Analysis of wastage in secondary schools in Kenya: the case of Murang'a East district
Kamau, Wambui Fridah
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Wastage is a major concern in the Kenyan education system at all levels. At the national level, the 2005-2007 secondary school cohort recorded an enrolment rate of 146,645 for boys and 127,057 for girls. The completion rate was 137,304 for boys and 113,899 for girls respectively (Republic of Kenya, 2008). Although there is evidence of wastage at the national level, the intention of this project was to confirm if this was applicable to Murang'a East District. The purpose of the study was to determine the nature, trend and factors that caused wastage in form of drop-outs and repetition in secondary schools in Murang'a East District. The study specifically determined the existence and magnitude of wastage in form of dropout and repetition, and sought possible solutions to minimize wastage in secondary schools in the district. The objectives of the study were to: investigate the magnitude of wastage in secondary schools, find out the causes of wastage in secondary schools, determine the classes where wastage is rampant, and establish corrective measures that can minimize repetitions and dropouts. The study was conducted using a descriptive survey design in Murang'a East District. The study targeted all the head teachers, teachers and students in Day and Boarding secondary schools in Murang'a East District. A total of 6 1 head teachers, 854 teachers and 16700 students were targeted. The study sample comprised of 20 headteachers, 120 teachers, and 400 students randomly selected from the 20 sample schools in the district. Data was collected using questionnaires for head teachers, teachers and students, an interview schedule for the District Education Officer and observation schedule for physical resources such as classrooms, libraries. Data was analysed using quantitative and qualitative analysis procedures such as frequencies and percentages. The study established that the schools enrolled more girls than boys in all the consequent years. In year 2007 there were 47.1% boys and 52.9% girls; year 2008 there were 45.4% boys and _54.6% girls; in year 2009 there were 45.7% boys and 54 3% girls; while year 2010 had 45.6% boys and 54.4% girls. The expansion of the education system has resulted in an increase in enrolments. More boys than girls dropped out of school, whereby in 2008, 39 boys dropped out as compared to 19 girls, in 2009, 44 boys dropped out against 30 girls who had dropped out; and in 2010, 66 boys dropped out as compared to 28 girls. Majority (70%) of the headteachers and teachers indicated that the biggest cause of wastage was indiscipline, failure of parents to pay school fees and failure of parents to understand the value of education. Poor academic performance, joining outlawed sects and gangs and also lack of interest by parents H, children's learning, ranked among the top causes of wastage. The most common measure was strengthening discipline both at home and in school, followed by the employment of enough teachers. Majority of the respondents, including 75% of the headteachers and 87.5% of the students, indicated that guidance and counselling should be provided for the youth while 77% indicated that there should be allocation of bursaries for needy students. The study recommends that the government should re-conduct a feasibility study to ensure that free secondary education would be of benefit to the students and the community at large, and that headteachers and other leaders such as classroom teachers, pleads of Departments, various patrons among others should undertake the task of educating the students on the dangers of engaging in premarital sex, drug abuse and peer pressure to curb the dropout/repetition rate due to teenage pregnancies.