RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELECTED FACTORS AND GENDER DISPARITY IN ENROLMENT OF STUDENTS IN PUBLIC MIXED DAY SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KERICHO COUNTY, KENYA.
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Provision of universal basic education and especially secondary education is an important global target captured in the Sustainable Development Goals number 4. In tandem, the government of Kenya has since the year 2008 embarked on the Free Day Secondary Education program. However, gender disparity in enrolment in secondary schools is still persistent. This study attempted to establish the relationship between selected factors and gender disparity in enrolment in public mixed day secondary schools in Kericho County, Kenya. The objectives of this study were: to find out the relationship between economic factors and gender disparity in enrolment, to establish the relationship between socio-cultural factors and gender disparity in enrolment, to determine the relationship between institution-based factors and gender disparity in enrolment and to determine the relationship between home based factors and gender disparity in enrolment of students in public mixed day secondary schools in Kericho County. The study was guided by Social Demand Approach Theory. The study adopted descriptive correlational research design targeting 124 public mixed day secondary schools from which the accessible population consisted of 124 principals and 9,418 students. From these a sample size of 38 principals and 384 students was obtained. Sampling techniques applied included purposive, random and systematic sampling techniques. Data for the study was collected by use of questionnaires. Statistical methods employed in the study include, percentages, means, Spearman‟s coefficient of correlation, Pearson‟s coefficient of correlation and regression statistics. The most outstanding issues regarding these variables were child labour, early pregnancies, domestic chores, negative attitude towards education, parent‟s preference to educate a boy child, harassment of girls by male students, as well as student teacher relationship and also lack of parental support. The study, therefore, concluded that economic, socio-cultural, institution based and home based factors were all factors influencing gender disparity in enrolment in public mixed day secondary schools in Kericho County. The study, therefore, recommended that the quality assurance and standards officers alongside local administration should discourage child labour which mostly affected female students and led to gender disparity in enrolment. Secondly, policymakers and educators should come up with progressive policies that address early pregnancies in relation to enrolment in secondary schools. Furthermore, appropriate student-teacher relationship should be advocated in order to promote conducive learning environment in schools to reduce gender disparity in enrolment. Finally, parents should place a central role in academic affairs of their children so that gender disparity in enrolment could be terminated. Future studies on a similar topic should be carried out to compare the same factors in urban, rural and ASAL regions of Kenya.