Influence of Socio-Cultural and school-based factors on girls' dropout in Secondary school in Teso District, Kenya
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of socio-cultural and school based factors on girls' dropout in secondary school in Teso district. The study objectives were to establish the influence of family levels of income and cultural practices and beliefs on dropout among girls. The study also sought to assess the administrative strategies employed by secondary school head teachers in addressing dropout among girls and determine whether a relationship existed between availability of physical and learning resources and drop out among girls in secondary schools in Teso district. The study was based on the social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation by Bandura (1999). The study targeted all the 36 public secondary schools in the district with a total population of 36 head teachers, 188. teachers and 11,533 students; A sample of 28 principals, 28 teachers and 96 students .was selected through purposeful· and proportional sampling technique. A total of 162 questionna.ireswere distrib\ltedand out of which 105 questionnaires were returned giving a respoJlSt rate. of 65%. The· returned. questionnaires were coded, cleaned and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and data presented using tables. The study established that low family income levels in the region affected delivery of educational curriculum in the district as confirmed by 90 percent of the respondents and that there were alarming cases of class dropouts among girls in the District. The most common reasons for girls dropping out of school were lack of fees (10%), early pregnancies (70%), early marriages (10%), bard school rules and unfriendly teachers (3%), lack of guidance and counselling at school (2%).Other reasons cited included lack of support by guardians and parents, poor performance in schools, domestic chores back at home, and lack of personal effects. The effect of Clearing and forwarding and bicycle transport (bodaboda) business around Malaba and Busia border towns was a major distraction to education since men would get money at an early age, and entice girls to leave school to get married. The study also established that girls were coerced to leave school to get married as indicated by 40 percent of the respondents. confirming that the girls' education in the district was still rated low compared to other issues in life. Cases of sexual harassment on girls by students and teachers were observed as confirmed by 23 percent of the respondents. However. most of the cases were promptly reported to the school administration and appropriate actions taken. The study established. that indeed there was a challenge on availability of desks. library books. laboratory equipment. toilets, sanitary disposal systems and water. Inadequacy of most of these physical facilities for requisite daily personal hygiene at school could probably be a hindrance to the education of the girl child in the district The study recommended that the issue of low family income levels in the district be addressed by the Government as it had led to challenges on the implementation of educational curriculum in the area. This is a collective responsibility of the Government and several ministries would be involved alongside the Ministry of Education including Ministries of Finance, Trade and Commerce, Gender and Sports, Roads, Transport and Communication. Adequate and appropriate desks, library books, laboratory equipment, toilets, sanitary disposal systems and water should also be provided by the Ministry of Education.