The Effect Of Reading Skills On Academic Performance Of Distance Learners: A Case Of The University Of Nairobi Distance Learners
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Vision 2030 reveals the magnitude of wastage in the transition from secondary to University Education. It notes that secondary school enrolment has risen from 112,229 in the 2006/2007 academic year to 118,239 in 2007/2008 academic year; the passage to university is at 3 percent. To raise the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of university students from the present 3 per cent to the projected 15 per cent, the government must continue increasing the number of students joining higher education from 130,000 (2008) to 450,000 (2015). This can be done by expanding the capacities of existing universities through establishment of new courses in Distance Education. The university of Nairobi school of continuing and distance education runs a course in distance education. It has been observed that many students fail to score a total of 40% in a given course and they re-sit the failed units. The failure rate goes up to 63% with 27% out of 38% cases, which is a very high failure rate. High failure rate and the ever increasing time taken to graduate is a chronic problem in Distance learning. One of the reasons why there could be poor performance is lack of quality time in reading. It is therefore worth knowing how efficiency in distance learning can be enhanced. To find out the effect of reading skills on academic performance a study was carried out. A total number of 650 students were selected using stratified random sampling technique. This sample was taken from 4,500 University of Nairobi students who were registered for B.Ed degree in different levels of study in the school of continuing and distance Education. A mixed mode method approach was used in data collection. Correlational research design was employed in data analysis. Pearson correlations were used to establish if there was a relationship between reading skills and academic performance. The analysis indicated a strong relationship between reading skills and academic [r= 0.569]. The value of r2 =0.324, indicated that reading skills accounts for about 32.4% of the variation in average performance.