Community support grants in promoting children's access and retention in early childhood development centres in Laikipia County, Kenya
Ndung'u, Mercy Muthoni
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Early Childhood Education is a crucial program that lays foundation for the holistic and integrated development and education of a child. A knowledge gap therefore exist in that there is no tangible evidence reviewed, analyzed or documented on why Community Support Grants (CSG) have failed to enhance access to equitable and quality Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) to preschoolers and their retention in ECDE centres in Laikipia Central Subcounty, Laikipia County. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the impact of community support grants on children's access and retention in early childhood centres in Laikipia Central Sub-county, Laikipia County. The study sought to achieve the following objectives: established the level of funding to the ECDE Centres; explored the management structures in regard to the Community Support Grants (CSG) in the Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) centres; explored the extent to which the community participates in the implementation of CSG in the ECDE centres and found out the impact of the CSO on children's access and retention in ECDE centers in Laikipia Central Sub-county. This study employed a descriptive survey design. The study population involved all the ECDE teachers, head teachers, and committee chairpersons. The researcher used both purposive and stratified sampling. Primary data collection procedure was used on the respondents through a semi-structured questionnaire comprising of closed and open ended questions and interview schedule for head teachers. This study involved ECDE centres located in Laikipia County. Data from the head teachers/teachers were collected using questionnaires while that for committee chairpersons were collected using interview schedules. A test retest method was used to determine the reliability of the instruments. The study assessed the reliability by having two independent early childhood education scholars weigh the items of the research instruments used to determine consistency. Data analyses were done using both descriptive and inferential statistics. This study found the level of funding to the ECDE centres is inadequate and that there are management structures in place from the community level to the National government involved in the implementation of CSG. This study also established that the community participates in various ways in the implementation of the CSG and that the CSG has had a profound impact on children's access and retention in ECDE centres in Laikipia Centreal Subcounty, Laikipia County.