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With the advent of ever-evolving technology, students need a proper system which is able to provide information about application dates and allow students to apply for a bursary anywhere.
This research project is aimed at developing an online system which is able to allow enumerator to keep records of students both in secondary and college including their parent’s details. The system will be able to allow students to apply for a bursary anywhere as opposed to the current system in which student could only apply by filling the forms and taking them to bursary offices.
A historical analysis of the patterns and trends of education financing in Kenya and other countries reveals the existence of a partnership between the state, households, and communities, long before the introduction of the cost-sharing policy by the government.
In the cost-sharing strategy, the government finances educational administration and professional services, while the communities, parents, and sponsors, provide physical facilities, books and supplementary readers, stationery and other consumables. Constituency development funds are a fund established in 2003 through the act of the parliament .the act was later reviewed through the amendment 2007. the fund is domiciled within the ministry in charge of national economic policy and planning, currently the ministry of devolution and planning.
The Ministry of education, Science and Technology (MoES&T) a bursary scheme at secondary school and college level as part of, and within the auspices of the SocialDimensions of Development Programme, targeting the poor and vulnerable households. The major objective of the scheme is to enhance access to and ensure high-quality secondary school education and higher education for all Kenyans. The philosophy behind the scheme was to translate into reality the idea that no child who qualifies for secondary education and higher education should be denied access due to inability to pay school fees.
The ministry of education releases bursary application forms through the Area EducationOfficers (AEOs) which are to be filled by parents and Needy students. Details required in the form include the academic background of the student, family background including family size, economic status (family annual income) and family type(orphan, non-orphan, single parent). Details are given on fees payment and any outstanding balances.
The ministry emphasizes student performance and discipline. The bursary application form has to be signed by the chief or religious leader and the school head before submission to the constituency bursary fund committee (Njeru and Orodho, 2003). the main purpose of the fund is to enhance socio-economic development at national level in order to reduce poverty by dedicating a minimum of two and a half of annual revenue towards supporting education sector (ruodh 2003).
The student bursary management system also known as e-bursary system formerly constituencies development funds which enable students to keep their details in the site’s databases upon which the enumerator can use as a basis for considering the needy students. This system can also enable student’s access to the application forms online as well as the application dates. The fund is managed by the national government constituencies’development board which is a corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal. The body operates at the national level and comprised of a board of directors and a secretariat
Despite the rationale for the introduction of bursaries as safety-nets in the education sector, there are increasing concerns regarding their ability and sensitivity in cushioning the income to poor and vulnerable groups. Major concerns are in regard to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology bursary scheme’sweak administrative systems as evidenced by delays in communicating the bursary awards to beneficiaries; questionable bursary eligibility criteria. Thus, more than half of population living below the poverty line, and the rising cost of education, the majority of households, especially among the poor and the vulnerable groups, are unable to access the benefits accruing from investment in the development of quality secondary and college education.
To develop an online student’s bursary system to provide information about application dates and allow students to apply for bursary anywhere.
i) To come up with a system which allows enumerator to keep records of students both in secondary and college including their parent’s details.
ii) To reduce disparities and inequalities in the provision of secondary and higher education bursary by coming up with a system which enables admin to verify approved all eligible student and award them base on parent details submitted by the enumerator.
iii) To develop an online system which is able to provide information about bursary application dates and allow students to apply for bursary anywhere as opposed to the current system in which student could only apply by filling the form and taking bursary offices.
iv) To design a user-friendly online student’s bursary management system interface.
i) If the system allows enumerator to keep records, then the system should keep student’s record both in secondary and college including their parent’s details.
ii) If disparities and inequalities exist, then the system should enable the admin to verify, approve all eligible student and award them based on parents details submitted by the enumerator.
iii) If the system provides information about bursary application dates, then it should allow students to apply for bursary anywhere as opposed to the current system in which student could only apply by filling the form and taking to bursary offices.
iv) If the interface is well designed, then the system should be user-friendly.
Ona successful completion and implementation of this project, the system will keep records of all students in the constituency. Base on records in the database it will be easier to determine eligible student. The system will allow eligible to apply bursary will be able to do their application online with ease. The system will solve Issue of delay communication through online updates. Moreover, the applicant will rest assured that no amount of online threat from hacker and other attackers can penetrate their account even when their password is compromised.
This application uses a multi-level security measure to ensure that customers’ personal details and account information are safe.
Bursary Needs assessment system provides an interface for bursary applicant, administration and enumerator who records details about the students in the database in the constituency. Admin will be able to verify student details based on enumerator’s data in the database. Applicants register and log in to apply for a bursary and also check information such as date of application. The applicant is able to confirm whether their applications were successful or not. The system will also provide an online upload individual document for verification such as national identification card, letter from school and area chief. Admin, on the other hand, is able to view applicant information, update website information, allow the applicant to change their profile and to notify online those who have qualified/ benefited from bursary. The applicant is able to download qualification notification.
This chapter covers a review of the literature related to the study. Literature is first given a review on disbursement of secondary and higher education bursary fund (SHELF)in Kenya and other countries are provided. The literature on studies on the effectiveness of bursaries on enhancing access and retention is provided. A review of studies on challenges in the disbursement procedures of SEBF is given.
A study by Fedha Flora (2008) states that guidelines from the Ministry of Education stipulate that there are factors to be borne in mind by constituency bursary fund committee when they allocate bursaries to students. The following status has to come out clearly as the main factors to be considered during the award of bursaries:
a)Whether the applicant was a total orphan
b) Whether the applicant was a Needy child of poor parents
The study will try to establish whether this is the case followed in Juja constituency.
Not many studies have been conducted to find out the impact of constituency bursary funded retention. One of the studies identified was conducted by Kirigo (2008), toassess the effectiveness of bursaries on enhancing retention in secondary schools in Mombasa District. The study established that schools and constituency bursary committee in Mombasa District followed the laid down criteria and that 42% of the deserving students received bursaries, 60% who were female. Kirigo further established that bursary fund had no significant impact on the retention in Mombasa District, based on the fact that 53.3% of those who received bursaries were sent home over three times due to the inadequacy of funds set aside for bursary and unpredictability of the funds.
Ngware, Onsomu, Muthakaand Kosimbei (2006) conducted a study to examine strategies for improving access to secondary education in Kenya. They concluded that persistently, low participation rates from low-income households indicates that the bursary fund has limited impact on ensuring that the beneficiaries are adequately supported for a full cycle. Consequently, they proposed that the government initiative in decentralizing and reviewing bursary funds management constituency level should be closely monitored. Clear guidelines should be developed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in order to increase access to secondary education. Further, they suggest that there is no address to income inequalities in the society and that a special assistance scheme and preferential policies should be developed to target vulnerable groups such as students from marginalized communities, those with special Needy and orphaned and vulnerable children.
In Kenya Orodho and Njeru(2003) and Mellen (2004) have carried out researches on government bursary. From the results of the studies, the government bursary fund is yet to achieve its the main objective of ensuring access and quality education. These two researchers were carried out when the bursary fund disbursement was directly under the heads of schools and B.O.G currently it is being disbursed at constituency level thus the Needs for such a study as this will find out if the findings could be the same.
Challenges in the financing of secondary and higher Education Bursary Fund
Studies byNjeru and Orodho (2003) and Mellen 2004 have evaluated the students’ bursary fund scheme and found out that the funds are not effective generally and restrained with defaults. They all underscore the importance of reviewing the scheme in order to determine whether the objectives are being achieved especially after the increase in bursary awards so far little has been done to seek the opinions of the beneficiaries of the bursariesregarding its effectiveness in achieving its objective of enhancing equity, retention, and access in secondary education. This gap is worthy of bridging.
The reviewed studies have focused more on the government and its administrative procedures as the main constraints in implementation. This research intends to go further and find out if there are any other constraining factors. Based on this, therefore, this study will seek to investigate the effects of secondary school bursary on access and retention in Juja constituency. Flora Fedha (2008) though experts support the decentralization of bursary, again this criteria has many problems. There have been complaining that bursaries given to constituencies by the government were being used for political purposes instead of assisting the poor. Some M.Ps picked their friends to manageconstituency bursary fund such that only their supporters benefited. Thus politicians, who infiltrate them with their cronies, had hijacked the composition of Constituency Bursary Committee. They, in turn, configure the disbursement to benefit those in the politicians camp (Daily Nation 14th Feb 2004).
Other critical issues are to do with the time factor in that it takes longer for the beneficiaries to receive the money and that there are no compelling instructions that enjoin committees to adhere to given rules. From a study by IPA entitled education financing in Kenya secondary school bursary scheme implementation and challenges (2003), it was clear that the bursary fun introduction, as part of the safety nets in cushioning the poor and vulnerable was a noble policy goal, but it has not been effective and efficient in meeting its objectives.
From the study, the following issues were raised; The MOST has not created a legal and conducive relationship with local communities via the establishment of competent OG and PTA to deal with school management especially financial management;MOEST lacked any monitoring system, hence some heads replaced names of needy students with those of their choice; Structural weakness in administration systems as evidenced by delays in disbursement on remittance of funds to homeschools, delays in communicating the awards to beneficiaries. Based on the above issue it was recommended that MOEST should increase the current funding levels, establish clear guidelines regarding the socio-economic categorization of those to benefit from the bursary fund award, ensure that schools are guided on how to evolve ‘fees’ waiver mechanism’’ as well as income generating activities in order to enhance access and retention to secondary education by the poor and vulnerable, ensure that the funds are released promptly and ensure that headteachers convene school bursary committee meetings to review the final allocation and prioritize the most needy cases, as much as possible ensure that the funding allocated does not fall below 60% of the average and regular financial requirement of the applicant and make public the list of the students who receive the bursary funding and ensure that the total amount approved by the parliament is made available to MOST for spending.
This research sought to establish whether this recommendation by MOST has adhered to the inJuja constituency in order to ensure access and retention of students in secondary school.
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