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Free Primary Education in Kenya: An Impact Evaluation Using Propensity Score Methods

  • Milu Muyanga
  • John Olwande
  • Esther Mueni
  • Stella Wambugu
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    This paper attempts to evaluate the impact of the free primary education programme in Kenya, which is based on the premise that government intervention can lead to enhanced access to education especially by children from poor parental backgrounds. Primary education system in Kenya has been characterised by high wastage in form of low enrolment, high dropout rates, grade repetition as well as poor transition from primary to secondary schools. This scenario was attributed to high cost of primary education. To reverse these poor trends in educational achievements, the government initiated free primary education programme in January 2003. This paper therefore analyzes the impact of the FPE programme using panel data. Results indicate primary school enrolment rate has improved especially for children hailing from higher income categories; an indication that factors that prevent children from poor backgrounds from attending primary school go beyond the inability to pay school fees. Grade progression in primary schools has slightly dwindled. The results also indicate that there still exist constraints hindering children from poorer households from transiting to secondary school. The free primary education programme was found to be progressive, with the relatively poorer households drawing more benefits from the subsidy.

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    File URL: http://portal.pep-net.org/documents/download/id/15792
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    Paper provided by PEP-PMMA in its series Working Papers PMMA with number 2010-08.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2010-08
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    1. Zhong Zhao, 2004. "Using Matching to Estimate Treatment Effects: Data Requirements, Matching Metrics, and Monte Carlo Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 91-107, February.
    2. Friedlander, Daniel & Robins, Philip K, 1995. "Evaluating Program Evaluations: New Evidence on Commonly Used Nonexperimental Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 923-37, September.
    3. Aaron, Henry & McGuire, Martin, 1970. "Public Goods and Income Distribution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(6), pages 907-20, November.
    4. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Estimating the Benefit Incidence of an Antipoverty Program by Propensity Score Matching," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0873, Econometric Society.
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