Factors affecting students access and participation in secondary school education, Meru Central District
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The study is an investigation of factors that affect access and participation in secondary school education. Access in education in Kenya has not been evenly distributed across sexes, regions and social groups Orodho (2002). Few girls than boys go to school or work their way up the education ladder. There are fewer places for them and the main reason for this is less pressure from parents to have their educated Dadid and Dharam (1974). The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors that lead to poor access and transition rates from primary to secondary and find out why students drop out of schools. This research was meant to assist the government in revising policies in financing education to assist students from poor households gain access in secondary schools and reduce dropout rate. The study adopted a survey design in which a sample to represent the population was taken. Purposeful procedural sampling was adopted to get the sample and random sampling to get the respondents. The sample population consisted of 160 students, 8 secondary school principals, 14 primary school head teachers, 40 secondary school teachers, 40 parents and 1 District Education Officer. Data was collected using questionnaires and interviews schedules. Quantitative data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics and results presented in percentages and charts. The information gathered from the field was analysed. The research revealed that high cost of schooling was the major factor contributing to poor access and participation in education in Meru central district among other factors. The researcher recommends that the government through the ministry of education should provide a highly subsidized or free secondary education.