Factors affecting participation and completion rate of students of German as a foreign language in secondary schools in Kenya
A language is a means of communication between two or more people. It involve's transfer or sharing of ideas or information to reach a common understanding. Effective mastery of a language implies effective communication. Language enables human beings to communicate ideas, intentions and emotions to others of the same language system thus facilitating persona discovery and development, and participation in society by way of sharing experiences in the social, political and cultural spheres of life. Critical thinking and ethical judgment can also be developed through language. German is a foreign language that is offered in secondary schools in Kenya since 1985. The purpose of this study is to establish factors affecting participation and completion rates of students of German as a foreign language in secondary schools in Kenya. The study sought to establish the enrolment, dropping and retention and completing rates of students of German. The study systematically looked at German as a foreign language globally, and in the developing countries. The researcher gave focus on German in secondary schools in Kenya from inception to 2009. Variables like resources, co-curricular activities, examinations and role of sponsors namely the Goethe Institute and the Kenya Institute of Education, were discussed in detail in the literature review . The study borrowed Chomsky's (1965) Standard Theory which says any language has three components namely phonological, semantical and syntactical. The researcher designed a conceptual framework that highlights variables that are affecting the participation and completion rates of students of German in secondary schools in Kenya. The four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are crucial processes in language and communication. The study utilized a descriptive research design and targeted Form Four German students. Primary data was collected using two questionnaires one for teacher of German and another one to the Form Four student who chose to continue with the German language. Data was also collected by face to face interview with language advisor at Goethe Institute and curriculum advisor from Kenya Institute of Education. The accessible respondents were I 19 German students, 16 German teachers and 2 officials from Goethe Institute and Kenya Institute of Education making a total of 137 respondents. Secondary data was collected from documented information concerning German in secondary schools in Kenya from Goethe Institute and Kenya National Examination Council. The collected data was analyzed with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPPS) version 11.5. and spreadsheet o ffi ce-exce I. The results of the study established that the enrolment rate is high but the retention rate is low leading to fewer students completing at Form Four. The study established several factors that are affecting the participation and completion rates of the German students. The major challenge is inadequate material, physical and human resources. The respondents commended that they lack current and variety of books, tapes, videos and charts which should be in the German room that works as a special library and study room for them. Most students dropped German because they lacked interest and motivation. They also have inadequate number of teachers, time allocated for their lessons and finance for the resources and cocurricular activities which are ideal for good performance. The respondents need access to the internet which would globally connect them to institutions that offer German, and awareness of the available future opportunities. The study therefore recommended that the resources, evaluation, and co-curricular activities need to be given attention and all the stakeholders informed about their roles and the many opportunities available for having German as a foreign language. The study findings may hopefully be useful to all interested stakeholders in the German language including the Ministry of Education, the Goethe Institute, the German Embassy, the publishers and booksellers and parents .