Factors influencing effectiveness of mobile primary schools: a case study of Moyale sub-county, Marsabit county, Kenya
Hirbo, Daigo Hirbo
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Mobile schools have been identified as an alternative way of promoting access to education in ASAL areas among nomadic communities. However, due to their mobile nature, these schools are faced with numerous challenges which affect their effectiveness. The study sought to establish factors influencing effectiveness of mobile schools in Moyale Sub-County. The study objectives were to establish ways in which provision of teaching and learning facilities, provision of school personnel, socio-cultural factors and learner characteristics influence effectiveness of mobile schools. The study was guided by the classical liberal Theory of Equal opportunity and Social Darwinism; adopted a descriptive survey design and targeted 6 mobile schools with a population of 12 teachers, 6 school managers and 1 Education officer. Data collection instruments included in-depth (detailed) questionnaires, interview schedules and an observation guide. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis while quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistical analysis such as frequency and percentages. The study is significant as it may provide information to the Ministry of Education, other stakeholders on the factors influencing effectiveness of mobile schools. In regard to school facilities, the study revealed that all mobile schools had inadequate teaching and learning resources thus were relying on well-wishers for provision these facilities. It was also revealed that these schools lacked classrooms and offices and learning was taking place under trees and in tents provided by NGOs and by government. According to the findings, all teachers were not trained and therefore teacher competency is a factor affecting the effectiveness of mobile schools. Most of these teachers were volunteers who were paid allowances whenever funds were available. The study findings further show that socio-cultural practices such as FGM and early marriages in the community do not favour girl-child education. From the findings, the number of girls enrolled was below that of boys and that girls were recording slightly higher dropout rates. The study also show that more boys than girls had been successfully integrated into regular schools. The findings further show that pupils absenteeism was high and was attributed to parents' negative attitude towards education, pupils' lack of interest in education, female genital mutilation, early marriages, parents' education levels, lack of role models and numerous cultural ceremonies that kept pupils especially girls from enrolling and remaining in school. Based on the findings, the study recommends that the government and other stakeholders fund the provision of teaching and learning resources, fund the construction of permanent structures, hire trained teachers and post them to mobile schools, provide a permanent solution to water shortage by sinking more boreholes in the district to minimize the need for residents to keep moving froni one place to another, put in place measures to enhance security, organize more forums/barazas to sensitise members of the community on the dangers of retrogressive cultural practices such as FGM and early marriages in order to encourage parents to embrace the girl-child education and to sensitise communities on the importance of education and on the availability and importance of mobile schools. A similar study should be replicated in other ASAL areas to establish factors influencing effectiveness of mobile schools in these areas in view of the diverse socio-cultural conditions in these areas.'