Socio-Economic Determinants on Learner Access to Primary School Education in Kenya: A Survey of Kaloleni and Rabai Sub – Counties

Violet Muyoka Wangila, Stephen Oluteyo Andai, Peter Wamalwa Barasa


Education has been recognized as human right and a key factor to reducing poverty and child labour. It is therefore imperative that all girls and boys have access to basic education by ensuring that gender disparities at this level are eliminated. To attain this desire the Government of Kenya announced the introduction of free primary education in January 2003 which saw enrolment in primary schools increase by about 70 percent. While the program created an opportunity for big number of children it created challenges of how to efficiently and effectively ensure learner access to education especially in the rural counties of the country. Vision 2030 acknowledges that “Despite recent improvements, high disparities in access to education at all levels remain a challenge” The study reported in this paper was purposed to determine the socio-economic determinant influencing efficiency to education in Kaloleni and Rabai Sub-Counties in Kenya. Two specific objectives and two research questions were used in the study. The study employed a survey research design with constructivism as epistemology underpinning the study. (Babbie, 1990; Fowler, 2002; Patton, 2002) One hundred and forty public primary schools (140) formed the total population. Random sampling was used to select seventy six school head teachers (76), one hundred and eighty pupils (180) and 180 households. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data from the class teachers and pupils while Interviews were carried out for head teachers, household heads and a District Quality Assurance Standard Officer (DQASO).Observation checklists were also used to capture data on socio-economic status of the households, school facilities and the population dynamics in the area. The data gathered from the field was organized and presented in form of frequency schedules, counts and percentages for the purpose of analysis. Both descriptive statistics were used to analyze data and reported things the way they were. The study findings revealed low enrolment and access trends of girls (48.5%) as opposed to that of boys (54.2% in the rural counties are determined by low income (20%) earning between ksh, 1,000/= to 5,000/= per month, poor education background (20%) illiterate no education and (19%) only primary education, parents and large families 80% have children between 6 and 8 per family). One hundred percent of the respondents interviewed cited adverse economic conditions as detrimental to pupils’ enrolment. The study also revealed that school related factors, cultural and religious beliefs and practices as well as negative attitudes towards girl’s education tendered to deter female participation than their male counterpanes. The study recommended stepping up of public education campaign against retrogressive socio-cultural practices. It is imperative that collaborative efforts between the Government, communities and Non-Governmental Organizations are enhanced to ensure success of such efforts. Increasing participation of women in all economic, social and political decision making processes right from the grass root level will be vital and bound to empower them to make rational decisions in education of their children.

Keywords: Socio-Economic, Learner Access, Free Primary Education

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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