Exploring the effects of the free day secondary school program in Kenya: A case of a day school in Eastern Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mary Oluga

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Wachira


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The FDSE program was initiated by the Kenyan government in 2008 where it paid Ksh 10,265 (US $64) for tuition per year for each secondary student in public school. This study investigated the effects of the FDSE program on various stakeholders in one school in Makueni County, South Eastern Kenya. Data was collected from school administrators, teachers and students by using semi-structured interviews, focus group discussion, document analysis and observation as data collection methods. Data was analyzed qualitatively by first transcribing and identifying codes which were later organized into themes. Findings from the study showed that the implementation of the FDSE program has both positive and negative effects to the school administrators, teachers and students. The positive effects included increased access to secondary education especially for students from poor households, presence of government funding which reduced parents’ fees burden and increased school attendance which consequently reduced absenteeism. The negative effects ranged from student over enrolment, inadequate facilities and teaching staff, inadequate funding, late disbursement of the FDSE funds from the government and reduced parental commitment to pay school levies. However, to counter these challenges, the school apart from its internal mechanism involves parents and the community. In order to make the FDSE program a success, the study recommends increasing of the FDSE fund and timely disbursement to school at as well as targeting only the needy students. In addition, the study recommends the government to provide adequate facilities, teaching staff and audit the use of the funds in schools for transparency and accountability purposes.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library