A survey of the availability, acquisition and utilization of learning resources in the teaching and learning of economics in Kenyan secondary schools: a study of Kericho and Nairobi districts
Kimutai, Chris Keter
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This study surveyed the availability, acquisition and utilization of learning resources in the teaching and learning of economics. Six objectives were formulated. These objectives were categorized into long term (Broad Educational objectives) and short term (specific instructional objectives). The Broad Educational objectives dealt with secondary school economics teachers' academic and professional qualifications and the distribution of these teachers within urban and rural schools. They also looked at how schools acquire, store, improvise and maintain the learning resources in general and in economics education in particular. The specific instructional objectives were concerned with the availab8ility of instructional materials for teaching economics, views a secondary school economics teachers regarding suitability (including the extent of use of the available learning resources in economics education) and learning problems associated with the use of these resources. Eleven research questions were generated from the objectives to help ensure that the latter were achieved. Nairobi and Kericho Districts were chosen for the study to represent an urban and rural setting respectively. all the twenty-eight public school teaching economics in the fourth form in the chosen areas were covered in the study. Teachers of economics, fourth form students taking economics and head teachers were provided with questionnaires. Interview schedule was used to collect data from the inspectors of schools, and KIE officials in charge of business Education Checklists and classroom observation schedules were also used to collect data. The data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics. The data revealed that teachers of economics were professionally trained. More qualified and professionally trained teachers predominated in urban schools (Nairobi) whereas the majority of untrained graduate teachers were found in most rural schools (Kericho). More specifically and on the availability of teaching resources, economics textbooks were scarce. Newspapers and magazines, which are also useful, teaching aids, were regularly available in most of the schools. Few schools had audio and visual aids. On the selection of suitable instructional resources, teachers of economics used the following criteria: - (1) Suitability of a textbook in covering topics as outlined in the economics syllabus. (ii) Suitability of a textbook in fulfilling learning objectives (iii) Usefulness of a textbook in revision exercises (iv) Cost or affordability (v) Recommended and approved learning resources in economics education by the Ministry of Education. (vi) Language level used in the textbooks (appropriateness/comprehensibility). On the acquisition of learning resources, parents in both rural and urban schools purchased the recommended textbooks whereas schools purchased only the reference books. In some Nairobi schools, parents pay a s specific fee - 'The Textbook levy' or 'Textbook fund Account' which the schools used to buy the necessary textbooks. Some schools also acquire certain instructional resources through donations mainly from publishing companies and old boys and girls association. On utilization, teachers of economics perceived all the recommended textbooks except Introduction to Positive Economics by R. G. Lipsey and Elementary Economics by J. Harvey, as 'suitable' for the 8-4-4 economics education course in secondary education. Other non-recommended textbooks, especially Economics Simplified by N. A. Saleemi and Certificate Economics by G. B. Akampurira, were not only perceived as 'suitable' for the course but were also popularly used by students. Audio and visual aids, newspapers and magazines, and community learning resources were underutilized in economics education.