Factors influencing girl-child academic performance in selected secondary schools in Kinango district Kwale county, Kenya
This research project was conceived as a result of observing disparity between the girls' education performance as compared to boys and the fact that there is gender discrimination in our society where the girl child is segregated against the boy child. It therefore sought to study 'factors influencing girl-child academic performance in secondary schools in Kinango District Kwale, County.' The data for the study was sourced from the DEOs office Kinango which clearly indicated that there is both low enrollment and poor performance for girls against the boys since 2007-2010. The disparity in performance was found to be 1 point with the girls lagging behind and the gap increasing each year. The historical background of the study adopting conceptual and theoretical framework, the problem statement, objectives of the study, research questions and hypothesis of the study and the purpose of the study were first carried out. The literature showed gender inequality in education has widely been acknowledged with the girl child lagging behind in academic performance as a result of many factors among them cultural factors, irresponsible sexual behavior and harassment's, lack of role models, overburdening them with household chores and the distance that they make to school. These were found to be embedded by the fact that our society is male dominated and roles are allocated on the basis of gender. The study sought to establish if academic performance is influenced by cultural beliefs discriminating the girl child, domestic chores assigned to the girl child, role models, sexual behavior of the girl and sexual harassment's and school quality and location . A descriptive survey of quantitive and qualitative data was the most appropriate in collecting in-depth information using questionnaires and interview instruments. Prerequisite information to note the problem was gotten from the DEO's office. This included an analysis of KCSE results from schools that participated in the last five years, their enrollments data in terms of gender in order to get the population. Permission to collect data was sought from the principals of the schools by way of letter of transmittal. Questionnaires were then dropped in the sampled schools after prior arrangements with the principal. They were then filled by the students and the principals of the schools and collected at a later date. The DEO as Education Policies implementer was interviewed through visitation after prior arrangements were made to meet him and information was collected using notes taking technique. It was then coded and analyzed using SPSS and percentages got to determine how the factors that were studied affect performance of the girl child. The hypothesis of the study was also tested using chi square inference analysis technique. The findings were that the girl child's academic performance in Kinango is influenced by culture, domestic chores, role models, sexual harassment's and distance. The conclusion was that poor academic performance was a matter of concern and needed to be looked into by all stakeholders. The study therefore recommended that community should be educated on the importance of the girl child, the government to put all the girls in a boarding school at subsidized fee to reduce the distance they make to and fro; lessen their involvement in domestic chores and reduce cases of sexual harassment's on the way, separate girls' and boys' schools, post more female teachers and promote them into leadership positions and strengthen the guidance and counseling in schools. It also gave suggestions for further research on the factors determining the girl child secondary school enrollment in the region, a study into gender disparity of the teachers in the area, social economic factors influencing boys and girls performance in the region and finally a replication of the study in another district in the region. '