An investigation into the problems faced in the development of early childhood education in Kenya: a case of Lari, Kiambu County.
Githuthwa, Hannah Wambui
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Education is considered to be a basic human right and a basic need as recognized in the 1989 convention of the rights of the child which has won near universal ratification. Education starts from an early age and this emphasizes the need for a lot of careful planning for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). However, this emphasis has not been put in Kenya‘s Early Childhood Education (ECD). This has left ECCE in the hands of private providers and Non-Governmental Organizations without clear guidelines. This has exposed Early Childhood Care and Education to various problems that have hindered its development. To this end, this study aimed at investigating the problems faced in the development of Early Childhood Education in Kenya. The locale of the study was Lari District, Central Province. The study sample was drawn from the 81 registered ECD centers in the district. The researcher selected a sample of 25% of the total number of centers. Sampling methods used was stratified sampling whereby the centers were classified into various categories according to type based on whether private, community or church sponsored. The method of allocation was proportional allocation where 25% of each category was selected. This translated to 11 community ECD centers, 4 private ECD centers and 6 church sponsored centers giving a total of 21 centers. The study considered two types of respondents from the target population i.e. center administrators and the teachers. The administrators of each of the sampled centers were selected for the study giving a total of 21 administrators. The teachers were selected randomly from a population of 216 teachers where 144 teachers were selected. The total sample size from a target population of 297 individuals was 165 respondents which were considered an appropriate sample size according to Krejcie and Morgan (1990). Data was collected using questionnaires for the two types of respondents. An observation schedule was used to collect data on physical facilities and instructional materials. Quantitative data from the field was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages. Qualitative data was analyzed by putting the responses under themes consistent with the research objectives. The major finding was that there was a problem of lack of adequate physical facilities and instructional materials, lack of standardized teaching methods, insufficient funds, inadequate skilled personnel, parents’ ignorance and nutrition and health at the ECD centers. Based on these findings it is recommended that the government provide funds to improve on facilities in the ECD centers and also ensure adequate supervision and facilitation of pre-schools to ensure to enhance quality assurance. The government should come up with favorable terms of service for ECD teachers in order to improve their morale and also standardize training and certification of ECD teachers to ensure consistency of services provided.