A Study of Factors Influencing the Introduction and Implementation of Pre-Primary School Life Skills Curriculum in Ainamoi Division, Kericho County, Kenya
Chebii, Birgen Dinah
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One of the most important objectives of education is the socialization of the individual. The school is a socializing agency, while curriculum is a tool used to address emerging concerns of society hence constant effort is needed to make this tool useful and to evaluate its effectiveness. Kenyan children face challenges that include gender bias, early sexual debut, drug and substance abuse, rape and exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus leading to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Introduction of pre-primary school Life skills curriculum could help address some of these challenges. The purpose of this study was to investigate why pre-primary school life skills curriculum was introduced and to determine the factors that have influenced its implementation. This study was conducted in Ainamoi Division of Kericho County. Ainamoi Division was purposively sampled for the study since the region has high incidence of child abuse, child labour, early pregnancies and dysfunctional families, while pre-primary schools were randomly sampled. During the study questionnaires were administered to 47 pre-primary school teachers, while two officers in charge of life skills curriculum at Kenya Institute of Education and Ministry of Education officials in charge of Curriculum implementation were interviewed by the researcher. The study used document analysis, interviews and questionnaires as research instruments. The study employed a descriptive survey research design. Qualitative data was analysed using thematic approach, whereby each objective under study was described in relation to the categories of responses given. Descriptive statistics involving frequencies, means and percentages were used to analyse data. Qualitative data was analysed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences. Results from the study found that both needs assessment and piloting were not carried out before implementing this curriculum, the objectives of pre- primary school life skills curriculum are clear to majority of the teachers and that the curriculum meets the needs of the learners. Although teachers have a positive attitude towards implementation, the study found out that 83% were not involved in the curriculum development process while only 38.3% were aware of the curriculum through their ongoing self upgrading courses. It was also revealed that majority of school administrators support the implementation of life skills, however they lack teaching and learning resources to support effective implementation of the program. The study concludes that some of the reasons why life skills curriculum was introduced are; life skills inculcate moral values among children at an early age, that it was due to realization that children lack basic values and skills as they leave ECDE, to provide them with protective skills in response to every day challenges and to enable them to be responsible in making appropriate choices on issues affecting safety and related aspects. The study recommends that the teaching of pre- primary school life skills should be enhanced through providing seminars, workshops and teaching/learning resources to the classroom teachers to enrich their knowledge and teaching approaches. It is also necessary for both the Ministry of Education and Kenya Institute of Education to carry out an evaluation on implementation of pre-primary school life skills syllabus so that available gaps may be filled and improvements made.