Impact of cost-sharing on school inputs in primary schools: a comparative study of primary schools in Embu and Mbeere Districts, Kenya
Gichoni, Samuel Kithe
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The study explored the disparities in the provision of school inputs in Embu and Mbeere districts based on cost-sharing and household incomes. The research intended to establish the extent to which household incomes influenced the provision of infrastructure and learning resources in Embu and Mbeere districts with emphasis on cost-sharing, officially introduced in 1986 through an act of parliament. Despite the high number of schools and pupil enrolments, no systematic research had been carried out to establish the extent to which differences in availability and adequacy of school infrastructure and learning resources is related to cost-sharing and household incomes in the two districts. Data collection was thus guided by the extent to which cost-sharing in primary schools, has been affected by rural households' monthly incomes and particularly in the provision of school infrastructure and other learning facilities in the two districts. The research used descriptive survey design. Purposeful sampling was used to select two districts: Embu and Mbeere. Random sampling was used to select an education Zone in each of the two districts. Ten Schools were selected from each of the two zones using systematic sampling technique. Purposeful sampling was also used to select the head teachers since there is only one head teacher per school. A questionnaire was served on each selected head teacher. Five parents were selected from each sampled school for interview using systematic sampling technique. The researcher explored infrastructure and facilities in the selected institutions using an observation checklist. The data were analysed using both qualitative and XIII quantitative methods. Observations and opinions were explained qualitatively and juxtaposed for comparison. The level of provision of school inputs was analyzed quantitatively using means and percentages. Analysis of variance was used to determine whether there was a significant difference between means due to the two regions (at 0.05 level of significance). It was found that only 57% of schools in Mbeere districts had the required school inputs while Embu district had 88%. This is a wide disparity in the adequacy and quality criteria of school infrastructure and learning resources. It was also found that the average monthly incomes for households were Ksh 6,546/= for Embu district and Ksh 2,650/= for Mbeere district. The differences between mean incomes were found to be significant. The study concluded that the disparities in primary school learning inputs in the two districts were caused by disparities in household incomes and cost-sharing, since the ability to contribute was based on the parent's level of income. It was recommended that the interventions to reduce disparities in school inputs should emphasize the provision of school infrastructure, based on the specific needs of a particular school, in addition to funding per pupil under the free education program.