Factors influencing the management of free primary education funds in Nakuru Municipality, Kenya
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is on track to achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The Government of Kenya has provided Free Primary Education and increased resource allocation to enhance its delivery. The trend in school enrollment has been impressive since 2003, but with various funds management concerns. This study was set to examine the factors influencing the management of Free Primary Education funds in Nakuru Municipality, Kenya. The study was carried out in schools within Nakuru Municipality amongst the Head Teachers, School Management Committee and School Instructional Material Selection Committee. The study objectives were: to establish whether the institutional innovations at school levels influence management of Free Primary Education funds; to examine the Knowledge levels of financial managers in the management of Free Primary Education funds; to establish challenges facing Fund Managers in managing Free Primary Education funds; to assess measures that have been put in place to overcome the factors affecting management of Free Primary Education funds in Nakuru Municipality. The study adopted the descriptive survey design. Probability sampling technique was used in the selection of the study sample. Two sets of questionnaires were used for the collection of data from the Head Teachers and Chairmen, while an interview schedule was used for the collection of data from the Deputy Head Teachers. Data collected was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences and Microsoft Excel software. The results of the data analysis were presented in the form of tables. The study fmdings revealed that institutional innovations such as improvement to buildings (type of classrooms) have an influence on the management of Free Primary Education funds. The fund managers' level of financial management was insufficient for proper management of the funds. The challenges facing Fund Managers in managing Free Primary Education funds in Nakuru Municipality were also examined and this included: Inadequate funds for some vote heads; Delay in funds disbursement; Lack of expertise in Accounts; Unrealistic vote heads especially the vote head on electricity and water; Low enrollment hence low Free Primary Education funding; and Loss of books by pupils and uncooperative parents to replace the books. The measures put in place to overcome the challenges affecting effective management of Free Primary Education funds included: organizing workshops for School Management Committee training; Appealing for more funding from well wishers; sensitization campaigns to parents in support I supplementing the Free Primary Education funds; involvement in income generating activities to supplement Free Primary Education, Flexible budgeting and executing punitive measures for lost books. Following the findings the study recommended the following: The Ministry of Education was to consider reviewing its policies related to the disbursement of funds to primary schools for the purpose of ensuring consistent and timely disbursement of Free Primary Education funds; and to consider organizing regular trainings for Fund Managers to ensure standardization and quality of financial reporting for accountability and transparency. Schools were to be facilitated and empowered to employ qualified accounting personnel for better accounting for the Free Primary Education funds disbursed to the schools (Accountants / Accounts clerks). The Ministry of Education should consider strengthening its monitoring and evaluation system by introducing additional internal checks and controls. School heads should also ensure that, their School Management Committees are actively involved in defining the schools annual spending priorities and procurement plans .. Recommended further research studies included: assessment of the role played by parents in the implementation of Free Primary Education programme in public schools; examination of the financial management system used in the management of Free Primary Education in public primary schools; and examination of the vote heads on the effectiveness of Free Primary Education programmes in primary schools.