Parental Characteristics Influencing the Enrolment of Pre-school Children in Mwing Zone, Mwingi-subcounty, Kitui County, Kenya

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of parental characteristics on enrolment of pre-school children in Mwingi Zone. The objectives of the study were; to determine the influence of parents‘ income level on enrolment of pre-school children, to determine the influence of parents‘ academic level on enrolment of pre-school children, to determine the influence of family size on enrolment of pre-school children, to determine the influence of parents‘ marital status on enrolment of pre-school children in Mwingi Zone. The study conducted faced various limitations such as lack of co-operation from parents, this affected sampling because the chairmen of the school were the ones who were selected as the respondents since they are parents themselves. The findings of the research were useful to the parents as they saw the importance of investing in their children‘s education by enrolling them in preschool and by participating in their learning. The government and education stakeholders will be able to find out ways to help boost Early Childhood Education. The researcher used the descriptive survey design as it was effective in collecting data because she focused on gathering current information. The target population for this study was 40 schools composed of pre-school centers. The sample size for this study was 30% of the population which included 12 head teachers, 12 pre-school teachers and 12 chairmen making a total sample of 36 respondents. The questionnaires were administered to 12 head teachers and 12 pre-school teachers while interview schedule were administered to the 12 chairmen of the school. The data was analyzed in the form of percentages and frequency and presented in the form of tables. The researcher found that the level of children enrolling for preschool education was low due to factors such as: parental income, parental education level, size of the family and the marital status of the parents. All these factors were found to affect school enrolment in different ways, for instance the parental level of education affected their children‘s enrolment in preschools in such that illiterate parents did not see the importance of school, they hardly pay attention to whether their children go to school or not while some do not even check or supervise their children‘s homework and progress in school. The recommendations of the study were; the local leaders in Mwingi zone should sensitize the community on the importance of taking children to pre-school early, the County government of Kitui should increase the financing of pre-schools in Mwingi Zone so as to assist the parents with little income to take their children to school, the ministry of health should also educate parents in Mwingi zone on the importance of family planning so that the parents will have the children they can support and the school head teachers should talk to parents during school meeting on the importance of stable families so that they may not be involved in divorce and separation cases since they affect children‘s education.