Educational aspirations of secondary school girls and implications for secondary school management in Kajiado District, Kenya
Educated female population would lead to better health reduced infant mortality and higher earnings, reduced fertility rates and improved quality of life for nations. In spite of the efforts made globally to achieve education for all, promoting female education remains one of the major hurdles facing the nations. In Kenya, promotion of female education has been given some consideration. The Kenyan government has often emphasized the need for promotion of girls' education as a means of enhancing the pace of social-economic development. Despite the government commitment to education for all, girls' academic achievement is lower than that of boys. The persistent schools drop out and poor performance of girls in education compared to boys' remains a big challenge. Even though the government and lobby groups have tried to prevent early marriages, it is still rampant practice in Kajiado district No-in-depth investigation has been undertaken to find out the reasons for low educational aspirations of secondary schoolgirls in Kajiado district and what are the implications of such aspiration on school management. The study therefore investigated the girls' education aspiration; social-cultural, social-economic, school based factors and its influence on school management in Kajiado district. The study involved a sample of 120 form four students from five girls' secondary schools in the district, five head teachers, and five career teachers. It also included District Educational Officers. The data was collected through questionnaire administered to students, interview schedules for the head teachers, career teachers and the District Educational Officers. Focus group discussions were held with the sampled students. The data collected was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. From the findings of the study the following emerged as the main factors influencing educational aspiration of secondary schoolgirls in Kajiado District and the influence of such aspiration on school management: The parent's occupation and level of education influenced the job aspiration of the schoolgirls. The occupation of mothers in particular had a great impact. Social-cultural factors such as gender inequality, negative traditional practices such as F.G.M, early marriages are found to affect the girls' aspirations. Social-economic factors, which include high level of poverty, illiteracy, parental occupation, unemployment have the same effect on the girls' aspirations. School based factors- low self-esteem, negative attitude towards teachers, lack of commitments from teachers and peer pressure were also blamed to be contributing factors towards low aspirations among the girls in the district In conclusion, it is evident that although most of the girls in secondary schools aspired for further education and formal employment, their poor performance in KC.S.E and high rates of drop out leading to early marriages makes their chances minimal. Taking the above findings into consideration, the study makes the following recommendations: There is need for awareness campaigns targeting the community, parents, local leaders, administrators, teachers and students. It is also important to empower the girl child through education to say "No" to cultural practices that affect their educational aspirations. It was also pointed out that there is need to support needy girls through bursaries and sponsorship. There is also need to exercise the laws that prohibit militant cultural practices. School administrators should open their doors to girls who fall victims of sexual harassment.