Effects of Inter-Clan Conflicts on Schools and Students’ Academic Performance in Secondary Schools in Mandera County, Kenya.
Farah, Abdimalik Ibrahim
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Despite efforts by the government of Kenya and non-governmental organizations to foster peace among communities in Mandera County, cases of inter-clan conflicts have been on the rise with catastrophic result on schools like closure, reduction in attendance, destruction of school properties as well as loss of teachers, learners and their parents. Therefore, this study aimed at investigating the effects of inter-clan conflict on schools and students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Mandera County. Although a number of studies have been done on the poor academic performance of learners in Mandera County especially at the primary level, no specific study has investigated the effects of inter-clan conflict on schools and students’ academic performance in secondary schools. The study was guided by four objectives; to investigate the effects of inter-clan conflict on school attendance and students’ academic performance, to determine the effects of inter-clan conflicts on school infrastructure/resource and students’ academic performance, to establish the effects of inter-clan conflicts on school learning environment and students’ academic performance and to establish the effects of inter-clan conflict on psycho-social wellbeing of learners/teachers and students’ academic performance. The study was guided by social conflicts theory as proposed by Karl Max. The study was conducted in three sub-counties of Mandera County where inter-clan conflict is prevalent. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The target population for the study comprised 54 principals, 240 class teachers and 2,508 form three and four learners giving a total of 2,802 respondents. The sample size of the study was 300 respondents which is 11% of the target population comprising of 12 principals, 48 class teachers and 240 learners. Purposive sampling was used to select principals and class teachers. Stratified sampling was used to select the learners. Simple random sampling was used to select the schools for data collection. The researcher administered questionnaires to class teachers and learners. An interview schedule was used for principals. Piloting of the study was done in 2 secondary schools in Mandera South Sub-county with 2 principals, 5 teachers, 10 learners. The researcher used expert judgment to determine the content validity of the instruments. Reliability of the instruments was determined by using test-retest method where the co-efficient of internal consistency was established at 0.84 which indicated a high degree of reliability of the instrument. The questionnaires for learners and class teachers were self-administered in schools and collected the same day. Principals were interviewed the same day while the checklist and documents were analyzed on the same day of visit with the help of the class teachers. The data were organized and coded using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, using percentages and frequencies to enable meaningful description of the distribution. Qualitative data were analyzed by coding and classifying information into major themes then presented in narratives and themes. The study found out that majority of the respondents agreed that inter-clan conflicts occur frequently thus affecting school attendance, infrastructure/resources, learning environment and affects both the teachers and learners psychologically. It was also established that school attendance was very low affecting learners and teachers psychologically and that the school learning environment was not supportive during inter-clan conflict. It was concluded that academic performance of learners suffered due to shortage of teachers as many had fled, high absenteeism by both learners and teachers, inadequate infrastructure and learning resources as many had been vandalized and destroyed while many of the learners and teachers suffered from trauma and stress associated with the inter-clan conflicts. The findings of the study may inform the Ministry of Education and Educational stakeholders on how best to improve academic performance in conflict affected areas. The findings are hoped to add to the existing knowledge about the effects of inter-clan conflicts on academic performance.