Household educational costs and their effects on students’ participation in public boarding secondary schools in uasin gishu county, kenya
Investment in education at all tiers involves incurring educational costs which are mainly met by the government and households. Kenyan Government has invested massively in education in order to enhance access and participation. Further, some policies guide the provision of education. However, even with these efforts, students enroll for secondary education at form one in large numbers and then the numbers decline as they progress to form four. This means that some of them fail to complete the four-year course. This research designed to establish whether or not household educational costs affect students participation in public boarding schools in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. The study's objectives were to: establish the effect of direct educational costs on the transition rate of students, determine the effect of direct educational costs on the retention rate of students, assess the effect of hidden educational costs on the transition rate of students and examine the effect of hidden educational costs on the retention rate of students all in Uasin Gishu County. The Education Production Function model served as the theoretical foundation for this study. This study used a Convergent Mixed Methods Approach. 34 school heads with 3,917 parents made up the target audience. All the 34 purposively selected principals and 362 parents obtained with the help of Yamane's Simplified formulae were included in the sample. Data was congregated through interview schedules, questionnaires, and content analysis of archival materials. Thematic analysis aided to decipher the qualitative data as inferential and descriptive statistics worked for the quantitative data. These were the results of the study; In public boarding secondary institutions, the rate of student transition was significantly correlated with direct educational costs. Their effect accounts for 81.8% of the variance. The cost of Repairs, Maintenance and Improvement accounts for the highest variance (34.7%) while the cost of school meals accounts for 0.1%. Direct costs of education were important predictors of student retention in public boarding secondary schools. They account for 94.1% of the variance. Costs of accommodation, meals, activity fees, cost of repairs, maintenance and improvement and parents association fund all contributed to the variance. However, the cost of repairs, maintenance and improvement contributed the highest proportion of the variance (90 %) as the cost of activity fee contributed (0.01%). Hidden costs of education are important predictors of student transition rates in public boarding schools. They account for 36.5% of the variance. The cost of uniforms contributes the highest proportion (10.0%) while the cost of motivation fee had the lowest effect (0.1%). Hidden costs of education were significant predictors of student retention rate. They all account for 39.3% of the variance with the highest contribution from the school uniforms (7.6 %) as the Board of Management teachers' salaries and motivation fees both registered a negligible proportion of less than 2% of the variance. This research shows that both the direct and hidden educational expenditures affect students’ participation in public boarding schools. The study recommends the government to review and further increase capitation per student to make up for boarding expenses, diversify the sources of funding in a bid to cushion the students and exclusively fund school projects and programs to alleviate guardians/parents from the cost distress and enhance students' participation rate in public boarding secondary schools.