Achieving Universal Primary Education: Can Kenya Afford it?
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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