INFLUENCE OF GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZED SECONDARY EDUCATION ON QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION AND INTERNAL EFFICIENCY OF PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KITUI COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Secondary education is regarded as the most important stage in the educational cycle of a child because it is the foundation for further education, training and work. The quality of instruction and internal efficiency of institutions providing it should be high if secondary school education is to achieve its objectives. However, the quality of instruction and internal efficiency of public secondary schools in Kitui county has been poor. Literature shows that the implementation of SSE led to increase in students’ enrolment in many schools. This may have negatively affected both quality of instruction and internal efficiency of schools in Kitui county. This study examined the influence of subsidized secondary education on quality of instruction and internal efficiency of public secondary schools in Kitui County Kenya. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. A sample of fifty nine (59) headteachers and two hundred and seventeen (217) teachers selected using purposive, proportionate and simple random sampling techniques participated in the study. Two data collection instruments namely; the headteacher questionnaire (HTQ) and teacher questionnaire (TQ) were used to collect data. The construct and content validity of the two instruments were examined by a team of five (5) experts from the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Management, Egerton University. The two data collection tools were also piloted for reliability using a sample of 15 teachers in 4 schools which did not take part in the actual study. The reliability coefficients were estimated using the Cronbach Alpha formulae. The reliability coefficients of HTQ and TQ were 0.71 and 0.83 respectively. The collected data was analyzed with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The analyzed data was presented in the form of frequencies, percentages, means standard deviations and t-test. The results of the study indicated that subsidized secondary education (SSE) was fairly implemented in Kitui county, had significant positive influence on the quality of instruction in schools but had no significant influence on the internal efficiency of schools. The findings of the study may be used by school administrators to optimize on use of subsidized secondary education resources to enhance quality of instruction and internal efficiency in their respective schools. The results may also assist the government to evaluate and improve on the implementation and allocation of subsidized secondary programme.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Education is not only a human right, but also a means of empowering society socially and economically. It enhances the ability of society to preserve and utilize the environment for productive gain and sustainable livelihood (European Union, 2013). Provision of education and training to all is fundamental to the success of the government’s development strategy (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics [KNBS], 2009). Studies by Psacharapoulos and Woodhall (1985) established that investment in education guaranteed higher individual returns than investment in alternative sectors of the economy. Maiyo (2006) noted that education is the root source of human, social, cultural, and economic capital and is perceived as legitimate in terms of both the individual and collective good. IBED (2005) observes that education results into explosive growth both at the national level and the global arena. KIPPRA (2008) points out that quality of instruction and efficiency in education is important in generating the opportunities and benefits of social and economic development. Since independence the government of Kenya (GoK) has placed a lot of emphasis on education as a way of empowering its citizens economically and socially (Republic of Kenya [RoK], 2005) the increased budgetary allocation to education over the last couple of years is an indication of the importance attached to education. The budgetary allocation to education rose from Kenya Shillings (Kshs) 73.48 million in 1963/1964 financial year to Kshs. 151.00 billion in 2009/2010 financial year (Republic of Kenya [RoK], 2011).

Secondary education is viewed as a critical level in the overall development of a country (Mingat, 2004). It plays a major role in creating the country’s human resource capital at a level higher than the primary level of education (Central Bureau of Statistics [CBS], 2004). Secondary school education is the foundation for further education, training and work (RoK, 2007). It is a transitional level between primary and tertiary education, and it provides a base for acquiring insights, skills and competencies required at the higher levels of education as well as in the labour market (Nicolai, Prizzon & Hine, 2014). According to World Bank (2008) financing secondary education is important as it constitutes an investment in education that yields considerable social and private returns. Lewin and Stuart (2003), points out that investment in secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya included provides countries with critical higher-level skills and knowledge for advanced learning and training of technicians, scientists, entrepreneurs and yields considerable social and private returns. Secondary education further plays a crucial role in preparing individuals for life-long learning and work (World Bank, 2007).

The main source of finance to secondary school education in Kenya since independence has been the government and fees paid by parents (Orodho & Njeru, 2003). However, access to secondary school education in developing countries has been low due to high levels of poverty (World Bank, 2005). In Kenya, the situation was aggravated by the implementation of cost sharing policy adopted by the government in 1988 (RoK, 1988). This policy led to a reduction in government budgetary allocation to secondary school education and a partial shift in financing secondary school education from the government to parents (RoK, 1999). Under the cost sharing policy, the government continued to pay teachers salaries while communities, sponsors and parents provided for physical facilities as well as teaching and learning materials (RoK, 1988). The provision of physical facilities and teaching–learning materials under the cost sharing programme was faced by limited finances. Secondary schools relied on fees paid by students as the main source of financing their operations, but many of the parents were either not able to pay fees at all or paid it irregularly (Mwangi, 2002). This led to low enrolment, low transition rates, low completion rates, high repetition and high dropouts’ rates.

The rationale for subsidizing secondary education in Kenya, has its basis in the development of primary education and low participation rates in the secondary level of education. Most third world countries appreciate the fact that the strength of secondary education is the primary education. Consequently most third world countries, Kenya included have subsidized primary education with the long term goal for developing secondary education. To this end, as early as 1964, the government established the Ominde Commission to chart the course of the development of the education sector. The Commission emphasized the need for universal primary education (KIPPRA, 2008). Partial implementation of this recommendation started in 1974 covering standards 1-4 and in 1978 was extended to standards 5-7. The intervention resulted in massive enrolments in primary schools; the gross enrolment rate (GER) level increased from 50 percent in 1963 to a peak of 105.4 percent in 1989.

However, the high enrolments were negatively affected by the cost sharing policy introduced in Kenya in 1988 (RoK, 1988). The policy hindered many children, especially those from economically marginalized groups, from accessing primary education (RoK, 2005). Education therefore became the preserve of the well-to-do members of Kenyan society. By December 2002, GER had fallen to 88.2 percent, compared with the 1989 level of 105 percent. Declining enrolment heightened concern among leaders; thus, the provision of free primary education became the main agenda during the general election of December 2002 in Kenya (UNESCO, 2008). Public subsidization of education all over the world is motivated by governments desire to address the social problems of access, equity and poverty (World Bank, 2002). Several studies done both in the developed and developing countries all point out to the fact that a subsidy influences, among other things, educational indices of equity and enrolment (Rono, 2005).

The government in an attempt to support the massive enrolments as a result of the free primary education initiative of 2003 and address the declining secondary enrolments introduced a government subsidy, subsidized secondary education (SSE) in 2008 to further subsidize secondary education to increase participation in the secondary level of education. The government subsidy of 2008, allocated Kshs 10,265.00 to each student yearly to take care of tuition materials, salaries of support staff, water and electricity in public schools (Ministry of Education [MOE], 2008), besides an existing government subsidy of paying teachers’ salaries since independence in 1963. The parents were only left with payment of levies to cater for boarding expenses, lunch for day schools, transport, infrastructure which is lower than what they used to pay before the advent of subsidized education (KNBS, 2009). The implementation of subsidized secondary school education resulted to a significant increase in enrolment, retention and transition rates (Verpoor, 2008; Barasa & Tsisiga, 2014). SSE also enhanced schools ability to purchase teaching–learning materials (Gogo, Ayodo & Othuon, 2010). A study conducted by Onyango (2012) in Kyuso district, Kitui County, Kenya revealed that SSE enhanced the completion rates of students in public secondary schools.

Despite the benefits associated with SSE, it has faced a number of challenges since its inception in 2008. Mauliko and Muhasi (2013) noted that increased enrolment has seriously overstretched the physical facilities in most schools especially boarding schools. Delays in release of funds to school have also been identified as a challenge in the implementation of the programme (Aboka, 2008). Late disbursements of funds have a negative effect on learning as schools reach levels where crucial learning materials lack in the schools. A study by Khamati and Nyongesa (2013) revealed that most of the school heads felt that they did not have adequate skills to implement and manage the SSE programe. The study also found out that a number of socioeconomic factors were leading to school drop outs and therefore reversing the gains made by SSE towards increasing enrolment, retention and completion rates. Mukua (2013) noted that most parents do not want to pay anything as they argue that secondary education is free. This poses a challenge to the schools administration as they try to collect other funds such as lunch in case of day schools, boarding fee in boarding schools, activity and building funds.

Besides enhancing access to education, subsidized education also affects quality of education and efficiency of schools (Chareonwongsak, 2005). According to UNESCO (2005), quality of education is concerned with health of the learners in school, safe environment, relevant curricula, instruction process and outcomes that link to national educational goals. Mulkeen, Chapman and Dejaegher (2005) point out that the determinants of quality education include expenditure per pupil, material inputs, teaching practices, teacher quality, school management and instructional materials. Instruction process which is the way content is delivered to the learners has also a major influence on education quality (Chareonwongsak, 2005). The World Bank (2009) identified methodology, student-teacher ratio, student-textbook ratio, teaching assignments as the main factors affecting quality of instruction. It was further observed that high student-teacher ratio, low student-textbook ratio, few teaching assignments and poor curricula delivery methodology compromise quality of education (UNESCO, 2005).

An education system is said to be efficient if maximum output is obtained from a given input or if a given output is obtained with minimum possible inputs (Chareonwongsak, 2005). Efficiency as such refers to the relationship between what is invested in education and the results coming from the system (Chiuri & Kiumi, 2005). The inputs in secondary education include teaching-learning resources, curriculum delivery process, students, teachers, support from the government, community and other stakeholders. On the other hand outputs refer to acquired attitudes and capabilities that students gain from an education system (Meier & Rauch, 2000). There are two types of efficiencies; external and internal efficiencies. External efficiency is concerned with learners’ ability to be productive in society upon completion of school.

Internal efficiency can be defined by a school performing well in examinations, well managed or give good results at reasonable cost (UNESCO, 2005). According to Rao (2007) determinants of internal efficiency in a school include dropout rates, repetition rates, transition rates, completion rates, utilization of school resources, adoption of new technology and class size. Subsidized secondary school education provides schools with funds which can be used to purchase inputs such as tuition materials which in turn affect internal efficiency of schools (Nyakeri, 2007). Provision of SSE funds is based on user fees of Kshs.10, 265.00 per student per year (MOE, 2008). However school managers regard the amount as inadequate to meet the school’s requirement to cope with increased enrolments (Kwamboka, 2009). This might have affected the quality of instruction and internal efficiency of schools.

Kitui County is one of the counties in Kenya that experienced high fee default rates and irregular fees payments before the implementation of subsidized secondary school education (CEO’s Office Kitui County, 2009). Low fees payment was mainly attributed to high poverty levels in the County (CBS, 2004). With the implementation of subsidized secondary school education in 2008, enrolment in the secondary level of education increased in the County from 46,100 in 2007 to 53,937 in 2008 (CEO’s Office Kitui County, 2012). As result of the increase in enrolment issues of overcrowded classrooms, high student-teacher ratio, less teaching assignments, overstretched physical facilities, inadequate equipment and wastage of limited resources emerged. The increased enrolment may have negatively affected the quality of instruction and internal efficiency of public secondary schools in the County. There was therefore need to examine the influence of the subsidized secondary education on quality of instruction and internal efficiency in public secondary schools in the County.

Statement of the Problem
Secondary education is regarded as the most important stage in the educational cycle of a child because it is the level at which learners are expected to acquire proficiency in both academic and applied subjects. It is also the foundation for further education, training and work. The quality of instruction and internal efficiency of institutions providing it should be high if secondary school education is to achieve its objectives. However, the quality of instruction and internal efficiency of public secondary schools in Kitui County has been poor as evidenced by emerging issues of overcrowded classrooms, high student-teacher ratio, less teaching assignments, overstretched physical facilities, inadequate equipment and wastage of limited resources. The low quality of instruction and internal efficiency in secondary schools

has been of concern to parents and educators as they lead to wastage and poor performance in examinations. Literature shows that the implementation of SSE led to increase in students’ enrolment in many schools. This may have negatively affected both quality of instruction and internal efficiency of schools in Kitui County. However, there has been no empirical evidence to support this. There was therefore need to examine the influence of the SSE on quality of instruction and internal efficiency in public secondary schools in the county.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of subsidized secondary education on quality of instruction and internal efficiency of public secondary schools in Kitui County.

1.3.1 Objectives of the Study
The study was guided by the following objectives;

i) To establish the success levels of subsidized secondary school education programme implementation of public secondary schools in Kitui County.

ii) To determine the influence of subsidized secondary school education on quality of instruction in public secondary schools in Kitui County.

iii) To find out the influence of subsidized secondary school education on internal efficiency in public secondary schools in Kitui County.

Research Questions
The study attempted to answer the following research questions:

i) What were the success levels of subsidized secondary school education programme implementation in public secondary schools in Kitui County?

ii) What was the influence of subsidized secondary school education on quality of instruction in public secondary schools in Kitui County?

iii) What was the influence of subsidized secondary education on the internal efficiency of public secondary schools in Kitui County?

Significance of the Study
The findings of the study may be used by school managers to enhance proper management of SSE programme which may lead to students being provided with adequate learning materials on time which in turn may lead to better performance. Teachers may also enhance optimal utilization of resources provided by SSE programme to enhance proper curriculum delivery.

The government may too use it to improve the SSE funds allocation criteria and evaluation of the programme. It may also be used to address the challenges facing SSE programme. Headteachers may use it to improve on how they manage resources provided by the SSE programme. Other researchers’ interested in quality of instruction and internal efficiency in schools under the SSE programme may also find the study useful.

Scope of the Study
The study covered all public secondary schools in Kitui County and involved fifty nine (59) headteachers and two hundred and seventeen (217) teachers. The study examined how subsidized secondary education was implemented, its’ influence on quality of instruction and internal efficiency.

Limitations of the Study
The records at the county education office were not up to date as the County was fairly new. This compromised quality of data. Kitui County being an Arid and Semi Lands (ASAL) area is sparsely populated hence schools were far apart and this consumed a lot of time in data collection. To address this problem the researcher used private means. Non response was also a limitation to study. To address the problem of non response more than the sampled respondents at each school were given questionnaires to fill depending on the number sampled. The researcher also allowed more time to the respondents who requested.

Assumptions of the Study
The following assumptions were made by the study:-

i) That the information provided by the respondents was a true reflection of what was on the ground.

ii) That all the teachers had the right qualification to teach in secondary schools.

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