A study of the problem is encountered by teachers and pupils in the teaching and learning of home science practical lessons in the 8:4:4 system of education in Starehe Division, Nairobi
Home Science education in primary school aims \ at equipping pupils with basic knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for every day life and to be utilized for self-reliance, salaried employment or further education. To meet this objective, it is therefore necessary that pupils are exposed to the concepts and principles of the subject both theoretically and practically. Each individual child should put into practice whatever the syllabus rec?mmends to be practised. Practicals in all areas of Home Science namely, Clothing and Textiles (Needlework)," Food and Nutrition (Cookery), Care of the Home, Laundry and Child Care impart ~uch skills to enable pupils develop as useful members of the society. This study was therefore intended to find out the problems encountered by teachers and pupils in the teaching and learning of Home Science practical lessons in primary schools. The study concerned itself mainly on issues that dealt with shortages of qualified teachers, availability of equipment and facilities, materials and resources necessary for the teaching of the subject. Crowded classrooms, scope of the subject and the time factor were also examined. The sample was drawn from ten primary schools randomly selected in the Starehe Division of Nairobi. The sample (xv) consisted of Home Science teachers and standard seven pupils (both boys and girls). To solicit information from the respondents a questionnaire was administere~ to both teachers and pupils. A check-list was also used by the researcher who conducted a physical observation of equipment and facilities available for Home Science practicals in the primary schools under study. The data collected was then analysed and the results were presented as frequency and percentage distributions and tabulated appropriately. The findings of the study were: 1. Teachers of Home Science were not prepared to teach practical lessons. 2. Large classes were a major hindrance to the effective teaching of practical lessons. 3. Les-sonsallocated to Home Science education were inadequate. 4. Equipment and facilities for practical lessons were lacking. 5. There was lack of teachers' guides for effective teaching of the subject. 6. Materials for use in the practical lessons are provided for by the parents. (xvi) 7. The involvement of pupils in practicals, in all areas of the subject, was inadequate/lacking. 8. Practical continuous assessment grade was not entered into the final examination (K.C.P.E.). ~he researcher made a few suggestions that were expected to improve the teaching and learning of practicals in Horne Science. The researcher felt that there was need for: 1. A vigorous in-service exercise and refresher courses for Home Science teachers to expose them to the content and the teaching skills of the new curriculum. 2. The inspectorate to rind out the problems teachers have with regards to the area of content and teaching skills and then try to brief the teachers ~ concerned on appropriate approaches to teaching. 3. An adequate supply of teachers' guides to facilitate guidance to teachers. 4. The P.T.A. to provide well equipped laboratories to enable teachers organize practical lessons effectively. 5. The P.T.A. to avail finances for cookery practicals. (xvii) 6. An increase in the number of Home Science lessons to facilitate adequate coverage of the syllabus and to ensure acquisition of skills in all areas of the discipline. 7. The assessment of practicals in all the areas of the subject should be streamlined 'and the g-rades accumulated right from standard four. The final grade should be entered into the final examination (K.C.P.E.) . Alternatively pupils should be awarded a separate certificate. The suggestions listed above may not be entirely new but it is hoped that the current educators' efforts will be enhanced by a critical analysis of the new evidence highlighted by this study. Lastly, an effort was made to identify other areas of study for future scholars to venture into. Some of these include: 1. A replica of this study using a wider sample. 2. Actual observation of Home Science practicals in action. 3. A similar research study to be carried out in other areas of the city and in the rural areas. 4. A research on the attitudes of Home Science teachers on practical lessons.