Factors influencing achievement of numeracy skills in lower public scchools: a case of Mukuru slums, Nairobi County in Kenya
Nyamai, Simon M
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The purpose of the study was to establish factors that influenced achievement of numeracy skills for pupils in lower primary schools within Mukuru slum area. The objectives of the study were: to identify the methodologies used by mathematics teachers, to assess the availability of resource materials, to establish the learner characteristics, to determine the pupil- teacher ratio and to identify the influence of teacher characteristics towards the achievement of numeracy skills in lower public primary schools in Mukuru slum. The research design used in the study was a survey. The target population for the study was all class 3 mathematics teachers and class 3 pupils in public primary schools within Mukuru slum. The sample size was of 220 participants and constituted of 40 class 3 mathematics teachers and 180 class 3 pupils. The sampling method used was systematic random sampling for the selection of the pupils and purposive for the selection of the teachers. The tools used to collect data were: questionnaires, interview schedules and numeracy tests. Data collected was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and presented in frequency tables and percentages. Results from the study showed that achievement of numeracy skills among pupils in lower primary within the slums was influenced by the methodologies used by the teachers when teaching, availability of both textbooks and teaching aids, a low pupil- teacher ratio which promotes manageable classes and trained sufficient teachers who are also motivated. The schools need to make available adequate physical facilities like class rooms and desks which seemed to be inadequate in some cases. The gender for both pupils and the teacher did not seem to play a key role in the achievement of numeracy skills. In most schools they had a priority of improvement on performance but they had not set targets for specific subjects. The challenges faced by teachers in teaching mathematics in the area were: large number of pupils in a class, heavy workloads, insufficient textbooks and other resource materials, lack of parental support and poor family background from some of the parents. The recommendations made from the study were: schools should increase the number of mathematics textbooks to meet the required standards of 1 book to 3 pupils in lower primary, the schools should maintain the recommended class sizes of at most 45 pupils, the government through the schools should organize for regular relevant in service trainings for the mathematics teachers as a way of improving their instructional skills, the government through the Ministry of Education should post more teachers to public primary schools within the slums and motivate them and there should be a maximum number of years set for a teacher to be in one school.