Challenges om tje disbursement of Constituency Bursary Fund (CBF) to public secondary school students in Bobasi constituency Kenya
Mwembi, Titus Orera
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Secondary school education is very critical in any education system because of its crucial role in catalyzing national development. Consequently, maintaining a high student enrollment at this level should be a priority for all countries. The Constituency Bursary Fund (CBF) was established by the Government of Kenya in 2003 to ensure that needy students have access to secondary education. It was anticipated that there would be fairness and efficiency in the bursary allocation process. However, contrary to these high expectations, cases of complaints about the disbursement of the Constituency Bursary Fund were many. It was on the basis of those complaints that the study was conducted, The main objective of the study was to find out the extent to which the official criteria was followed in allocating the bursaries to students, problems of adequacy, disbursement and equity considerations, leakages and if any, whether there were mechanisms in place to address complaints and issues raised in allocating the bursary fund. This study was guided by the Classical Liberal Theory. A theory that emphasizes on social mobility being promoted by equal opportunity on education. It was found relevant because challenges in disbursement resulted in poor families withdrawing their children from school prematurely. This impacted negatively on education as the theory looks at education as a great equalizer. The study population consisted of 320 high school bursary applicants and recipients in Bobasi constituency in the year 2011, 56 teachers and 13 committee members of Bobasi Constituency Bursary Fund. 7 public secondary schools were also targeted. A descriptive research design that involves measurement, classification, analysis, comparison and interpretation of data was adopted. Questionnaires, interview and observation schedules were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, which was then coded, tabulated and analyzed both descriptively and statistically using tables, figures and percentages. This study concluded that the criteria of determining the genuinely needy students had limitations. It had limitations both on governance, efficiency, effectiveness and consistence in support. The fund was also not equitably awarded among boys and girls and among schools. The fund was found to experience the following impediments: Low and inadequate funding from the government that could not meet the demands of the high number of the needy applicants, Political interference by the local politicians, Delays by the government to disburse these funds which inconvenienced many needy students and Mechanisms of addressing bursary related complaints which were somewhat ineffective. The study recommends that the government should increase through treasury, the Constituency Bursary Fund if the fund is to have any impact on the applicants who expect to be served effectively. It should also establish a management framework devoid of political manipulation to run the fund. The bursary awarding evaluation criteria should emphasize on the school teachers' assessment of continuing students' need for financial support/assistance. The fund should also be disbursed in November and allocated to students in December to avoid delays in disbursement. Finally but not least, efficiency, effectiveness and fairness in the bursary management should be enhanced.
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