Factors influencing the Girls’ dropout rates in public primary schools in Mumias west sub-county, Kakamega county, Kenya
Globally, studies conducted on girls‟ education showed that the global enrolment rate of girls was 83.1% in 2001. Central Asia, Europe and Middle East have witnessed little improvement in girls‟ net enrolment between 2001 and 2006. In Africa, Ethiopia has the lowest primary enrolment and high drop out rates. South Africa in 2002, 66,000 teenage girls could not attend education institutions due to pregnancy. A report from Centre for study of Adolescents showed 10,000 girls dropped out of school annually in Kenya. A study in Mumias East Sub county by Western Focus Community Organization 2010 in Education revealed that girls dropped out of school due to early pregnancies, poverty and repetition. In Mumias West Sub-county, the poverty index was 61% and repetition may be a deterrent to completion. The purpose of the study was to establish the factors influencing girls‟ drop out in public primary school in Mumias West Sub-county, Kakamega County. Objectives of the study are to determine how school based factors influence girls‟ drop out rate in public primary schools, examine the extend to which economic factors influence girls‟ drop out rates in public primary schools, establish how environmental factors influence girls‟ drop out and assess social-cultural factors influencing girls‟ drop out rates. The study adopted a descriptive research design. Target population was 1900 respondents. Sample size was 192. Purposive and simple random sampling were used to select each member. Research instruments used were 2 sets of questionnaires and an interview schedule. A pilot study was carried out in 2 public primary schools in Matungu Sub-county to ascertain validity and reliability of the Research instruments. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics that involved frequency and percentages, with the help of computer Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Major findings on school based factors were 73.6% had been absent. 78.2% responded they were awarded by teachers. 42.9% responded they had no feeding programmes. Economic factors, reading and writing materials provided by parents was 57.1%. 71.4% respondents were orphans and only 14.3% parents paid fees on time. On environmental factors, 71.1% disagreed that girls were not provided with enough sanitary towels. 67.3% respondents went to school on foot. No role models around the school community was 57.1%. On social-cultural factors, 72.4% were Christians, 6.4% pagans, 19.2% Muslims and 1.9% Hindus. From background, 35.3% was polygamous, 12.8% single families and 51.9% was nuclear families. 57.1% respondents had handled pregnancy cases. Conclusion based on the findings were repetition of girls in Std 6-7 be discouraged. Teachers should be able to monitor girls who are absent, strict measures on parents who absent their girls from school. On direct schooling costs, parents to provide activity fee, tuition and buy uniform for the girls. Distance to school was too long and girls took a long time as they walked and reached late to school and were punished. Early pregnancy should be seriously addressed. The study recommended that the Ministry of Education should introduce feeding programmes in all public primary schools. Repetition of girl-child should be addressed. Sensitize parents on the need to support their girls‟ education. Further studies revealed a similar study be done on boys‟ drop out. A similar study be done in private schools in Mumias West Sub-county and also a similar study be done from 2013-2014 to find out if the drop out rate of girls has reduced.