Emerging issues and challenges facing implementation of Subsidized secondary education policy in Tigania east district, Meru county.
Muthuiya, Kalung'e Lawrence
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The purpose of this study was to establish the emerging issues and challenges facing implementation of free secondary education policy on access and retention in Tigania East District, Kenya. Free Secondary Education (FSE) policy was launched in 2008 with an aim of ensuring that all primary school pupils from class eight are able to continue with secondary education. While free secondary education has increased participation and access, it has at the same time created considerable problems. It has exacerbated the problem of teaching and learning facilities. As a result of the high influx of new students, classrooms are congested. Many schools are understaffed as a result of the free secondary education programme. This does not augur well for the quality of education being delivered. This study therefore sought to establish the challenges and emerging issues of Free Secondary Education (FSE) in Tigania East District, Meru County. This study informs the government on how to achieve it's aim of improving access, retention, completion and transition rates among the secondary schools students. The study focused on identifying the weaknesses and gaps of the program with a view to recommending remedial measures to improve it.. The study adopted a descriptive survey design method to collect data from Day Secondary Schools in Tigania- East District, Meru County. The research tools included questionnaires and interview schedules that gathered information from principal, deputies, and educational officers such as the DEO and AEO's'. The data was analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The data was presented using pie chart, bar graphs, percentages, frequency tables among others. The findings shownthat the key emerging issues in FSE includes; HIV and Aids increasing number of orphans, expensive policy because of declining economy, drought and famine, weak economic global trends, I~'T ehallenges and political changes while the major challenges facing implementation of FSE include; Delay in disbursing the FSE funds, over enrolment of students leading to strained physical facilities, inadequate facilitates, lack of enough funds from the government, corruption by MOE officials, inadequate training of FSE implementers, policy hurriedly planned and implemented and poor cost sharing strategies. Key intervention measures for mitigating the identified challenges includes; Government to release funds in: good time to avoid straining relations between suppliers and schools management, increasing bursaries support from M.O.E, NGOs, LATF and CDF for continuing students, providing enough as well as qualified human resource in the schools, developing and following clear policy on fund disbursement, increasing FSE allocation per student to incorporate feeding programmes and students' medical which is very high due to inflation. The findings showed all the weaknesses and gaps in the implementation of the FSE policy and several challenges and emerging issues. The study also made several conclusions and recommendations that are of vital importance to educational stakeholders and suggestions for further studies.