Effects of hidden costs on pupils’ participation in public primary schools in Nyeri municipality, Kenya
Despite the fact that the Kenyan government offers Free Primary Education, there are still families that are not able to cater for the hidden costs of education like the school uniform. Such children are sent home until they have the necessities needed in the school. This lowers their participation rates. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of hidden costs based on Human Capital Theory on participation in public primary schools in Nyeri Municipality. The study was guided by the following objectives: to establish the types of hidden costs affecting participation in public primary schools in Nyeri Municipality; to determine how flow of revenues from school levies affect the supply of learning resources in public primary schools in Nyeri Municipality; to establish how lunch expenses affect participation in public primary schools in Nyeri Municipality and to find out if hidden costs of education in public primary schools in Nyeri Municiality cause child labour. This study was conducted using the descriptive survey research method. The target population for this study was the public primary schools in Nyeri Municipality. The study used simple random sampling. This study used questionnaires for teachers, interview schedule for parents and focus group discussions for learners as the tools of data collection. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis and the results were presented using tables. The study found that despite public primary education being free, there are still costs that parents pay for such as remedial classes, books, uniforms, stationery, school activities such as sports and clubs, development funds, educational tours, examination fees and watchman’s fees, PTA fees and BOG teachers' salaries. In relation to learning resources, it was noted that FPE contributes to scarcity of learning resources because they are inadequate and have late deliveries. Resultantly, pupils skip school and engage in child labour to afford them pay for such thus affecting participation of pupils in public primary schools. Regarding lunch expenses, majority of the schools lack free feeding programme and the ones with such are paid for by the parents. Lunch expenses were found to affect pupils’ participation to a great extent. This is because learners who cannot afford food remain at home and engage in child labour in order to afford lunch. In relation to child labour, it was found to affect pupils’ participation to a great extent. Lunch and uniforms were the mostly mentioned hidden costs which make learners engage in child labour and therefore affect participation of pupils negatively. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommended that the government should increase the level of subsidies that the government should deliver learning resources in time and they should be adequate to avoid disrupting learning and that the government should provide free school feeding programmes so that all the pupils can benefit. This would reduce cases of child labour and it would improve performance. The researcher suggested that a similar study should be done in other regions in Kenya.