Barriers of effective utilization of resources in the teaching/learning of sciences in secondary school in Thika, Kiambu County
Wanderi, Mary Nyakiringa
MetadataShow full item record
The sciences form an important block of the secondary school curriculum. In fact at K.C.S.E., a candidate must choose at least two science subjects. This is due to the importance attached to the sciences in view of national development and the desire to have Kenya as an industrialized Nation by 2030. Numerous innovations and strategies have been made for the improvement of the quality of the secondary school science in Kenya. Example of the strategies is the provision of the teaching/learning resources by the schools, government· and even donors. The Ministry of Education (MoE) in conjunction with the Japanese Government initiated the SMASSE project in 1998 as a project. The mandate of the project mainly focuses on in-servicing science teachers especially in the use of resources while teaching sciences. The Government under targeted programs also provides laboratory equipment in some schools including those in Thika West District. Despite all this, the sciences continue to be dismally performed in the KCSE exams due to the non effective utilization of these resources among other causes. To this end the purpose of this study is to examine barriers to effective utilization of resources in the teaching of sciences in selected secondary schools in Thika West District. The objectives of the study were to investigate the adequacy of available resources in the learning/teaching of sciences in the selected schools, determine teacher- related, student-related and school-related barriers that hinder effective utilization of resources. The study identified eight (8) schools using purposive sampling techniques basing itself on the school categories such as two national, three provincial and district schools. It considered boarding / day type of schools, boys/ girl or mixed. From the sampled schools, an equal number of students (l0) were selected from form 3 classes and four (4) science teachers per school participated in the study. Piloting was carried out in two schools in the District not included in the study. The schools were randomly chosen. This allowed errors encountered during piloting to be corrected before the main study. The data was collected using questionnaires for students and teachers while resource checklist was used to investigate available resources especially in the laboratories. The data obtained was analyzed using descriptive statistics and was presented with aid of frequency tables, percentage, pie charts and graphs. The study established that students like Chemistry as a subject but they perform dismally; Physics being so unpopular and poorly performed conventionally is performed best in Thika West District. It was also established that majority of the Science teachers have not undergone SMASSE training. The study revealed that other areas that require to be addressed by the school or otherwise, those that hinder effective utilization of resources in schools were; Shortage of space and facilities, morale of teachers and students, number of teachers to be increased and enrolment of students to be monitored. The study recommends that: schools, parents and the community at large should join hands and ensure that schools have adequate resources for science subjects, especially laboratory equipment; the TSC should employ enough science teachers and ensure they are distributed to schools as per the number of students. This will ensure that teachers are not overworked, leading to better performance in sciences by students in the long run; further, school heads should motivate teachers by ensuring they are provided with the teaching/learning resources needed for science subjects; among other recommendations.