Relationship between unit cost of education and students' academic performance in public secondary schools in Gucha District, Kenya
Despite the large amount of resources allocated to the education sector, students' academic performance has been declining in the face of die rising cost of education. To this end, this study was intended to determine the relationship between the Unit Cost of Education (UCE) and academic performance in public secondary schools of Gucha District. The study objectives were to determine the UCE in public secondary schools in Guclia District, relate the UCE to the quality and quantity of physical facilities, relate the UCE to students' academic (KCSE) performance and seek for the views of the respondents on the measures schools can adopt to reduce the UCE if found to he unaffordable. The study employed ex-post facto research design and targeted 170 BoG chairpersons, 170 principals and 680 class teachers in the public secondary schools in Gucha District along with the LIEU. Of the 170 schools, 34 (20034o) schools were proportionately selected by use of stratified sampling technique from which a sample of 20% of the population BoG chairpersons (34) and principals (34) as well as 10% class teachers (68) was drawn. The DEO Gucha District was purposively included in the sample. This yielded a sample size, of 137 respondents. Quantitative data was analyzed using modes and the percentages and presented using frequency tables and graphs. Content analysis technique was employed to analyze qualitative data in form of respondents' personal opinions. The findings include the fact that the UCE for day schools ranged between Kshs. 15 690 and Kshs. 24 290 while that of boarding schools ranged between Kshs. 25 350 and Kslis. 32 390, schools were charging extra levies, and day schools were worse off in both physical facilities endowrnent and performance in KCSE. On the relationship between UCE and students" performance, some schools whose UCE was found to be high load attained a mean score of 6.6 (C+) and some had attained a mean score of as low 3.7 (school B). On the other hand, public day schools whose UCE was found to be low, there were wide variations in performance. Some attained a mean score of 6.7 (C+) and others as low as 1.7 (D-), hence there was a positive relationship between KCSE. Mean scores and the UCE as evidenced by the performance of majority public boarding schools. The study recommended that the UCE be reduced by improving general school management more particularly financial management and effective budget implementation, school principals to be stopped from arbitrarily increasing school fees, for example on the extraneous levies which inflate the UCE thus making education unaffordable, a fund should be created to finance physical facilities in day secondary schools and more well-endowed day schools should be set up within reasonable walking distances as one way of directly increasing not only access to secondary education but to bring down the cost of education.