Influence of child labour and family background on attendance of boys in public primary schools: a case of Western Division of Nakuru Municipality, Kenya
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In her pursuit to the vision 2030, Kenya is on track to achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The Government of Kenya has provided Free Primary Education and increased resource allocation to enhance its delivery. The trend in school enrolment has been impressive since 2003, but with concerns as regards to retention and attendance. Although the national data on enrolment for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination shows the number of boys being higher than that of girls in the year 2010, the opposite was recorded in Nakuru Municipality. The purpose of this study was to establish the influence of child labour and family background on school attendance among boys in public primary schools in Western Division of Nakuru municipality in Kenya. The study was carried out amongst the boys in Standard V to VIII. In order to accomplish this, the study was guided by the following objectives; to investigate the influence of child labour on school attendance of boys; to establish the influence of family income levels on school attendance of boys; to assess the influence of parents' occupation on school attendance of boys; and to assess the influence of parent' education background on school attendance of boys in the Western Division of Nakuru Municipality. The study adopted the descriptive research survey design. Probability sampling technique was used in the selection of the study sample. Data was collected from the pupils by use of questionnaires containing structured and unstructured questions; and a Focus Group Discussion with Head Boys of eight randomly selected schools. Data collected was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel software. Descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) and Pearson Product Moment Correlations were computed. The findings were presented in the form of tables for easier interpretation. The study findings revealed the following: child labour amongst boys in public primary schools in Western Division of Nakuru Municipality was high and this was affecting school attendance. The forms of child labour practised included agricultural work, helping in family business, hawking, household work and sand harvesting; Income levels of parents were low and this had a great influence on the children's involvement in child labour practices and thus significantly influenced boys' school attendance; Parents occupation significantly influenced boys' school attendance in public primary schools; and that parental educational background had influenced boys attendance in public primary schools in Western Division of Nakuru Municipality. Following these findings the study recommended that the Government of Kenya (GoK) to consider developing and implementing strategies aimed at managing and reducing the level of child labour. The Municipal Education Office to spearhead sensitization campaigns, policy formulation and educational awareness of local Provincial Administration and the local community on the education of the boy child and urgent need to curb cases of child labour. The Ministry of Education (MOE) in liaison with NGOs and other stakeholders to scale up fmancial support to boy child labourers through provision of school uniforms and free lunch programme. The MOE to initiate community empowerment programs aimed at managing and reducing the level of child labour through policies and law enforcement and strengthen Parents Teachers Associations in order to address child labour and irregular school attendance of the boys; and the GoK to support and scale up programmes geared towards community economic empowerment so as to raise parents' income levels. It is hoped that the findings of this study may provide essential information to schools, parents and other stakeholders in the education sector to enable them find ways of retaining boys in school. Educational researchers may benefit from this addition to the body of knowledge in the area of boys' school attendance that contributes to educational achievement with regard to diversity in socio - economic status.