Economics education in Kenya: a study of the teaching of economics at secondary school level
Kerich, Wilson Kiplangat
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This study is a survey research that inquires into the methods and resources that are used in teaching economics in Kenya at secondary school level. It examines the existing curriculum and also seeks to identify some of the significant problems that impinge on the teaching of the subject. The study is presented in six chapters. Chapter One deals with the statement and definition of the research problem. Chapter Two presents the summary of literature reviewed which include literature from books, official documents and research reports. Chapter Three describes the research methodology used in the study and Chapter Four deals with the presentation and analysis of data. Chapter Five discusses the research findings while the last chapter presents a summary of findings, recommendations and suggestions for further research work. The subjects of the study comprised 628 economics students selected from amongst Forms 3and 4, 5 and 6 students and 36 economics teachers drawn from a sample of secondary schools which offer economics as an independent academic discipline. In order to obtain a sample of respondents that is representative of the population, purposive random sampling method was employed whereby certain fundamental criteria were taken into account before arriving at the decision on which schools to include in the study. Care was taken to include both private and public schools, rural and urban schools, mixed and single sex schools. Once the schools were determined, the selection of students to participate in the study was done through random sampling method. In most cases, each school had one economics teacher hence deciding on which teacher to participate in the study presented no problem. In each school, one economics teacher was used in the study and where there were more than one teacher the head of the department was used. Their respective head teachers were also used in this study. The data from the study were generated through the use of four-research instruments -a students questionnaire, a teachers questionnaire, an interview schedule and observation-cum-survey schedule. The raw data from the field were organized, analyzed and presented using descriptive statistics such as tables of frequencies, percentages and averages. The study came up with several findings which could be summarized as follows:- 1. The current secondary school economics curriculum is not suited to the age level of the students it is intended for. 2. Economics teachers employ a small range of instructional methods and activities in teaching and they tend to over-rely on traditional teacher-centred methods. 3. The range of instructional materials used by economics teachers is also small and the majority of teachers tend to rely heavily on such conventional resources as the chalkboard, charts and diagrams and such print media as textbooks, magazines, newspapers and journals. It was found that the use of electronic media in the teaching of economics is minimal. 4. There is marked diversity in terms of resources between schools; especially between rural and urban schools and also between public and private schools. 5. It was also found that teachers' training and experience had significant influence on their use of a variety of methods and resources. 6. Most teachers tend to rely on essay-type questions both for continuous assessment and for examinations. 7. The economics teachers face a multitude of problems in their day to day teaching of the subject. Some of these problems are professional while others are administrative. The careful interpretation of the findings of the study with the aid of relevant literature related to the study resulted in recommendations and conclusions which, if adopted, may lead to improvement in the teaching/learning of the subject. The conclusions and recommendations may be of help in developing a more appropriate curriculum, and also in the identification, by economics teachers, of more appropriate methods and resources for teaching the subject.