Financing special needs education in the context of free primary education: a study of puplic schools in Bugoma district, Kenya
Epari, Charles Ejakait
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The Koech Commission (1999) noted that apart from the costs met by the parents, and the government's budgetary allocation, other sources as well as the extent of their funding to the education sector were unknown. With the implementation of FPE and the inclusive education policy, there was need to identify these other sources of funds as well as investigate their adequacy in financing SNE. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate the financing of special needs education in public primary schools in the context of free primary education (FPE) in Bungoma District. The review of related literature showed that there was a gap in data on the sources and adequacy of funds for SNE in Kenya, hence the need for this study. The study employed the survey design with data being collected through questionnaires, focus group and key informant interviews. Both random and purposive sampling techniques were employed to draw the sample from the district population. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques were employed in data analysis and results presented through tables, pie charts and column and bar graphs while qualitative data was organised categorically and presented in narrative form. The study found that the government was the largest source with 51% of the total SNE funds. Development partners gave (19.8%), parents (11.5%), business companies (3.9%), among other sources. Majority HTs (95%) indicated that these funds were inadequate for SNE with the greatest shortfall being experienced in special equipment. Forty out of the 55 pupils (72.7%) dropped out of school in 2003 because of financial reasons. These comprised of 21 boys (38.2%) and 19 girls (34.5%). Cultural beliefs and poverty among parents, coupled with inadequate funding were some of the challenges facing the financing of SNE. The main conclusion of the study is that the FPE initiative, as well as the other current financial sources, is inadequate for the provision of SNE in public primary schools and it is recommended that new sources of funds for SNE be identified.