Implications of Academic Staff Participation in Teaching Practice on the Quality of Bachelor of Education Program in Selected Public Universities in Kenya
Johnson, Antony Njoroge
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One of the major determinants of quality education in the Bachelor of Education program is the Teaching Practice component. Globally teaching practice is a mandatory undertaking, at both universities and tertiary teacher training colleges. Various universities adopt different modes of teaching practice especially with regards to its supervision. The exercise of teaching practice supervision is often faced by a number of challenges, for example, inadequate staffing which means that teacher trainees may not be adequately supervised. As such, this study aimed at establishing the implications of academic staff participation in teaching practice on the quality of B.Ed program. Hence, this study sought to answer the research question: how does academic staff participation in teaching practice influence the quality of Bachelor of Education program in public universities in Kenya? The study employed a descriptive survey research design. The scope of the study was the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University. The target population of the study comprised 12,342 respondents, where 30 percent of them (433) were sampled. Moi University was used for piloting, after which instruments were modified to ensure highest validity and reliability. The research instruments used in the study comprised questionnaires, interview guide and document analysis schedule. Data collected was analyzed using SPSS. The study findings were presented by the use of frequency tables. The study established that, other than the normal teaching load, academic staff were also tasked with the duty of supervising students while in teaching practice. The study established that on average each lecturer was to supervise at least 20-25 supervision over a two weeks period. In fact, some supervisors devised their own mechanisms of handling a large number of students in teaching practice, for instance, some of them would assemble students in a common hall, mostly away from their stations of practice. Such mechanisms can only be inappropriate as far as quality of assessment is concerned. The challenges surrounding participation of Bachelor of Education academic staff in teaching practice, such as a large number of students, remoteness of some stations as well as inadequate facilitation of academic staff makes it difficult for them to ensure quality experience is gained by students in teaching practice, and as such, this study concludes that teaching practice has not modeled B.Ed. students as expected by CUE. The study recommends Commission for University Education to come up with standard guidelines, which defines the kind of teaching practice Bachelor of Education students should be subjected into, the qualification of academic staff expected to conduct the preparation and assessment as well as the nature of the schools where students can undertake the teaching practice. In so doing, they will compel all the universities offering the degree to ensure quality standards are adhered to at all times. The study further recommends the university management to incorporate the model of mentor supervisors and regulate their recruitment, incentives and reporting in order to reduce the burden of B.Ed Academic Staff participation in teaching practice.