Challenges In Management Of Free Primary Education Funds In Public Primary School In Nyahururu District, Laikipia County, Kenya
Ndian'gui, Robert Mambo
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The purpose of the study was to examine the challenges in management of Free Primary Education funds in public primary schools in Nyahururu District of Laikipia County, Kenya.The study sought to: determine the level of training of public primary school managers in financial management; establish awareness of financial management guidelines among the school managers; establish the role of school committees in financial management; and identify the challenges they face on day-to-day management of school finances. Literature is reviewed on skills needed to effectively manage school funds; policy, legal, and institutional framework in schools; role of school committees; financial management challenges facing learning institutions; and a comparative analysis of public finance management in UK schools. The study was a descriptive survey. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the field. Stratified random sampling was used to select 10% or 7 schools from a population of 70 primary schools in the District as follows: Nyahururu Division which has the highest number of primary schools got 2 slots while all the other 5 divisions namely: Gituamba, Ng'arua; Salama, Muhotetu; and Oljabet got 1 slot each. Further, purposive sampling was used to select 56 School Committee Members as follows: the chair person, treasurer, and the representatives of: the District Education Board [DEB] (1), school sponsors' (1), the local community (1), local administration (1) and Parents Teachers Association [PTA] (2) from each of the seven sampled schools. Data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics; percentages and frequencies and results presented in summary tables and charts. The study established that a majority of public primary head teachers and school committee members are not trained or inducted on school financial management. This was found to compromise their ability to source for school funds, receipt and record school funds, procure the right teaching-learning resources, make payments of school credits, audit school accounts and report to stakeholders. Financial management guidelines awareness was also found to be high among both head teachers and committee members in the District and include: a condition that budgeting must be done before spending school funds; no withdrawal of school funds can be done without minutes approving withdrawal, signatures of the committee officials and the stamp of the school; and give priorities and incur expenditure according to vote heads. The study also established that the school committees are mainly involved in budgeting and. to a lesser extent, receipting, accounting, recording, auditing, and reporting of financial appropriations in the school. However, performance of these functions by the' committee members was found to be below average. Finally, the challenges facing primary school head teachers in the management of school finances. in Nyahururu District were established as: inadequate training in financial management, inability of primary schools to employ accounts clerks, schools are run on systems that are none inclusive to all stake holders, head teachers do not benefit from any regularly organized refresher courses, training and induction programmes on financial management. The study also found out that some schools do not benefit from regular inspection of school funds and' the management of FPE funds through the DEO's office creates room for complacency, corruption and ineptitude, and that there is unclear definition of the responsibilities of committee members which often . results into a conflict of interest.