Primary teacher education: assessment on the effectiveness of learning resource centres at puplic teachers colleges in Kenya
Established as from the late 1970s, Learning Resources Centres (LRCs) are found in each of the 21 public primary teachers colleges in Kenya. However, a review of related literature, notably, Lwangasi (1985), Kimui (1988) and Wangari (2002) indicates that the LRCs have largely failed to achieve the objectives behind their establishment. This study attempted to unravel the bottlenecks behind this scenario and to suggest some possible solutions. Specifically, the researcher assessed the availability and suitability of LRC resources, personnel and general management of resources. It is hoped that this study will contribute towards the promotion of Resource Based Learning (RBL), and related modern approaches such as individualized instruction, self placing and the Universal goal of Lifelong Education, which Tucker (1979) identifies as the central goals behind the LRC concept. The researcher has reviewed both empirical and conceptual literature revolving around the educational value of LRCs in Teacher Education, RBL; on the components, staffing and organization of the LRC as a functional unit; among other related topics. Survey design was used in the investigation. The target population were students, members of academic staff and LRC personnel in the sampled colleges. Purposive sampling was used to identify three suitable colleges as Study Locale's. A total of 24 respondents from the informed specialists group, comprising heads of academic departments and LRC personnel in the colleges was also obtained through purposive sampling. The students sample was obtained by random methods based on the ratio of the populations of the targeted colleges. The researcher used 232 respondents in this category, this being 10% of the projected total student population in the three colleges. According to Mugenda and Mugenda (1999), 10% of the accessible population is a sufficient sample in Descriptive Studies. The total sample was thus 256 respondents. The major research instruments were questionnaires and observation schedules. Analysis of data employed descriptive statistics. The data was analyzed manually. Means, percentages and frequencies were obtained to assess the overall status of the LRCs. The results were presented with aid of tables. The study revealed a general state of lack of adequate relevant resources at the LRCs. The study also found out that most of the technical staff at the LRCs were unqualified, and had not undergone any form of in-service training since their employment. Further, the study noted that LRCs were not effectively linked with both the central resource center at the Kenya Institute of Education, KIE, and to the Teachers Advisory Centres, TACs, in their localities. Moreover, according to the study, LRCs have largely failed to fulfill the expectations of their beneficiaries. The researcher concluded that LRCs were to a large extent, not meeting their objectives. Accordingly, measures such as equipping the LRCs with adequate modern resources and the training and constant in-servicing of LRC technical staff, were suggested as some of the steps towards improving LRCs' operations.