An evaluation of the quality of free primary education in public primary schools in Machakos Municipality
Samson, Wanja Jane
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Introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2003 was meant to ensure access, retention and completion of primary education in line with the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number two. This resulted to large classes with limited facilities and learning materials, characterized by low learner achievement; which are threats to Quality Education. The topic of the study was `An evaluation of the quality of Free Primary Education in Public primary schools in Machakos Municipality.' The purpose of the study was to evaluate the quality of Free Primary Education (FPE) in public primary schools in Machakos Municipality. Quality of Free Primary Education (FPE) was measured by use of variables which the researcher presumed to be determinants of quality education. These variables included: Admission policy in FPE, Teacher-pupil ratio, Mode and frequency of pupil assessment in various grades, Adequacy of teaching/learning materials and physical facilities, Disbursement of funds in various schools and Performance trend of pupils in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) between 2004-2009. The stud- locale had 15 public primary schools with a total population of 14,848. The study population was 5616 in 5 public primary schools. The study adopted a Descriptive survey design whereby 5 schools were sampled through purposive sampling method. The respondents included: headteachers, senior teachers and classroom teachers, parents and pupils. Simple random sampling method was used to sample teachers. Parents were sampled through convenient sampling method while pupils were sampled using systematic sampling method by use of their class registers. The sample for the study included 5 headteachers. 5 senior teachers, 55 classroom teachers, 400 pupils and 10 parents. The total sample was 475. The instruments for data collection included: questionnaires for classroom teachers and pupils, interview schedules for Headteachers, Senior teachers and parents and an observation guide which was used by the researcher in assessing the physical facilities. The research instruments were piloted in 2 public primary schools for reliability. The pilot schools were not part of the study sample. A test-retest method was used to determine the reliability of the instruments. The validity of the instruments was determined by the experts (researchers supervisors among others). Data was coded manually and later analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively using descriptive statistics and Excel computer programme. The findings were presented on frequency tables, pie-charts, percentages, graphs and in narrative form. Conclusions were made based on the findings. The findings revealed that there was no admission policy, there were high teacher-pupil ratios, inadequate teaching-learning materials and physical facilities and inadequate funds which were late in their disbursement. This resulted to an average KCPE performance trend in public primary schools in Machakos Municipality, therefore necessitating the governments' and policy makers' intervention for Quality Education to be achieved.