Factors influencing enrolment and retention of learners in adult and continuing education programmes, in Imenti south sub-county, Meru county, Kenya.
Mugambi, Franklin Samuel
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Education is a fundamental basic human right and an essential tool for achieving the goals of equality, development, national integration and peace. Education is also an investment in human skills. It is a determinant of earnings and therefore an important exit route from poverty. Investment in education helps to foster economic growth, enhance productivity, contribute to national and social development, and reduce social inequality. Adult education as a sub-sector of education currently attracts many learners aged eighteen years and above. These learners voluntarily or involuntarily enroll in literacy classes to acquire knowledge and skills to accomplish various goals in life. The high demand for adult literacy and subsequent retention of enrolled learners in the literacy classes until graduation in Imenti south sub-county is a phenomenon that needed urgent study since previous studies in adult education have mostly dwelt on causes of low participation and the impact of adult literacy to the communities. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate why adult learners enrolled and persistently attended classes in ACE programmes in Imenti south sub-county. The objectives of the study were; to investigate the extent to which socio-economic background of learners, the availability of learning opportunities, the teacher-learner relationship and the learners' education goals influences enrolment and retention of adult learners in ACE programmes. The study adopted descriptive research design and simple random sampling. Research instruments were validated by subjects matter experts and pre-tested in Imenti North sub-county. Ethical issues were observed to ensure privacy anonymity of respondents. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The study revealed that social economic factors like level of income, availability of learning opportunity, learners' educational goals and teacher-learner relationship are key ingredients for substantive enrolment and retention of learners in ACE programmes in Imenti South and the world over. These findings are relevant for the adult education sub-sector due to the renewed interest of adult learning in Imenti south sub-county and the country at large. Future scholars in the field of adult education as well as practicing education managers; may use the information to improve enrolment and retention rates in ACE programmes. The study recommends that the Government should dedicate more resources to adult education so that more learners can be enrolled in ACE programmes to reap the benefits of education. This will further improve the literacy level in the country.