Influence of Government Subsidy on User Charges in Public Day Secondary Schools in Suba District, Homabay County-Kenya
Omondi, John Buers Aduogo
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The government of Kenya in 2008 introduced Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) to make secondary education affordable and hence enhance access to secondary • education by introducing a tuition subsidy of ksh 10,625 per student and also issuing fee guidelines outlining what schools should levy as user charges for secondary education. However the user charges levied by public secondary schools are currently higher than it used to be before the FDSE subsidy was introduced prompting this study to find out the response of user charges in secondary education to the Government Subsidy. The purpose of this study was therefore to find out the influence of government subsidy on user charges in secondary schools in Suba district. The objectives of the study were first, to determine the user charges levied in Day Secondary Schools in Suba district; second, to establish the variance between fee guidelines and user charges levied by day secondary schools in Suba district; and thirdly to identify the causes of variation between recommended fees and the user charges in day secondary schools in Suba district. The findings of this study are useful to the government when allocating FDSE subsidy as a strategy to enhance education access to all including the poorest of the poor and to provide more knowledge in the field of social demand for education. The study is based on the Theory of Demand and Supply introduced by Alfred Marshall (1842-1924) and incorporates Demand-side Education Financing, the theory's application to education financing by Harry Patrinos and David Ariasingam in 1997. The study was done as a survey by design in Suba District having a target population of 25 principals, 22 deputy principals and 25 Parents Teachers Association (PTA) chairpersons for the 25 secondary schools in the district as well as the District Educational Officer. A sample of 13 secondary school principals, 11 deputy principals, and. 13 PTA chairpersons were selected using. stratified sampling method and the District Educational Officer picked using purposive sampling method. The study employed use of questionnaires, interview schedules and document analysis guide as data collection instruments. The instruments were presented to three experts in economics of education to evaluate the content validity. Piloting was done in five schools outside the actual study sample to . ensure construct validity. The data was then analyzed through the use of mean, percentages and frequencies and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The results were then presented in form of tables and graphs. This report can be useful to the government, schools, parents and other secondary education stakeholders as well as those scholars in the field of Economics of Education to determine the realistic user charges that can form a basis for establishing how the government and households can share the financing of secondary education in order to achieve effective implementation of FDSE programme that is affordable and to add more knowledge concerning education financing. The study established that day secondary schools' user charges averaging sh. 15,243 are currently more than sh. 11,628 that was being levied before the government subsidy was introduced in 2008. The ANOVA test revealed there is a difference from•.the recommended fees which is not random variation. The study therefore found out that the subsidy tranche delays, inflation and cost of living, and low enrolments are among the factors that have led to higher user charges above that recommended in the government fee guidelines. The study's conclusion is that the subsidy has influence on user charges but this has been watered down by the factors listed above. The study recommends that the government subsidy should be increased if it is to effectively influence the user charges in secondary education.