Cost saving measures in enhancement of internal efficiency in public secondary schools in Kericho district,Kenya
Conrad, Harry Masimbwa
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Following the successful implementation of Free Primary Education (FPE) in Kenya in 2003, focus has shifted on to ways of making Secondary Education (SE) more affordable and accessible to accommodate the envisaged high enrolments. The Government of Kenya (GOK) plan to subsidize tuition fee in secondary schools as from January, 2008 calls for immense support from all stakeholders to ease the likely immense financial implications. The purpose of this study was to investigate how public secondary schools in Kericho District were instituting cost - saving measures to enhance internal efficiency as well as to establish other options available for financing SE. The researcher adopted a descriptive survey design. Out of the 38 public secondary schools, 12 schools (31.6%) were selected for the study using stratified sampling techniques based on administrative divisions and whether they were girls, boys or mixed schools. A sample size of 12 respondents (headteachers) was requested to fill in a questionnaire on resource utilization while the researcher used a document analysis guide to collaborate responses given. The researcher sought expert opinion on the validity of the questionnaire while test - retest technique was used to attest reliability. The filled questionnaires were collected after one week and the data obtained analyzed using descriptive statistics. Presentation was done in tables and pie charts showing frequencies and percentages. The study established that only 3 (25%) of the schools were pure day, indicating the need to establish more that could be affordable to all. It was further revealed that only 3 (25%) of the sampled schools shared their facilities yet most didn't have adequate physical facilities. Concerning the teaching load, it was established that only 3 (25%) and 1 (8.3%) of Languages and Mathematics teachers respectively had over 29 lessons a week. Though all the head teachers 12(100%) accepted payment of fees in kind and 9 (75%) of the schools engaged in Income Generating Activities (IGAs) to supplement funding, all the schools had fees arrears as at 31st Dec, 2007. Out of these, 5 (41.7%) had fees arrears of over KSh 3,000,000. each. Against this backdrop, there was a steady rise in enrolment from 2005 - 2007 with effects of FPE being cited as a causal factor. However, repetition and drop out cases were highly registered in 2007. Only 3 (25%) of the schools managed a mean grade of C plus in KCSE from 2005 - 2007. On financial management, only 2 (16.7%) of the headteachers had attended courses while (8.3%) had their books of accounts audited regularly. Apart from 10 (83.3%) of headteachers citing cases of duty combination by ancillary staff, 9 (75%) employed them on contract terms as away of reducing expenses. The researcher recommended project management training for school managers and workers for effective management of IGAs, whose proceeds should be channeled towards supporting needy students. Schools should also embrace sharing of facilities as one of the cost sharing measures. More so, school purchases should be done in bulk in order to reduce the unit cost.