A phenomenological investigation into the efficacy of University entry examinations in Kenya: the lived experiences of prospective teachers
Atieno, Kili K'Odhiambo
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of university entry examinations in Kenya in the light of the lived experiences of prospective teachers. The study examined the lived experiences of prospective teachers on university entry examinations. A phenomenological hermeneutic method was used to investigate the efficacy of university entry examinations whereby the prospective teachers described their lived experiences in relation to Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, referred to as the university entry examinations. The lived experiences were subjected to hermeneutic interpretations. Forty eight first year Bachelor of Education students in six Kenyan public universities were involved. The students, referred to as co-researchers, were provided with semi-open-ended questionnaire that they filled by describing their lived experiences of university entry examinations (KCSE). Several sessions were held with the co-researchers to ascertain the authenticity of their description of the lived experiences. It was found that the lived experiences of prospective teachers which form the subjective knowledge is not captured by university entry examinations. The examinations are neither designed to select prospective teachers nor other professionals but only show academic accomplishment at the Form Four level. This does not augur well for the teaching profession because those selected to train as teachers may end up being teachers-of-the profession but not teachers-inthe- profession. While the latter would demonstrate professional passion and call for duty, the former would simply apply occupational commitment. It was suggested that examinations should be phenomenological whereby both subjective and objective knowledge of the learner are assessed. The subjective knowledge should show an individual learner’s own assessment of their knowledge, whereas the objective knowledge should show a learner’s ability as per the requirements of a wider society and the school leaving certificate is to have both information. It was proposed that prospective teachers joining universities are to be selected by faculties/schools of education of respective universities. This should be done after completion of secondary education for which the certificate has to stipulate an individual learner’s career prognosis, which is teaching.