Factors Influencing Pupils’ Access To Primary Education In Conflict Prone Areas Of Isiolo County, Kenya
Conflict in Isiolo County has been persistent over many years and has evolved since Isiolo was identified as the location for one of the resort cities in the Kenya Vision 2030. The frequent conflicts have greatly affected access to primary education in the area. This study examines factors influencing pupils‟ access to primary education in conflict prone areas of Isiolo County. The study sought to examine how displacement, attacks on schools, loss of livelihoods and insecurity during conflict affect access to primary school education in Isiolo County. The study findings may be used to develop principles and policies of universal application in improving access to primary education in conflict prone areas in Kenya and Africa. The study adopted descriptive a survey research design The target population for this study comprised 20 head teachers, 250 teachers and 2000 pupils both boys and girls in primary schools most affected by conflict in Isiolo County. The population was10 head teachers, 20 teachers and 200 pupils of the ten most affected public primary schools in Isiolo County. The research used simple random sampling and stratified sampling to select the teachers and students. The study used questionnaires for both head teachers and teachers and focus group discussion guides for pupils. The research instruments validity was established through expert judgment by lecturers in the Department of Education Administration and Planning in the University of Nairobi. The reliability of the instruments was established using test retest method. In analyzing the quantitative data, the study used descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis .The study found that majority(75 percent) of the schools surveyed reported having pupils displaced from school due to conflict. Displaced children find it hard to enroll in new schools since their families face greater poverty or may lack proper documentation necessary to enroll them. It is found that attacks on schools during frequent ethnic conflicts in Isiolo County affects access to primary education negatively. Over 60 percent of head teachers interviewed stated that their schools had been attacked during conflict. The fear caused by such attacks leaves many schools closed and parents afraid to send their children to school. The study also found that loss of livelihoods during ethnic conflicts in Isiolo County is a big hindrance to access to primary education. Families are left destitute by the destruction and looting of property and are unable to meet educational cost for their children who end up dropping out of school. It is also found that the insecurity prevailing during the frequent ethnic conflicts in Isiolo County led to decreased access with 96% of head teachers stating there was an increase in absenteeism of pupils during conflict. The study recommends the government through the security agencies to work with the local community of Isiolo County to come up with a lasting solution to the problem of armed conflicts and ensure lasting peace. Further study should be carried out to assess the factors that influence access to secondary education in conflict prone zones of Isiolo County.
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