RESEARCH FINDINGS AND ANALYSISIntroduction This chapter discusses the findings from the data collected from the field. The data was obtained from questionnaires filled out by parents who participated in the research. A descriptive analysis of the finding will be presented using the means, standard deviation, percentage to investigate the correlation between variables and bar charts. Data is presented in charts and graphs for ease of analysis. Implications and deductions from data presented are discussed with support drawn from pertinent sources pertaining to the social cultural situation the country and the education system.
The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part deals with data collected from individual interviews on various variables. The second part discusses data from two focus group discussions. Part I. Parent Interviews AnalysisA. Parent Occupation Figure 1Over half of the fathers who have enrolled their children in preschool education facilities work in the private sector. The percentage of mothers willing to take their children to preschool centres and work in the private sector is considerably smaller at just over an eighth. Mothers working in the academic sector, that includes teachers, tutors and lectures and researchers have a higher regard for such early years education facilities as a quarter of them have enrolled their children in early years education but only a small fraction of fathers working in the same sector have enrolled their children in early years education.
The number of fathers who have enrolled their children in the two centres is four times higher than that of mothers. This implies that the government does not observe equal employment opportunities between the genders. However, it is interesting to note that almost a quarter parents employed by the government prefer Dar Al Yosour as opposed to Early Childhood Centre (ECC) which has just slightly over a sixth.
This difference can be explained by presence of more government offices in Jeddah than Al-Khobar. Nearly half of the mothers are housewives and unemployed. This does not clearly concur with the national figures where less than a quarter of the total women in Saudi Arabia are economically active (Freedom House, 2011; Long 2005). The relatively higher percentage of women involved in productive employment in this study could be partly due to the geographic location of the sample i. e.
urban areas. Men are traditionally perceived as breadwinners while women act as mothers and wives at home (Long 2005). This may have three implications, i) the dominate role of mothers that might be still present in Saudi society, that is to stay home and raise the children. ii) The educational system in the country is producing more qualified women than the economy can absorb. iii) There are constraints and limitations of fieldwork that women face in the Saudi society.
It is also interesting to note that a large number of mothers are unemployed yet they can afford to enrol their children in preschool education implying that their someone else caters for school fees most probably the husbands. Saudi Arabia as country relies heavily on foreign expatriates for its labour needs. The Ministry of Economy and Planning estimates that over 65% of the labour force comprises of foreigners who hold 85-90% of the private jobs (Ramady 2010; Freedom House 2011). The charts above show majority of the employed fathers work in the private sector.
Again, there are no unemployed fathers in the sample. It can be deduced that, i) majority of fathers in private sector are foreign expatriates or native Saudi men in the private sector have been influenced by foreign expatriates by virtue of being workmates in embracing preschool education than native women in the same sector ii) Men in Saudi culture cater for family finances because no unemployed father can afford preschool education for their children while women do iii) there is higher acceptance of preschool education among fathers working in the private sector than in other sectors iv) the government and other employers do not adhere to gender equality in employment.
Long (2005) indicate that the traditional Islamic culture in Saudi reveres motherhood and accords the same importance to women’s role as mothers and housewives as male careers.