A study of factors influencing implementation of free primary education in Starehe Division, Nairobi Province
This study attempted to exemine the major factors that have influenced the implementation of Free Primary Education in Kenya using Starehe division as a case study. The Kenyan government has always considered education as the cornerstone of development. This is reflected by the fact that the payment of teachers' salaries has always been the government role. It has always been the responsibility of the parents to construct classrooms and provide necessary teaching and learning materials. This has not been an easy task for the parents considering the rate of increase in poverty levels accelerated by natural calamities, global economic recession, rapid population growth, HIV / AIDS pandemic, tribal clashes and other factors (Republic of Kenya, 2003). Library research and field surveys were used to provide the data for the study. Reference was made to the initiatives in other countries of the world, Africa, and East Africa which implemented free primary education before Kenya. The field survey was carried out in Starehe Division of Nairobi Province. The study gathered the necessary data using two types of questionnaires. The ex post facto design was used. The results of the pilot study were used to validate the research instruments. Respondents were selected by the use of simple random sampling from a population of 840 teachers and 30 head teachers. According to the study; it was only after assuming power, that the government started to develop coherent communication strategies through the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MOEST). By the time that schools opened in January 2003, school administrators did not know how to handle financial cases since the government had not disbursed any funds at the beginning of the r:ar. At the same time, many parents were seeking admission to schools for their children. Others were seeking transfers from private to public schools that suited their children. Since there were no guidelines from the MOEST regarding admission, the head teachers did what they felt was best for the schools. The justification of the study was that, although Fl'E was only two years old, it had not quite taken root and was marred by a lot of confusion. This study sought to examine the major factors that were influencing the FPE implementation process. Since' FPE was uniformly applied, the results of this study can be generalized to other areas in Kenya. The results will be useful to curriculum planners, policy makers, educationists, researchers and other stakeholders. The conclusion of the study is that various factors converged to influence implementation of FPE. Financial factors, physical facilities and learning materials, class size and management functions contributed to this convergence. The idea to implement FPE is a noble but challenging undertaking. Partly to blame was the idea of implementing before a needs assessment was done which only became inevitable after problems were experienced in schools. They include lack of key learning facilities like desks and few or no exercise and text books. Teachers are also few to handle the large classes especially in assessing pupils work. Guidelines could have been prepared in advance to direct on thc way forward for implementation to flow smoothly. For example. the head teachers and teachers, being the "", key implcmcntcrs of the program. were 110tguided on how to handle the implementation process. School programs were interrupted as each school tried to cope up with new admissions, syllabus and guidelines regarding provision of learning/teaching materials and funds. At the beginning, the whole process of management of the FPE implementation was entirely upon the school administrators and teachers. The schools did what they felt was best for the pupils as they waited for the government to subsidize funds meant for school fees. The major recommendations include the need to sensitize all stakeholders in order to make them feel part and parcel of the implementation process and involve them III decision making. There is need also to continually evaluate the progress of implementation in order to check on intervening factors that would negate achievement of the progress made so far.