Socio-economic Factors Influence on Students’access to Youth Polytechnics in Kakamega County, Kenya
The study investigated the socio-economic factors influencing students’ access to youth polytechnics in Kakamega County. The study sought to establish the extent to which parental level of income, learner’s gender, learners’ attitude and government funding influenced students’ access to youth polytechnics in Kakamega County. The study was conducted through descriptive survey research design. Data was collected using questionnaires from 350 finalist youth trainees, five youth polytechnic H.O.Ds and one County youth training officer. The youths were selected from a target population of 1140 in all the polytechnics under study through the use of cluster sampling technique. The instruments were piloted in one youth polytechnic and a reliability coefficient of 0.746 as attained and hence accepted as reliable. The major findings of the study were that parents’ level of income greatly influences enrolment rates, retention rates and completion rates in Youth Polytechnics. The gender of the learners majorly influences access in that there is a variation in the enrolment rates between the female and male students. Only about 33% of the respondents were female. Learner’s attitude will influence enrolment rates, retention rates, dropout rates and even the completion rates. It was found that the majority of youth who drop out of YPs do so because they develop negative attitude towards the training. Another major finding was that government funding through improved facilities, increased tuition allocation and well trained and adequate instructors will improve access to youth education.The study concluded that access to Youth Polytechnics is influenced by parent’s level of income, learner’s gender, learner’s attitude and government funding. The study recommends increase in amount of bursaries and grants to students. This will enable trainees from poor backgrounds to access YP education besides enhancing their retention in the institutions, increase in the courses offered in YPs to attract both the genders to enroll. As it stands now the courses offered were more male oriented. Therefore a revision of the YP curriculum should be done, national and county governments plus other stakeholders to ensure that more funds are allocated to Youth Polytechnics to enable them acquire adequate and modern facilities and adequate and qualified human instructors to provide quality training. Private partnerships should be brought on board to support YPs.
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