The impact of free primary education on the provision of quality education in Kenya: a comparative study of Thogoto and Karai zones, Kikuyu division
This study set out to investigate the impact of free primary education on the provision of quality education in Thogoto zone, which represented the urban and Karai zone which represented the rural. The two zones in Kikuyu Division, Kikuyu District were selected as the sample ofthe study. The objectives of the study centred on the enrolment, retention and completion rates of pupils after enrolment, pupils class participation, adequacy of educational resources, their condition, challenges and possible solutions to help improve the quality of education. Ten schools were sampled for .the study. Simple random sampling was used to pick five schools from rural and urban zones. The respondents for the study were; pupils, teachers and head teachers. Three sets of questionnaires were used in the collection of data. Descriptive statistics; tables, bar charts and graphs were used in data presentation. The study established that both rural and urban schools experienced an increase in pupil population following the introduction of FPE. This led to a number of challenges such as; inadequate teaching force, increased workload for teachers, high teacher: pupil ratio, low class participation and overstretched facilities. Pupils of different entry levels were also enrolled in the classes of their choice especially in rural schools. Retention and completion rates were affected as some drop outs were experienced in both categories of schools with rural schools reporting the highest. Rural schools had higher indiscipline cases and laxity among the pupils in class participation as compared to urban schools that attracted pupils who were self-driven and therefore eager to learn. This was partly associated to the policies in education on children rights that prohibits corporal punishment and the parents and guardians who left the responsibility of their children to the governrnent ever since FPE was introduced. Urban school teachers were not fully prepared to handle the changes that came up due to FPE programme since they were used to handling small classes. Class participation was also affected by the deplorable conditions of facilities in rural schools. Inadequate facilities were more pronounced in urban schools as compared to the rural schools. The government provided learning materials in both rural and urban schools though the writing materials were not enough in rural schools as compared to urban schools. The study has established that FPE has been beneficial to rural schools than unban schools especially in provision of learning materials for pupils. The study has further established that FPE has impacted on the quality of education in both urban and rural primary schools. It is recommended that the government and other relevant stakeholders especially parents should work towards the improvement of quality of education by providing enough learning resources such as toilets play equipment, classroom furniture and classrooms, especially in rural schools. There is need to employ more teachers to cater for the increasing number of pupils in schools.