Socio-economic factors influencing students participation in middle level colleges in Machakos district, Kenya
In the recent past, there has been mushrooming of middle level colleges both public and private. In these colleges, students register in huge numbers, however, in Machakos district the number is small compared to the neighbouring districts. This study therefore sought to establish the socio-economic factors influencing students' participation. The study was guided by four objectives; on how parental level of education, family financial status, the cost of education and government policy interventions influence the student's participation in middle level colleges in Machakos district. The literature review was inconformity with the research objectives. The theory guiding the study was human capital theory advocated by Schultz. The study adopted descriptive survey design where variables were studied as they were without manipulation. The target population included 1 S colleges the total number of study respondent was 539 and they were sampled using total population of the principals' and Krejcie and Morgan table for the tutors and students. Data was collected using questionnaires, content analysis and interview schedule. The data was analyzed using SPSS where questionnaires were coded and fed into the Scientific Package for Social Studies (SPSS) programme to generate frequency tables. Through data analysis the study established that; 40percent of the students are of age 20-24 years while 30percent are of age 15-19 years. The study establish that 50 percent of the study were pursuing professional certificate course. The professional certificate courses are popular among the students because of hard economic times and high rates of unemployment prompting students to take courses that may enable them get a job soonest possible after the course. However, some take diploma and higher diploma courses in order to pursue degree courses later. On the influence of parental level of education on student's participation in middle level colleges, the study revealed 80percent of the students come from homes whose parents have secondary education and above and 100percent of the students were found to have parents with higher level of education. In general the study established that there are socialeconomic factors that influence the students' participation in middle level colleges. These factors include, the patents level of education where children from household with educated parents dominates in colleges because parents attach value to education, the financial status of the parents where fmancially stable parents send their children to school while financially unstable parents are unable to pay college fees making their children rely on well wishers, the church and their relatives to meet college expenses. The other factor includes, the cost of education and the government interventions such as subsidies, loans advanced to the students, setting minimum qualification grade for admission of the students.