Investigation of problems inhibiting access to effective participation in pre-school education of central division in Embu District (Kenya)
The central problem of this study was that despite the critical role of pre-school Education in holistic development of the children, there are problems inhibiting access to participation in pre-school education, most government documents in Kenya are silent on key issues such as terms of service for pre-school teachers, linkages between various players in ECD and modalities of partnership among others. Problems facing ECE have not been adequately investigated and understood. In the light of the above, the purpose of this study was to investigate the problems facing pre-school education in Central Division, Embu District. The researcher found pre-school curriculum and programmes in place, investigated the academic qualifications of teachers, policies in place on pupils entry age and pre-school registration, facilities and material - resources available and the role played by the society in provision of pre-school education in the Central Division Embu District. Using simple random sampling fifteen pre-schools approved by the DEB were sampled from different categories of preschools in the division (Pre-school Centers approved by D.E.B - Public, private organizations and private commercial) with a total enrolment of approximately 300 pupils, 15 pre-school teachers where simple random sampling was used to sample one teacher from each of the schools in the study, 15 head teachers or school managers where one head teacher or manager represented each of the sampled school. Thirty parents were interviewed, two parents from each of the sampled schools; the district education officer, the officer in charge of statistics and free primary education programmes. The officer in charge of Early Childhood Education in the district were interviewed. These three officers were picked using the non-random sampling technique since they were the only ones. Data collection instruments used were questionnaires for teachers, interview schedules for the head teachers or school managers, for parents and for the officers from the districts education office. Observation schedules were also used to collect information on the pupils. Data collected were organized systematically using descriptive statistics and the researcher analyzed the data for evaluation of problems encountered in access to effective participation in pre-school education in central division of Embu District Recommendations were derived from the findings and conclusions in the study. The study was anticipated to have theoretical and practical significance. The study has contributed to advancement of knowledge on ECD in Kenya and may lead to improvement of strategies for the implementation of ECE curriculum; it may guide policy makers in identifying priority areas in allocation and distribution of funds and other essential resources for education development. The study findings may enlighten curriculum developers and teacher trainers on areas that need improvement.