School-based factors influencing students in the selection of Geography subject in public secondary schools in Nakuru North District Kenya
The purpose of the study was to investigate the school factors influencing students in the selection of geography subject in public secondary schools in Nakuru North district. The study sought to determine how school policies on subject selection, availability of the teaching and learning resources and the extent of syllabus coverage influences the selection of geography by students in public secondary schools in Nakuru North District. It also sought to examine how the school’s performance in geography and career aspirations influences the selection of subjects by students in public secondary schools in Nakuru North district. This study adopted a descriptive survey research design. It targeted all Form Three students, head teachers and geography teachers in the 30 public secondary schools in Nakuru North District. Simple random sampling was used to select a sample of ten 10 schools from which 251 Form three students ,17 geography teachers and 10 head teachers were sampled. The researcher developed and used three sets of Questionnaires to collect data from Form three students, teachers and head teachers. The data was then analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).Data interpretation was through descriptive statistics while presentation was done by the use of frequency tables, bar charts and pie charts. Qualitative data was analyzed through content analysis. The findings of the study showed that performance in geography, career prospects in the subject and the extent of syllabus coverage are the major school factors influencing students in the selection of geography in secondary schools. Other significant reasons the study identified are that of interest in geography subject, availability of teaching resources like geography books and as well as school policies on subject selection. The study recommends that the government should encourage career guidance among students to make them aware of the many opportunities available in geography. In addition the study recommends that geography teachers should use effective teaching method that make the subject simple and interesting so as to improve on the performance of the subject. The findings further calls on the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to review the geography syllabus to rationalize the content so as to enable for its timely completion. There is need to acquire more geography text books for students and other reference materials for students to create more interest in the subject. Schools should seek to create more of class libraries to make books more accessible to students. To curb the problem of prohibitive school policies that undermines student’s democratic rights in choosing optional subjects the department of the Quality Assurance and Standards should intensify inspections in schools to ensure that the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) syllabus guidelines are followed.