Urban Education Differentials and Marginalization: The Case of Educating the Youth in Nairobi's Informal Settlements

  • Kinuthia Macharia
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 19)

In this chapter, I will discuss an array of issues; the most pertinent being the disillusionment of many of Kenya’s urban poor who, like the majority of rural-urban migrants, moved to the city with the hope of finding jobs and improving their economic wellbeing as well as achieving new optimized opportunities. I will also look at how this hope for improved lives has been elusive for the parents and now for the children through a process of unrealized education objectives, massive drop-outs or push-outs, un-conducive learning environment due to area violence, dirt and filth, and lack of family support. This will provide some understanding of the plight of the many poor in urban areas and particularly in the informal settlements (slums) of Nairobi, Kenya. Other questions to be dealt with here include how the informal settlements themselves came about in a city that was originally planned for Europeans; how has the presence of these informal settlements perpetuated socio-economic inequalities in Kenya’s urban areas, and particularly in Nairobi, Kenya’s largest city; and what is being done and what should be done to bring about some form of social justice in the goals of “education for all” especially the youth from poor families – most of them in the large informal settlements of Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho, Mukuru?


Informal Sector Informal Settlement Socioeconomic Inequality Urban Migrant Street Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aduda, D. (September 12, 2002). Timely move to boost studies. From the Archives of the Daily Nation. Nairobi: Nation Media Group.Google Scholar
  2. Government of Kenya. (1993). Basic education for all: Jomtien country profile. Nairobi: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  3. Government of Kenya. (2003). Free primary education policy. Nairobi: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  4. Logan, J., Oakley, D., & Stowell, J. (2003). Segregation in neighborhoods and schools: Impact on minority children in the Boston Region. Available at:
  5. Macharia, K. (1980). Poverty alleviation: The case of Kiandutu slum in Thika. B.A. dissertation: Sociology Department, Nairobi, University of Nairobi.Google Scholar
  6. Macharia, K. (1997). Social and political dynamics of the urban informal economy: The case of Nairobi and Harare. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  7. Macharia, K. (2006). Social context of the Mau Mau movement in Kenya (1952–1960). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  8. Marx, K. ([1894], 1972). Capital 3 Vols. London: Lawrence and Wishant.Google Scholar
  9. Mburugu, E. N., & Adam, B. N. (2001). Families in Kenya. A monograph in Report to the Office of the President. Nairobi, Kenya.
  10. Ngau, M. M. (1996). Monitoring and evaluation of the five street child rehabilitation projects in Nairobi. Final Report submitted to the German Agency for Technical Co-operation. Nairobi, Kenya.Google Scholar
  11. Ouma G. W. (2004). Education for street children in Kenya: The role of the Undugu society. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.Google Scholar
  12. Tooley, J. (June 26, 2005). “Give Africa a private schooling” in Times Online., London, UK.
  13. United Nations. (2005). United nations Gender Report. New York, UNGoogle Scholar
  14. World Bank. (1995). Kenya poverty assessment. (Report No. 13152-KE) Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  15. World Bank. (1998). World development indicators 1998 [CD-Rom] Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kinuthia Macharia
    • 1
  1. 1.American UniversityU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations