English Teaching Assistant Award
Accepted Degree Levels
Grant PeriodJanuary Start
Grant Length9 Months
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi continues to place American Fulbrighters in Kenyan high schools to provide assistance to local English teachers through the U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program. Kenya is a diverse and multi-ethnic society with a population of more than 52 million. Kenya's capital city is Nairobi with the oldest and the second largest town being Mombasa followed by Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret. Kenya is divided into 47 counties governed by elected Governors. There are 43 ethnic groups, the largest being the Kikuyu, followed by Luhya, Kalenjin, Luo and others. Fulbrighters will enjoy Kenya's natural beauty and experience rich local culture. ETAs are mainly placed outside the capital cities where there is need for improving English Language skills for students. For many Kenyan students and teachers where ETAs are placed, previous interactions with Americans are minimal, and they know the U.S. mainly from watching movies and local media. Thus meeting and interacting daily with an American gives them a great opportunity to get to know Americans first-hand. ETAs play a crucial role as "cultural ambassadors" for the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
Kenyans are known to be friendly and hospitable and ETAs sharing their experience will be an added advantage and life changing experience for Kenyans. Kenya has no single culture that one can identify with; it consists instead of multiple traditions of the country's different communities. There are many things to adapt to, and a posting as an ETA in Kenya requires tolerance, patience, and maturity.
The grant period is 9 months. Fulbright ETA grants are required to start in mid-January 2025. The academic year begins in January and ends in November. Kenyan schools close for holidays in April, August, and November-December.
As a condition of their grants, all grantees may be required to participate in a Pre-Departure Orientation during the summer of 2024.
A mandatory in-country group orientation will be provided by the U.S. Embassy's Public Diplomacy Section.
Candidates must be mature, articulate, resourceful, motivated, flexible, have relevant teaching experience, and be committed to working in an instructional setting with Kenyan high school students. Graduate students or graduating seniors with a degree in English or education who are considering careers in English, international education, or TEFL/applied linguistics and have experience in teaching or tutoring will be considered. Other fields will be considered if combined with experience in working with high school students, teaching experience and/or coursework in pedagogy. Candidates with the ability to incorporate or organize extra-curricular activities – music, art, and dance, English Clubs, Reading and Writing Clubs – are preferred. Candidates with an interest in African languages, culture, and history are also encouraged to apply. Successful candidates will not just be teaching English but explaining the U.S. and its culture to local citizens who have little contextual understanding of America. ETAs are expected to exhibit a high level of professionalism and respect towards people in their host institutions and the community. They should also be prepared to work in challenging environments with living standards that are not as high as those in the U.S. or in Kenyan major cities.
Accepted Degree Levels
Foreign Language Proficiency
Additional Information: Kiswahili and English are the official languages in Kenya. A working knowledge of Kiswahili is necessary for every day interactions. Candidates interested in learning African languages, e.g., Kiswahili, and Kenyan culture and history are encouraged to apply. Kenya is a linguistically diverse country with 43 indigenous (local) languages. Apart from English there are other exogenous languages including Arabic, French, German, Hindi and Chinese. There is a high influence of the local language especially in schools from rural areas.
- Secondary School
- University/Post-Secondary Institution
Placement will be made by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, and will be at the secondary or college undergraduate level, with outreach to schools or institutions that have received sponsorship under U.S. government programs. ETAs will work with Kenyan high school instructors teaching English to students at selected public and private schools including boarding schools outside the major cities. ETAs are expected to engage in activities in the communities where they live.
The Secondary school level is a key transitional stage, during which youth between the ages 14-18 years are prepared to join higher education, training and thereafter the world of employment. Students’ achievement at this level is measured using the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations (KSCE) results. English is a core subject and English performance will help determine the students’ eligibility for courses in colleges and universities. The performance of English in the country has been declining and the English language was among the poorly done subjects in previous years.
Kenya has introduced a new 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum (Competency Based Curriculum) of education to replace the old 8-4-4 system. The new model places emphasis on the formative years of learning where learners will spend a total of eight years - 2 in pre-primary and six in primary - and the Junior Secondary (grades 7, 8 and 9) and Senior Secondary Education (grades 10, 11 and 12) will each take three years. This is the second time the country is adopting a new curriculum since the 1985 change-over from the 7-4-2-3 system. The system was phased out because it was deemed unsuitable for the new labor market that embraces technology. The old system laid more emphasis on academics as opposed to orienting learners for employment.
- Capital City
- Regional City
The U.S. Embassy will work with host institutions to assist ETAs in identifying and securing housing. ETAs in the same location can opt to share accommodation to help offset living and rental car expenses. Most ETAs placements will be outside major cities, in locations ranging from remote or rural areas to small cities. Housing situations vary from site to site. Many placements lack conveniences such as gyms, hot water, and large supermarkets/groceries. Candidates must be willing to adapt to local living conditions. Internet connectivity speeds will vary by location. This requires a high level of flexibility and adaptability on the part of ETAs. ETAs will receive a security briefing upon arrival and are expected to follow safety and security precautions.
Nature of Assignment
ETAs will be assigned as language-learning assistants but may also be responsible for teaching entire courses depending on the needs and resources of their placement. Kenyan ETAs are typically placed in pairs to work as a team and to support each other. At the host institution, ETAs will help with research, lesson plans and course presentation to improve the English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills of students for whom English is a second language. Approximately 25 hours per week will be spent assisting teachers in their classrooms or instructing their own classes, plus requisite class preparation time and school-related activities. Activities may include club academic workshops, parent-teacher conferences, sports clubs or events after school and on weekends. ETAs may assist in a variety of academic formats from one-on-one tutoring to co-teaching large groups to improve the English academic reading and writing skills of secondary school and university students for whom English is the medium of instruction at school. ETAs may also assist with English for Specific Purposes, curriculum design, training academic and administrative staff, information technology and school-related activities including English clubs. They may also participate in visits, discussions, experimental programs, essay contests, and debates. ETAs will also volunteer their time to assist the English Access Microscholarship Program and American Spaces English Language Program as well as Education USA advising. The U.S. Embassy may also call upon ETAs to assist in the local teacher training programs. ETAs are also encouraged to create their own projects with institutions or communities’ example English clubs, journalism clubs, book clubs, cultural days, debate clubs, etc.
Fulbright Program Management Contact
Fulbright Commission/U.S. Embassy Website
Fulbright Commission/U.S. Embassy Contact
Additional Online Resources
Kenya Immigration Department: https://fns.immigration.go.ke/infopack/passes/studentpass/