Disaster preparedness in public secondary schools in Mutito constituency, Kitui county, Kenya
Kyambi, Charles Muema
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The purpose of the study was to assess the level of disaster preparedness in public secondary schools in Mutito Constituency, with an aim of suggesting policy measures that could be employed to enhance disaster management in secondary schools in Kenya. The objectives of the study were; to find out whether secondary schools in Mutito Constituency have been implementing the Ministry of Education policy guidelines on safety and disaster preparedness in institutions of learning; to assess the levels of knowledge of safety guidelines among secondary school headteachers, teachers and students; to determine the attitudes of headteachers, teachers and students toward various disaster preparedness issues; to identify the factors hindering adherence to disaster preparedness guidelines in secondary schools and to suggest policy measures that could be employed to enhance disaster management in secondary schools in Kenya. The study .used a descriptive survey design. The target population was all the 20 principals, 287 teachers and 5891 students in the 20 public secondary schools in Mutito constituency . . Simple random sampling was used to select 6 teachers per school, giving rise to 90 teachers. From each of the sampled schools, 24 students were selected randomly from Form 3 and Form 4 (12 students from each class), giving a sample of 360 students. All the 15 principals from the 15 sampled schools participated in the study. The sample size therefore included 360 students, 15 head teachers and 90 teachers. Questionnaires and an observation schedule were used as the main tools for data collection. The study gathered both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics including frequencies and percentages. Qualitative data Was put under themes consistent with the research objectives. The study established that that most of the schools in Mutito constituency partially implemented safety guidelines set in classrooms, dormitories, sanitation infrastructures, libraries and administration block. It was established that all the sampled schools did not have safety standard manuals which . explains why most of the principals, teachers and students were not aware of the safety precautions. The study also established that most schools do not conduct adequate training for staff and students on how to prevent disaster. It however emerged that principals, teachers and students had a positive attitude towards school safety guidelines. The study recommends that relevant authorities should organize frequent workshops and seminars for teachers, students and parents to sensitize them on disaster management; schools should be inspected frequently to check whether they fully implement the school safety guidelines; among other recommendations.