Role of community support grants in enhancing access to early childhood development and Education centres in Nyandarua South sub-county, Kenya
Low access levels can be explained by lack of adequate funding to ECDE centres and failure to mainstream ECD education to the education system in Kenya inspite of being critical in laying the foundation for performance in the subsequent levels of education. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether community support grants enhanced children’s access to early childhood development education centres in Nyandarua South Sub County. Specifically, the study aimed to examine the relationship between Community Support Grants and enrolment rate in ECDE; establish the relationship between Community Support Grants provided and children’s retention rate; investigate the relationship between Community Support Grants provided to ECDE centres and the availability of teaching/learning materials in ECDE centres and investigate the relationship between the Community Support Grants and infrastructure provided in the ECDE centres in Nyandarua South Sub County. This study used descriptive survey and targeted 56 Public ECDE centres, 56 ECDE teachers, 48 headteachers and 3 DICECE officers in Nyandarua South Sub County, a total of 163 respondents. Stratified Random Sampling was used to sample 48 headteachers, 56 teachers and 3 programme officers. Data was collected using questionnaires, observation checklists and school records. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse data. Most (55%) of the teachers indicated that they could attribute the higher enrolment of children in their ECD centre as a result of Community Support Grants. Majority of the teachers (76%) of the teachers indicated that they had no problem of absenteeism in their ECD class. Majority (60%) indicated that attendance of children had been positively affected by availability of CSG. A significant number (87%) of the headteachers indicated that the available teaching and learning materials were inadequate considering the number of children in the ECD centres. A significant number 87% of teachers in the study indicated that the facilities in the ECDE centres were inadequate in relationship to the school population. The researcher concluded that Community Support Grants had enhanced children’s access to Early Childhood Development Education Centres in Nyandarua South Sub-County. However the researcher noted that the improvement in access to ECD education has only been to a small extent. The study identified a number of strategies that can be employed to mitigate the challenges facing ECD centres such as increasing CSG funding, mainstreaming ECD centres in the Ministry of Education, employment of ECD teachers by the government, prompt releasing of CSGs to schools and initiating income generating projects to supplement CSG in the respective schools. Questionnaires were administered to respondents and the following conclusions were made; underpayment of ECD teachers was noted and teachers’ salaries were paid in bits. xv The researcher recommended that school fees for ECD children should be reduced and subsidised by the government, inclusion of ECD centres in Free Primary Education Programme, employment of teachers by the government and initiating income generating projects to supplement Community Support Grants to increase access to children from poor households.