A study of effect of gender disparity on staff productivity in urban public primary schools in Kiambu Municipality
Nganga, Joseph Mburu
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of gender disparity on staff productivity in urban public primary schools. The study was carried out in Kiambu Municipality in Kiambu County. The Municipality had a total of seventeen public primary schools and 320 teachers, 82 males against 238 females. In this respect, the key parameters that were addressed in this study include; learners academic achievement, upward mobility and allocation of duties. Therefore, the objectives of this study were; to determine how learners academic achievement, upward mobility and allocation of duties affect staff productivity. The study had both academic and policy significance; It was expected to assist the policy makers to institute affirmative action measures to alleviate gender imbalance in the teaching staff in urban public primary schools that was then tilted in favour of female teachers. Scholars would also use the findings that were generated by this study to identify new areas of research and add to the pool of knowledge. In addition, the government of Kenya would use this study's findings to formulate policies that would attract and retain men in the primary school teaching career. Chapter two covers theoretical framework and empirical review. This study was anchored on Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory of gender development. The main areas reviewed in the literature were; Perceived gender roles and assumptions about the teaching profession, Equality issues in the career hierarchy and the Consequences of feminization on educational outcomes. Descriptive survey design was employed in this study. Stratified random sampling was employed to get a sample size of 80 teachers, both males and females from the population of 320 teachers. A total of 10 schools out of all the 17 public primary schools were also randomly selected. A questionnaire consisting of both open and closed ended questions was used to collect data from the respondents. The instrument was pilot tested in one school which was not included in the study to ensure validity and reliability. The researcher used both qualitative and quantitative data analysis procedures. Qualitative data was organized into similar words and themes and then interpretive reports were written. Quantitative data was analyzed into frequencies and percentages with the use of Statistical Packages for Social Sciences. Upon data analysis, the researcher established that there was gender disparity in staffing in the ten sampled schools. More female teachers (Mean 20) than male teachers (mean 5), were reported in the sampled schools. This study observed that there was a significant agreement among male teachers (X2= 3.516, P<0.05) than in female teachers, that a teachers gender has an effect on learner's academic achievement. However, when the ratio of male to female teachers in the schools were correlated to KCPE mean performance in the last three years, there was no significant correlation (r=0.483, P=0.158) . This implied that the schools having higher number of female teachers, did not necessarily perform poorly than those having low ratio of male to female teachers. The study also revealed that there was a significant difference in teachers gender to the reasons hindering upward mobility (X2 = 36.071, P=O.OO).Majority of female teachers felt that their upward mobility is hampered by transfer to a distant place (35%) and domestic roles as wives or mothers (27.5%).Male teachers on the other hand felt that their upward mobility is prevented by inadequate pay/allowances for the added responsibility (67.5%) and lack of enough qualifications (17.5%). The results of the study established that allocation of weekly duties was a challenge to female teachers due to their added roles as mothers; 70% of male teachers and 82.5% of female teacher strongly agreed with this statement. It was also found out that majority of teachers (97.5% males and 97.5% females) strongly agreed that equal number of male and female teachers were important to both boys and girls in their schools. As a result, the researcher suggests that the number of male teachers should be increased in primary schools in Kiambu Municipality and competitive remuneration packages should be offered to teachers commensurate with their qualifications in order to attract and retain men in the primary school teaching profession. This will in turn improve the overall staff productivity.