Billionaires Behind Kenya’s Most Prestigious International Schools 

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Billionaires Behind Kenya’s Most Prestigious International Schools 
The Face Behind Some Of The Most Expensive Schools In Kenya Photo/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Today’s world puts emphasis on high quality and holistic education. This has made education a very lucrative investment. Various international schools have established a foothold in Kenya, with each promising to provide the best education money can afford. 

Below are the brains behind some of Kenya’s top international schools.

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Kenyatta Family 

The Kenyattas have a vast empire spread over several sectors including education. They are behind the prestigious Peponi School located along Thika Superhighway. The school is said to have an enrolment of over 3000 students from at least 15 nationalities. 

Established in 1989, the school follows the British curriculum and costs parents millions to get their kids enrolled in boarding school. 

The Gachukias

Daniel and Eddah Gachukias are the powerful couple behind Riara Group of Schools. The school has a kindergarten, primary school, high school and a university. The institution started as a Kindergarten 1974. This was followed by a primary school and Riara Springs Girls High School, both offering the 8-4-4 curriculum. They would open Riara International School, which offers the British International Curriculum, in 2015. Riara University, on the other hand, was established in 2012. 

School fees at Riara School ranges from Sh140k to Sh221k depending on the level (grade) of the student. 

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Mary Okello

Born in one of Kenya’s most powerful families, Mary Okello went on to be the first woman to become a bank manager in Kenya in 1977 and the first African representative to the World Women Banking Organization in 1985. 

Together with her husband, they founded Makini School in 1978. She later quit her banking job to give the school her full attention. Makini grew to have several schools including Makini Cambridge, Makini Ngong Road Campus, Makini Junior Academy, Statehouse Avenue Academy, Makini Junior Migosi, Makini School Kibos and Makini School Kisumu. 

In 2016, she sold a majority stake of Makini Schools to a UK based investor for over Sh1 billion. 

Also Read: Mary Okelo: The First Female Bank Manager In Kenya Who Founded Makini School

Lavers Family 

St Andrew’s School, Turi was founded in 1931 by Peter and Jean Lavers in 1931. The school sits on 500 acres of land. Upon its establishment, it attracted children from white settler families across Molo and its environs. Initially, 15 pupils were admitted to the school. 

In 1944, it was burnt down and rebuilt by Italian war prisoners. They began admitting Africans in the 70s before introducing IGCSE system for pupils between 13 and 18. 

Today, it is considered one of the largest international schools in East Africa. Their fees ranges from 304,000 to over 800,000 according to Business Daily. 

Terry Childs

Terry Childs is one of the founders of Braeburn Schools. Partnering with other investors, they bought the school when it was a dilapidated building with a handful of classrooms, minimal books and 20 staff members. The institution was on a 3 acre piece of land and school fees was Sh3000. The school expanded as they bought more plots and also established a high school. Having started out in Gatanga, Murang’a county, the school currently has branches in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nanyuki and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 

Also Read: Paul Mwangangi: The Engineer Who Founded Kitengela International School 

Mehta Family 

Brookhouse- opened in 1981, one of the school’s founders was Piyush Mehta. It is famous for hosting the 2013 presidential debate. School fees ranges from Sh220,000 to over a million. The owners sold the school to a UK based firm called Educas with Mehta reportedly making hundreds of millions from the deal. 

Dorothy Noad 

Dorothy Noad founded Hillcrest in 1965 as a pre-school. It grew into an international primary school in 1972 and a high school was introduced in 1975. The school offers the British Curriculum from pre-primary to high school. The institution has changed owners a number of times since it’s establishment. 

It is reported the school was bought by the late Kenneth Matiba in 1974. A pulse article in 2019 reported that a Dubai based firm called GEMS Education bought the school for Sh2.6 billion. In January 2022, it was acquired by Braeburn Schools. 

Peter Karoki 

Peter Karoki founded Woodcreek School after watching his daughter’s education journey. The accountant by profession established the school on 11 acres of land he had set aside for real estate. After spending more than Sh200 million, the school began operations in January 2018. It began with nine students in January 2018 and grew to 270 by March 2021. The school offers the British education curriculum.

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