Influence of direct costs of education on parents’ choice among private secondary schools in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study explored the influence of direct costs of education (DCE) on the parents’ choice of private secondary schools (PSSs) in Kilimanjaro Region. It also considered thefactors such as family’s socio-economic status (SES) in relation to theparents’ ability to afford DCE in varied PSSs.A mixed research approach converged into descriptive survey design was deployed in the data collection and analysis process. A total of 288 respondents drawn from 10 PSSs were involved in the study as follows: 40 participants were interviewed, 60 involved in Focus Group Discussion and 188 participated in the questionnaire survey.The findings of the studysuggest that choice of PSSs was strongly sensitive to DCE as81.05 percent of students, 80 percent of heads of secondary schools and 90 percent of the parents submitted to this claim. Indeed,parents with low economic status had their choice options confined to poor PSSs which charges low fees with no quality guaranteed. On the other hand, those with high social economic status exercise the role of choices at the expense of the poor as they were able to pay up to 2.7 million Tshs to secure the best PSSs. On the whole,parents had to consider their purchasing power and the price of services in thePSSsbefore enrolling their children. In other words, private school costs and parental school choice were inseparable.Furthermore,the study established that, other factors such as school performances, religious ethics, accommodation services, uniforms, school safety and location also influenced parental choice of PSSs.Consequently, thestudy recommendsfor a differentiated educational finance vouchers that take cognisance of the family backgrounds to bail out students from poor socio-economic grounds and attempt to level the playing field in the PSSs. This is an area where the government and other education stakeholders can play an active role.
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Education, Private schools, Secondary schools, Finance, Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania
Hemedi, K (2012), Influence of direct costs of education on parents’ choice among private secondary schools in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. available at( )