Factors influencing participation of children in the Early Childhood Development Education Programme; A case of Bungoma South District Bungoma County- Kenya
The purpose of the study was to investigate factors influencing participation of children in the ECDE programme in Bungoma South District. Early childhood care and education programmes yield greater investment returns than any other level of education yet it is the age at which children are most vulnerable to life threats like disease, abuse and neglect. This study therefore aimed at achieving the following objectives: - to examine the influence of common ailments, ECDE teachers satisfaction, school feeding programmes and parents’ literacy levels on participation of children in the ECDE programme. Participation in the study included: enrolment, attendance, and transition to primary school by ECDE children. It was hoped that this study will be of importance to ECDE teachers/managers, parents and the government among others since it articulated the roles of each of these ECDE stakeholders in improving participation of learners in ECDE . The research design employed was Descriptive Survey design. This is because data was collected at a particular point in time and used to describe the nature of the existing circumstances. The target population of the study was 840 respondents but the researcher only considered 10% of these for the study. The sample for the study was drawn from 210 ECDE centers and included ECDE teachers and parents representatives in the three zones/strata of Bungoma South District. From the three strata (Municipality, Sang’alo and Mwibale zones) ECDE centers to form the sample were identified by Systematic Random Sampling. Two ECDE teachers and two parent representatives from each sampled ECDE centre formed 84 respondents to fill in the questionnaires (main research instrument) prepared for them. Content validity was used where questionnaire items were carefully chosen to ensure they are representative of the vast range of questions in the area of study. Split-half method was employed to test the reliability of instruments. Data obtained was analyzed descriptively and presented in tables. The study had the following conclusions: first, ECDE centres’ enrollment was too high compared to available facilities thus creating conditions for easy spread of infections. Secondly, ECDE teachers’ motivation was low mainly because of poor remuneration and poor school infrastructure. Thirdly, SFP was very important in enhancing participation in ECDE. Fourthly, the semi-illiterate and poor parents had limited capacity to support ECDE services compared to their literate wealthy counterparts. The study recommends that economic empowerment strategies should be employed to communities to enable them afford better nutrition and adequate sanitary facilities for their children. Secondly, a scheme of service for ECDE teachers should be established by the County government which should formally employ ECDE teachers. Private practioners in ECDE should also pay their teachers better and provide the necessary teaching/learning facilities. Finally, every ECDE centre should establish a feeding programme and the community sensitized on the importance of ECDE. The study suggested that further research be carried out to establish why there are more children in standard 1 than those who graduated from ECDE the previous year in Bungoma South District and to establish differences in developmental dimensions between children who attended pre-school and those who did no at the lower primary level.