A good education is the key to a brighter future for every child we serve. But education comes in all shapes and sizes. The average school in Kenya looks very different than the average school in India. So here is your chance to learn a little more about where your sponsored child goes to school!

A young girl sits at a wooden desks holding a pencil, and bending over a piece of paper in deep concentration.

Education builds successful futures!

In Kenya…

The Calendar: The school year goes from January to November, with vacations in April, August and December.

The Progression: Most students do 1 year of Nursery School starting around age 4-6. Then they move up to Primary 1, and progress for eight years all the way to Primary 8.

In the last year of primary school, students take a big exam – their scores here determine their options for secondary school (high school). The higher their score, the better the high school they can get into. Most secondary schools are actually boarding schools – students live and study at school, only going home for breaks.

After secondary school, depending on their grades, students can continue on to college or trade school.

Fun Facts: Even though Kenya’s national policies encourage lower grade classes to be taught in the local native language, many teachers start using English in class even in Primary 1. In later grades, classes are taught almost exclusively in English.

Photo is taken from the back of a simple classroom, looking towards a teacher and a large blackboard. Students sit at wooden desks, some of them with their hands raised., ready to answer a question.

A class in action in rural Kenya.

In Uganda…

The Calendar: The Ugandan school year starts in February and goes through December, with one break in April or May and another in August or September.

The Progression: Starting at age 6, Ugandan students complete seven years of primary school, followed by six years of secondary school. After finishing Primary 7, students take the “Primary Leaving Exam,” which determines which secondary school they can attend.

Around age 13, students start secondary school. After four years they take their Ordinary level exams in a wide variety of subjects. In the final two years they focus more intently on fewer subjects, in preparation for their Advanced level exams.

There are limited universities in Uganda, so not every student is able to continue on to college after completing secondary school.

Fun Facts: Many schools in Uganda are boarding schools. Students as young as Primary 3 (9 years old) will live at their school, only returning home for breaks. Boarding schools can be a huge advantage for rural areas which are too far from a good school for daily travel.

A girl in a yellow school uniform flashes a big dimply grin at the camera. More students in similar uniforms gather around her in the background.

Students gather for a school assembly in Uganda.

In Peru…

The Calendar: The Peruvian school year starts in March, and runs through November or December. Peru is in the Southern Hemisphere so “summer” holidays are December to February. They also get a “winter” break sometime around July.

The Progression: Kids in Peru start out with 1 year of pre-school around age 5. Then, they continue on to primary school for Grades 1 through 6.

After primary school, there are five years of secondary school. For the first two years, students all follow the same general curriculum. For the last three, they split into two tracks, either academic or vocational.

Students following the vocational track can graduate from our equivalent of high school with hard skills in a specific trade, ready for the work force. Many can also choose to continue their training at a post-secondary technical school. Students who follow the academic track can continue on to university.

Fun Facts: There are a few schools which teach classes in Quecha or Aymara, but for the most part, lessons are in Spanish. This can make the early years of school very difficult for children who speak one of those native languages as their first language.

Students gather around a table coloring with brightly colored pencils.

Students work on their artistic skills in Peru.

In India…

The Calendar:  The start of the school year in India varies a lot depending on which state you’re in, and what level you’re at. For some primary and secondary students the year starts in April and ends in early March, for others it starts in June and ends in early May. Most University students start in July and end in May, with a break in June. Regardless of which schedule they follow, most students have a winter break at the beginning of January. Many schools also have a break for the Diwali festival in October or November.

The Progression: Early childhood education is important in India, but rarely accessible to poor and rural families. For some though, it can start as early as two years old with “play group,” followed by Nursery School, Junior Kindergarten, and then Senior Kindergarten.

Starting at age six, Indian students enter Primary school. They complete eight years of primary school and then two years of secondary school. At age 16 they then go on to two years of senior secondary school or junior college. These two years are often referred to as simply the “Plus 2.”

From there, students can continue on to University.

Fun Facts: Education is highly prized in India. Parents tend to have very high expectations for their children’s academic achievement, and Indian students are known for working incredibly hard.

Students sit on the floor in line eating dal bhat with their hands, and smiling at the camera.

Lunch break at a school in India.

In Haiti…

The Calendar: School typically starts in October and ends in July, with breaks for Christmas and Easter. Due to budget constraints, many students are on an abbreviated schedule where they only go to school half the day – allowing their teachers to work with an additional group of students during the other half of the day.

The Progression: Haiti students complete 9 years of “fundamental education,” which include six years of elementary school, followed by 3 years of secondary school. Many students in Haiti only make it through those nine years, if they make it that far at all. In theory though, those first nine years are followed by four more years of standard education, known as upper secondary school.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and sadly it shows in their education system. Only a third of Haitian students attend secondary school (high school), and Haiti’s literacy rate hovers around only 60%.

Fun Facts: Most Haitians grow up speaking Haitian Creole, but most schools teach classes in French.

Two students in red plaid uniforms - one with giant red bows in her hair - grin shyly at the camera as they wait in line.

Waiting for lunch at a school in Haiti.

In all of these countries, at least some levels of primary education are “free.” But the high cost of books, materials, and uniforms make school far from free. On top of that, government schools aren’t available in all locations, forcing families to rely on expensive private schools. If you would like to help students in any of these countries stay in school and complete their education, please prayerfully consider sponsorship!