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Achieving Universal Primary Education: Can Kenya Afford it?

  • Rob Vos

    (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague)

  • Arjun Bedi

    (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague)

  • Paul K. Kimalu

    (Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis)

  • Damiano K. Manda

    (Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis)

  • Nancy N. Nafula

    (Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis)

  • Mwangi S. Kimenyi

    (University of Connecticut)

Kenya has experienced a rapid expansion of the education system partly due to high government expenditure on education. Despite the high level of expenditure on education, primary school enrolment has been declining since early 1990s and until 2003 when gross primary school enrolment increased to 104 percent after the introduction of free primary education. However, with an estimated net primary school enrolment rate of 77 percent, the country is far from achieving universal primary education. The worrying scenario is that the allocations of resources within the education sector seems to be ineffective as the increasing expenditure on education goes to recurrent expenditure (to pay teachers salaries). Kenya's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the Economic Recovery Strategy for wealth and Employment Creation (ERS) outlines education targets of reaching universal primary education by 2015. The Government is faced with budget constrains and therefore the available resources need to be allocated efficiently in order to realize the education targets. The paper uses Budget Negotiation Framework (BNF) to analyze the cost effective ways of resource allocation in the primary education sector to achieve universal primary education and other education targets. Budget Negotiation Framework is a tool that aims at achieving equity and efficiency in resource allocation. Results from the analysis shows that universal primary education by the year 2015 is a feasible target for Kenya. The results also show that with a more cost- effective spending of education resources - increased trained teachers, enhanced textbook supplies and subsidies targeting the poor - the country could realize higher enrolment rates than what has been achieved with free primary education.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2004-47.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2004-47
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Mwangi S. Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Damiano Kulundu Manda, 2006. "Human Capital Externalities and Private Returns to Education in Kenya," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 493-513, Summer.
  2. Geda, A. & de Jong, N. & Mwabu, G. & Kimenyi, M.S., 2001. "Determinants of poverty in Kenya : a household level analysis," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19095, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  3. Bedi, A.S. & Kimalu, P. & Manda, D.K. & Nafula, N., 2002. "The decline in primary school enrolment in Kenya," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19103, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  4. Alemayehu Geda & Niek de Jong & Mwangi S. Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu, 2005. "Determinants of Poverty in Kenya: A Household Level Analysis," Working papers 2005-44, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
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