Effectiveness of the Constituency Bursary Committees in promoting access and participation in secondary education in Kenya
The Kenyan government established the secondary education bursary scheme in the 1993/1994 financial year as a safety net to cushion the poor and vulnerable groups against the adverse effects of cost sharing in education. For the first 10 years, the bursary fund was managed at the school level by the head teachers and School Boards of Governors. However, the management of the bursary scheme was transferred from the schools to the newly created Constituency Bursary Committees (CBCs) in the 2003/2004 financial year in line with the government’s desire to decentralize services. This move has over the years drawn heavy criticism from various education stakeholders. This study, therefore, sought to determine the effectiveness of the CBCs in bursary disbursement. The study adopted an exploratory approach using a descriptive survey design. The study locations were Nairobi and Machakos counties. The study established that: the decentralized bursary scheme was inefficient with regard to timeliness in making bursary awards and reach of applications with 21.9% of the applicants receiving bursaries over a three-year period. In addition, some very needy students were locked out of the bursary forcing some of them to drop out of school. The study concluded that the bursary lacked efficacy as it did not save needy students from dropping out of school. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education releases bursary funds early enough as well as increases the bursary allocation and that the Constituency Bursary Committees start receiving and processing bursary application forms early enough.