School based factors influencing access to early childhood education in flood prone areas of Kadibo Division, Kisumu East District, Kenya
Access to education refers to the ways in which educational institutions and policies ensure that students have equal and equitable opportunities to take full advantage of their education. This study was to investigate the school based factors influencing access to Early Childhood Care and Education in flood prone areas of Kadibo Division, Kisumu East District, Kisumu County, Kenya. Four objectives were formulated to guide the study. They were: to establish the learners’ health factors influencing access, examine how the damage of school infrastructure and displacement of teachers can influence access and establish strategies that can be used by Early Childhood Care and Education school communities in making ECCE more accessible in Kadibo Division. The study was conducted using the descriptive survey method. The target population of the study comprised of 42 head teachers, 97 teachers and 3680 learners. The sample for the study comprised of 10 head teachers, 30 teachers and 180 learners. Data was collected using questionnaires for the head teachers and teachers and focus group discussion questions for the learners. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze quantitative data while qualitative data was analyzed thematically according to the objectives. The findings revealed that water borne diseases and nutrition were the learners’ health factors influencing access to Early Childhood Care and Education. The damage of school infrastructure such as classrooms, toilets, playgrounds and the teaching/learning materials greatly influenced the learners’ attendance and participation. The displacement of teachers which was at 71%, caused teacher absenteeism and had great influence on the learners’ enrolment, making it go down by 81% percentage. The study established that there are just a few basic strategies in place that can enhance access to Early Childhood Care and Education in the division. The study concluded that during floods, learners’ access to ECCE is greatly affected and flood drills and early preparations are some of the mechanisms needed to ensure enhanced access to ECCE in the area. The recommendations made were: School management personnel should engage qualified professionals in designing and construction of classrooms and toilets to ensure their resilience in face of known disasters; schools should develop and implement disaster management plans; the community leaders should mobilize their members to participate in construction and maintenance of trenches around the ECCE centers; Ministry of Education Science and Technology should include disaster management in the ECCE teacher training curriculum and also come up with lasting solutions on floods in order for learning to go on without disruption; there is a need for mandatory school feeding programmes in all ECCE schools. The study suggested further studies in private ECCE centers in flood prone areas; a study on home based factors influencing access to ECCE in flood prone areas; a study on flood Disaster Risk Reduction in ECCE centers in the division and this study on school based factors influencing access be replicated in other areas affected by floods in the country.