Assessment of parents' level of satisfaction with the quality of pre-school education in Lang'ata district Nairobi county Kenya
Despite a vast literature in customer satisfaction, little has been said on the satisfactionof pre-school institutions' customers i.e. the parents. This study was aimed atassessing parents' levels of satisfaction with the quality of ECDE in Lang'ata District(Nairobi County) as influenced by a set of six independent variables: (I) type of schoolmanagement/sponsorship; (2) type of curriculum offered; (3) availability of adequatephysical facilities and (4) teaching-learning materials; (5) availability of qualified teachers;and, (6) teacher-child ratio. It also attempted to discover which of these factors contributedmost to the parents' satisfaction level. The study adopted the ex post facto research design.The population of the study was 3545 parents and 160 Head teachers (HTs)/managersi.e. 1820 parents from private and 1725 from public ones while the HTslManagers were91 from private and 69 from public ones making a total of3705 subjects for the study.Stratified random sampling technique was used to select the sarnple as the population was heterogeneous, being drawn from various categories of pre-schools. The sample sizeconsisted of 355(10% of the population) of parents and 40(25% of the HTslManagers population) thereby yielding a sarnpling of 395(10.7%) respondents. Data was collectedusing questionnaires for parents, semi-structured interview guides for HTslManagers,document analysis checklists and observation schedules. The data gathering instrumentswere piloted to determine their validity and reliability before the main field exercise. Bothqualitative and quantitative data were analysed as per study 'objectives. Qualitative datae.g. transcribed interview notes were quantified where possible, along with quantitativedata from the structured (closed-ended) questionnaire items. The qualitative data frominterview guides were transcribed and analysed thematically according to the set objectives.The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentages, mean,median and mode. Inferential statistics used were the Chi-Square (X2), F test and Betato test the various hypotheses at p < .05. The findings were then presented in form ofcross tabulations and graphs. The major findings were that in overall, most parents werehighly satisfied with ECDE; parents in private pre-schools were more satisfied vis-à-vis those in public ones; significant differences existed in parental satisfaction in relationto all variables of quality ECDE; the variables of quality ECDE had varying significantinfluences on the parental satisfaction with the type of management being the mostsignificant factor; there were significant differences in satisfaction between the low and high income parents in all the variables except curriculum, with the low- vis-a-vishigh-income parents being more satisfied. The study recommendations include ECDE centresto recruit qualified teachers, provide enough staff, management should select the rightstrategies in determining investment levels while prioritizing important dimensions thatinfluence the service quality expectations of parents and allocating the limited availableresources appropriately to improve service quality on each dimension to the requiredlevel and prevent service problems. Besides the aforementioned implications for ECDEproviders, suggestions for further areas of research are advanced which include assessingthe factors contributing to disparities in satisfaction with the quality of ECDE among thelow income and high income groups as well as exploring for other variables affecting thequality of ECDE and their effects on the parental satisfaction.