Hidden Costs and their Impact on Students’ Participation in Basic Education, Rwanda
Mugiraneza, Jean Pierre
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Implementation of Fee-Free Schooling Policy is Rwanda’s strategy to ensure equity and access to basic education. However, since the implementation of this policy, thousands of students have failed to participate in basic education hence exposing the Rwanda Educational System to wastage. The literature showed some hidden costs could be related to students participation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the hidden costs and their impact on students participation in basic education in Rwanda. The research objectives of this study were to determine the impact of home-based costs on students intake rate in basic education in Rwanda; to examine the influence of home-based costs on students transition rate in basic education in Rwanda; to establish the impact of school-based costs on students intake rate in basic education in Rwanda and to assess the effect of school-based costs on students transition rate in basic education in Rwanda. The study was guided by the Education Production Function Model. It used the convergent parallel mixed method design. The target population comprised 31445 parents and 30 headteachers of 12YBE. The sample size comprised 394 parents. All headteachers of 12YBE in Kicukiro and Kirehe districts were included in the study. The data collection tools were parents’ questionnaire, headteachers interview guide and school document checklist. A pilot study was used on 2% of the respondent to reveal deficiency in the design and content of research tools. Each tool was tested for content validity using supervisors’ and lecturers’ inputs. Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient for internal consistency reliability tests of the parents’ questionnaires was 0.81. To ensure reliability of the interview guide and document checklist, the study used clear procedure that could be understood by respondents. A multiple regression analysis was used for quantitative data whereas, qualitative data were analyzed in themes and reported in narrative. The study found that: (i) The home-based costs such as school uniform (R2 = 0.85), school materials (R2 = 0.92) and transport (R2 = 0.89) were important predictors of students intake rate in A’ level (ii) Home-based costs such as school uniform (R2 = 0.82), school materials (R2 = 0.93), home-coaching (R2 = 0.81) and transport (R2 = 0.91) had significant impact on students transition rate in O’ level (iii) The school-based costs such as for supporting school activities (R2 = 0.58) and participating in examinations (R2 = 0.89) had more impact on students intake rate in O’ level of 12YBE whereas costs of participating in co-curricular activities (R2 = 0.08) and school feeding (R2 = 0.00) had insignificant impact on students intake rate in that level (iv) School-based costs for participating in examinations (R2 = 0.91) and supporting school activities (R2 = 0.58) accounted for some variations in students transition rate in O’ level, whereas, costs for school feeding (R2 = 0.00) and participating in extra-curricular activities (R2 = 0.09) had less impact on students transition rate in O’ level of 12YBE (v) The capitation grant and parental involvement were policy strategies in place which had not secured full students participation in all tiers of basic education. The study concluded that hidden costs accounted for some variations in students participation in 12YBE. Thus, the study recommended that education stakeholders should ensure that identified hidden costs are addressed to allow full participation in tiers of basic education.