A Comparative Study of English Language Speaking Skill in Private and Public Primary Schools in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya
Nabwire, Cynthia Esther
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Purpose of the Study: To investigate the measures employed to foster the acquisition of English language speaking skills in both private and public primary schools in Trans - Nzoia County. The objectives of the research were the following: To establish the disparities that exists in the learning of English language speaking skill in private and public schools in Trans-Nzoia County; to analyze the reasons that lead to disparities in the learning of English speaking skill in private and public schools of Trans Nzoia County and to explain how the school language culture affects the learning of English language speaking skill among pupils in private and public primary schools. Statement of the Problem: English Language is one of the core subjects taught to all students in Kenya as most of the examinable subjects at primary, secondary, tertiary and university levels are done in this language. The proper acquisition of English language skills in primary schools is a milestone towards fostering students who are fluent communicators. . Research Methodology: A descriptive survey research design was employed in which 6 primary schools in Trans-Nzoia County were selected to draw generalizations from. Purposive sampling was used to identify the sample population from both public and private primary schools. The target population consisted of 3 public schools and 3 private schools from all the sub-counties. Questionnaires were administered to the H.O.D’s (Heads of Departments) or H.O.S (Head of Subjects) of languages. Furthermore, interviews were conducted to the head teachers of the 6 schools that were sampled. The data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. This entailed collating the data received from interviews and through observation to explain the findings in accordance with the set objectives. Result: The findings revealed that in the selected schools, there were few disparities in the acquisition of English skills in private and public schools but many similarities were also noted. The findings revealed a notable disparity in the acquisition of English language skill in both categories. More speaking activities in English language were found to exist in private schools as opposed to public schools; these activities entailed: debates, speaking competitions and class presentations. Conclusion: The end result was that those students in private schools were seen to have more mastery of speaking skill in English as opposed to their counterparts in public schools. Recommendation: The study recommends that more student cantered approaches be adopted which will enhance comprehensive acquisition of English language speaking skill among learners. The findings will be of benefit to Linguists, Educators, Psychologists, and curriculum developers.