The influence of free primary education on teacher effectiveness in Kuria east constituency
In the last two decades there have been numerous initiatives aimed at ensuring that all children of school going age have access to education. Effective teaching techniques are highly dependent on the psychological well being of the teacher. Although a lot of efforts have been made in this aspect, there have been many doubts on teachers’ competence and performance in meeting the challenges and needs in new government initiatives. The introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2003 is one such initiative that caught Kenya’s education system completely off guard and failed to enact adequate preparations for the policy. The program brought a sharp focus on the teacher effectiveness owing to the induction of this broad concept in the educational process. This study examined the influence of FPE on teachers’ effectiveness in Kuria East Constituency. The study establishes the effects of FPE on teacher’s effectiveness and pupil enrolment trends before and after FPE. The study also looked at the teacher – pupil ratio within this period and its impact on teachers’ effectiveness. Stratified random sampling was used in the identification of 25 primary schools from which the head teachers and 88 teachers that were selected through random sampling participated in the study. The study employed the use of a questionnaire, an interview schedule and document analysis as the main research instruments. Quantitative data generated from these instruments was quantitatively with the aid of SPSS version 17 while content analysis used for the qualitative. The analyzed data was then summarized into frequencies and percentages and presented in tables, bar charts and figures. Findings of the study indicate that the pupil enrolment rate in Kuria East Constituency increased by 41.8% between 2002 and 2008. Introduction of FPE resulted in overcrowding in classes leading to a high pupil - teacher ratio which average 53:1. In some of the schools the pupil-teacher ratio was as high as 77:1. This negatively affected teachers’ effectiveness as the teachers were forced to result to the use of a single teaching method in order to meet the increased class sizes. From this study, the rushed introduction of FPE demoralized teachers as they were faced with an increased workload and yet there were no incentives offered for the increased workload. In conclusion, this study finds that there was need for teacher involvement and participation in making decisions pertaining to the introduction of FPE. A mode of remuneration or offering incentives to the teachers for the increased workload should have been formulated in order to motivate the teachers. A characteristic of FPE was increased pupil enrolment and as such there was need for the government to increase the number of teachers and classrooms in order to meet the increase, thereby ensuring that teachers’ effectiveness was not hampered.