Children's basic needs and enrolment in Early Childhood Education in Miriga Mieru West Division of Imenti North District, Kenya
Human beings spend a great deal of time working to towards provision of their basic needs. Provision of such basic needs is particularly important not only to adults but also to pre-school children. Available literature shows that in Kenya enrolment of children in pre-school is low. It was believed that failure to adequately meet basic needs such as food, household size, and health status might have led to the children's low enrolment in pre-school education and other levels of education in Miriga Mieru West Division of Imenti North District. It was for this reason this study was designed; to establish and document factors related to this low enrolment especially in Imenti North District where 52% of pre-school children do not attend pre-school and in particular 64% in Miriga Mieru West Division of the District. The main objective of this study was to establish the relationship between provision of children's basic needs and enrolment in pre-school. The study used a correlation design employing a survey method, since the target population was large. The independent variables included food, household size, and health status. The dependent variable was children's enrolment in pre-school. The target population for this study comprised 78, 201 children of pre-school age going from whom an actual sample size of 390 children was selected and their parents participated in the study. Children's households were systematically sampled whereas Imenti North District was sampled purposively. Miriga Mieru West Division was selected due to its high population of pre-school age children (78,201) in comparison to other divisions in the district such as; Miriga Mieru East with 64,117, Timau with 55,292 and Buuri with 45,610 as well as its low pre-school enrolment rates (64%). The study used a questionnaire for parents and anthropometric tools for data collection. During pilot study, a test-retest was done to refine the instrument and determine its reliability. Cronbach's alpha correlation was used to compute the correlation coefficient; the Alpha Coefficients of the instrument were 0.88 and 0.98 starting with the lowest going to the highest. The researcher administered the questionnaire to parents of pre-school children both with children not attending and children attending pre-school. Collected data were analyzed using quantitative methods. Data derived from the open-ended questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentages, means and standard deviations whereas the t-test (two tailed) for testing equality of means for independent samples was used to test Hot, Hoe and H04 while Pearson Chi-square(x2) for testing the relationship between variables was used to test Ho3. So as to establish the relationship between variables at 0.05 significant level. A t-test (two tailed) for independent samples found no relationship between household size, health status and enrolment in pre-school. But it established a relationship between the number of meals consumed in a day and enrolment in pre¬school. The results of the Pearson Chi-square (x2) test showed that there is a relationship between nutritional status in terms of wasting, stunting and enrolment in pre-school. It also showed that there is no relationship between nutritional status in terms of underweight and enrolment in pre-school. The study recommends that the government needs to subsidize pre-school education costs so that more children can enroll in pre¬schools. This study concludes that basic needs are important and unless they are met we will continue to have large numbers of children not attending pre-school continuing to increase.