Causes of poor performance in KNEC examinations at selected tertiary institutions in Kiambu, Nyeri and Nakuru counties
Gatundu, Robert Karumba
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The importance of tertiary education in our socio-economic growth projections cannot be gainsaid. It is the engine for technological growth in any country. Yet most Diploma students specializing in engineering courses fail the final examinations administered by KNEC every year. The purpose of this study was to determine the specific causes of poor performance in our tertiary institutions. A four- year analysis of performance in three Technical colleges was undertaken to highlight the problem. The fields of study under consideration were Electrical engineering and Building technology. The study was guided by three objectives which were to seek challenges facing Diploma students, find out the percentage of students who obtain certification after sitting KNEC exams over a duration of four years and challenges facing college administrators and tutors in these institutions. The expectancy theory of motivation informed the study. Whereas purposive sampling was used to identify the colleges to be involved in the study, random sampling was used in giving questionnaires to the students of the two fields of engineering. A descriptive survey research was adopted. Research was conducted in three tertiary institutions i.e. Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology, Nyeri Technical Training Institute and Rift valley Institute of Science and Technology, Nakuru. Two research instruments were used to collect data. Questionnaires were given to students and Heads of Departments while interviews were conducted with the college Principals. A pilot study was conducted to ascertain the validity and reliability of the instruments before commencing the actual research. The college participating in the pilot study did not take part in the main study. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used in data processing and organization. Processing involved computation of percentages and frequencies. The results were then presented in frequency tables, pie charts, bar graphs and line graphs. A population of twelve thousand was targeted and a sample size of one hundred and twenty nine was involved. This study revealed that a majority of students specializing in technical courses fail their final examinations due to many challenges facing them. An urgent programme of upgrading college infrastructure was proposed. It was envisaged that the findings of this study would inform the ministry of higher education to formulate relevant policies to address the challenges in TVET. College administrators would also benefit by gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges that undermine students‟ performance in KNEC exams. Other stakeholders e.g. donors, curriculum experts and the Boards of Management of these institutions would also find this study helpful in their resource allocation and general college administration.