Inhibiting factors on access and retention of students in public secondary schools in Imenti North District
Maitima, Joyce Gatwiri
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Access and retention to secondary education is a critical issue in Africa. In Kenya, although primary education sector enrolments over the past four decades have increased greatly, secondary enrolments have shown only a moderate increase coupled with low retention rates. Education reform efforts in less industrialized countries like Kenya have aimed at making education an effective vehicle for national development. The Government of Kenya policy makers and civil society have emphasized that developing countries need to invest more in education and ensure that systems of education are efficiently managed, that limited funds allocated to the sector have maximum effect and that costs recovery measures are adopted. Access and retention in the secondary education sector in Kenya is characterized by a number of inhibiting factors namely affordability (cost), distance to school, lack of schools, household size, household income, broad curriculum, peer influence, parental education, among others. The purpose of this study was to establish the effectiveness of inhibiting factors on access and retention of students in public secondary schools. The study's objectives were to find out the school related factors that affect secondary school access and retention in Imenti North District; to find out the student related factors that affect secondary access and retention, in Imenti North District; and to find out the communal related factors that affect secondary access and retention, in Imenti North District. A review of related literature was undertaken to support the study. This study utilized survey design, and employed questionnaires for data collection to determine the inhibitive factors that affect secondary school access and retention in Imenti North District. The independent variable for this study was student access and retention while the dependent variables were communal factors, school based factors, student related factors and socio-economic factors. The study obtained information from 8 principals, 7 guiding and counselling teachers and 32 class teachers. Simple descriptive statistics such as frequency tables, pie charts and bar graphs were used to analyze data using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) computer software and Advanced Excel. The study's findings indicate that socio-economic factors, school related factors, student related factors and community related affect access and retention of students in public secondary schools in Imenti North District. The study concludes that the interplay of socio-economic factors, school-related factors, student-related factors and community-related factors are to blame for the low access and retention of secondary school students. The study recommends that students who dropped out due to financial constraints should be encouraged to go back to school and apply for bursaries; guidance and counselling programmes should be stepped up and the teachers responsible for guidance and counselling in-serviced to improve their performance; the curricula should be reviewed and made relevant; the juvenile court services should be taken up by schools an integral part of secondary school management; adult education programmes should be bolstered to boost parental education and child labour laws should be strictly enforced.