Effect of free primary education on enrollment in private schools in kenya: A case of Kiambu municipality in the county of Kiambu, Kenya
Fees payment in primary schools in Kenya has been highly subsidized since independence culminating in the declaration and implementation of free primary education programs in 2003. As a result, enrolment in public primary schools increased. The enrollment statistics are well documented since they are used as a basis for financing. An enrolment level in schooling institutions is in most cases determined by a variety of both economic and non-economic factors (psacharapolous & Woodhall 1985). Knowledge of the extent to which these factors influence enrolment in learning institutions is of great importance to Educational planners and policy makers. Educational policy makers must take into account the effect of factors such as tuition, uniform, culture geographical set up, social - economic and environmental factors and how they are likely to influence enrolment in schooling institutions. What is not known is the effect the free primary education in public primary school has had on enrollment in private primary schools and what that portends in policy decision- making. This study therefore sought to establish the effect of free primary education on enrollment in private schools in Kiambu Municipality District. Specifically the study sought to determine whether free primary education has affected enrollment in private primary schools in Kiambu Municipality District. The study also sought to find out factors that influence enrolment in Private Primary Schools in FPE era and recommend strategies which Private Primary Schools should adopt to improve the quality of education. The study employed an exploratory descriptive survey design. The study was based on the systems theory. The target population included 25 heads of private primary schools and 20 heads of public schools in Kiambu Municipality District. The study employed simple random sampling technique. In total the researcher sampled 4 private primary schools out of 25 in the whole district and 4 public schools out of 20 in the whole District; this represents a 20% sample size of the target population. In data collection, questionnaires, interview schedule and document analysis were used. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics in accordance with the research questions. In addition, Data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The results of the data analyzed were reported by use of tables and frequency distributions. The findings of the study were: The enrollments increased in public primary schools due to the introduction of free primary education which resulted to decreased enrollments in private schools, with poor performances and congestions in public schools, enrollments increased in private schools as noted in the year 2007, Provision of physical, teaching and learning resources in public schools has not been adequately provided, the physical, teaching and learning resources in private schools are adequate, cost of education in private schools is so prohibitive and out of reach for a majority pupils in poor households, the pupil-teacher ratios has no relationship with quality of, teachers in public schools are more academically qualified than teachers in private schools, feeding programmes retain pupils in schools, good performances in private schools forced the enrollments of pupils to go up in private schools and the method of teaching had an effect on performance and the general quality of education. Recommendations are: the study recommends for government's intervention to insulate the poor from such high costs, to reduce the unit cost of education, the private schools should increase enrollments to optimal levels, public schools should bench mark on best management skills from private schools, government to subsidize private primary education by offering grants and bursaries, public schools should provide more physical facilities to cater for more pupils by establishing new schools, and the government should encourage the establishment of more private schools.