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Anna Tranfaglia
University of Pittsgurgh

Impact of Professional Athlete Sponsorship on Educational Attainment in Western Kenya

Abstract
Abstract: The paper investigates whether primary schools affiliated with a professional athlete are an important determinant of pupil’s educational attainment on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam. Our study tests the hypothesis that Kenyan primary students from the Eldoret district receive higher KCPE marks if they attend schools that are closely affiliated with a professional runner than a school without this connection. Since only a fraction of Kenyan primary students will be accepted into secondary institutions, a strong performance on the KCPE exam is necessary to continue one’s education. Taking an advantage of a data set of 2010 KCPE scores for the 80 primary schools in the Eldoret district, the paper statistically illustrates a positive correlation between professional athlete sponsorship and educational attainment of pupils on all subject portions of the KCPE exam, except Kiswahili, thus furthering the role of athletes in education and developme!

The results are consistent with the hypothesis that “athlete” schools produce stronger Standard 8 students who in turn obtain greater KCPE scores than their peers at other schools. Athletes have a unique ability to connect rural schools with individuals or groups abroad and offer foreign support to these schools. Generally speaking, athletes have greater social capital than their fellow countrymen because they have had the opportunity to travel and meet contacts from all over the world. While Kenya and more specifically, the Eldoret region, may be unique in the pattern of the KCPE scores at schools with strong connections with athletes, our data results suggest that this idea be explored further. The next step is to expand the territory of a study, as well as to explore – what particular activity of athlete sponsorship – funding, bringing visitors, school board membership etc. – help to explain the differences in KCPE achievement.

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