An evaluation of the impact of the Kenya national students' science and technology congress on the development of biology education
Agufana, Richard Alfayo
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The Kenya National Students' Science and Technology Congress is a major annual event in the secondary school calendar since its inception in 1963 with the aim of promoting science and technology education application. This study attempted to look at its impact on Science education in general and biology education in particular. The main objectives of the study were to determine the levels of, factors affecting participation, the role of the congress in the development of biology education; the documentation and dissemination of congress ideas; and congress links with industry. The study was designed as a survey of Nairobi province and entries made to the national congress between 1985 and 1992, with particular attention paid to the process and outcome of the congress. Comprising the research sample were two national officials of the congress, the inspector of schools in charge of biology, and some selected biology teachers and students from Nairobi secondary schools. The research instruments used included the questionnaires, an interview guide, a document analysis guide, and observation guide and an informal interview schedule. Findings of the study show that for participants, the congress has improved their biology knowledge technological capacity, method, and their ability to work together as co-workers, their problem-solving capacity and their motivational orientation. This impact has failed to permeate the secondary school system due to the following reasons. The congress is perceived by many school administrators, teachers and students as an adjunct to the curriculum; teachers and students find it difficult to create sufficient time for the experiential learning that congress participation entails; the school administrators and teachers are so steeped in the didactic mode of teaching that they are unable to guide students satisfactorily through experiential learning; and the perception that teh congress does not help in achieving good examination results. Other findings show that there is poor documentation and dissemination of congress ideas. Also industry has failed to seize the opportunity to develop the prototype ideas emerging from the congress. The following strategies to resolve this situation have been recommended: development of a better biology curriculum responsive to the country's needs and aspirations; better training and in servicing of teachers; de-emphasis of didactic teaching and encouragement of experiential teaching; de-emphasis of examination-oriented teaching; improved documentation and dissemination of congress ideas; and development of indigenous industries which can stimulate biology and technology education and a strong school-industry link.