Students' perception of the importance of christian religious education in character development in secondary schools in Limuru division in Kiambu west district, Kenya
Mathenge, Nyaguthii C
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This study aimed at investigating the students' perception of the importance of Christian Religious Education (CRE) in character development in secondary schools. This research further sought to investigate the extent to which teachers in secondary schools guided their students on importance of CRE in character development. The study also sought to determine whether the syllabus content is adequate for character development and the constraints encountered in learning of eRE as well as how the subject could be useful in addressing indiscipline issues in the school. The literature review suggested that the main factors contributing to learners' good character included guidance by teachers, attitude of the learner on the subject and availability of resources for teaching. A descriptive survey design was adopted to collect information from a sample of 300 of students from 23 schools, which was preceded by a pilot study involving 30 CRE students. The split-half reliability technique was applied to pre-test the questionnaire and Cronbach's alpha computed giving an adequate reliability coefficient of 0.8. A questionnaire consisting of three parts was used. The first part sought biographical information of the sample population while the second part sought information on the students' attitudes and perceptions. The third part elicited information on constraints encountered in learning CRE and possible ways the subject could overcome indiscipline in schools. The main findings of the study were that students had a good perception of CRE as an important subject in their character development in secondary schools. It was revealed that CRE played a major role in transforming the individual through guidance, counselling, fostering high self esteem and promoting positive behavior change. Concerning the syllabus, 20% of the students felt the syllabus was inadequate in addressing their needs. Resources available for teaching CRE were also limited with 68% of students saying they relied only on Bibles and textbooks in their study. The outcome of the research confirms that students had a favourable perception of CRE as an important subj ect in their character building. It was noted that CRE faced a shortage of diverse resources. The researcher recommends that the syllabus be reviewed regularly to accommodate new challenges and enable the subject to help resolve major issues of indiscipline in secondary schools. Further, schools should diversify resources used to teach the subject to improve the perception of students on importance of CRE. A study also needs to be conducted to establish the perception of teachers, parents and the sponsors of schools on the importance of CRE in developing the character of secondary students.