Quota Admission Policy and its Impact on Equitable Access to Quality Secondary School Education in Kakamega County, Kenya
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Through its secondary school quota admission policy, the Ministry of Education in Kenya seeks to ensure equitable access to quality secondary school education by placing students into various categories of secondary schools based on sub county quotas as well as public-private primary schools quotas. The quota admission policy is intended to ensure that students from lower socioeconomic status are given opportunities to attend national and extra county secondary schools because of their status. However, every year after the initial placement of students into various categories of secondary schools about 23.01% of students fail to join secondary schools of initial placement but seek transfer to join other schools through a replacement process. Over time, this trend may render students from lower socioeconomic status vulnerable to silent exclusion from attending national and extra county secondary schools as intended in the quota admission policy. In this regard, the aim of this study was to examine the impact of quota admission policy on equitable access to various categories of secondary schools in Kakamaga County in Kenya. The specific objectives of this study were; (i) to determine the impact of students’ type of primary school attended on equitable access to quality secondary school education opportunities, (ii) to determine the impact of students’ sub county of residence on equitable access to quality secondary school education opportunities, (iii) to determine the impact of students’ socioeconomic status on equitable access to quality secondary school education opportunities. The population of the study comprised of 344 principals and 22,220 students of public secondary schools in Kakamega County. The techniques used for sampling included simple random sampling, stratified, and proportional sampling to arrive at a sample of 280 students from 2 National schools, 480 from 6 Extra County schools, 500 from 7 County schools, and 960 from 30 Sub County schools. The sample also included 45 principals. The study design adopted was descriptive design which was appropriate for examining the impact of quota admission policy on students’ access to quality secondary school education. The data collection tool used was questionnaires. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study findings indicated a majority of students attending private primary schools in the national (63.1%) and extra county (56.5%) secondary schools compared to students who attended public primary schools. The results further indicated that students from upper (57.3%) and middle (50.8%) socioeconomic status were highly represented in the national and extra county secondary schools compared to students from lower socioeconomic status. The study recommends that the government should address factors that impede students who attend public primary schools especially those from lower socioeconomic status to join national and extra county secondary schools.