The impact of school feeding programmes on pupil retention in primary schools in Kenya

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2011

56 Pages



1.0 Background to the Study
1.1 Statement of the problem
1.2 Purpose of the Study
1.3 Obj ectives of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Limitations of the Study
1.7 Delimitations of the study
1.9 Definition of significant Terms
1.10 Organization of the Study

2.0 Introduction
2.1. International call for provision of education for all
2.2. Education among the Nomadic Pastoralists and its challenges
2.3 Food Security in North Eastern Province
2.4 The School Feeding programme in Kenya
2.5 GenderDisparity
2.6. Other Factors affecting Enrolment and retention of pupils in schools

3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research Design
3.2. Area of Study
3.3. Target Population
3.4 Sample Size and Sampling Techniques
3.5. Research Instruments
3.6. Instruments Validity and reliability
3.7 Data Collection Procedure
3.8. Data Analysis Techniques



Appendix A- Questionnaire for the Headteachers in the Primary Schools

Appendix B- Questionnaire for the Pupils


1.0 Background to the Study

It is now generally acknowledged that investing in education is a key component for a country to use in development. An increase in quantity and quality of education is associated with the government’s effort to achieve second Millennium Development Goals (MOG) on universal primary education (UPE). This is evidenced by the government introducing free primary education programme in 2003 and free secondary education in 2008.

Currently education is a fundamental right of every person due to its contribution to equity, diversity and lasting peace (World Education Forum Education for all 2000). According to the framework for action in Dakar April 2000, Education occupies a central place in Human rights and is essential and indispensable for the exercise of all other human rights and for development. Article 26 of the United Nation Convection on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989 sets out the right to education to which every child is entitled. Article 29 of the convention also attaches importance to the process by which the right to education is to be promoted (United Nations Convention on the Right of the child 1989).

The World Declaration on Education for all (WDEA) Dakar, Senegal 2000 states that every person, child, youth and adult shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs.

Part 2 - section 6 of the children’s bill passed by the Kenyan parliament in 2001 states that “every child shall be entitled to education, the provision of which shall be the responsibility of the Government and parents” The children’s bill is evidence of the government’s effort to adopt the 1989 UNCRC and other international conventions, treaties and declarations which have implications for the protection, care and education of children (Republic of Kenya 2001).

At a General Debate of the 27th special session of the General Assembly on children in New York (2002) the then Vice President and Minister for Home Affairs, Prof George Saitoti said that the government of Kenya (GoK) was among the countries that ratified the UNCRC in 1990 and had committed itself in enhancing the rights of children.

According to Knight and Sabot (1990), Bigsten (1990), Sheffield (1973) and Bokongo (1992), since 1963 Kenya has had one of the most rapid educational expansions in sub- Saharan Africa. This is due to the importance attached to education, Kickniger (2003) affirmed that primary schools are considered as an institution that provides citizens with basic education, reading and writing which is fundamental for communications. This makes formal education an essential factor for full accomplishment of individuals on human beings, their survival and lifelong development.

Despite the tremendous expansion in education as a government commitment to achieve the second millennium development goal of UPE and being a signatory of various human rights declarations approximately 690,000 children of school going age (6-17 years) in the country have never attended school. This comprises 6.2% of the total population of children aged 6-17 years. However, this differs from one region to another. In North Eastern Province where Garissa district lies 42.4% of children aged between 6-17 years have never attended school due to reasons like guardians feeling that children are too young, lack of money for school expansion comprising 9.8% and incidental cost to schooling like school uniform and feeding, parents not letting them go and working at home 22.4% (Government of Kenya 2005)

A survey on formal and non-formal education in part of Samburu, Turkana, Marsabit and Moyale Districts in Kenya (2000), shows that less than 40% of eligible school age children in primary schools have not yet enrolled and another 60% drop out of school before acquiring basic education. This means that only 40% of them are able to complete their schooling.

Studies by Kraffi (2004), Kiugu; (2000) and Sifuna (1990) indicate that reaching the pastoralist communities with interventions like free education, school feeding programmes, introduction of boarding schools, provision of uniform, equipping and provision of books and stationery to pupils encourage them into formal schooling, proved difficult, retaining them in school is problematic and dropping out appears to be the norm

However this is contradicted by UN World food programme (WFP) report of 2003 which says that the introduction of school feeding programme in 1980 by the Kenyan Government improved health, concentration, enrolment and retention of children in school. The report further says that a daily lunch of boiled maize and beans is not much of a meal to some but across Sub-Saharan Africa it has become a lifeline and a luxury for millions of vulnerable children. Some children are reported to have started school earlier before reaching the required enrolment age in order to benefit from the feeding programme.

Due to the contradictions on available dates on role of feeding programme on retention of children in school a study of this nature on impact of school feeding programmes on pupils’ retention in school is necessary.

1.1 Statement of the problem

Universalization of primary schooling and elimination of gender disparity in education by 2015 are two of the eight millennium development goals adopted at the United Nations summit in 2000. However, imbalances in educational opportunities do exist in the country. In each situation there are multiple factors like education policies, community and household factors that explain the phenomenon (Brigs 1992).

For any education system to be efficient there should be smooth transition of pupils from one level to another or 100% retention and completion rate (Psycharopolous 1988). Retention and completion rates in Kenya especially in North Eastern, parts of Eastern and Rift Valley Provinces are very low. Primary school enrolment rates are also very low and highly contribute to illiteracy levels that currently stand at 57.9% in Garissa, 74.5% Mandera and 76.6% in Wajir contributing to 68.7% in North Eastern Province; this is too high compared to the Kenyan illiteracy rate of 17.7% (Government of Kenya 2005). According to the government of Kenya (2005) the dropout rates for pupils in primary school was 43% for female and 31%for males with teacher-student ratio of 1:38.

A study by verleersch and Kremers (2005) indicates that in developing countries there is an increase of 30% pupil participation in schools with introduction of lunch programmes in schools. Similar study by Dreze and kingdome (2000) in India showed that 14.2% of pupils reported to school after the introduction of school feeding programme. Other studies by Ahmed (2004), Williams (2007) and field et al (1997) show a positive relationship between school feeding programme and pupil retention in schools.

These studies were carried out in diverse areas and therefore the results could be different in other places. Therefore, In order to address the disparities on the impact of school feeding programme on pupil retention in school that result to low enrolment rates, low retention rate, low completion rate and high dropout rates mechanism is needed. This study therefore, seeks to establish the effect of school feeding programme on primary school pupil retention in Garissa District, Kenya.

1.2 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to establish the impact of school feeding programme on pupil retention in Garissa District, Kenya.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study will be guided by the following objectives:

1. To establish the impact of school feeding programme on primary school pupil retention in Garissa District, Kenya
2. to establish the enrolment rates of pupils in primary schools in Garissa District
3. To investigate the relationship between school feeding programme and retention rates of pupils in Garissa District.
4. To find out the factors that contribute to low completion rates of pupils in Garissa District
5. To find out the role of educational stakeholders in school feeding programme in maintaining high retention rate of pupils in Garissa District.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will guide the researcher to achieve the above objectives:

i) What is the impact of school feeding programme on primary school pupil retention in Garissa District, Kenya?
ii) What is the enrolment rate of pupils in Garissa District?
iii) What is the relationship between school feeding programme and retention rate of pupils in Garissa District?
iv) What factors contribute to completion rates of pupils in Garissa District?
v) What is the role of educational stakeholders in school feeding programme?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The empirical data obtained by the study will be useful to various stakeholders in education. These include school Administrators, Teachers, students, policymakers, Non­Governmental organizations and parents in Garissa District and beyond. The Administrators, policymakers and parents will be enlightened on the effect of lunch­programmes and take necessary action.

The study will also be useful to pupils because they will know the effects of lunch programmes in school and probably take advantage of it as alternative food supplement from what is offered at home.

The researchers will also use the findings to identify the knowledge gaps and then further carry a study in order to solve community problems related to education

1.6 Limitations of the Study

The major limitation of the study is that there is limited literature on the role of lunch programmes on retention in Kenya and this prompts the researcher to extensively cover many schools in order to get the required data hence more time is needed.

The other limitation is that the schools are sparsely distributed since the area is arid or semi-arid. This will make it costly to travel from one school to the other. Finally since the study covers a small area generalization of the findings may not truly reflect the actual problem in other areas because each area has unique characteristics.

1.7 Delimitations of the study

Studies carried out by UNICEF (1992), El-tayed(1990),Ndagala (1990) World Bank (2003), Mutegi (2005) and Mungai (2006) have shown that there are other factors that make Nomadic children participate in education. Such factors include; Provision of boarding facilities, free education and nearness of the school to the household. The study will not focus on these factors but will only address the role of lunch programmes on pupil retention in primary schools in Garissa district.

The other delimitation is that the study will focus on schools only in Garissa district and more particularly primary schools. The researcher will strictly deal with responses from headteachers and primary school pupils.

1.8 Basic Assumptions

The researcher will gather information form school pupils and headteachers and therefore assumed that the information they will give is genuine.

The other assumption is that some schools have lunch programmes and others do not. This will sufficiently offer a case for comparison in order to establish the role of lunch programmes on pupil retention in schools.

1.9 Definition of significant Terms

- Absolute poverty - refers to inability of a person, household or community to meet certain maximum level of consumption at which the basic needs are fulfilled.
- Effect - refers to change which results as a result of cause of something else.
- Literate - Means people who can read and write simple statements with understanding.
- Poverty line - is the minimum income level values of Kenya shills 1, 239 per month in rural areas and KShs.2,648 per month in urban areas or one dollar a day.
- Nomadic pastoralists - refers to members of ethnic group that move with their animals from place to place in search of pasture and water.

1.10 Organization of the Study

This study will be organized in five chapters, Chapter one will comprise of background to the problems statement, purpose and objectives of the study, research questions, significance, delimitations, basic assumption and definition of terms, Chapter two will deal with literature review on the role of lunch programme on school retentions and chapter three will consist of research methodology focusing on research design, target populations, sample and sampling procedures, research instrument, validity and reliability of the research instrument, data collection procedures and data analysis techniques.

Chapter four will constitute data analysis and discussion of findings while chapter five will deal with the summary, conclusion, recommendations and suggestions for further research


2.0 Introduction

This chapter deals with review of related literature on the impact of lunch-programme on pupil retention in schools. It gives an overview of international call for provision of education for all, education among the Nomadic pastoralist and its challenges. The school feeding programme, gender imbalances on enrolment and retention of pupils in schools more particularly schools in Arid and Semi-Arid regions.

2.1. International call for provision of education for all

Education is one of the key sectors that have been adequately documented in literature for it serves as the spring board for social and economic change. The Universal Declaration of Human Right adopted in 1948 declared that “everyone has a right for education” This call is further supported by the World Conference of Education for all held in Jamtien, Thailand in 1990 where presentation from 155 countries and 100 organizations pledged to provide education for all by the year 2000. The intentions of these country representations were that children, youth and adult would benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs. The world declaration of education for all thus defined a bold new direction in education.

The Education for all decade which culminated at the World education forum 26-28 April 2000 Dakar, Senegal, adopted the Dakar framework for actors’ education for All. This forum provided the opportunity to access the achievements, lessons and failures of the decade. The EFA 2000 assessment represented an unparallel effort to take stock of the state of basic education in the world. It is included in National assessment of the progress achieved since the Jamtein conference attended by 183 countries. They highlighted the problem encountered and gave recommended for future action.

The Forum produced a document, meeting our collective commitments, which committed governments to achieve quality basic education for all by the year 2015. Particular emphasis was put on girls schooling and a pledge from donor countries and institutions that no country seriously committed to basic education would be thwarted in the achievement of this goal by lack of resources (World Education Forum 2000).

To achieve the EFA goals, the governments, organizations Agencies groups and associations represented at the forum pledged themselves to; mobilize strong national and international political commitment for education for all, develop national action plans and enhance significant investment in basic education. They also committed themselves to promote EFA policies within a sustainable and well integrated sector framework clearly linked to foster education and development strategies. Implement and monitoring of strategies for educational development, develop responsive participation and accountable system of educational governance and management (World education forum 2000).

Since basic education plays a greater role for development of any country, it is necessary to acquire it. From independence in 1963, Kenya in particular has been on the move trying to ensure that education is provided to all the citizens. For example, in the 1963 elections when the Kenya National Union KANU became the ruling party, it published a Manifesto entitled “What a KANU government offer you” which committed the party to offering a Minimum of seven years of free primary education (Sifuna 1990). In the 1969 (KANU) election Manifesto, the party again re-echoed its commitment to providing seven years of free primary education. A second presidential decree on 12 December 1973 during the celebration of the ten great years of independence claimed to have brought the country close to achieving “universal free primary education”. The directive provided free education for children in standard I-IV in all districts of the country.

In 1971 a presidential decree abolished tuition fees for districts with unfavourable climatic conditions because the majority of population in those areas was poor (Sifuna 1990). The aim of free primary education programme was to provide more school opportunities, especially for the poor communities notably communities in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs). The argument was that the payment of school fees tended to prevent large proportion of children from attending school. The government also pledged to continue its programmes to building primary and secondary schools so that every child in the areas which had below average enrolment, could get an opportunity to attend school. These areas included North-Eastern province, the districts of Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Turkana, and West-pokot among others. After the directive, enrolments almost doubled in most districts except those in ASAL (Sifuna 1990).

During the 2002 general elections in Kenya, the party which formed the government National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) made the provision of free primary education part of its election manifesto. Following this announcement by the government an estimated 1.5 million children who were previously out of school reported to school (Daily Nation February 3rd 2003). Apparently the move did not have a great impact among the Pastoralist communities like North Eastern Province.

Enrolment in these areas remained very low. The statistics by the Republic of Kenya 2005 shows that 59.6% of children aged 6 years and above in Garissa districts never attended school. In the surrounding districts the situation is the same for instance in Mandera and Wajir 65.9% and 61.9% children aged 6 years and above never attended school. It is clear cut evidence that still the community does not take the advantage of free primary education offered by the government of Kenya. This makes it prudent to establish if school feeding programme can have an impact on enrolment and retention of children in school to enable the country move close to attaining the second millennium development goal of universal primary education and education for all.

2.2. Education among the Nomadic Pastoralists and its challenges

The geographical disparity in education provision between pastoral district and the rest of the country has been ignored until it became a key issue during the propaganda of the 1969 elections (Sifuna 1987). This was closely related to the attention given to pastoral district by development policy makers in the late 1960. Pastoral regions previously viewed as little more than economic liability, began to be considered in terms of positive contribution to boostnation’s economy (Evangelore 1984).

It has been argued that Nomadic pastoralists should receive formal education, because within their respective country the control important “National” resources (Land and livestock) the productivity which should be improved to match national requirements. Formal education is supposed to equip nomads against impoverishment and ultimately eradicate poverty by opening access to alternative livelihood options. Education is thus seen as an instrument to change Nomadic attitude and belief, as well as to introduce “Modern” knowledge and “better” methods and practices to transport them into modern livestock producers (Baxter 1985: Hogg 1988). The formal education therefore seek to empower nomads to cope successfully and interact with the new challenges raised by globalization as well as enable them gain political presentations (Baxter & Hogg 1990; Anderson & Broch-Due 1999)

Nomadic areas have been known to have the converse literacy rates (government of Kenya 2006). Enrolment of Nomadic children to school is still low while there are many school going children in those areas. Significantly, studies also conclude that millions of the nomadic pastoralists’ children have been denied access to primary education. It has been noticed that the nomadic pastoralists have not fully accepted formal education.

A study by the Save the Children Fund SCF (2000) and Ministry of Education science and technology (MOEST 1999) on education among the Nomad, found out that even after provision of boarding schools neither nomadic parents nor children liked to be separated for long periods. According to Kenrick (1998) Nomadic parents do not like the idea of giving custody of their sons and daughters to people they do not know especially where they are not related and whose moral integrity they often doubt. Similar concerns were shown by a study by Kraffi (2000) where Nomads are worried that their children once separated from their parents would learn to take dongs, swear and hear about sex from other young people.

Explanations for the failure of education provision in pastoral areas, particularly low enrolment and high drop out rates has usually been blamed on the recipient’s way of life. The nomadic lifestyle, in particular the high degree of mobility and scattered low density distribution of pastoral populations makes education provision more expensive, difficult to organize and manage (Dall, 1993) due to Nomadic seasonal migration that ultimately disrupt learning of children for example, in sloyiankalani division, Kajiado District, school children were forced to drop out of school when their families moved with their animals in search of pastures. This act of people migrating from one place to another leads to low number of pupils reporting back to school (Daily Nation 19th October 2003). Report by IRIN Humanitarian situation also indicate that due to severe drought families have separated with young men and teenagers accompanying the herds and women, children and the elderly moving to urban centres in the hope of gathering a small amount of income or receiving relief assistance, This as well make pupils not enroll or drop-out of school.

Along the pastoralist lack of basic education contributes to the ongoing conditions of impoverishment. Social marginalization and discrimination and leads to serious risk to national integration. Various studies on nomadic education shows that although nomadic herders number several tens of millions of people, mainly in Africa, the Middle East, South West and central Asia they include some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in those areas (Kraft 2004).

2.3 Food Security in North Eastern Province

According to Humanitarian situation report of Kenya (1997) as a result of successive poor rains, large parts of North and Eastern Kenya are currently facing a severe drought which is undermining food security of at least two million people. The report focused on Arid and semi-Arid parts of the country. The information from the report suggests that these areas are severely affected by the drought. Among the affected areas are the pastoralists districts of Eastern province and North Eastern Kenya e.g. Garissa, Wajir, Isiolo, Makueni among others. The food security of the people in these districts is of particular concern because of climatic and economic factors which has made it very difficult for them to change from livestock keeping to growing crops.


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The impact of school feeding programmes on pupil retention in primary schools in Kenya
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