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Impact of free secondary education policy on secondary school student academic performance in Kenya: A case study of MBITA and suba sub-counties

Author: 
Maurice Aoko Ndolo and Prof. Enose M.W. Simatwa
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Immediate Free Secondary Education policy was introduced in Kenya in 2008 with an aim of making secondary education affordable to enhance student academic performance. The influence seem to have been low in Mbita and Suba Sub- Counties where the academic performance mean scores in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education for the period 2011 to 2014 were low at 5.0 and 5.1 for Mbita and Suba Sub counties respectively. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of Free Secondary Education policy on student academic performance in Mbita and Suba Sub- Counties. A conceptual framework based on the Psacharopoulous and Woodhall (1985) concept of investment choices was adopted to determine the influence of Free Secondary Education policy on student academic performance. The study adopted ex-post facto and correlational research designs. The study population consisted of 37 principals, 2775 form four students of 2014, 1 Sub-County Schools Auditor and 2 Sub –County Quality Assurance and Standards Officers. The study sample consisted of 34 principals, 1 SCSAs, 2 Sub –County Quality Assurance and Standards Officers. Questionnaire, Interview Schedule and Focused Group Discussion were used to collect data. Face and content validity were established by supervisors whose input was included. Reliability coefficient of principal’s questionnaire was established using test re-test method and correlated using Pearson’s r. The outcome was that the reliability coefficient was 0.8 at the set p-value of .05 meaning that it was reliable. The study findings revealed that Free Secondary Education policy accounted for 31.2% of variation in student academic performance as signified adjusted R square by coefficient of 0.312. This means that increase in Free Secondary Education funding of Kshs. 10,265 resulted in increase in academic performance as indicated by the coefficients. The study concluded that Free Secondary Education policy influenced student academic performance. The study recommended that, the government should therefore increase capitation fees for each student to increase student academic performance. The findings of the study are significant to the Ministry of Education, planners, educators, parents and policy makers by informing them on the need to develop strategies to improve or redesign Free Secondary Education policy so as enhance further access, transition and student academic performance.

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