Factors influencing community participation in the implementation of free primary education: a case of Kiharu Division, Murang'a county, Kenya
Kamau, Isaac Gitau
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Education is one of the social parameters through which the achievement of a society may be gauged. The provision of Education for all (EFA) is a critical achievement that transverses time and is supported by worldwide institutions and organizations dealing with development and human rights. The conception of Universal Primary Education (UPE) can be traced back to 1948, when the United Nations (UN) declared education as a basic right for all. The 1948 declaration was further stressed at the 16th session of United Nations General Assembly held in 1962, which acknowledged illiteracy as the main obstacle to the social and economic growth of third world countries, Kenya included. Owing to its massive significance, investment in education has been a key objective of development for many countries all over the world. This study was prompted by the realization that community participation in any development initiative including education is very important. Without involvement and cooperation of all stakeholders, development may remain elusive. On the same note, attainment of UPE and sustenance of Free Primary Education (FPE.) requires an active participation of all key stakeholders. Among the objectives, the study sought to identify avenues for community participation in implementation of the FPE program in Kenya, establish the extent of community participation in implementation of FPE, establish factors that influenced parents and community participation in the provision of FPE as well as the challenges faced in efforts to realize community participation in the implementation of the FPE and recommend on the achievement of optimum community participation in the provision of FPE in Kenya. The study locale was Kiharu Division in Murang'a County of Kenya. Random Sampling yielded a sample of sixteen schools selected from the three educational zones in the division. A total of fifty-six respondents were randomly selected and interviewed. A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted in each of the three educational zones in the division. The study concluded that there were various factors that influenced community participation in the implementation of FPE which were: school funds management, academic performance of schools, and the leadership of school management committees, school projects management and gender. The study recommended that the government and other stakeholders need play critical roles to enhance community participation in the provision of FPE. These recommendations included; the need to clearly define roles of various stakeholders, proper constitution of school management committees and sensitizing various stakeholders on their roles. Related areas that were suggested for further research were: The utilization of devolved funds in addressing challenges related to the provision of FPE and the impact of FPE on pupils' transition to secondary school.