Effect of Government Expenditure on the Performance of Public Primary Schools in Kenya
Mutuku, Stephen Mutinda
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sector in its effort to achieve universal primary education and in line with the Social Pillar of Vision 2030 and global Sustainable Development Goal number four of Universal Primary Education. The budget allocation increased from 6.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2002/03 to 7.4 percent in 2005/06. It, however, dropped to 5.3 percent in 2014/15 and further to 5.24 in 2017/18. As a result, Gross Enrolment Rate rose to 104 percent in 2003 from 92 percent in 2002 and rising further to 105.3 percent in 2017. As a consequence, class-pupil, and teacher-pupil ratio increased from 36:1 and 42:1 to 45:1 and 57:1 between 2002/03 and 2012/03 and further 42:1 and 55:1 in 2017, respectively. Despite the increased enrolment, the quality of education and technical efficiency levels in schools were compromised even with the positive changes in government expenditure on education were positive. Teachers concentrated more on the examination classes to boost Kenya Certificate of Primary Education results at the expense of skill acquisition in arithmetic and comprehension across all classes. Although the free primary education had shown remarkable milestones in enrolment rates, its impact on education quality and technical efficiency levels had not been assessed. Therefore, using the level of enrolment, quality of education and technical efficiency indicators to explain school performance, this study analyzed the relationship between government expenditure on education and educational outcomes. The study was guided by three objectives that involved: establishment of the effect of government expenditure on enrolment in public primary schools in Kenya; determination of the effect of government expenditure on the quality of education in public primary schools in Kenya; and measurement of the contribution of government expenditure to levels of technical efficiency in public primary schools within 47 counties in Kenya. School enrolments and class six scores were used as outcome variables. Technical Efficiency scores in the study were used to test and determine optimal utilization of school resources including government expenditures. The study used data collected from the class six scores undertook by the South and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality nation-wide surveys of 2000, 2004, and 2012. More data was collected from the Kenya National Examination Council and Statistical Abstracts between 1997-2018. To achieve the first two objectives, the study used fixed-effect models. For objective three, the study combined Data Envelopment Analysis with Two-Stage Least Squares regression. Results from the study showed that government expenditure and school attributes were positive for enrolment and quality of education. Further, technical efficiency had improved in all the regions by 2012. The efficiency levels were influenced by school facilities, school location, and level of government funding. The study noted the need for the government to increase its overall expenditure allocated on education to serve as a catalyst for enhancing and improving overall school performance in Kenya’s public primary schools. Moreover, the bulk of the allocated resources ought to be dedicated to the development and improvement of school facilities and equipment.