The role of Government bursary fund in enhancing the participation of girls in secondary education in Nyamira District, Kenya
Obare, Mellen Monchari
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Despite the growing body of literature about the importance of female education and the existing gender inequalities in education, few significant programmes and projects have been implemented to reduce the gender gap in education, and those implemented, have had limited impact. The Ministry of Education Science and Technology bursary scheme is one of the projects that have been implemented since 1995 to enhance girls' access and participation in secondary school education. Available studies on the MOEST bursary fund though limited have raised questions on its effectiveness in addressing gender equity. The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate and establish the role of government secondary education bursary fund in enhancing the participation of girls in secondary education in Nyamira District. In particular, the study sought to find out the factors that were considered in allocating the MOEST bursary fund and their implication to the girl child, determine the gender trend in the award of bursaries and enrolment in secondary schools in the period 1995 - 2001, establish the number of girls who had been sustained throughout the four year course by government bursary fund in the period 1995 - 2001 and hence assess the extent to which the bursary fund policy had been successful in promoting girl child participation in secondary education. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. A sample of 15 head teachers was drawn from 118 head teachers of public mixed secondary schools in Nyamira District. The study used questionnaires and interview schedules as research tools. Analysis of documented data was also done to gather relevant information. Questionnaires and interview schedules were constructed by the researcher and confirmed by experts in the field of education. The quantitative data collected were analyzed using frequencies, means and percentages. Qualitative data were described in narrative form. This study found out that the MOEST bursary fund had problems of its own kind just like any other project in education programme. The study in particular established that; enrolment for boys was slightly higher than that of girls in the District, slightly more boys received bursaries than girls and their allocations were slightly higher than that of girls, the MOEST bursary fund have not sustained any girl in secondary education level for four years and that the major factors (academic excellence, poverty and discipline) used by individual schools in allocating bursaries to beneficiaries are gender insensitive-biased to girl child as a possible beneficiary. It was therefore established that the MOEST bursaries have played no major role in enhancing participation of girls in secondary education, hence failed to meet the gender equity objective. This study recommended that the MOEST provide on a yearly basis policy guidelines to schools and standardized procedures on how to identify beneficiaries. The ministry should make the current criteria gender sensitive. The ministry should give proportional allocations for both boys and girls in mixed schools. It should also initiate and encourage schools to start income generating activities using locally available resources. Girls on bursary scheme should be exempted from other school revenues as a matter of government policy.