|Household factors influencing students’ dropout in public secondary schools in Kitui Central District, Kenya
Education is an important life process that plays a vital role in forming the foundation for a student's future better being, as it equips the learner with basic knowledge, skills and altitudes that will enable her/him to cope well in life. In Kitui Central District most students who attend public secondary schools do not complete secondary level of education. Despite Kenya Government's commitment to subsidize students‟ education, their completion rate at secondary school level is not a hundred percent. The purpose of this study was to determine household factors that influence students‟ dropout in public secondary schools in Kitui Central District. The study objectives were, to determine the effect of households‟ income on dropout of students, to examine the extent to which parental level of education affects student's dropout, to establish the effect of household‟s size on student's dropout and to determine the effect of type of family on students‟ dropout in public secondary schools in kitui central district.The study adopted a descriptive survey design to collect information. The target population was all the 31 public secondary schools in Kitui Central District. The sample used was 12.6 percent of the target population where Principals, class teachers and form four students were sampled randomly. The study instruments employed were questionnaires for the class teachers‟ and form four students and interview schedules for Principals. Expert judgment of the research instrument's validity was carried out and test retest to determine the research instrument reliability was also done. The primary data collected were edited, coded and analyzed using basic descriptive statistics, frequencies and percentages. The data results were presented in frequency tables, and percentages. The findings from the study indicated that household factors such as the household income, parental level of education, household size and family type affects dropout of students in secondary schools, other follow-up factors such as child labour, unsupportive parents, lack of role models, involvement in income generating activities, broken families, poverty in the households, divorce, lack of self esteem, lack of guidance and counseling and orphanhood were identified as some of the major factor Influencing dropout. Based on these findings the study recommended that: Poverty alleviation measures should be strengthened in the society to enable all families to get reliable and higher income so as to retain their children in school till completion. The government should enhance and enforce parental laws to ensure children do not fall victim to family instability. The Government should conduct awareness campaigns to ensure parents and students fully understand and appreciate the importance of completion of secondary education. That the government should take off the total burden of school fees from the parents so that students do not drop out of school due to lack of school fees. The Government should conduct effective awareness and sensitization campaigns on importance of family planning to all families to ensure that parents have a number of children that they are able to effectively take care off. Subsidized secondary education is not enough. Students from poor households should be offered total free secondary education if access to education for all is to be actualized. The researcher proposes further research in the following areas: This study needs to be replicated in private schools in the district in order to compare results. Similar study should be undertaken in primary schools in the district in order to compare results. The study only examined household factors influencing students dropout in Kitui Central District, study needs to be done to examine school based factors influencing students dropout in the district.