Assessment of parents' level of satisfaction with the quality of pre-school education in Lang' ata District, Nairobi County, Kenya
Moige, Nelliah O.
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Despite a vast literature in customer satisfaction, little has been said on the satisfaction of pre-school institutions' customers i.e. the parents. This study was aimed at assessing parents' levels of satisfaction with the quality of ECDE in Lang'ata District(Nairobi County) as influenced by a set of six independent variables: (I) type of school management/sponsorship; (2) type of curriculum offered; (3) availability of adequate physical facilities and (4) teaching-learning materials; (5) availability of qualified teachers;and, (6) teacher-child ratio. It also attempted to discover which of these factors contributed most to the parents' satisfaction level. The study adopted the ex post factor research design.The population of the study was 3545 parents and 160 Head teachers (HTs)/managers i.e. 1820 parents from private and 1725 from public ones while the HTs/Managers were91 from private and 69 from public ones making a total of3705 subjects for the study.Stratified random sampling technique was used to select the sample as the population was heterogeneous, being drawn from various categories of pre-schools. The sample size consisted of 355(10% of the population) of parents and 40(25% of the HTs/Managers population) thereby yielding a sampling of 395(10.7%) respondents. Data was collected using questionnaires for parents, semi-structured interview guides for HTs/Managers,document analysis checklists and observation schedules. The data gathering instruments were piloted to determine their validity and reliability before the main field exercise. Both qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed as per study 'objectives. Qualitative data e.g. transcribed interview notes were quantified where possible, along with quantitative data from the structured (closed-ended) questionnaire items. The qualitative data from interview guides were transcribed and analyzed thematically according to the set objectives.The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentages, mean,median and mode. Inferential statistics used were the Chi-Square (X2), F test and Beta to test the various hypotheses at p < .05. The findings were then presented in form of cross tabulations and graphs. The major findings were that in overall, most parents were highly satisfied with ECDE; parents in private pre-schools were more satisfied vis-à-vis those in public ones; significant differences existed in parental satisfaction in relation to all variables of quality ECDE; the variables of quality ECDE had varying significant influences on the parental satisfaction with the type of management being the most significant factor; there were significant differences in satisfaction between the low and high income parents in all the variables except curriculum, with the low- vis-a-vishigh-income parents being more satisfied. The study recommendations include ECDE centers to recruit qualified teachers, provide enough staff, management should select the right strategies in determining investment levels while prioritizing important dimensions that influence the service quality expectations of parents and allocating the limited available resources appropriately to improve service quality on each dimension to the required level and prevent service problems. Besides the aforementioned implications for ECDE providers, suggestions for further areas of research are advanced which include assessing the factors contributing to disparities in satisfaction with the quality of ECDE among the low income and high income groups as well as exploring for other variables affecting the quality of ECDE and their effects on the parental satisfaction.