The Subsidized Secondary Education (SSE) was introduced in 2008 as part of Kenya’s effort to attain Education for All (EFA) by 2015 as indicated in the Sessional Paper no. 1 of 2005. The Subsidized Secondary Education was implemented in February, 2008 by the Coalition Government to reduce the cost of education for parents, increase access to education, increase academic performance, increase class attendance and increase transition rates from primary to secondary school in line with the United Nations aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. However, the effect of the government subsidizing secondary education on enrollment, retention and quality of education has never been documented in Rongai Sub- County, Nakuru County. Therefore, this study sought to bridge the gap by determining the effect of subsidized secondary education on enrollment, retention and quality of education in Rongai Sub-County, Nakuru County. This study was guided by classical liberal theory of equal opportunity. The study used Convergent Parallel Mixed Methods research design. This involved collecting both qualitative and quantitative data simultaneously. The study population involved 39 principals each representing their school, 2 teachers from each of the 39 public secondary schools as well as the education officer of Rongai Sub-County. Purposive sampling was used to select two teachers from each school and the principal of each school in Rongai Sub-County. Data were collected using questionnaires and interview schedules. To ensure validity of the instruments, the research instruments were given to the research supervisors for expert judgement to cross check and evaluate content validity. Piloting of questionnaires was done in two schools from Nakuru Town West Sub-County. Cronbach’s alpha was used to test reliability of the questionnaires that were used in the study and a correlation coefficient 0.823 obtained thus was considered acceptable. Data entry was conducted using SPSS software. Descriptive statistics such as mean, frequency tables and percentages were also used. Quantitative data obtained were then analyzed using paired sample t-test. Hypotheses were tested at 5% level of significance while qualitative data obtained by interview were analyzed through thematic approach. The results obtained from public secondary schools in Rongai Sub-County revealed that there was a statistically significant effect of SSE on student enrollment rates in public secondary schools in Rongai Sub-County. There also appeared to be no statistically significant effect of SSE on student retention rates in public secondary schools in Rongai Sub-County. It also come out that there are a number of socio cultural factors that affect the enrolment and retention of students and quality of education after the introduction of SSE policy. The findings from this study inform the National and County government of Nakuru and Kenya at large, on the need to; employ more teachers to reduce the workload and ease the burden on parents paying for B.O.G teachers, formulate policies that will require schools to come up with alternative sources of financing secondary education in order to break the overdependence on Subsidized Secondary funding that does not seem to be sustainable from the findings of the study and need to put in place mechanisms to ensure that each school is given a condition of raising a minimum threshold of income for financing secondary education, before it qualifies for the free day secondary funding among others.

1.1 Background to the Study
Education is widely seen as one of the most promising paths for individuals to realize better, more productive lives and as one of the primary drivers of national economic development. Education is a human right in view of the observation that it does not only unlock and protect other human rights but it also helps individuals to secure good health, liberty, security, economic well-being, and opportunities (Mazur, 2006). Education plays a key role in human development, through the acquisition of skills and knowledge for the enhancement of people’s capabilities to effectively improve their well-being so as to actively participate in Nation Building (United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP, 2002) with secondary education mostly aiming at promoting growth of the individual towards maturity and self-fulfillment as a useful and well- adjusted member of the society (MORAD, 2000).

Education helps to reduce poverty by developing productive skills of the citizens and by equipping people with the skills they need to fully participate in the economy and society. It creates self-awareness in an individual, giving him/her skills and attributes to cope intelligently with the fast-changing society and to improve his/her quality of life (World Bank, 1995). Education promotes health and nutritional status of families. Education also contributes to national development by equipping people with the skills with which they can participate in planning for development, providing managerial skills and promoting positive community image for national and societal unity (World Bank, 2012).

United Nations declared education as a human right by saying that everyone has the right to education. It also noted that education shall be free at least in the primary and fundamental stages for example primary education shall be compulsory while Technical and Professional education shall be generally available to all on the basis of merit (United Nations educational and scientific organizations (UNESCO, 2007).

In the world, quality education is indispensable for individual and national development alike. Secondary education provides a bridge between primary education, the labour market and tertiary education. As a bridge therefore, decision makers face a basic choice; whether secondary education is to be the weakest link of the education system or its cornerstone (Benavot, 2004). Investment in education has been the hallmark of all nations of the world. The benefits of secondary education in a multiplicity of ways contributes to individual earnings, is associated with improved health, equity and social conditions. In buttresses democratic institutions and the quality of secondary education affects the level above and below it like primary and tertiary education (World Bank, 2005).

In Japan, the government policies provide for free education up to secondary school level. Those of school going age have no option other than attend school to acquire education that is fully funded by the government (Nyaga, 2005). In the United States of America the Federal government supports Public education. The government is empowered by the constitution welfare clause, Article 1 section 8, to levy taxes and collect revenues for the support of education. However, the congress decides the extent of such support (Nyaga 2005). The situation in Kenya is not different from that of Japan and America as the government and the communities participate in the provision of the Education (Nyaga, 2005).

Kenya has been trying to achieve the goal of universal education since independence in 1963, with mixed successes. Various approaches which were seen as likely to augment resources and define strategies for education financing more closely adapted to social and economic realities have been suggested and attempted. The most notable (Elimu Yetu Coalition, 2003) was the cost sharing framework, by which the government was to meet salaries of teachers and education administration costs while parents provided tuition fees and textbooks; communities on the other hand were to be responsible for putting up physical facilities and ensuring their maintenance (Government Of Kenya, (GoK, 2008).

The differential economic endowment of regions and even social groups, disparities in access to education emerged. The disparities were cost related since not all groups could marshal resources on equal footing. These cost sharing arrangement made parents feel exploited by school committees which were considered unsympathetic due of the burdens they imposed on them (Munya,1995). It is estimated that the policy increased household expenditures on education by about 33% to 44% of their annual incomes, with about 37.3% of this being spent on indirect costs like uniforms, books, transport, stationery and pocket money (Republic of Kenya, 2003).

In 2003, the Government of Kenya, following the 2002 election campaign pledge, introduced the Free Primary Education (FPE) policy in order to universalize access to primary education and increase educational attainment in the country (Republic of Kenya, 2005). This policy was followed later with the Subsidized Secondary Education (SSE) policy in 2008 which equally was aimed at accelerating enrollment and quality of secondary education in the country (Odhiambo, 2010). These policies had international backing and credibility, as these were part of the universally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and other internationally agreed protocols (Orodho, 2013).

The introduction of Subsidized Secondary Education was aimed at providing the economically disadvantaged with an opportunity to benefit from government sponsored education provision seeing the demand for higher education triple. The Kenya Government announced the release of.....

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