The effect of child labour on free primary education: a case study of Mwea division, Kirinyaga district, Kenya.
Kibugu, Joseph Mungai
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This study investigated the effects of child labour on free primary Education in Mwea Division, Kirinyaga District. The study also explored gender involved in child labour, the causes of child labour and the various occupations that are undertaken by child workers. A descriptive survey design was used in the study. The population of the study consisted all public primary schools in Mwea Division. The sample of the study consisted of 35% and 11.4% of the 60 headteachers and 369 teachers respectively. The study sample was selected through both stratified and simple random sampling methods. Stratified sampling method was used to stratify the schools into three education zones while random sampling method was used to select the sample of the study. A pilot study was conducted in order to validate the research instruments. Data was collected using questionnaires administered to 21 head teachers and 42 teachers in the sampled schools by the researcher. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Quantitative data analysis procedures included frequencies, percentages, a bar graph and pie charts. Qualitative data were summarized in detailed narrative forms. The results revealed that child labour has affected Free Primary Education in Mwea Division through reduction in enrollment of pupils in schools, which occurs chiefly because child labour interferes with schooling. It was also found out that, for those children combining work and education, performance at school often suffers. Another issue that came out clearly from the study was that, the higher the prevalence of children work, the more likely it is that children will drop out before finishing primary education. Lastly, the study indicated that child labour impacts negatively on school attendance. The implications of the results were critically examined and it was found that although the abolition of Primary School Fees in Kenya has enabled many parents to enroll their children, others still find that they need children to supplement the family income by working, instead of going to school. Recommendations on how child labour can be eradicated were given and poverty, which is the driving force behind child labour, was sighted as one of the main areas that need to be addressed in order to eliminate this insidious evil. In addition to this, need to educate the community was suggested so that they can appreciate the consequences of child labour and recognize the role they can play in combating child labour. Need for further research in areas related to this study have been identified as an effort of changing this situation and to enable our country to achieve Education For All goals.