Parental socio-economic factors influencing enrolmentand retention of children in early childhood development centers in Lambwe Division, Mbita Sub-County, Kenya.
Okumu, Kennedy Oluoch
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The early years of a child's life are globally accepted as the most critical years for the holistic and lifelong future development of a child. Because of this, one the Kenya's Millennium Development Goals set is to achieve education for all and particularly, making enrolment in Early Childhood Development programs compulsory for all school age going children. With regard to this, Low pre-school enrolment and class retention have far reaching consequences hence this study sought to examine the influence of parents' socio-economic status on enrolment and retention rates of children in Early Childhood Development centres in Lambwe division, Mbita district, Kenya. The Specific Objectives for the study were to: determine the influence of parental level of income on enrolment and retention of children in Early Childhood Development centres, find out the extent to which parent's level of education influence enrolment and retention of children in Early Childhood Development centres and establish how parents occupation influence enrolment and retention of children in Early Childhood Development centres. The study adopted the ecological systems theory by Bronfenbrenner, (1979). The target population for the study comprised of 300 parents with children in Early Childhood Development centrers and two Quality Assurance and Standard Officers (QASOs) in the Division. The study used cluster random, simple random and purposive sampling techniques to obtain the required sample size. The sample included 169 parents and 2 QASOs. Before the actual study, Piloting was conducted to 10 parents. The researcher used test-re-test method to determine the reliability of the instrument which was found to be 0.90 for parents' questionnaire. The study employed descriptive and correlation research design. The data on enrolment, grade retention and parental socio economic status were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Data collected was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 11.0 software. Descriptive statistics used were measures of central tendencies, frequency distributions and percentages. The inferential statistics used were Pearson Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient and chisquare to establish whether there were any significant relationships between variables. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 significant levels. The major fmdings were as follows: There was a significant relationship between parental level of income and Early Childhood Development centrers' enrolment and retention, there was a significant relationship between parental level of Education and Early Childhood Development centrers' enrolment. Further, the study found a weak relationship between the parent's level of education and the child's retention at Early Childhood Development centrers centres and lastly there was no any significant relationship between the parents' Occupation and children's enrolment, parents' occupation and grade retention of Children in Early Childhood Development centrers. Since not all issues were addressed by the current study, it is recommended that another study be conducted in another location to confirm and expand the current fmdings by including a more diverse sample of pupils and teachers across the county.