The impact of socio-cultural and economic factors on girls' access to and performance in secondary education in Kenya: a case of Garissa District, Garissa County
Girls' performance in secondary education has remained a challenge in Kenya and in particular Garissa District. This may be attributed to various factors ranging from socio-cultural to economic factors. This study sought to investigate the impact of socio-cultural and economic factors on girls' access to and performance in secondary education in Garissa District. The study adopted qualitative and quantitative research design. The sample of the study was drawn from six girls' secondary schools in the district by use of systematic random sampling. A total of two hundred and thirty one (231) students, six (6) head teachers and twenty one (21) classroom teachers were sampled. The researcher used questionnaires with closed and opened ended questions, content analysis and focus group discuss for data collection. The researcher carried out pilot testing of the research instruments on few selected schools to establish their validity and reliability before the actual administration. Qualitative data was analyzed using a thematic approach. The quantitative data analysis involved coding the variables and analyzing them using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) Computer program. Analyzed quantitative data was presented by use of tables, pie charts, frequency and percentage tables. The analysis of the research findings showed that community's attitude towards girl-child education has to some extent changed positively, however complete support to girl child education is still lacking by the community. The findings further showed that there are various socio-cultural factors that continue to influence girls' access to and performance in secondary education in Garissa district. The socio-cultural factors impose the biggest challenge on girls' secondary education and that although the society is changing it's attitude towards education of the girl child, other serious factors like FGM, early marriages child labour and early pregnancies continue to hinder the education of the girl-child. The research findings also showed that parents' level of education, occupation and income affected the girl child's education. The research recommends that sensitization programmes be conducted on the importance of the. girl child's education targeting parents and community members. The research further recommends that the government should enforce laws on perpetrators of early and forced marriages and child labor making sure that the offenders are arrested and charged in court of law. In addition; the researcher recommends the government should increase subsidized day secondary education funding so as to take care of institutional needs fully so that girls who require extra personal effects such as sanitary towels can easily access them within the schools. The findings will be useful to the government in formulating and addressing gender imbalances in the acquisition of education. Education stakeholders will find findings more useful in their effort to improve girls' access to and performance in secondary education. Development partners in education will also find the results useful in addressing economic factors that hinder girls' performance in secondary education. The findings will further help stakeholders realize the millennium development goals and vision 2030. The researcher recommends further research in other Districts, the Counties such as Wajir and Mandera to see whether the same problem exists.