The role of school feeding programme in enhancing access to primary education in Magadi division, Kanjiado district, Kenya
Onyimbo, Dorcas Mulongo
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The role of education in facilitating development across nations is well documented. Equally indisputable is the importance of basic education in society as a whole, as determined by both social and private return from primary education. With the declining enrolment trends in Africa experienced since the 1980's, and the continent's commitment to achieving the Education For All (EFA) goal [Dakar Forum, 2000, and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)], primary education becomes a crucial issue and needs to be addressed urgently. Strategies put in place by governments in an endeavor to realize this goal are varied. For Kenya, the boldest move so far is the declaration of provision of free primary education for all in 2003. While this factor is crucial in addressing cost- related inhibitions, challenges emanating from other factors such as hunger and poverty remain. Enrolment in Arid and Semi Arid Lands has been far below the national average despite the School Feeding Programme, whose objectives are enhancing access to education, increasing retention, improving performance and health of the pupils. Enrolment in Kajiado in 1999 was approximately 53 per-cent compared to the national average, which was approximately 86 per-cent. The study has looked at the progress of SFP in enhancing access to primary education. The low enrolment rate in Magadi division necessitated the need for the study. The purpose of the study was to find out the role of SFP in enhancing access to primary education. The objectives of the study were: to find out if SFP has been implemented as per its objectives; to identify strengths and weakness of SFP; and finally, to suggest possible interventions to ensure success of SFP in achieving its objectives. The study was based on the Investment in Human Capital Theory. The literature reviewed included the causes of low enrolment in ASAL, universal primary education (UPE) before moving to SFP and its effect on enrolment. The study adopted a descriptive survey design methodology. The population included education officers, head teachers, and pupils in public primary schools. Since there were only eight schools in the division, and one of them being supported by Magadi Soda Company, a census of education officers and the remaining seven schools was carried out. Data was collected using questionnaires and focus group discussion guide. These were administered personally by the researcher. Qualitative data was organized into themes and patterns pertinent to the study. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study established that the implementation of SFP was not properly done. At the time of the research, there was no food in any of the schools in this division yet there was food at the district stores. And so from the researcher's point of view, implementation of the programme had not been properly done. The study also established that though SFP's objective is to enhance access to education and increase enrolment, the enrolment trend in Magadi division remained low, averaging less than 40 pupils per year per school. The study also established that there was a very wide disparity between the enrolment of girls and boys. Parental level of education was very low, as most parents were illiterate and there was no participation in school activities by parents. The study concludes that this could be one of the reasons why parents do not demand education for their children. This study recommends the following: 1. Implementation of any programme in future needs to be properly done for it to achieve its objectives. 2. For the objective of EFA to be achieved, factors that affect demand for education need to be addressed in totality. 3. Issue of girl child education in this area is crucial as it has a positive effect on future enrollment.