Factors influencing completion of agricultural engineering courses by female students in tertiary level colleges, Western Province, Kenya
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Training in industrial courses in Kenya has produced graduates in those industrial fields despite varieties of challenges facing the entire education process that portends fundamental problems to the technological development of the entire country. To mitigate such problems, then proper policy planning has to be enacted that can be possible in presence of data supporting such endeavors. This study was to determine how curriculum demand influences completion of the female agricultural engineering students in tertiary colleges; the extent to which socioeconomic background influences completion of the female agricultural engineering students in tertiary colleges; how perception influence completion of the female agricultural engineering students in tertiary colleges and to assess how institutional factors influence the completion of female agriculture engineering students in tertiary colleges. This study was conducted through cross-sectional survey research design. Stratified sampling technique was employed to collect the data. Data was collected from 161 female Agricultural Engineering students who have enrolled in the tertiary colleges in Western Province. All the data was collected simultaneously from various part of the country from June to July 2011. The instruments of data collection were both open and closed-ended structured questionnaires administered randomly to the respondents. Collected data was coded in Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS 13.5) analyzed by descriptive statistics, frequency distribution, cross-tabulation and Chi-square (X2) tests. This study found out that curriculum demand was suitable in tertiary colleges, yet students did not seem to have covered the content adequately, most of them having dealt with much theoretical aspects of the course and this may affect the competence of the local tertiary level colleges trained graduates in the local industrial market. The socioeconomic factors such as age, fathers levels of income, marital status, number of siblings and income of the parents were the main socioeconomic factors affecting the completion of Agricultural Engineering among the female students. The perception of the female towards Agricultural Engineering was generally positive and many opted for the course because they had confident in it. There were institutional challenges that affected the local tertiary institutions including poor management, lack of basic facilities and generally poor working environment. Based on the study it was recommended that the government of Kenya should establish a clear policy aimed at regulating the learning resources for Agricultural Engineers at the universities and that they should set aside a given percentage of the funds to each tertiary level colleges through the Ministry of Higher Education to facilitate the implementation of the practical training programme. The government should also provide resources that will eliminate various problems constraining the effective implementation of the practical programmes in the universities and strengthen the overall capacity of the training institutions to train people on implementation of the overall engineering programmes. To capture the situation as it is in the job market, future studies should involve other female students in the industrial job market as basis for comparison with the current findings.