principals and elite private schools’ owners with Ministry of Education officials, directors of private low-cost schools were locked out or refused to participate in these very important meetings, in most cases when directors from private low-cost schools would request to speak, during the introduction, they will be laughed at.
6) Schools were/are always threatened with closure since most of the schools don’t meet basic education requirements for operations, MoE takes advantage of these situations and gives letters for closure, and directors always lived in fear of losing their schools and children.
The above facts made the directors of all private low-cost schools come together and KISA was born.



KISA is governed by the esteemed Board of Directors, consisting of nationally elected officials who bring a diverse range of expertise to the organization. This includes Chairperson Edah Muiruri, a former Senior Deputy Secretary at KNEC, who is well-versed in educational matters. The Board also comprises individuals with backgrounds in law, finance, communications, and accounting, who collectively steer the association towards success. Alongside the Board, there are 4 non-director members who are nominated by the governing council for their specialized knowledge in areas such as education, finance, and corporate affairs, making a total of 7 members in this category.

Additionally, KISA has a dedicated NEC (National Executive Council) composed of 9 representatives from different regions across the country. These representatives, elected at the regional level, cover areas including Nairobi, Coast, Eastern, North & South Rift Valley, Central, Nyanza, North Eastern, and Western. The NEC plays a crucial role in overseeing the daily operations of the association and making important decisions that drive its activities forward. This structure ensures that KISA remains connected and responsive to the needs of its members at both national and regional levels.

To further enhance its reach and effectiveness, KISA has also established officials at the county, sub-county, and cluster levels. By decentralizing operations and bringing the association closer to the grassroots, KISA aims to effectively serve its large membership base and foster stronger connections within local communities.

Edah Muiruri

BoD Chairperson

George Mikwa

National Chairman

Philip Kimeu

National Treasurer

Charles Ochieng

Secretary General