Equality of Opportunity in Learning Outcomes Attainment through Financing Public Day Secondary Schools’ Resources in Kenya
Nkonge, Gatwiri Winniejoy
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Although students’ learning outcomes are not expected to be equal, the differences should not be accounted for by the differences in school resources. Equality of opportunity in financing schools’ resources is evidenced by the lack of a relationship between the availability of school resources and differences in students’ learning outcomes. Tharaka Nithi County, one of the 47 Counties in Kenya, has consistently had a high difference in students’ learning outcomes in different public day secondary schools. This study sought to establish if differences in students’ learning outcomes in Tharaka Nithi County evidence equality of opportunity. The study employed a convergent parallel mixed-method research design. A stratified random sampling technique was used to select 738 (368 male and 370 female) Form 3 students and 738 (368 male and 370 female) parents of the Form 3 students. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, while qualitative data was thematically analysed. The study findings revealed that there was a strong statistically positive significant relationship, r = 0.674 at p < .01 between school resource characteristics and differences in student’s examination scores. The study also established that differences in public day secondary school resource characteristics accounted for a 6.1% difference in students’ learning outcomes after controlling for all the predictor variables which included student’s household characteristics, student’s parental/guardian characteristics, and student’s conduct characteristics. The study thus recommends that financing of public day secondary school resources should focus on equity given the inequality of opportunity in secondary education attainment.