Factors hindering the educational performance of orphans in primary schools in Embakasi division of Nairobi Province, Kenya
Wambugu, Beth Nyawira
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The rate of increase of the orphan population today is overwhelming. This high rate of increase in the orphan population is making the provision of their education strenuous because, despite the rationale for attaining free primary education there are other overheads to be financed. This coupled with the emotional problems associated with being orphaned hinder orphans from accessing and benefiting from basic education. A study in Kenya found that 52% of the children orphaned were not in school compared to 2% of non-orphans (Human Rights Watch, 2000). The purpose of this study was to identify which factors hinder the educational performance of orphans. The field survey research design was adopted. This design fits within the implications of ex-post facto research design in this study. Four researcher-made instruments were used to collect data. The population of the study constituted about 400 orphaned learners in upper primary schools, about 98 standard eight class teachers and 33 head teachers. The sample of the study was drawn from Embakasi division of Nairobi province. Embakasi division has the largest population in Nairobi province and the largest number of schools. Simple random sampling was utilised to select 11 primary schools to participate in the study. One of the sampled schools was selected through the raffle method for piloting. Purposive sampling was used to select 90 standard eight orphaned learners, 30 standard eight class teachers and 10 headteachers. The total sample constituted 130 subjects. A pre-test was done at Kariobangi North primary school to enhance validity and reliability of the research instruments. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that orphaned learners experienced emotional, social and economic problems and problems of adjustment which hindered their educational performance. These findings suggest that the factors that hinder the educational performance of orphaned learners emanated from teachers inadequacy in skills for addressing the emotional and social problems that orphaned learners experience, the MOEST's failure to provide extra funds for the orphans in the free primary education and the society's continued stigmatization of orphans particularly the AIDS orphan and lack of capacity by the communities to cater for the needs of the orphans within their areas due to poverty and lack of a government policy on the plight of orphans among others. On the basis of the data collected, it was generally recommended that the MOEST should; in-service teachers in the area of emotional disorders; ensure that there are functional guidance and counseling programmes in primary schools; provide extra funding for orphaned learners in the free primary education programme; and formulate a policy on the provision of education and basic needs of the orphaned children.