Socio-economic and institutional determinants of access and participation to alternative primary schools in Mathare Constituency Nairobi County, Kenya
Gatwiri, Winniejoy Nkonge
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Despite introduction of Free Primary Education in Kenya to aid access to primary education, studies reveal that majority of children from poor backgrounds are out of school. Consequently, Alternative primary schools have emerged as alternative institutions of providing primary education to those who cannot access formal primary schools. The study sought to find out why more than 50% of the out of school children of primary school age in Mathare Constituency are not enrolled in Alternative primary schools. The purpose of the study was to establish socioeconomic and institutional based determinants of access in Alternative primary schools in Mathare Constituency. Key objectives for the study were to establish influence of school based factors on enrolment of pupils, determine influence of home background characteristics on pupil's enrolment, find out influence of school based factors on pupil's school attendance and establish influence of home background characteristics on pupil's school attendance. The study adopted Classical Liberal theory. Literature was reviewed along the following themes: School based factors influence on pupils' enrolment; home background characteristics influence on pupils enrolment; school based factors influence on pupils school attendance and home background characteristics influence on pupils school attendance. Correlational research design was used in this research. The key variables for the study included independent variable (social-economic and institutional based determinants of access and participation) and dependent variable (access and participation). The locale of the study was Mathare Constituency, Nairobi County. Study population was 18,000 pupils, 58 headteachers and 604 teachers. The sample size for head teachers and teachers comprised 20% (12) and 10% (60) respectively. Further, tables for determining sample sizes for a given population were used to obtain 317 pupils as the sample size. Data collection instruments included questionnaires and observation schedules. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics where the Correlation and Regression analyses were used. The findings of the study are presented in tables of frequency distributions, percentages and pie charts. The study established a strong negative and statistically significant correlation between school fees required and enrolment of pupils (r = -.924, p = .029) at alpha 0.05 level of statistical significance. A strong positive and statistically significant correlation between availability of basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing and enrolment of pupils (r = .728, p = .017) at alpha 0.05 level of statistical significance was established by the study. Based on these findings, the study concludes that school fees charged in Alternative primary schools in Mathare Constituency relates to low enrolment. Further, availability of basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing are better indicators of enrolment in Alternative primary schools in Mathare Constituency. It therefore recommends that the Alternative primary school managers in Mathare Constituency to ensure flexibility of school hours, leverage resources for running their school from other sources other than school fees, employ qualified teachers and provide sufficient school physical facilities.