Problems faced by primary school head teachers in implementing free primary education (FPE) in Kisumu Municipality Kenya
Akoth, Susan Anne
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Since Independence, the Kenya government has made various efforts to provide Free Primary Education (FPE) in all public primary schools in Kenya. The most recent effort was its revival by the NARC government in January 2003. This move is aimed at providing all school age going children with an opportunity of FPE for literacy, disease and poverty eradication. It is important to note that Headteachers as the Managers of their schools were not prepared for FPE since this was a presidential directive made at a time when the primary schools Head teachers had budgeted for the year. Not even guidelines were given to them by the government. Headteachers had therefore to brace for more tasks and be ready to face more challenges in implementing FPE. If Kenya is to achieve any meaningful gain in its FPE programme, then the challenges need to be identified and addressed. This study set out to investigate the problems which head teachers face in their efforts to implement FPE. The study was conducted in Kisumu Municipality, Kenya. The research design adopted was descriptive survey. The sample comprised of 15 head teachers, one Municipal Education Officer, one Inspector of Schools and three parents_ Data were collected by use of questionnaires, interview schedules and observation schedules. The study found that there is high enrollment in primary schools as a result of the FPE. Government funding as well as facilities and teaching learning materials for implementation of FPE are inadequate. The study also found that the headteachers experience a number of problems in relation to the implementation of FPE which include, understaffing poor teaching, overcrowded classes, inadequate books, poorly constructed classrooms, heavy workload due to understaffing, inadequate non-teaching personnel, difficult parents, student Indiscipline, poor financial management skills, over enrolment and Inadequate finance. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education Science and Technology should employ more teachers, sensitize parents on their role in FPE, and allocate more funds and train head teachers on Financial Management. Lastly, the study suggests that the study should be replicated in other districts in the country in order to give a general picture of headteachers experiences in the whole country. This will facilitate better decision-making regarding the implementation of FPE in the entire nation.