Causes of student dropout and decline in performance of technical Colleges : a case of Technical Institutes in Meru Central District
The government of Kenya and other stakeholders commit a lot of resources to learning institutions in the country to ensure that the youth of this country has a great future. However, all these resources cannot be said to have benefitted the country if learners are forced to abandon their studies or perform poorly due to lack of proper instruction while at the learning institution. This can lead to the graduates' inability to competently display the necessary skills in their workplaces later. The purpose and main objective of this study was to identify factors that cause wastage and decline in performance of public technical training institutes within Meru Central District, analyze the effect this problem has on the management of the training institutes under study and seek solutions that would benefit these and other learning institutions. The researcher also tried to investigate the problems experienced by managers of these institutes as a result of trainee drop out. The institutes studied were Nkabune, Meru and Kiirua. Various strategies employed to control these problems and those recommended to improve performance and increase completion rates were studied. The study limited itself to one district, which may not generalize the situation in the whole country. The researcher felt that the study was significant to training institutions' management, parents, trainees and the government. Approximately 1 100 people comprised the study population of which a sample of 65 people holding different positions were involved to provide information sought by the researcher. These included institute heads, 12 other senior administrators and 50 selected class teachers. The study adopted a descriptive research design with questionnaires, interview schedules and personal observation forms being the main data collection instruments. Purposive sampling method was used. Tables, frequencies and percentages were used to present the findings. The main findings were that technical courses were performing more poorly than business courses, with results being below 40%. The current curriculum has some gaps. Dropout was evident but the level was not alarming. The main reasons for student dropout and decline in performance were financial constraints, lack of adequate or appropriate training facilities and resources. Based on those findings, there is need to review the existing technical curriculum and involve the industry more closely in the development and implementation of technical education curriculum. Trainers need to be exposed to regular upgrading courses and workshops in order to cope with the fast changing technology. More financing is necessary. There is also need to carry out more studies in this area in order to aid policy makers explore and adopt new strategies in training and financing the most relevant technological courses to help steer the country to industrialisation.
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