Factors influencing students' choice of geography in public secondary schools in Murang'a South Sub-County

Thumbnail Image
Wachira, Isaac Kiiru
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Kenyatta University
The Kenyan secondary school curriculum gives students freedom to make their selections from a range of subjects. Some of the subjects are compulsory for the students but, students are also given freedom to select from a number of elective subjects. In selecting the elective subjects, students usually have various reasons for doing so and other factors also influence their choices in selecting some subjects as their alternatives and in this case geography. This study therefore sought to explore factors influencing the choice of geography as an option subject. The study was guided by the following objectives: to identify the institutional reasons that influence the selection of geography subject by learners; to determine the influence of geography curriculum on the choice of the subject; to find out the influence of students' career aspirations on the choice of geography; and to determine the relationship between gender and choice of geography subject. The study was based on Social Cognitive Career Theory by Lent, Brown, & Hackett, (2002) and Lent, (2005). The study employed descriptive survey design to target 76 geography teachers, 30 HODs humanities and 2,253 students from 38 secondary schools. The researcher used stratified sampling method to select 12 schools to participate in the study. The 12 schools represented 31.6% of the target population. From each of the 12 sampled schools, simple random sampling was used to select 192 students while purposive sampling was used to select 24 geography teachers and 12 Heads of Departmentshumanities, giving a total of 228 respondents. A questionnaire for teachers and another one designed for students, and an interview schedule for HODs humanities were used for data collection. Prior to the actual analysis, the researcher conducted a pilot study in 3 schools which were not included in the final sample. The purpose of the pilot study was to enable the researcher to improve reliability of the instruments and familiarize himself with the data collection process. Data for the study were both qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency counts, percentages, means, and standard deviations. Qualitative analysis considered the inferences that were made from the opinions of the informants. This analysis was thematically presented in narrative form and where possible tabular form. The results of the analysis were then presented by use of frequency tables, pie charts and bar graphs. The study established that the major institutional factors influencing students during selection of geography subject were; teachers' attributes, adequacy of geography resources and school past performance in geography. The results indicated that most of the students like teaching methodologies employed by Geography teachers and the use of teaching aids. However, majority of them stated that lack of adequate geography resources and school's past performance in the subject negatively influenced them during subject selection. More so, majority of the students reported that some topics were too abstract to understand and also the syllabus is too wide to cover. In terms of career aspiration, the study revealed that majority of students taking Geography aspired to be surveyors, meteorologists, pilots and tour guides in future. This means that career aspiration had a great impact towards choice of the subject. In relation to gender, the study found out that both male and female students did not differ significantly in their perception towards geography curriculum. The study recommended that; Geography should be allocated more time in school time table to ensure coverage of the syllabus; schools should ensure that more funds are allocated to the department of humanities to cater for adequate teaching and learning resources and field trips for geography students
A Research Project Submitted to the School of Education in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement for the Award of the Degree of Master of Education, Kenyatta University, July, 2015. G 78 .K4W3