Implications of life skills education curriculum on peer influence related behaviors among students in secondary schools in Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Mune, Catherine Wanjiku
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Life Skills Education plays a major role in enabling individuals to translate knowledge, attitudes and values into actual abilities in reference to what to do and how to do it. There has been a concern over the rising cases of peer influence related behaviors among secondary school learners necessitating the need to carry out the study in secondary schools in KirinyagaCounty. The study objectives were; to establish trends in peer influence related behaviors among secondary school students in Kirinyaga County, to explore the perceptions of teachers and students on the role of LSE in enabling secondary school students deal with peer influences, to analyze the LSE content in relation to enabling learners deal with peer influences and to examine the LSE teaching approaches and peer related influences in secondary schools in Kirinyaga County. The study was based on Bandura‟s social learning theory. The descriptive survey design was employed. Qualitative and Quantitative data was collected by use of questionnaires, semi-structured interview guide and Focus Group Discussions. The target population was32 public secondary schools, 1310 Form three students, 32 principals and 120 teachers .Stratified random sampling was used to select schools for the study depending on the school type. Simple random sampling was used to select students while purposive sampling was used to select teachers and school principals. The study sampled 10 public schools, 10 heads of institutions, 131 form three students and 45 form three LSE teachers. The qualitative data was analyzed systematically by organizing it into categories and themes guided by research objectives. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented in pertinent themes. The responses were then coded, analyzed and presented in form of frequency tables and charts. Conclusions were based on measures of central tendency (mean, mode and median) and measures of dispersion (range, deviations) using a computer program called the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The findings were presented in tables, pie charts, graphs and narrations. Research findings showed that students are still involved in peer related behavior including drug abuse, theft, examinations malpractice, bullying, violence and strikes despite the efforts to impart life skills to students in school. Teachers felt there is need for a review of the content to make it more effective.School principals need to involve parents, NGOs and other stakeholders in facilitating and funding life skills programs as well as creating an enabling school environment to promote inculcation of the said psycho-social skills. Further research is recommended to investigate the role of modern technology (use of mobile phones, computers) in promoting risky behaviors among students.