Having accepted the rationality of cost-sharing, the Ministry of Education, Science
and Technology (MoES&T) bursary scheme was introduced as one of the
safety-nets to cushion the poor and the vulnerable groups against the consequent
adverse effects. The bursary scheme, however, remains inefficient and
ineffective. Other characteristics that contribute to bottlenecks in its implementation
at the secondary school education level include limited access and participation
due to poor quality of service, bad governance and management weaknesses.
It is, therefore, arguable that against the background of more than half
of Kenya's population living below the poverty line, and the rising cost of education,
majority of households, especially among the poor and vulnerable groups,
are unable to invest in the development it of quality secondary education.
The objectives of this study included documentation of the patterns and trends in
financing secondary education in the public sector in Kenya; analysis of implementation
of the bursary scheme at the secondary school level in Kenya, with
special focus on disbursement procedures, equity considerations according to
socio-economic groups; and the overall impact on access to secondary school
education with regard to the income-poor and other vulnerable groups.
The study adopted an exploratory approach using a descriptive design. Four
provinces were randomly sampled and one district purposively selected from
each province. Three target populations considered were MoES&T staff; school-based
education staff and opinion leaders. Questionnaires, semi-structured interview
schedules, and focus group discussions were used in data gathering.
Data analysis was carried out using SPSS.
Study results indicated that the patterns and trends of education financing in
Kenya incorporated a partnership between the state, households, and communities
long before the introduction of the cost-sharing policy. The financing of
secondary education has, however, become problematic, ~s parents have to
,houlder an increasingly large proportion of the cost.
The government's financing of secondary education has largely been directed
towards Tecurrent expenditure, mainly to meet teachers' salaries and allowances,
at the expense of development expenditures, which would be essential to
provide and improve the physical and instructional facilities. This has resulted in
poot quality education as O1ost schools are inadequately provided with basic
.Tbe cost-sharing strategy has hada negative impact on the poor and vulnerable
households. The latter either do not enroll their children in secondary schools, or
fail to sustain a continuous participation of those enrolled due to inability to meet
cost requirements. This results in inadequate provision of learning facilities to
the enrolled, poor quality education, and high dropout rates.
The operatrion of the MoES&T bursary scheme is handicapped by inadequate
guidelines with regard to the amounts to be allocated per student; poor criteria
for selection of genuinely needy; inadequate awareness creation about the
scheme's existence and operations; limited funds hence limited coverage; poor
co-ordination and delays in funds' disbursement; and lack of monitoring mechanisms
by the MoES&T at the school and higher levels. This has resulted in lack
of transparency and accountability, nepotism, among other aspects of mismanagement.
A critical issue that requires redress is awarding of the bursaries to
less deserving, and sometimes completely undeserving, but well-connected applicants,
at the expense of the poor and vulnerable groups.
Policy options - the MoES&T should:
• Either abolish fee levies charged to parents or ensure foolproof enforcement
ofthe fee guidelines in order to eradicate loopholes in financial management
practices in schools.
• Consider increasing the current bursary funding from Ksh. 210 million
to Ksh. 1.5 billion. This will enable be~eficiariesto meaningfully meet at least
60% oftheir outstanding fees.
• Put in place clear guidance regarding eligibility and the socio-economic
categories to benefit from the bursary scheme; the amount to be allocated per
student; and a monitoring mechanism to ensure transparency and accountability
in the disbursement ofthe bursary funds. .
• In consultation with other stakeholders in the secondary education subsector,
work out ways to allow individual schools to evolve a 'fees waiver mechanism'
and income generating activities at the school level to raise funds for
various purposes to benefit learning resources, quality improvement, school
projects, and, where possible, supplement student fees requirements. .