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TitleInfluence of Free Primary Education Policy on Pupil Graduation Rates by Gender in Public Primary Schools in Rongo Sub-County, Kenya
AuthorOwino Kennedy Odhiam
AbstractKenyan Government, in its efforts to attain gender parity and increased graduation rates in public primary school in 2003 implemented the Free Primary Education (FPE) Policy which narrowed gender gap nationally; public primary school Graduation Rate (GR) in 2011 was 94.2% (92.8% girls; 95.6% boys). However, Rongo lagged behind with a GER of 85.7% (73.5% girls; 97.8%) in the same year which is a wide disparity of 24.3%. This raises the study’s concern on why this big disparity exists. The purpose of this study was therefore to establish the influence of FPE policy on pupil graduation rate by gender in public primary schools in Rongo Sub County, Kenya. Ex Post- facto and descriptive survey research designs were used. The study population comprised of 42 schools, 1 Sub County Quality Assurance and Standards Officer (SQASO), 966 and 624 Class 7 and 8 pupils respectively. Questionnaire, interview schedules, document analysis guide and focus group discussion were used to collect data. The study revealed that, FPE had a positive influence on graduation rates though girls still lagged behind boys. The study concluded that though girl’s graduation rate in public primary schools was lower than expected, it was discovered these girls did not remain at home as they constituted a higher proportion of graduates from private primary schools than boys hence explaining the huge disparity in public primary schools. The study recommended provision of enough teaching and learning materials in public primary schools to eliminate congestion and overcrowding which led to transfers to private primary schools. Findings are significant to, educational planners, donor agencies, parents and community in making decision in improving FPE Policy to enhance gender parity.

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