Influence of Resources, Knowledge, Capacity Building and Cooperation on Delivery of Quality Services by Early Childhood Education Officers in Kwale County, Kenya
Makoti, Ntembe Mwanasaid
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The quality of Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) services given to children in their early years is essential for proper growth and development. Provision of these services begins with the parents i.e. mother and father and at pre-school level teachers and other stakeholders in education get involved. The specific objectives of the study were to; determine whether availability of resources influence delivery of quality ECDE services, establish whether ECDE officers‟ knowledge influence delivery of quality ECDE services, find out whether capacity building of parents influence delivery of quality ECDE services, examine the influence of cooperation between ECDE officers and parents and determine whether parents‟ knowledge on importance of play materials influences delivery of quality ECDE services. The study was guided by the Social Systems and Performance Management theories. Descriptive Survey Design was adopted targeting parents from ECDE centres and ECDE officers in Kwale County. The independent variables were availability of resources, knowledge in ECDE, capacity building, cooperation and knowledge on importance of play materials while the dependent variable was quality ECDE services. The study population comprised of nine hundred and fifteen parents (915) from all ECDE centres and twelve (12) ECDE officers in the county. Purposive sampling was used to select the county while stratified random sampling technique was used to select the parents from the sampled ECDE centres. A sample size of 120 parents was therefore selected from the sampled ECDE centres while all twelve (12) ECDE officers were selected. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used to collect data from the ECDE officers and parents respectively. A pilot study was conducted in Kwale County for the parents and in Mombasa County for the ECDE officers. The test-retest method was used to test the validity and reliability of the instruments. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze quantitative data. The analysis was aided by the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The quantitative data was presented in percentages, tables and graphs while qualitative data was categorized in themes then reported in prose form alongside the quantitative data. The study results showed that majority of the parents (90.8%) were aware of the importance of ECDE and use of play materials. Further, it was established that resources for ECDE officers were inadequate, there was no cooperation between ECDE officers and parents and that there was no capacity building for the parents. This had a negative impact on delivery of quality services. The study concluded that delivery of ECDE services was wanting and below par. The study recommended that the county government should provide adequate resources to ECDE officers, provide enough funds for capacity building and for further research. Support and cooperation between ECDE officers and parents/other ECDE stakeholders should be strengthened at both the County and National level.