Strategies Employed by Schools to Cope with Challenges of Free Primary Education in Mbeere South Sub-County, Embu County, Kenya
Muriuki, Judith Wanyaga
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This study examined the strategies that the head teachers use to cope with challenges of Free Primary Education in Mbeere South Sub County of Embu County, Kenya. The objectives of the study were, (a) To find out the challenges facing the stake holders, in implementing Free Primary Education (b) To find out the coping mechanisms that the stake holders use in dealing with challenges ofF.P.E(c) To find out the extent to which the given challenges are affecting the implementation of Free Primary Education (d) To find out the opinions of head teachers, parents, teachers and curriculum support officer(CSO)on how the challenges affecting Free Primary Education can be addressed. The study was guided by the theory of demand and supply advanced by Hicks (1986).The study employed descriptive research design. The target population comprised of 117 public primary schools offering free primary education, 117 head teachers, 936 teachers, 351 parents' representatives and one curriculum support officer. A study sample of 12 schools was selected (which is 10% of the total number of schools), 96 teachers, 36 parents, and one curriculum support officer. The researcher used random sampling to select the schools and purposive sampling to select the head teachers, parents, teachers and curriculum support officer. Interview (face to face) for the parents and questionnaires for the head teachers, teachers and curriculum support officer were the main means of data collection. Validity of the data was attained through expert advice from the supervisor. A test retest was done on reliability and gave a 0.951 indication that the instrument was reliable for the study. Data from the questionnaire was edited, coded and analyzed with the aid of statistical package for social science (SPSS) to generate descriptive statistics. The data from the questionnaires and interview were analyzed through frequencies and percentages. The data was presented through tables and pie charts. The researcher got a research permit from National Council for Science and Technology (NACOSTI) and from District Education Officer and then proceeded for data collection. The study found that, there are a number of challenges facing F.P.E that included poor/inadequate infrastructure, inadequate teachers and I' unreliable/ delayed funding from the government. The study established a number of coping mechanism that included; hiring of teachers (trained/untrained), automatic progression of overage pupils, parents constructing more classes (permanent/semipermanent), funding school projects, buying books and helping in construction of toilets. The researcher recommends that the head teachers should source funds from well-wishers like members of parliament and also teachers should participate in forums for F.P.E challenges eradication. Parents should be willing to do communal activities and give donations when needed; the researcher urges the government to invest more on F.P.E. The study concluded that the head teachers in collaboration with other stakeholders in education should work together to eradicate F.P.E problems.