Public-Private Partnership in Education: The Role of Nzoia Sugar Company in the Development of Secondary Schools in Bungoma County, Kenya
Sakari, Joseph Simiyu
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The purpose of the study was to investigate public-private partnership in education. The researcher specifically sought to investigate the role of Nzoia Sugar Company, through its corporate social responsibility, on development of secondary schools in Bungoma County by analyzing the corporate social responsibility policy of the company; evaluate specific assistance to secondary schools by the-company and to compare the financial assistance to secondary schools against other social responsibilities of health, water, infrastructure and environment. The study was guided by the Classical Liberal Theory and Social Darwinism. Literature was reviewed under the following main topics: Publi-c-private partnership in education around the world, Public-private partnership in education in Africa and Public-private partnership in education in Kenya. The target population of the study comprised of 124 head teachers of public secondary schools in the Nzoia sugar belt and a management representative of the company. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select a sample of 81 head teachers from the target population. The study used a survey design to collect data. Two sets of questionnaires were used to collect the data, one for head teachers and another for the company management. To determine reliability of the instruments, piloting was done using 5 head teachers who were not included in the main study. Data was analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Frequency distribution tables, percentages and graphs were used to analyze the data. The findings indicated that although the company has a corporate social responsibility policy towards education, very few secondary schools in its sugar belt have received support to set up physical facilities or repair and maintain existing infrastructure in the last 5 years. The company also has not, for the last 5 years, offered any scholarship/sponsorship to needy but bright students in its sugar belt. A further analysis of the assistance given by the company to secondary schools revealed that the company does not lay emphasis on the teaching/learning facilities like computers and laboratory equipment/apparatus which constitute the key requirements/inputs in secondary education. Recommendations arrived at after analyzing the data were as follows: The management and administration of secondary schools in the Nzoia Sugar belt should develop specific project proposals and present to the Company. The Company should in turn prioritize the projects according to available resources to assist the schools appropriately. Secondly, education stakeholders should work closely with the Company to understand the operations of the Company and the educational areas it can assist. This will help reduce general or blanket condemnation of the Company when it fails to honor requests from schools in any particular year. This can be through forums such as seminars, annual ASK shows, farmers education days or any other forum that bring together the company management, farmers and education administrators and finally, the Kenya goveinment should develop a public-private partnership policy framework especially on education to guide corporate/business organizations' involvement in public secondary school education in the country.