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Low-fee private primary schools: The case of Kenya

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Abstract:

Although less than a decade ago James Tooley had a difficult time convincing certain governments that private education for the poor existed in their respective countries, the Kenyan government has been aware of the low-fee or community private school sector since the early 1960s. However, the size and impact of this sector are still unknown. Ultimately, while Kenya’s 2003 Free Primary Education initiative was expected to reduce (or even eliminate) the need for low-fee private primary schools, current research shows that these schools have continued to grow and that the proportion of low-income students in private schools has steadily increased. Accordingly, this study was designed in order to answer one main research question: Why do some low-income parents choose fee-paying private schools instead of no-fee public education?

Via an extensive literature review, as well as in-country interviews with donor organizations, NGOs, Kenyan government officials and low-fee private school principals and teachers, this study concludes that there are two distinct reasons why poor children are sent to non-government primary schools. First, due to the fact that government schools still require students to purchase uniforms, books, transportation and food, orphans and street children have no choice. While government schools are unwilling to waive these fees, private primary schools often eliminated (or re-purposed) school fees for those who were unable to afford their tuition. Additionally, families were found to seek three criteria of quality: exam results, pedagogical quality (i.e. class size, schedules, etc) and religious commitment—all of which were claimed to be of highly quality in low-fee private schools, as compared with under-funded public schools. Ultimately, limited public funding and expanding low-fee private schooling opportunities have increased access to high-quality educational institutions for many of Kenya’s most underserved students.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494189_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Stern, Jonathan. and Heyneman, Stephen. "Low-fee private primary schools: The case of Kenya" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494189_index.html>

APA Citation:

Stern, J. and Heyneman, S. , 2011-04-30 "Low-fee private primary schools: The case of Kenya" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494189_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Although less than a decade ago James Tooley had a difficult time convincing certain governments that private education for the poor existed in their respective countries, the Kenyan government has been aware of the low-fee or community private school sector since the early 1960s. However, the size and impact of this sector are still unknown. Ultimately, while Kenya’s 2003 Free Primary Education initiative was expected to reduce (or even eliminate) the need for low-fee private primary schools, current research shows that these schools have continued to grow and that the proportion of low-income students in private schools has steadily increased. Accordingly, this study was designed in order to answer one main research question: Why do some low-income parents choose fee-paying private schools instead of no-fee public education?

Via an extensive literature review, as well as in-country interviews with donor organizations, NGOs, Kenyan government officials and low-fee private school principals and teachers, this study concludes that there are two distinct reasons why poor children are sent to non-government primary schools. First, due to the fact that government schools still require students to purchase uniforms, books, transportation and food, orphans and street children have no choice. While government schools are unwilling to waive these fees, private primary schools often eliminated (or re-purposed) school fees for those who were unable to afford their tuition. Additionally, families were found to seek three criteria of quality: exam results, pedagogical quality (i.e. class size, schedules, etc) and religious commitment—all of which were claimed to be of highly quality in low-fee private schools, as compared with under-funded public schools. Ultimately, limited public funding and expanding low-fee private schooling opportunities have increased access to high-quality educational institutions for many of Kenya’s most underserved students.


Similar Titles:
Dimensions and Implications of Privatization of Education in Nepal “The Case of Primary and Secondary Schools”

Parental demand for private informal schooling: the case of six towns in Kenya

Anti-poor or empowering? The case of low fee private schools in India

Analyzing the role of central management structures in public private partnerships: the case of Fe y Alegría schools in Peru

Can parental choice support the right to education? Evidence from low-fee private schools in Kenya


 
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