The impact of parents' characteristics on access to pre-school education in Baragwi zone Gichugu Division Kirinyaga County, Kenya

Pre- school education prepares children for formal school. Transition from home to school is low in many parts of Kirinyaga County. This calls for an investigation into possible causes. The study aims at determining the effects of parent's characteristics on access to pre school education in Baragwi zone, Gichugu Division in Kirinyaga County. The objectives of the study were to investigate the effects of parent's educational level, income level, marital status and access to pre school education in Baragwi zone. Literature review focused on poverty situation in Kenya, causes of poverty, provision of quality education and ways of improving child's quality oflife. Again it will focus on the importance of early childhood years, the policies governing ECD education and studies related to this study. Descriptive survey design was used: The design was chosen because the impact of parent's educational level, income level and marital status and the proportion of children accessing Pre School were studied in retrospect. The study was carried out in the only public pre school in Baragwi Zone Gichugu Division. The study targeted a population of 200 parents and teachers from 18 public pre schools. The research used snowball sampling which is a non probability sample to sample parents. A sample of 60 parents, 12 pre school teachers and six head teachers from 6 pre schools were taken. Descriptive statistics was used to compute percentages and mean frequencies. The research used the tally method to group data according to the theme. The data was then analyzed and summarized. The findings were analyzed in qualitative and quantitative basis. The data was presented in table's diagrams and descriptions. The results were intended to help the policy maker's ministry of education, non governmental organizations, churches and District Education Board to increase access to Pre- school. the finding of the study were:- · Parent level of income was the main reason why many parents had not taken their children to pre-school at the right time. Majority of these parents were those monthly income was below Kshs 5000. · Health status of the parent affects children access to the pre-school. Many parents who had not taken their children to pre-school at the right time had health related problems. · Marital status of the parents affects children access to pre-school education. Some of those parents who had not taken their children to pre-school had problems in their marriages. · Those parents who had lower educational background formed to bulk of those who had not taken their children to pre-school. This showed educational level of the parents affects the pre-school access. · The social status of the parents influences their willingness to take their children to preschool. Some of those parents who held no position in social groups had not taken their children to pre-school.

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