Bursary Scheme and its Influence on Secondary School Participation by Learners from Poor Households in Homa Bay County, Kenya
Ojwang, Janet Auma
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The study investigated bursary scheme and its influence on participation in educational activities by learners from poor households in Homa Bay County, Kenya. Despite the government’s systematic release of bursary funds to constituencies, there were questions on whether the bursary scheme facilitated participation of needy learners in secondary school education. Homa Bay County had climatic conditions unfavourable for agriculture, was dominated by low rewarding economic activities like small scale fishing and the HIV and AIDS scourge had impoverished the residents of the county, necessitating bursary intervention. The objectives of the study were: to establish the bursary application procedure and disbursement criteria in Homa Bay County, to find out the awareness creation mechanisms on existence of bursary in Homa Bay County, to establish the extent to which needy learners benefitted from the bursary scheme in Homa Bay County, to determine the extent of fairness in the distribution of secondary school bursary awards in Homa Bay County and to identify the challenges facing the secondary education bursary scheme in Homa Bay County. The study was guided by the Classical Liberal Theory by Sherman and Wood that stressed on each child being given opportunity to develop their naturally given capacities and talents without barriers so as to promote the individual’s socio-economic mobility. The study employed a descriptive survey design. Purposive sampling was used to pick 16 schools out of 51 for the study. 900 respondents participated in the study. A pilot study was done to determine the feasibility of the study and test-retest method was used to assess reliability of instruments. The first and second test scores were correlated using Pearson Correlation Coefficient which gave a result r=0.98 indicating a strong correlation and therefore a reliable instrument. Content validity of instruments was done by the researcher and other professionals. . Questionnaires, interview schedules, focused group discussions and document analysis were used to collect data. Qualitative and quantitative data collection methods were employed. Analysis was done using IBM SPSS Statistics 25.0 and results presented in frequency distribution tables, line charts and bar charts. Information obtained through emergent themes was analyzed qualitatively while the rest were subjected to quantitative analysis. The greatest success of the bursary scheme was found out to be subsidized school fees while the greatest challenge was political manipulation. The study revealed that fairness was not adequately observed in the distribution of secondary school bursary awards. Suggested recommendations included people of high integrity be put in CBC, bursary be given only to needy students, sufficient amounts be awarded, transparency and accountability be enhanced, bursary policies be followed, disbursement be done in time, CBC to get correct data on needy students from schools and government to enhance monitoring of the disbursement process.