EFFECTIVENESS OF SUBSIDIZED SECONDARY EDUCATION IN INCREASING ENROLMENT, RETENTION AND GENDER EQUITY IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MBEERE NORTH DISTRICT OF KENYA
DANIEL NDUNGU KARANJA
The international community pledged to meet the targets of Education For All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, and a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), have moved to abolish school fees for secondary education in order to improve enrolment, retention and gender equity. Kenya launched Subsidized Secondary Education (SSE) in 2008 with the central government offsetting tuition fees for all students in public secondary schools in order to improve enrolment, retention and gender equity in public secondary schools. This study sought to investigate the effectiveness of SSE in increasing enrolment, retention and gender equity in public secondary schools in Mbeere North District, Kenya. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design and the study population was the heads of the public secondary schools and the education officers in the district. The researcher purposively sampled the 20 head teachers of public secondary schools that existed before the introduction of SSE and the District Education Officer (DEO) to take part in the study. The researcher used self-administered questionnaires for the head teachers and an interview schedule for the DEO to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Validity of the instruments was ensured through judgment of experts in research and piloting. Reliability was estimated by subjecting the instruments to a pilot study through the split- half technique and a correlation coefficient of the two halves was established at 0.73. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics after data was cleaned and coded. Quantitative data was analyzed using, means and percentages while qualitative data was analyzed by frequency counts of similar responses. Results of data analysis were presented using frequency distribution tables, bar graphs, line graphs and pie charts. The study found that SSE was effective in improving enrolment, retention and gender equity in the first two years of its inception but the positive gains were not sustained in the subsequent years. The study findings will be useful to education officials, parents, human rights organizations, development partners, teachers and the local area leaders to initiate necessary restructuring adjustments in the SSE Programme to make it more effective in increasing enrolment, retention and gender equity in Secondary education in Mbeere North District and other arid and semi arid districts of Kenya.