Influence of Institutional Variables on Numeracy Levels among Lower Primary School Pupils in Kiambu County - Kenya
Maina, Peter Mwangi
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Mathematics has a fundamental position in a school curriculum. Mathematics is expected to give learners competencies required to possess their correct places in areas of industry, technology, science and commerce, core skills needed for attainement of the big four agendas in national development. Owing to its significance in society, in the present education system in Kenya, mathematics is a core subject from primary through secondary school level of the educational system. Despite the appreciation of the importance of mathematics by parents and other educational stakeholders in Kiambu County, pupils‟ numeracy levels in lower primary is low, yet most important skills of numeracy are acquired at the foundational basic level of a child‟s learning. This study aimed to examine the influence of institutional variables on numeracy levels among lower primary school pupils in Kiambu County, Kenya. This study sought to realise the following objectives: To examine the influence of school physical facilities on numeracy level among lower primary school pupils; To establish the influence of teachers‟ characteristics on numeracy levels among lower primary school pupils; and to establish the influence of the availability of teaching and learning materials on numeracy levels among lower primary school pupils in Kiambu County. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The target population comprised of all the 104 head teachers and 412 lower primary school teachers in all the primary schools (public and private) in Gatundu North Sub County, with a sample of 42 head teachers and 42 lower primary school teachers, obtained through stratified sampling, simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques. The data was gathered using questionnaire, interview schedule and observation check list/schedule. The reliability of the study tools was obtained using test re-test method while the validity of the research tools was measured against construct and content of the tools by consulting with specialists and experts at the department. Piloting was done from a sample of 2 primary schools in the study area. Qualitative data was analysed thematically based on the research objectives and presented in narrative forms while the quantitative data was analysed descriptively using frequencies and percentages and presented in tables and charts. Results showed that a number of variables (school physical facilities, teaching and learning materials and teacher‟s teaching experience) in this study were influencing classroom learning environment which contributed to low numeracy levels in lower primary schools in Kiambu County. It was concluded that, inadequately available school physical facilities and teaching and learning materials may be the main cause of low numeracy levels in lower primary school pupils in the study area. It was recommended that parents be sensitized to participate in forums which could help primary schools get funded for physical facilities and teaching /learning materials and that the government agencies such as CDF and county Government funding be improved to help improve school physical facilities. More so, the Government should increase the Free Primary School funding to enable schools buy more teaching/learning materials and improve school infrastructure. Finally, this study was concerned with the numeracy levels only, and therefore a study may be carried out to find out the determinants of literacy levels in lower primary school pupils.