Cohort wastage rates in primary schools in Central Division, Embu West District, Embu County
Kabuku, Millicent Muthoni
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Attainment of Universal Primary Education is based on 100 percent enrollment for boys and girls and 100 percent completion rates. This is undermined by pupils who repeat a grade and those who prematurely withdraw from primary education. However, the magnitude of wastage remains unknown in Embu West District. This study on cohort wastage rates in central division, Embu west District, Embu County, specifically determined the magnitude of wastage during the period 2003 - 2010, investigated the causes of educational wastage and investigated the actions being taken to curb the educational wastage. The reviewed literature indicated pupil attributes, school attributes and household based attributes as the major causes of educational wastage. Descriptive survey design was adopted for this study. The design was appropriate because there was no manipulation of variables. The target population was fifteen public primary schools in central division. Stratified random sampling technique was employed so that urban and rural schools were represented. A sample of eight primary schools was selected, which was 53 percent of the target population. Questionnaires and document analysis were used as research instruments. Questionnaires were preferred so as to avoid overflow of information and irrelevant data and they were used to give the causes of educational wastage and the ways of curbing the wastage. Document analysis was used to obtain enrollment of the cohort from 2003 - 2010. Piloting was done in two schools which were not part of the sample to avoid influence on the outcome of the study. Two experts in the area of education planning assessed the instruments for face and content validity and Test-retest was used to test the reliability and a correlation coefficient of 0.802 was arrived at as the actual level of reliability. Non- quantifiable data generated from questionnaires were edited, coded, classified thematically and analyzed using descriptive statistics like frequencies and percentages and then discussed in narrative form. Quantitative data generated from document analysis was subjected to statistical analysis and presented in the form of percentages. The main finding was that household- based factors were the major claimant of educational wastage. The conclusion was that Free Primary Education is not enough to retain children in school from time of entry to graduation due to low economic status of parents (87.5 percent). One of the recommendations was that the government should provide and support the basic education fully. Basic education should be free and compulsory and this can only be possible if the government provides what the poor parents cannot afford for example school uniform, food, examination fee, school bags and shoes.