The issue of girl child participation in primary school has become a real concern in all nations of the world particularly the developing countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa and Kenya included. Girl child education worldwide provides benefits to the family and the society at large thus issues affecting it should be addressed for the sake of human development. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors affecting girls‟ participation in primary schools in Barwessa Division of Baringo District. The investigation employed ex-post facto research design. The universe population was 1,112 (882 girls, 80 teachers, 140 School Management Committees (SMCs) and 10 headteachers). Out of this population, a sample of 240 respondents was selected that included 180 girls, 30 teachers, 20 School Management Committees (SMCs) and 10 headteachers. The samples of headteachers, teachers and SMC were done purposively while that of girls was randomly done. Three classteachers per school representing classes 6, 7 and 8 were purposively selected. In addition, the chairman and treasurer of each of the 10 sampled schools involved in the study were selected purposively. Eighteen girls were randomly selected in each class of the selected classes. Data was collected from the headteachers, SMC‟s teachers and girls by the use of questionnaires and interview schedules. The researcher used Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 11.5 for windows to aid in data analysis. Descriptive statistics involving frequencies, percentages were used to analyze and present the results. The findings of the study found that socio-economic, cultural beliefs and school based factors that include early marriage and pregnancies affect girls‟ participation in primary schools in Barwessa division, Baringo District. Majority of the respondents recommended that awareness be created to all stakeholders on the importance of girl child education in the division. The same study be carried out nationwide to find out whether the findings of this study hold.

Background to the problem information
Female education worldwide especially at primary school level provides benefits to the family and the society at large. Research evidence shows that education of women enables them to better manage their households, to apply improved nutritional practices and to maintain proper hygiene and to effectively utilize a wide range of available services including family planning among others (UNESCO, 1996). In addition to these benefits, it is globally recognized that basic education is a fundamental right which should be provided to all without discrimination whatsoever. In effect, girls‟ enrolment in primary education has improved in all regions of the world although it has not always been sustained to completion of primary level (UNESCO, 1996). Once enrolled, they are in distinct danger of dropping out due to some factors like early marriages, pregnancy and poverty.

According to Nkurumwa and Changeiywo (2001), women and girls who account for over 50 percent of Kenya‟s population are significantly under-represented in the scientific and technological fields. In effect, women and girls are unable to contribute to economic development as compared to men and boys population, yet as Mwangi et al (2001) noted, women are required to play a major role in family and societal responsibilities. Moreover, according to World Bank (1989), women are described as leading managers within their households. Thus their skills, knowledge and attitudes toward any activity should be developed. This will only be done by encouraging their participation in education.

Since independence, the Kenyan government has been committed to providing education to all children. However, despite heavy investment in primary education, little improvement in girls enrolment has been realized, Action Aid/Arid Lands Resource Management (2003). This is so because there has been high wastage due to alarming dropout rates especially among girls. Baringo District, as per the Ministry of Education statistics in the District Education Office, shows that the District has gender disparity in relation to education in primary schools, (Baringo DEO‟s Office Statistics, 2007). However, there is a considerable gender disparity in certain divisions in the district which includes Barwessa, Koloa, Bartabwa, Kabarnet and Kabartonjo (DEO‟s Statistics, 2006). As such, factors affecting girls‟ participation in primary education is worth investigating.

Statement of the Problem
Despite the Kenyan government commitment to providing basic education to all children, low girls participation is still a persistent problem in certain districts in the country. This has serious implications to the government‟s goals of attaining Basic Education For All (BEFA) by 2015. Poor girls‟ participation in primary education is a serious problem in Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASAL) areas of any region. In Baringo District, Barwessa division which is situated in an ASAL area is among the most affected regions in relation to girls‟ participation in primary school education. In this division, there is a low girls‟ participation in primary school education. There is need therefore to investigate the factors that may have contributed to this low participation of girls in education in the division. This is crucial because no such a study has been carried out in the area, yet it is a significant study as Kenya strives to achieve Basic Education for All in 2015.

Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to establish some of the main factors affecting girls participation in primary school education in Barwessa division.

Objectives of the Study
The study sought to accomplish the following objectives:-

(i) To examine socio-economic factors that affect girls‟ participation in primary education in Barwessa division.

(ii) To examine socio-cultural factors that affect girls‟ participation in primary education in Barwessa division.

(iii) To establish school based factors that affect girls‟ participation in primary education in Barwessa division.

Research Questions
The study aimed to answer the following research questions:-

(i) Do socio-economic factors affect girl‟s participation in primary education in Barwessa division?

(ii) Do socio-cultural factors affect girls‟ participation in primary education in Barwessa division?

(iii) What school-based factors affect girl‟s participation in primary education in Barwessa division?

Significance of the Study
As a country, the study is of great importance particularly at this moment when all nations in the world are intending to achieve gender equality in education by 2015. Persistently low girls‟ participation in any nation is a drawback to the above millennium goal. The knowledge of various factors hindering girls‟ participation in these selected region may be a step in addressing the problem. In this case, the findings may help policy makers, teachers, administrators, and parents to come up with more practical interventions to improve girls‟ participation in education in primary schools and other institutions of learning. The study findings are expected to not only increase awareness on the factors affecting girls‟ education but also serve as a useful source of reference for further research.

Scope of the Study
This study was based in Barwessa division in Baringo district. It drew its sample from primary schools headteachers, school management committee, teachers and girls enrolled in class 6, 7 and 8. The study focused on how socio-economic, socio-cultural and school based factors which may affect girls‟ participation in primary school education in the division.

Assumptions of the Study
The study is based on the following assumptions;-

(i) The respondents would co-operate to give honest responses.

(ii) Girls‟ participation in primary schools is low in Barwessa Division of Baringo District.

(iii) That girls‟ education is not emphasized by the stakeholders of Barwessa Division.

Limitations of the Study
The study was limited to only class 6, 7 and 8 pupils, SMC, teachers and headteacher of Barwessa division. As such, the findings may not be generalized to all girls enrolled in primary schools in Kenya since the sample was small. However, the results can be generalized to girls‟ participation in arid and semi-arid areas with similar characteristics as those in Barwessa Division.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 50 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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