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Education for Expats in Nairobi

Expat living in Nairobi is an exciting experience. The city isn’t just the capital of Kenya, it’s also the “Safari Capital of the World”. While there are lots of opportunities for ecotourism, this isn’t what daily life in Nairobi is about. We introduce culture, healthcare, and schools here.
International schools are great places for expat kids to make new friends.

Education Options for Expat Children

Unfortunately, many public schools in Kenya suffer from a lack of funding and a shortage of highly qualified teaching staff. Thus, both expats and wealthy Kenyans frequently opt for private schooling or international schools. To be fair, one should add that most Kenyan families value their kids’ education very highly. They often make big sacrifices to send their children to a good school. Kenya has some extremely competitive government schools, where the local students with the best academic results go after primary education.

However, for expat kids who move a lot or will return to their home country soon, it’s probably easier to attend a school with an academic system that’s more widely recognized abroad than the Kenyan one. Furthermore, international schools often include a kindergarten and pre-school classes (sometimes even a nursery) for younger kids. If you need daycare for an infant or toddler, though, it may be best to ask other expat parents to personally recommend a nanny.

If you spend a lot of time traveling outside Nairobi, you might want to check out the boarding options that quite a few schools in Kenya provide. However, boarding schools, as well as private day schools, are rather expensive. Make sure to take tuition fees into account when you are planning your expat budget. It’s worth asking your employer if the company provides a school allowance. If they do, they should transfer the money directly to the school. If you get the allowance first, it might be taxed under Kenyan law.

The Many International Schools in Nairobi

  • Braeburn runs several private schools in Nairobi, e.g. on Gitanga Road and in Garden Estate. They mostly follow the English curriculum, and students take IGCSE as well as A-level examinations.
  • Deutsche Schule Nairobi caters to German-language expatriate families in the Kenyan capital. It has a German curriculum, and the medium of instruction is also German. The school is located on Limuru Road, opposite the Village Market shopping mall, and is within easy reach of Gigiri, Kitisuru, and Muthaiga.
  • GEMS Cambridge International School is an institution for English-speaking students in Karen. It offers the IGCSE exams, as well as British-style A-levels for graduates.
  • Hillcrest International School in Karen is mostly modeled after the British National Curriculum. The language in the classroom is English, and students can take IGCSE examinations.
  • The International School of Kenya is one of the few schools in the country that offer the IB diploma. Expat children in Nyari and Githathuru live particularly close to this school.
  • Expat parents in Nairobi who’d like their kids to receive a Christian education can choose among several international schools: Rosslyn Academy is located in Runda Estate and follows a US curriculum.  Rusinga School in Lavington and West Nairobi School in Karen are also private Christian schools, which follow the English and the US-American curriculum, respectively.
  • In addition to the English-language schools listed above, there are a few more British-style schools in Nairobi. In rural towns like Gilgil or Nakuru, you can find similar boarding schools as well.

For non-English-speaking expat families, there is a variety of third-country schools apart from the aforementioned German School of Nairobi:

  • The Netherlands School Society is a Dutch primary school situated off Ngong Road, on a small side street leading to Riara Road.
  • There is a Japanese school (website in Japanese only) in Karengata too.
  • The Lycée Denis Diderot (website in French only) in Upper Hill, next to the smart Yaya Shopping Centre, caters to the Francophone residents.
  • The Swedish School (website mostly in Swedish only) in Kileleshwa accepts students from all Scandinavian countries.

Before you move, ask your embassy in Nairobi which schools your compatriots prefer for their kids.

For more information on living in Nairobi and all of Kenya, especially on local transportation, please read our Expat Guide to life in Kenya.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Mario Rimardi

"Wish I had discovered InterNations before I relocated to Kenya. It's really helpful on both a private and a professional level. "

Caroline Hayes

"Expats on InterNations gave us valuable hints for finding an appropriate school in Nairobi for our two children."

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