Determinants of Kenya certificate of secondary education examination absenteeism among secondary school students in Imenti South Sub-County, Kenya
Muguna, Virginia Kagendo
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The government of Kenya is committed to providing education for all the children. However, every year a good number of students who register for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E) fail to turn up during examinations. The purpose of this study was to investigate the determinants of persistent absenteeism by candidates during the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Imenti South Sub- County. This study adopted a descriptive survey design as the main research method. This design was appropriate because it helped to establish the relationship between variables. Purposive sampling was used as the major research technique. Questionnaires and interview schedules were employed as the main research instruments. The target population for the study was drawn from 68 secondary schools with an estimated population of 14,000 students. A total of 240 students out of 14,000 were included in the sample. Ten (10) principals out of 68 and 60 teachers were sampled to obtain the responses. Five (5) education officers were taken from the educational divisions in the county using purposive sampling. Hence the total sample size yielded 315 subjects. The study employed purposive sampling where each school and other respondents were selected based on a specific purpose. Random sampling of at least one third of the students who missed out exams was considered. Tracer-snowballing method was used to trace the whereabouts of those students who missed out examinations. The researcher specifically used self-administered, drop-and-pick questionnaire to respondents as well as conducting the interviews. After receiving the completed questionnaire, the responses were coded for analysis. The data was interpreted qualitatively using descriptive statistics. The obtained data was subjected to statistical package for social sciences (S.P.S.S) programme. Data was analyzed and presented using frequency tables, percentages and charts. The study findings revealed that between the years 2011 – 2015 there was a significant trend of students missing K.C.S.E examinations every year. For instance, in the year 20ll the number was the highest both for boys at 21 (0.5%) and girls 15 (0.4%) as compared to other years. School environment such as teacher‘s characteristics was one of the factor that was perceived to influence absenteeism in KCSE. Others were lack of learning materials, class size in numbers and role/quality of teachers. Home environments differ in many aspects such as the parents‘ level of education, economic status, religious background, values, interests, parents‘ expectation of their children, and family size among others. These factors affect students‘ schooling. It was also revealed that majority of the students (51%) were affected by peer influence and Poor attitude towards school (43%) and negative attitude among others. It was concluded that a significant number of students in secondary schools miss national examinations. This was attributed to the school environment, home environment, peer influence and other personal issues like drug abuse. The study recommended that; firstly, an active policy by the Ministry of Education for providing bursaries to needy students should be undertaken. Secondly, the government, through the KNEC, needs to have clear guidelines on what should be done to students who register but do not turn up for K.C.S.E. examinations. Thirdly, guidance and counseling to be strengthened in schools. Fourth, community participation should be encouraged when dealing with school attendance. Finally, PTAs, BOMs, Sponsors and Old students associations should work together to supplement Government‘s effort in providing necessary physical and learning infrastructures.