Availability and Utilization of Educational Resources in Influencing Students Performance in Secondary Schools in Mbeere South, Embu County, Kenya
Mucai, Esther Wanjiku
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Educational system in Kenya is examination oriented where passing of examination is the only benchmark for performance. Availability and utilization of physical and material resources like libraries, laboratories and textbooks play an important role in the achievement of educational goals and objectives and students performance. Several studies have revealed that material and physical resources are inadequate in secondary schools in Kenya which may be contributing to students poor performance. Through CDF and subsidized secondary education introduced in 2008, the government has been providing finances to all secondary to acquire educational resources.. The objectives of this study was to find out the status of material and physical resources in secondary schools: to determine how effectively students and teachers utilize the available textbooks, laboratories and libraries in influencing students performance: to determine to what extent Governments funding has contributed to availability of educational resources in secondary schools. A survey design was used in this study because it helped the researcher to describe the existing conditions and make inferences related to this study. The target population for the study comprised 34 secondary schools in Mbeere South Embu county with a total population of 6403 students, 34 principals 68 H.O.Ds (languages and sciences). Stratified sampling was used to sample public schools in girls, boys boarding and mixed day to avoid bias of sampling one type of school and to determine whether there are variations in availability and utilization of educational resources in the different categories of schools. The study sample comprised of 3 boys (100%), 4 girls (67%) boarding and 8 mixed (30.8%) day secondary schools. Purposive sampling was used to sample15 principals (45.5%), 30 H.O.Ds (45.5%), while simple random sampling technique using lottery was used to sample1 form 3 English language class, and 15 students in form 3 class in each category of schools. Questionnaires, lesson observation schedule and checklist were used to collect data. Piloting of instruments was done in two schools which were not included in the study. Content Validity of the instruments was determined by employing the expertise of my supervisors and lecturers at the department, while reliability was determined through test-retest method. Data was coded and keyed in the computer for analysis using the (SPSS). Qualitative data was analyzed thematically according to objectives and presented in narration form according to objectives. Quantitative data were analyzed by use of descriptive statistics such as averages, percentages, mean and range. The findings were presented using frequency distribution tables. The study found out that the text books were not sufficient but there was no acute shortage since a text book could be shared by a considerable number of students in all categories of schools. This implies that the subsidized secondary education had contributed towards availability of text books. The study also found out that Library services were largely inadequate in almost all the secondary schools with only 1boys (33.3 %) and 1 girls school (25%) having 1 library each and none in the 8 mixed (87%)sampled secondary schools The subsidized secondary education and CDF had not significantly contributed to availability of libraries in secondary schools. As far as laboratories are concerned all the girls and boys boarding schools had at least two laboratories (53.3%) and 6 mixed schools 40% had 1 laboratory each. Available text books were utilized by students in reading ahead of the teachers, writing notes among others while teachers utilized textbooks in preparation of lessons, giving assignments and setting exams in all categories of schools. However, unavailability of textbooks hindered utilization especially in mixed day schools. Utilization of library services was hindered by lack of libraries and inadequate learning materials. Utilization of laboratories was hampered by inadequate laboratories and equipment which made teachers to demonstrate to students rather than students doing experiments on their own especially in mixed day schools. Inadequate educational resources may have contributed to poor performance especially in mixed day schools among other factors. Government funding was found to be inadequate.