Efficacy of free primary education in withdrawing children from child labour in Kiambu District; Kenya
Ringera, Mwebia Japheth
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It is widely acknowledged that child labour is detrimental to the children's school attendance, participation and achievement and negatively interferes with a country's economic development. Child labour can result from a faulty education system, where children drop out of school due to various reasons. These include poverty, poor quality of education and hidden costs of education. Of interest to this study was the question whether Free Primary Education has been able to withdraw children from child labour and maintain them in schools to participate effectively in the learning process. The specific objectives of the study were to: identify school circumstances which influence dropout of children to rejoin child labour after the introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE), to find out levels of participation in the learning process of children withdrawn from child labour, to establish re-socialization processes provided by the schools for children withdrawn from child labour, to investigate the preventive processes inbuilt within the school system to enhance retention and completion of children withdrawn from child labour and collect and collate inputs from stakeholders on how FPE can be improved to be an effective strategy against child labour. The study was carried out in Kiambu district and adopted the theoretical lens of the cycle of poverty advanced by Oscar Lewis in 1959. This Theory argues that conditions of poverty generate a set of values and behaviour patterns that are unique to the poor. It views child labour as a product of poverty. The study combined aspects of both qualitative and quantitative designs. It adopted case study methodology and the sample size constituted boys and girls withdrawn from child labour and enrolled in upper primary classes between 2002 and 2006. Key informants were utilized to supplement the data. These were primary school head teachers, primary school teachers, parents, secretary Kiambu district child labour committee, District Education Officer (DEO) Kiambu and District Children's Officer Kiambu. Quantitative data from data sheet was analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and Micro-soft Excel. Descriptive statistics formed the basis of this analysis. A combination of content analysis and thematic approach was used to analyze qualitative data. Research findings indicated that FPE managed to increase enrolment of children withdrawn from child labour (CWCL) and enrolled in schools. However this mass re-enrolment was not sustained in the subsequent years. This was as a result of key influences within the school like inadequate physical and learning facilities, inappropriate methods of maintaining discipline, indirect costs of education and high teacher pupil ratio in most of the schools. The main conclusion was that some children withdrawn from child labour did not participate effectively in the learning process as some of them combined schooling and child labour and others dropped out of school and rejoined child labour.