Factors influencing sourcing of teaching/learning materials in public primary schools in Bomet central division, Bomet county
Rono, Joseph K
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This study sought to investigate the factors influencing sourcing of teaching /leaming materials in Bomet Central Division, Bomet County. Under the free primary education, the government is supposed to provide the teaching/learning materials. These teaching/leaming materials are sourced by the respective schools through FPE funds provided by the government. To meet the commitment the Government earmarked Kshs. 5.4 Billion from its project which was reallocated for the implementation of free primary education (FPE) at the inception of FPE on 6th January, 2003. It is important to note that six months down the road after the joyful entry to school by.the 1.4 million children, there are challenges that have been experienced and that threaten the gains so far realized. FPE was a turning point to the 1.4 Million children who in the past could not access schools due to the many charges levied. Although the country has taken the bold step to launch FPE, there are serious but hopefully surmountable challenges especially in the sourcing of teaching/learning materials. FPE calls for the additional instructional materials especially textbooks, supplementary reading materials, reference books and other stationery. The government's concem is that quality is at the core of FPE if the programme is to meet its stated objectives of providing sustainable development for county. Abolition of all the fees and charges levied to parents before the introduction of FPE means that responsibility of ensuring that quality education rests with the govemment. The FPE funds were used to procure the teaching /learning materials for use in schools. This study sought to investigate the following challenges: availability of skilled personnel, headteacher's managerial skills, pricing of teaching/learning materials, disbursement of FPE funds by govemment and over enrollment of pupils. The data collected were presented in the form of tables for easy understanding and interpretation. Descriptive statistics was used. It was then edited, organized and analyzed. The study showed that most public primary schools do not have skilled personnel to handle the sourcing of teaching/learning materials and that headteachers lack managerial skills. It further indicates that pricing of teaching/leaming materials is influenced by corruption. The situation in worsened by the fact that the govemment delay in the disbursement of FPE funds and that the allocation per child is too little. The study also indicated that there is over enrolment in public primary schools. The study recommended that the govemment should increase the allocation of funds per child so that there is adequate teaching/leaming materials in Public Primary Schools. The govemment should ensure that the personnel handling procurement or sourcing of teaching / leaming materials are regularly given training/workshops or in-service courses and that all headteachers should be trained so that they acquire managerial skills. The government should also ensure that there is regular inspection/monitoring and evaluation so as to ensure that procurement procedures are adhered to.