Effects of socio-economic factors on pupils performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in Chuka division, Tharaka-Nithi county, Kenya
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of pupils’ socio-economic background on academic achievement in KCPE in public primary schools in Chuka division of Meru South District, Kenya. The specific objectives were to determine social, economic, and cultural factors that affect pupil’s performance in KCPE and establish measures that could be put in place to improve pupils’ performance in KCPE in public primary schools in Chuka division. The study covered a period of one month and involved class eight pupils’, teachers, deputy head teachers and head teachers. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design and the target population was 3122 comprising a cohort of 2622 class eight pupils, 400 teachers, 50 deputy head teachers, and 50 head teachers. A sample size of 337 was selected to participate in the study. The deputy head teachers and head teachers were obtained through purposive sampling while teachers and pupils were obtained by simple random sampling. The study used questionnaires and document review to collect data. Piloting of the instruments was done on a sample of 30 that included 20 pupils, 5 deputy head teachers, and 5 head teachers from a neighboringMagumoni division using purposive and simple random sampling methods. The researcher obtained an introductory letter from Kenyatta University. The researcher personally administered the instrument to the participants and allowed them 3 days to fill all the items. Data collected using questionnaires was analyzed using descriptive statistics namely; frequency counts, percentages, modes and means. Data generated from open ended questions was analyzed and discussed thematically. The most significant social factors affecting pupil’s performance in KCPE were indiscipline, substance abuse, pregnancy, unexplained reasons, lack of interest in school and sickness. The most significant economic factors affecting pupils performance in KCPE in Chuka division that were established included failure to pay other school levies probably due to low family incomes. Initiation and cultural practices, early marriages and lack of community support emerged as the main cultural factors contributing to low academic achievement of pupils in KCPE in Chuka division. The main remedial measures to poor performance in KCPE that the study established were: increasing funds allocated to schools by the government so that schools can provide more amenities to facilitate learning, sensitizing parents to motivate their children to work hard in school and taking into account the socio-economic status of pupils in schools when determining government’s grant allocation to learners. The study recommends in-service programs for teachers to ensure that they have sufficient subject knowledge and repertoire of teaching methodologies and strategies necessary to handle pupils from varied socio-economic backgrounds. The teaching and learning in public primary schools need to incorporate instrumental strategies to improve academic performance for pupils from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The socio-economic status of schools should be considered when determining government grant allocation to schools with such pupils. This will enable such schools to bridge the gap of inequality and enable them to produce the necessary teaching and learning materials and put up the necessary interventions such as remedial education.The findings of the study are expected to help education policy makers, head teachers, teachers, parents and other stakeholders to emphasize the incorporation of instructional strategies to improve pupils’ performance in KCPE.