Impacts of sand harvesting on education in Kathiani division, Kathiani district, Machakos County, Kenya
Mutiso, Veronicah Nthambi
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of sand harvesting on education development in public primary schools in Kathiani Division. The objectives of the study included finding out the extent to which sand harvesting affects school participation, performance, the environment which indirectly supports learning of boys and girls, and establishing ways through which sand harvesting activities can be carried out to promote education development. Public primary schools in Kathiani Division have been recording declining education standards in terms of poor performance, low enrolment and retention rates and therefore it was necessary to carry out a study to establish whether sand harvesting is also a contributor to this trend. The study was based on the classical liberal theory of equal opportunity and adopted a survey design to investigate ways in which sand harvesting (dependent variable) impacts on participation rates and performance (dependent variables) The study targeted 2 education zones with 43 primary schools, 17,094 pupils, 2 local administrators, 2 education officers, 10 head teachers and 20 class teachers from which a sample of 10 headteachers.l 0 class teachers, 80 pupils, 2 local administration officer and 2 education officer was selected. Data collection instruments were questionnaires and interview guides. A pilot study was conducted whose findings were used to determine the validity and reliability of the instruments. Content validity of the instruments was established through consultation with supervisors. The Pearsons Correlation Coefficient formula was used to calculate reliability of the instruments. Data were analyzed mainly through use of descriptive statistics. In regard to the impacts of sand harvesting on participation rates the findings revealed that 93.8% of public primary schools in Kathiani Division are faced with high rates of school dropout where more boys than girls are dropping out of school. 70.0% of head teachers said this was due to sand. harvesting. On the extent to which sand harvesting influences pupils performance 70.0% of head teachers said sand harvesting is contributing to a large extent to poor performance in addition to other vices such as drug abuse as cited by 50.0% of head teachers and indiscipline as indicated by 40.0% of head teachers. All head teachers (100.0%) indicated that pupils who are involved in sand harvesting recorded lower grades in examinations. In view of the impact of sand harvesting on the learning environment the results revealed that it has profound negative effects on the environment ranging from destruction of water sources to soil erosion, and the infrastructure. The study showed that majority of head teachers (71.2%) said that it caused water shortage followed by 55.0% who said it caused sudden drying of rivers and 51.2% said it causes soil erosion. The study finally established that sand harvesting has a number of positive effects on education in terms of enabling parents and pupils to acquire basic needs as cited by 80.0% of head teachers and help in payment of educational levies as well as purchasing educational materials as cited by 62.5% of head teachers. The study recommends that the government and other stakeholder ought to provide bursaries to needy pupils to minimise cases of pupils having to engage in sand harvesting, ensure that under-age children are not used as labourers and ensuring , environmental protection by legislating and regulating sand harvesting activities. The study was confined to Kathiani Division of Machakos County leaving out other parts of the country where pupils are also involved in sand harvesting. A similar study should therefore be carried out in other parts of the country.