Financing secondary education in Kenya through the bursary scheme:accessibility and impact on completion rates in Nairobi province.
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The need for secondary education financing has been growing steadily, particularly as a result of escalating poverty levels, a scenario that is worsened by devastating effects of HIV/AIDS at the household level. To mitigate the situation, the government initiated a bursary scheme to assist poor students acquire education by improving enrollment, retention and completion rates. However, in efforts to improve quality of social services within the framework of decentralization, the government rolled out management of the bursary scheme to the 210 constituencies under the patronage of Members of Parliament in 2003. Although little has been documented about impact of the scheme under the new administrative arrangement, sentiments are rife that many students are unlikely complete secondary education as the issue of fee shortage continues to intensify. This necessitates a comprehensive investigation to provide information that would stimulate policy action to strengthen the Constituency Bursary Fund (CBF) and make it more effective in meeting financial needs of learners. Based on this, the study sought to: 1. Assess the attributes of needy students and how it affects completion of secondary education. 2. Determine the impact of CBF on completion of secondary education. 3. Assess secondary education financing practices in Nairobi Province. 4. Evaluate the management, effectiveness and accessibility of the CDF. The study sourced requisite data from 308 students, 243 parents/guardians, 52 headteachers and deputy heads as well as 3 Quality Assurance and Standards Officers. The respondents were drawn using a combination of multi-stage, random and purposive sampling procedures. Parents/guardians were reached through the sampled students. Quantitative data was analyzed using frequency distributions, cross tabulations with Chi square and binary logistic regression using SPSS and MS-Excel software packages. Qualitative data in form of experiences, opinions and suggestions, were analyzed using qualitative procedures and were used to strengthen quantitative findings. It was noted that completion of secondary education was associated status of orphan-hood, parent's marital status, number of siblings, place of residence within Nairobi, parents '/guardians level of education and parents '/guardians' occupation. Besides, the CBF only enhanced the likelihood of secondary education completion by marginal 5.4%. Although the family unit is the major financier of secondary education, the CBF played an important supplementary role. However, the potential of the CBF was undermined by various issues arising from inadequacy of funds, faulty selection of committee members, lack of important institutional linkages, delay of funds, corruption and high-handedness among others. It is recommended that the bursary kitty and award guidelines be revised to reflect actual fee structures; that Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoES&T) to take up its leadership role; M and E institutional frameworks be strengthened or established where they don't exist; the CBF should open doors for stakeholders to get in; the CBF to spearhead resource mobilization to revamp the bursary kitty; need for professionals only to be admitted to the Constituency Bursary Committee (CBC); other members should be trained in essential skill areas; the CBCs to develop strategic plans with programme-specific visions, missions, strategic objectives and core values; need for comprehensive data base of needy students at the national and constituency levels; CBF should create interactive communication channels with the community; need for effective record keeping at national and grass-root levels; economic empowerment for households, especially women; schools to initiate Income Generating Activities (IGAs) to supplement secondary education financing and that CBF should venture into post-secondary education financing.