School environment factors affecting academic performance among public primary school pupils in Mwala Division, Mwala District, Machakos County
Mutua, Eunice Mukami
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In some regions of Kenya, poor performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and even in the other lower levels of primary education has been attributed to such factors as absenteeism of students from school, lack of facilities, lack of motivation, understaffing and lack of role models. However, these factors differ depending on the region as well as school. Performance in Mwala Division has been dismal in the past five years. The purpose of the study endeavored to study the school environment factors affecting performance among public primary school pupils in Mwala Division that influence performance in the schools of Mwala Division. The objectives of the study were to find out the average performance in KCPE and in the other lower levels of primary education for the last five years, analyze school factors that influence performance in the schools and to seek possible remedial measures to poor performance. The significance of the study was to provide information on the factors impacting on the academic performance of pupils in public primary schools. Piloting was done on a small representative sample of two schools to ascertain the feasibility of the study. The validity of the questionnaire content was also tested to ensure that the questionnaires measured what they were supposed to measure. Reliability of the questionnaires was determined using split-half technique of measuring reliability. The research adopted a descriptive Research design. The total of 3201 students and 501 teachers drawn from 10 primary schools was targeted. Systematic random sampling was used to select a sample comprising of 320 students (10%) and 50 teachers (10%). Questionnaires were used to collect data. The data collected was analyzed using mean, mode or median and presented in bar graphs, tables and pie charts. Most of school factors which were considered and which significantly affected the performance of the pupils included, number of teachers (P=0.032), number of lessons going unattended, availability of facilities (p==0.427), school attendance (p=3.05), availability of books (p=O.029), enrolment levels (p=0.960) and number of lessons handled by a teacher. The study concluded that the factors affecting the performance of pupils in public primary schools can be alleviated by ensuring that awareness is created on the role of parents and stake-holders that they need to play in ensuring quality primary education. The study hence recommends that; (i). The government through the ministry of education should ensure that the necessary facilities are provided to the public schools. (ii) The government should consider improving much on the staffing levels in schools since it adversely affects performance. (iii). The study did not look at factors related to school efficiency in education and how it affects performance. Hence there is need for further study to be carried out to discover its impact and performance. (iv) the study did not look into factors related to classroom instruction and how they affect the performance. Hence it recommended that further studies need to be conducted on these factors to describe their interplay with factors described here to affect performance. (iv) The entry behavior of students was not considered in this study hence there is need to carry out research to ascertain the role of entry behavior in influencing the performance of the pupils.