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Procurement Reforms and Expenditure Management in Public Secondary Schools in Kenya

Charles M. Rambo


The Education Act and the Secondary School Heads’ Manual recognize school heads as the financial controllers and accounting officers, responsible for all school revenue and expenditure management. Prior to reforms, procurement and tendering activities in public institutions, including secondary schools, was carried out under unclear legal frameworks, which failed to check irregularities arising from the process. Studies commissioned by the government and the World Bank in 1986 and 1997 revealed serious shortcomings in the procurement system, leading to loss of public funds. Procurement reforms were initiated to enhance efficiency and minimize loss of public resources. Even though the reforms process was initiated about a decade earlier, little had been documented about the extent to which the regulations had been implemented in public secondary schools and its effect on expenditure management. To achieve the objective of this study, a cross-sectional survey design, with quantitative and qualitative approaches was applied to guide data sourcing, processing and analysis. Primary data was sourced from 117, which were sampled from a national population of 3,868 schools that have been in existence for at least ten years as at the time of this study. The sample included 6 national, 42 provincial and 69 district schools. In terms of gender, 23 were pure girls’ schools, 19 were boys’ schools, while 75 were mixed schools. The schools were selected through a stratified random procedure, based on the category of schools; viz. national, provincial or district. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were applied to process and analyze the data. The study found that advertising tenders, number of committee members trained in procurement had strong positive effects on expenditure efficiency. Besides, the frequency of tender-splitting had the strongest negative effect on expenditure efficiency. The adjusted regression models explained 45.1 percent of variance in expenditure management. The study recommends the need for: procurement regulations to be reviewed for tender committees to include BoG, PTA and ministry representatives; regular supervision of tender committees by the ministry officials; training of tender committee members; technical and financial evaluation committees to be created to enhance efficiency.

Key words: Procurement, reforms, expenditure management, public secondary school

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