Effects of student transfers on learning and academic performance in selected public secondary schools in Bureti District, Kericho County, Kenya
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Education in Kenya takes into account the level of performance in KCSE as a major criterion for indicating the quality of a student and ability for further studies. It is against this backdrop that concerted efforts by government, school administrators, teachers, parents and other educational stakeholders are required to enhance performance in secondary schools. The issue of student transfers which is one of the factors that affects performance academically cannot be ignored. This study sought to document student transfers and determine its effects on learning and academic performance of transferred students in public secondary schools in Bureti District, Kenya. A descriptive survey design was used to study the problem. This study targeted 45 public secondary schools in Bureti District. The target population consisted of 10,653 students of which 5}13 (53.6% were boys) and 4,940 (46.4%) were girls. There were 305 teachers and 45 head teachers. Head teachers', class teachers' and transferred students' questionnaires were used to collect data from 33% of the targeted schools. Having established that the instruments were valid and reliable after piloting the instruments in two randomly selected schools. the researcher administered the questionnaires personally to the sampled respondents who included 12 head teachers. 112 students and 60 teachers. Responses from the actual data collected were organized and coded manually before entering them into the SPSS computer program for analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data quantitatively. Presentation of data was done by use of tables, percentages and graphs. Objectives were used as the mode of reporting the findings as follows: there were 50% boys and 50%girls who had transferred. Ninety nine (88%) students fall between 13-18 years of age. Boarding schools had more transferred students than day schools which implied that more students are attracted to the boarding schools. Most students cited the following reasons for transfer: the former school was not a school they had applied for, the quality of teaching in former school was not satisfying and inadequacy of physical facilities in former school. The main challenges that students faced included unfamiliarity with school routine in their new schools, different teaching styles and missing friends from former school respectively. Generally, the performance of students academically when their test scores were compared was better in previous school than in the new school. Though there was a little difference between the test scores, the finding still shows that the issue of student transfers is a factor in performance of students in academic undertakings. Therefore the following recommendations were made from the findings of the study: (i) data on students who have transferred should be collected on yearly basis and made available in district education offices for easy monitoring (ii) student transfers should only be considered as a last resort, that is, the underlying reasons should first be addressed by parents, school administrators and even counselors. (iii) Support mechanisms should be put in place to enable transferred students to fit into the new school fast and be able to overcome challenges that come with the new environment. (iv) Government should strive to ensure that guidelines on admission of transferred students are followed to the letter to curb open enrollments. Comparative and longitudinal studies should be conducted on the same subject-student transfers.