Influence Of Ethnic Related Conflicts On Students’ Access To Public Secondary School Education In Tana Delta District, Kenya
There has been increased insecurity in Tana Delta District in the recent past which has adversely affected learning in this region. The focus of this research was to investigate whether insecurity impacts on students’ access to secondary school education in Tana Delta District. The aims of the study were to establish how physical displacement of parents or guardians influences access to secondary school education in Tana Delta, to establish how provision of security influences students’ access to secondary school education in Tana Delta, to determine how sexual harassment influences students’ access to secondary school education in Tana Delta and to determine how the loss of parents or guardians as a result of conflict influences students’ access to secondary school education in Tana Delta. A descriptive survey research design formed the study design. The target population involved school principals, teachers and students of five secondary schools within the study area. Stratified and random samplings were applied. Questionnaires were used for collection of data and the data was arranged, organized, coded, entered and analyzed descriptively with the aid of Ms Excel and SPSS (version 17). From the results, the level of insecurity within the study area was found to be medium at the time of data collection. Physical displacement of parents and teachers, however, affected students’ access to secondary school education which forced students to drop out of school, lack of teachers which led to the merging of some classes, increased absenteeism and lateness. On the effects of physical attacks on access, it was established that most of the classes were interrupted at one time like in the first school time of the year 2012 thereby discontinuing education, area education officials were too quick to note that there were some schools in the volatile areas that were deserted by students and teachers while one school called Buyani Secondary school was forced to close permanently to prevent further damage of property and loss of life. The +physical attacks also led to extensive transfer of teachers and students especially in a school called Ngao Girls’ which had four streams but now has been reduced to double stream due to the mass exodus. Most of the transferring students in the region go to Garsen High school which is considered a bit safer owing to its proximity to the district’s headquarters. Loss of parents and guardians in relation to education access led to high dropout rates because students had no one to pay their fees and it also made learning to become difficult due to post conflict trauma. There were no cases of reported sexual harassment in relation to conflict and education access. The local community had a role to play in facilitating community policing, vigilante groups and conducting patrols. The girl child was most affected because of few girls’ boarding schools in the area and retrogressive cultural values. The study recommends that the government and relevant stakeholders need to address insecurity in Tana Delta to improve access and participation to public secondary school education, provide warring communities with skills and loans aimed at improving their livelihood and construction of more low cost boarding secondary schools to accommodate large number of students. Finally the study identified some loop holes which can be studied further like looking at the relationship between violent conflicts and secondary students’ performance in KCSE in Tana Delta, determining the effects of violent conflicts and its effects on girls’ access to education, determining the influence of floods on access to both public primary and secondary school education in Tana Delta, and establishing the impact of poverty on access to education in Tana Delta as a complex emergency region.