Attitudes of primary school pupils towards science and science related subjects: a study of gender differences in Kisumu municipality
This research project aimed at finding out the gender differences in attitudes towards science and science related subjects in four aspects of enjoyment of science and freedom from fear of science. Three schools in Kisumu Municipality were purposely sampled from low (Kanyamedha), middle (Bhayani) and high (Aga Khan) socio-economic status schools. Boys and girls from Standard 6 and7 were targeted for the study. The sample size was 180 but only 169 completed to the questionnaire items. From each school, 60 respondents, 15 boys and 15 girls were systematically sampled using their class registers. In Bhayani and Aga Khan, respondents came from randomly selected streams (Classes). The major findings of the study were: (1) All boys and girls had positive attitudes towards science as portrayed by their high mean scores in every aspect of science examined. (2) Socio-economic status rather than gender was found to be a factor affecting differences in attitudes towards science. (3) Boys and girls from a similar socio-economic status school regarded science as important, motivating, enjoyable and were free from fearing science. (4) There were marked differences on the attitudes of girls pupils from the low socio-economic status school and boy pupils from the high socio-economic status school on the four aspects of science examined. (5) Girl pupils from the high socio-economic status school significantly differed with their colleagues in importance of science, in the rest of the aspects, they had almost similar attitudes. (6) Boy pupils from the middle socio-economic status school scored higher than the girl pupils in the low socio-economic status school. This difference was however only found statistically significant in the importance of science aspect. (7) Boy and girl pupils from the high and middle socio-economic status schools had almost similar attitudes in all the aspects of science examined except, boys from the middle socio-economic status school were more free from the fear of science than their female colleagues in the high socio-economic status school. It has been recommended that socio-economic disparity, which affects attitudes towards science, may be reduced by establishing a science resource center managed by the Municipal Education Office. This could be funded by the Municipality, Parents and Charitable Organizations. There should also be an inter-school collaboration in the use of facilities. Seminars should be organized by the Municipal Education Office where in-service programmes can be held to help in updating teachers’ knowledge of teaching methods and techniques, and reform or develop positive attitudes towards girl pupils studying science and science related subjects. This research may be replicated using a larger sample or in a wider geographical area for more comprehensive findings and generalizations. Perhaps, someone should conduct a research to find out the trend in girls’ attitudes towards science, whether these become more or less positive as they move further in the academic ladder.