Effect of free primary education policy on teacher adequacy, teacher effectiveness and coping strategies in public primary schools in Kakamega South District, Kakamega County
Lidoro, Charles Mulinya
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Free Primary Education (FPE) was introduced in Kenya in January 2003. Since its inception, it has posed a number of challenges to the government, school managers and other education stakeholders. One of the major challenges is that FPE policy has led to an influx of pupils into various c lasses at primary level of schooling against a stagnant teacher population. This study was intended to investigate the effect of FPE policy on teacher adequacy, teacher effectiveness, and how the government, school managers and other stakeholders are coping with the issue of high enrolment rates. Kakamega South District was the locale for this study. This was because of its rural setting since placement of teachers has been favouring urban schools. Two, the district was mentioned amongst those with the high poverty index in the country. The research utilized descriptive survey design. Out of a population of 68 public primary schools in Kakamega South Distract, a sample of 23 schools was selected using systematic random sampling procedures. A sample was drawn from fixed intervals on the list of schools arranged using school codes in an ascending order, after determining the sampling constant `K', A pilot study was conducted in six (6) primary schools prior to the administration of the research instrument. Validity of the items in the questionnaire was ensured by seeking the counsel of the researcher's supervisors and other research experts; while the reliability was established by use of Cronbach's alpha (a). A questionnaire was then administered to primary school heads. An observation schedule for the sampled schools was administered too. A structured interview schedule was administered to the District Education Officer. A Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme facilitated the organization of the collected data before being presented using ratios, tables, percentages and figures. Collected data was then analyzed using descriptive statistic. The research findings indicated that public primary schools in Kakamega South District experienced an increase in pupil enrolment against a fluctuating teaching population after the introduction of FPE. This had a negative effect on teacher adequacy and effectiveness. The average Pupil- Teacher Ratio (PTI') rose from 32:1 in 1999 to 45:1 in 2008 against the recommended 35:1 This compromised the performance index in the national examinations (K. CPE). Based on research findings; it was recommended that the government of Kenya employs more trained teachers so that there is optimal growth in both the number of teachers and that of learners. Moreover, the government should ensure equitable distribution of teachers across the board and seek to improve on schools' physical facilities in order to sustain FPE programme for the enhancement of quality education in the country.
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