The Alternative Provision to Basic Education (APBET) sector , which was formerly known as Non-Formal Education continues to play a critical role in increasing access to basic education especially in urban slums, informal settlements and in marginalised ASAL areas . The critical issue is that these areas have low participation rates in formal primary education schools.
Nevertheless, most APBET centres and schools follow the formal curriculum but there exists serious academic gaps regarding to standards of learning facilities and the wearing of uniforms.
Currently, the number of children enrolled in non-formal schools is unknown as most APBET centres are not under the radar of the Ministry of Education and do not receive government grants. Activists in non-government organisations providing education, estimate there are about 1,000 such centres. However, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology says in 2013 there were 392 registered APBET institutions in the country with the majority in Nairobi.
Although with establishment of the Free Primary Education programme in 2003, primary education is deemed to be free for all children, challenges facing children attending non-formal education programmes, include lack of an adequate database that would enable most APBET centres to access government grants. So far there is no effective APBE policy or service standard. The overall general management of most APBET centres is weak and most teachers in those institutions are untrained.