Factors influencing preschool learners academic performance in Nyamache sub county, Kisii County , Kenya
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Early childhood education is a fundamental right to every child and an indispensable element for learning at the subsequent levels as the child goes through the education system. Despite the Kisii County government effort to ensure provision of quality preschool education, most of the early education centres in Nyamache Sub County were characterized with frequent conflicts between parents and teachers in regard to children’s poor academic performance. The purpose of the study was to examine the factors influencing preschool learners’ academic performance in public ECDE centres in Nyamache Sub County, Kisii County, Kenya. The study aimed at establishing the influence of preschool teachers’ professional development, to examine the influence of supervision of preschool teacher, to assess the influence of parental involvement, and to determine the influence of head teachers’ mobilization of funds on preschool learners’ academic performance in public preschool centres in Nyamache Sub County. The study was premised on Cognitive Constructivism learning theory by Perry. The study adopted descriptive survey and correlation research designs. The study targeted 84 head teachers, four Curriculum Support Officers, 4200 children and 260 preschool teachers who managed and taught in Nyamache Sub County 84 public preschool centres. The study sampled 50 preschool teachers, 25 head teachers, 4 Curriculum Support Officers and 1240 preschool children. Data were collected through preschool teachers’ questionnaire, head teachers’ interview schedule, CSOs interview schedule and preschool learners test. Pilot testing involved teachers and head teachers from the neighbouring Bomachoge Sub County. The content and construct validity of the data collection instruments were ascertained by presenting the instruments for scrutiny by the researcher’s two university supervisors. Reliability of the preschool teachers’ questionnaire was ascertained through test-retest technique. Data were analysed by both descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, means, standard deviations and percentages were used. The formulated four null hypotheses were tested using multiple regression analysis. The study found that most of teachers lacked consistent professional development and were hardly supervised. Parents’ involvement in their children learning was rated as moderate. Most of head teachers were found to be slack in mobilization of funds. The study four independent variables contributed 62.1 % of variance in pupils’ academic performance (R2 = 0.621). Supervision of preschool teachers’ had the most significant relative contribution to the prediction of pupils’ academic performance (β = 0.561, p < 0.05), followed by the head teachers’ mobilization of funds (β = 0.502, p < 0.05), preschool teachers’ professional development (β = 0.474, p < 0.05), while parents’ support of pupils learning had the least influence (β = 0.272, p > 0.05). The study concluded that lack of supervision and inadequate educational resources are the major causes to preschool learners’ dismal academic performance. The study recommends an extension of free education to preschool education and that the management and funding of preschools in Kenya be put directly under the national government.
Africa Nazarene University