Influence of parents’ socio-economic status on enrolment and participation of children in pre-primary schools in Busia County, Kenya
Wapaisi, Onyango Festus Ouma
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Enrolment and participation are key factors for pre-primary learners because it empowers children with adequate school readiness skills, enhance smooth transition, improves academic performance, reduces class repetition and school dropout and as well as promoting social and economic development. There are still many children of pre-primary school age out of school irrespective of many policies and laws formulated by the government. The current study sought to establish the influence of parents‟ socio-economic status on enrolment and participation of children in pre-primary schools in Bunyala sub-county. The objectives of the study were: To establish children‟s enrolment and participation trend in pre-primary schools; To find out the influence of parents‟ level of education on children‟s enrolment and participation trend in pre-primary schools; To determine the influence of parents‟ occupation on children‟s enrolment and participation trend in pre-primary schools; To investigate the influence of parents‟ level of income on children‟s enrolment and participation trend in pre-primary schools and to explore strategies for promoting enrolment and participation of children in pre-primary schools in Bunyala sub-county. The study used descriptive survey research design. The study population was 53 pre- primary schools, 53 head teachers, 159 teachers and 3890 parents. The study sample was 277 respondents including 195 parents, 20 head teachers, 60 teachers and 2 sub-county ECDE coordinators. The study used expert opinion to validate the instruments while the Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) for instrument reliability was 0.93. The study used interviews and questionnaires to collect data. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences and presented using tables, figures and test. The study established that there were 52.6% of the children enrolled. It was also confirmed that the majority of children not enrolled were girls (47.2%) compared to boys (41.3%). The level of education of parents was found to influence children‟s enrolment such that literate parents had a higher probability of enrolling children to school than illiterate parents. Occupation of parents significantly influenced the ability of parents to pay school fees. The study recommends that government assistance through fee bursaries and capitation grants should be accessible to all children especially to those whose parents were economically disadvantaged. Provision of learning packages covering all subject areas, employment, and proper remuneration of pre-primary school teachers should be made a priority by the government and all the educational stakeholders in early childhood. Finally, intensified education awareness forums across the region should be undertaken to ensure that parents have cognizance of the importance of early childhood education. The study findings may enable parents to re-focus on their socio-economic activities by diversifying their sources of income and prioritize their expenditure to improve their children‟s education.