Secondary school learners perceptions and expectations of life skills education: a case study of Kieni East division,Nyeri North district,Kenya
Githinji, Ephraim W
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The central issue of this study was that despite the various syllabus revisions with the intention of making the 8-4-4 curriculum relevant to the needs of the country, there appeared to be problems that were persistent. Some of those problems related to how our education in particular can be made holistic in order to address some of the life's persistent issues like the life skills which have been relegated to the curriculum margins (non -formal ). Therefore, the study set out to assess perceptions and expectations of life skills education among secondary school learners in Kieni East Division of Nyeri North District. The study objectives set out to establish: how secondary school learners valued life skill education; the perceived effects of life skills on secondary school learners' health and social behaviours; whether secondary education addressed life skills issues adequately; and the impact of life skills on student's performance. The target population comprised of 12 public secondary schools and 3184 students. A study sample of six schools and 426 students was selected using stratified sampling technique. Data were collected using questionnaire for form three and four students while focus group discussion was used for form twos. The data were analyzed according to main research objectives to review the major issues of concern. Categories of themes were identified and reported using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages and others as they occurred. The major findings showed that while students highly valued some of the life skills such as goal setting, communication, being assertive and negotiation skills, there were others that they considered less important such as consumer awareness and self awareness. There is a sharp division on the reasons of attending school amongst the students because 42.55% students would attend school with or without jobs while 39.71% students said they would not attend school if they were sure they would not get jobs. Most students positively perceived life skills in improving the students' performance, social and health aspect of the student's behaviour and discipline. Life skills had effects on student's health and social behaviours 'through fighting drugs and substance abuse, HIV-AIDS and teenage pregnancies. Secondary education had not fully addressed life skills since there were some important aspects of education such as communication skills, family life education and extra curriculum activities which were not being taught effectively. Based on these findings, it was recommended that Life skills be emphasized just like the other subjects so that education can be at the forefront in the fight against social evils. Schools should put more emphasis on extra curriculum activities (Boler, 2005 and the Commission of Inquiry into the Education System, 1999). KIE should consider in servicing secondary school teachers on the new trends in life skill education so as to update their knowledge in the subject matter and teaching methodology so as to effectively teach life skills. Ministry of Education should closely monitor the implementation of life skill education in secondary schools to ensure that learners are exposed to and taught all life skills effectively.