Socio-economic and cultural determinants of participation of orphaned and vulnerable children in public primary schools in Mbooni Sub-County, Kenya
Matilu, Stephen Kaluu
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In almost all the countries in the world, EFA goals have been embraced. Howeverin developing countries like Kenya, OVCs are not effectively participating in primary education. The purpose of this study was to establish barriers of effective participation of OVCs in public primary schools in Mbooni Division. The objectives of this study were to establish enrolment rates for OVCs in primary education, the effect of OVC background on participation, socio-economic factors influencing participation, cultural practices affecting OVCs participation and strategies adopted by stakeholders to improve participation and used descriptive survey design. The target population comprised of 32 headteachers, 1 children's officer and 3 managers of OVC care institutions from which a sample of 15 headteachers, 3 managers of child care institutions and 1 children's officer was selected using the systematic sampling technique. Data collection instruments were questionnaires and interview guides. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequency and percentage while qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. OVCs' family background has a major influence on their participation in education as most of them come from low income families most of which have been devastated with HIV/AIDS, some had physical and mental handicaps. The study also found that OVCs came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Most OVCs come from low income family backgrounds with more than three siblings and therefore their parents were not able to raise enough income to enable their children join and remain in school. It was further established that PTA, activity and admission levies were charged in schools hindering OVCs from participating in primary education. Parents and guardians were also unable to provide school uniform, lunch and transport for the OVCs. Early pregnancy was the socio-cultural barriers hindering OVCs' participation in education. The study recommended that in order to improve OVCs participation in education, stakeholders should be mobilised to fund OVC centres, there should also be provision of OVCs with foodstuffs, school uniforms and home clothes in addition to textbooks and exercise books. It ~was further recommended that OVCs should be provided with scholarships and a bursary kitty for bright OVCs. Since the study was confmed to Mbooni Division, of Makueni County, a similar study should be replicated to other divisions and counties in the country. A similar study should also be conducted targeting OVCs and their parents and guardians since they were left out in this study.