Effect of child labour on access and retention of primary school pupils in Mbita District, Homabay County, Kenya
Ololtuaa, Lekakeny John
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The central problem of this study was that in spite of the aggressive campaigns against Child Labour by the International Community, through international conventions such as the ILO minimum age convention No. 138, ILO recommendations 146, ILO convention 182, UN convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Kenya Government efforts to combat Child Labour by enacting Laws such as the Children’s Act 2001 among others, Child Labour still remains a threat not only to access and retention of Children but even their physical and psychological well-being. The effect of child labor on access and retention has not been exhaustively investigated and documented thereby hindering efforts towards increasing access and retention of children in school. This study examined the effect of Child Labour on access and retention of primary school pupils in Mbita District, Homa- Bay County, Kenya. The objectives of the study were: to establish factors responsible for prevalence of Child Labour, effect of Child Labour on access to education among pupils in primary schools, effect of child Labour on retention of primary school pupils and measures to mitigate against Child Labour in Mbita District. The study adopted a descriptive survey design with the target population being 100 public primary schools. The sample size was 50 public primary school Head teachers, 50 senior teachers, 50 SMC Chairpersons in the same schools, 3 A.E.O’s, District Children Officer, 11 chiefs, and 500 pupils in school. Data was collected using questionnaires for the head teachers, senior teachers & SMC chairpersons, interview schedules for chiefs, Area Education Officers, pupils out of school and District Children Officer and focus group discussion with pupils in school. Validity of research instruments was determined through a pilot study and test-retest method was used to test the reliability of the instruments. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences program was used to produce the mean frequency tables and charts that were used in the presentation of the results. The results were presented according to the objectives of the study. The findings of the study established that the main factors driving children to Child Labour were orphan hood due to HIV/AIDS, poverty, teenage pregnancy and fishing. It was also established that Child Labour contributed to low access and low retention of pupils in primary schools in Mbita District. Child Labour denied children access to education and led to school dropout. The major recommendations of this study were: strengthen awareness creation, strict enforcement of child protection laws, banning of school levies, intensifying the fight against HIV/AIDS. Parental responsibility in child care, collective responsibility in child care and protection. Ministry of Education to provide adequate funding to schools under the FPE program. Significantly, the study findings underscore the importance of coming up with strategies to eliminate Child Labour and improve access and retention in primary schools.