Gender disparity in Secondary education in the context of Millenium Developement Goals: the case of Mbooni West District, Kenya
Kaia, Collins S
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Education is the key to unlocking human potential. The acquisition of skills and knowledge enables societies to overcome poverty and disease. Education thus enables people to come out of oppression, alienation and to take control of their lives. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors behind the persistent gender disparity in secondary schools in Mbooni West District. The study was guided by research objectives and the main objective of the study was to establish factors that lead to persistent gender disparity in secondary school education in Mbooni West District in light of the MDG's on education. The study employed descriptive research design. The target population for this study included the 16 mixed secondary schools in Mbooni West District, a total of 768 form four students in the mixed sex secondary schools, 153 teachers, 16 head teachers, 5 zonal quality assurance officers and 1 education officer in the district. Purposive random sampling was adopted to select all the 10 head teachers, and 40 teachers and 100 students. Data was gathered by use of questionnaires, presented in frequency tables and Charts analyzed using descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation. The findings revealed that the secondary schools had a declining enrollment as the students advanced the grades. The entry numbers subsequently declined as students moved over to form four. The study revealed that majority of students got into casual labor 45 (45.0%) marriage 30 (30.0%) and others joined vocational training 15 (15.0%). The Gender Parity Index (GPI) on secondary school enrollment rate in Mbooni West District stood at 0.7, three points less from the United Nations standard measure of 1.0, meaning that gender disparity was persistent and intervention measures are required. Further the study revealed that poverty, lack of school fees, early marriages and engagement in child labor, gender discrimination were major factor hindering attainment of equality in education. The study recommends that to achieve the Millennium Development GoalslEducation For All by the year 2015 the government and all the education stakeholder should put up measures to reduce gender parities in education to eliminate illiteracy and poverty facing girls in the country such as campaign against cultural factors, promotion of intervening social economic factors.