Influence of resource factors on the quality of free primary education in Kenya: a case of Nakuru North District
Okoth, Chrispine J
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The re-introduction of free primary education (FPE) was a huge stride towards Kenya's desire to achieve universal primary education (UPE), a desire born immediately following independence. However,' specific constraints emerged immediately following the program's implementation. There are various studies that have investigated either the resource factors following the implementation of FPE or the effects of FPE implementation on the quality of education. However, there is a paucity of research on the relationship between resource factors and quality of education following the implementation. No studies had used the comprehensive theoretical model proposed by UNICEF to assess the quality of education in Kenya and in Nakuru North district in particular. This study therefore investigated the influence of resource factors (financial, human, and infrastructural) on the quality of Kenya's free primary education in Nakuru North district. Quality was measured in terms of quality learning environments, quality processes and quality outcomes. A descriptive survey design was used to investigate the research questions. Census was used. All forty public primary schools in Nakuru North district were surveyed and simple random sampling was used to select five teachers from every school to raise a sample. Questionnaires were then employed to collect data from the respondents. All data collected were summarized and analyzed with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software and results are presented in form of figures, tables and graphs. The findings demonstrated that FPE was responsible for increased enrollment, increased class sizes and subsequent increase in pupil teacher ratio (1':54-1 :58). However, inadequate fmancial resources meant that additional staff could not be employed to cater for increased enrolment. Further, inadequate fmancing also implied that schools could not attain the recommended standards of infrastructural development; Contributing to high inadequacy in standard classrooms, desks and toilets. These inadequacies negatively impacted on the quality of learning environments (low quality and inadequate physical facilities and higher class sizes) and quality of learning outcomes. In a nutshell, high enrolment rates caused by the introduction of FPE coupled with inadequate funding are responsible for human resource and infrastructural constraints and by extension, the negative impact on quality learning environments, quality processes, and quality outcomes. As a remedy to the negative impacts on the quality of education, this study recommends additional funding, development of clear policy guidelines to govern how communities and parents can contribute to the provision of physical facilities, training, hiring, and contracting more teaching personnel to facilitate a comprehensive balancing of staff in all schools, and devising strategies for the training of head teachers on book keeping, accounting, and general procurement procedures owing to the benefits of sound financial management skills in managing FPE disbursements.