Administrative constraints in the complementary role of government and community in implementing free primary education in Samburu District-Kenya
Werunga, Grace N.
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Kenyan households are enjoying the privilege of having their children in primary attend public schools without payment of levies. The study provides a critical analysis of administrative constraints in the role the government and community are playing in implementing free primary education in Samburu District. The main issues of concern include access, retention, participation, survival, internal efficiency, equity, quality and relevance. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. Questionnaires were used to collect data from headteachers, teachers and education officers, while focus group discussion were used to collect data on parents. Samburu District has 115 public primary schools spread in six divisions. A sample survey of about nine schools identified through purposive stratified sampling were conducted. The sample was limited to two divisions partly because of financial constraints and the vastness of the district. The sampling criterion was based on socio-economic and location consideration. Economic consideration was based on income levels of the population while location focused on rural and urban areas. Headteachers of the nine schools, four teachers from those schools and members of the Parental Association Committee were used. The teachers sampled were spread across the four levels of primary schools stratum, i.e lower primary (class one and two), mid lower (class three and four), mid upper (class five and six) and upper classes. The selection method was done randomly on the part of teachers and education officers while parents were by convenience. The choice of Parents Association Committee members was done because of their proximity to the school management. The parents' committee was at an advantageous position and was easily accessible to the school management. The parents helped the researcher get the actual position of free primary education on the ground. Education officers on the other hand were familiar with government policies and how it addressed issues of concern in this study i.e access, participation, retention. In focus group discussion the head teacher made prior arrangements with the P.T.A members where, by using the FGD guidelines the researcher went through the questions as parents responded. A pilot study was conducted in one selected school so as to test the validity and reliability of the questionnaires. Procedures used in pre-testing the questionnaires were identical to those that were used during the actual study. This enabled the researcher have meaningful observations. It also helped detect deficiencies like, unclear questions and insufficient space to write the responses. Questions that were vague were also revealed, in that respondents interpreted them differently. Orodho (2004). The supervising expert gave the required guidance to determine the validity of the instrument. Having answered questionnaires and questionnaires' responses being scored manually will reveal reliability of the instrument. A comparison between answers obtained in both scores was made. The data collected was subjected to both Qualitative and Quantitative analysis. While Qualitative analysis was in a narrative form, descriptive statistics was used for quantitative data, together with percentages, means and frequencies. This helped to determine that the instruments were valid and revealed that the anticipated analytical techniques were appropriate. Results revealed that there were major challenges facing primary school education in Kenya that include unsatisfactory levels of access and participation, declining quality and relevance, poverty incidence and internal inefficiencies. Over age enrolments, repetition rates, low completion rates, declining transition rates from primary education level to higher education levels and declining survival rates denote internal inefficiency. Primary school wastage have characterized trends in access to primary education. Other challenges evident include inefficiencies in resource mobilization, utilization and accountability, poor management of some learning institutions and over reliance of donor funding in development projects. Free Primary Education initiative aims at addressing the challenges relating to access and participation. However, close monitoring and evaluation are important in ensuring programme sustainability. The data contained in the report indicate that there was remarkable achievement in early 2003 with the country recording a gross enrolment rate of 103%. Completion and transition rate have averaged at 40% indicating significant wastage rate at primary school cycle. The study recommends elimination of barriers to access and participation, through construction of more primary and secondary schools and concerted effort and collaboration between the government, private sector, community and other stakeholders to ease overcrowding in urban schools and balance cultural factors and education.