History

Oxford University Press East Africa Ltd. is a leading educational publisher in the Eastern and Central African regions. It is a branch of Oxford University Press, under Oxford Education.

The branch was started in 1954 in Nairobi, Kenya, as an editorial and sales office. Warehouses were established in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Kampala, Uganda.

OUP East Africa set the pace in local publishing with the legendary Introduction to East African Poetry and the innovative Progressive Peak English Course. These successful courses were soon followed by Modern Christian Living and GOAL Secondary English.

An authority in reference books publishing, OUP East Africa published its first edition of Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu, a Kiswahili dictionary for schools and general use in 1981. This was followed by Kamusi ya Semi za Kiswahili (a dictionary of Swahili sayings).

In 1997, OUP East Africa soared to new heights in educational publishing by launching the authoritative English teaching and learning course book, New Progressive Primary English. Other course books such as Science in Action and Progressive Primary Mathematics were also added to the growing backlist.

With a fast-growing list of high quality user-friendly books, OUP East Africa has maintained market leadership in the region. Even with the shift in the Kenyan education curriculum framework, it has continued to be a trailblazer in the development and production of quality competency-based curriculum titles that have received approval for use in schools. 

Following the introduction of the new curriculum in Kenya in 2018, Oxford University Press East Africa (OUPEA) achieved a significant milestone by having the highest number of approved Learners Books for Grades 1 to 3. Demonstrating a commitment to educational excellence and teacher support, OUPEA launched the first-ever Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) teacher resource material, ‘The Teacher’s Companion.’ This comprehensive guide provides practical insights and tools to help educators understand CBC principles and design engaging learning experiences that empower learners with 21st-century skills.

 In 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, OUPEA took on the crucial task of equipping teachers with the necessary skills to support digital learning and engage learners and parents during this challenging period. Beyond curriculum-related training, OUPEA offered sessions on mental health resilience, financial health, and parental engagement. Over 200,000 teachers benefited from this extensive support, demonstrating OUPEA’s dedication to the holistic well-being of educators and students.

In 2021, OUPEA launched ‘Oxford Eduzone,’ a local digital solution designed as an all-in-one hub for digital classrooms. This innovative platform provided everything needed to deliver digitally enhanced lessons, ensuring learners remained engaged and on track.

In 2023, Oxford University Press partnered with the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) to promote the use of dictionaries and kamusi as essential resources in Junior Schools. This partnership included an endorsement from KESSHA, encouraging school heads and teachers to adopt Oxford dictionaries for language teaching and learning.

In 2024, Oxford University Press will celebrate 70 years of excellence in publishing in Kenya, marking a remarkable milestone as the longest-established publisher in the country. This celebration honors OUPEA’s enduring legacy of contributing to educational development and academic scholarship in East Africa. Today, OUPEA continues to publish books for the East African market, supporting curriculum changes in Uganda and Tanzania and also distributing books to Rwanda.