Effectiveness of the bursary fund in enhancing equity in secondary education: a study of secondary education bursary fund (SEBF) In Kitui County, Kenya
Kwoko, Irene Koli
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The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of secondary education bursary fund in enhancing equity in its allocation in secondary schools among the poor and vulnerable groups in Migwani district. The objectives of the study were to: establish the structures put in place to ensure equitable distribution of the bursary fund according to laid down criteria and procedures by the ministry of education in Migwani district, establish the number of students who have benefited and the number of deserving cases who have not benefited from the bursary allocation across socio-economic groupings, find out how long it takes to distribute the allocated funds to the needy and if they are sufficient and to recommend ways in which the bursary allocation could be improved to enhance equitable bursary allocation in secondary schools. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. A study sample of 7 principals (23.1%), 138 students (21.4%) and five Constituency Bursary Fund Committee (CBFC) were selected through purposive sampling techniques. The study instruments included interview schedules for the school principals and the CBFC members, questionnaires for the students and document analysis in the sampled schools. Test-retest method was used to test the reliability of the questionnaires while validity of the instruments was determined through guidance from experts who included the supervisors. Data was coded and keyed in the computer for analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). Qualitative data was analyzed thematically according to objectives and presented in narration form according to objectives. Quantitative data were analyzed by use of descriptive statistics such as averages, percentages, mean and range. The findings were presented using frequency distribution tables, bar graphs and pie charts. The study revealed that the process of identifying the needy and deserving cases was hindered by nepotism, politics, flawed vetting process and inadequacy of fund. Therefore some needy and deserving cases failed to obtain the bursary funds. For instance, only a quarter of the applicants succeeded upon application of the bursary funds. The bursary funds also failed to enhance equity in its allocation due to the fact that the disbursement was indefinite and untimely. Recommendations drawn from the study are; the government should increase the bursary funds, the government should come up with mechanisms to reduce political interference, timely disbursement of bursary funds should be ensured and efficiency and fairness of management of bursary funds should be ensured by appointing people of integrity in the management committee and also allocating more time for vetting of the application form.