Institutional characteristics influencing boys' dropouts in public secondary schools in Laikipia Central District, Kenya
In this study a drop-out refers to a person who leaves school without completing the given cycle of learning without transferring to another school. The purpose of this research study was to examine the institutional characteristics influencing public secondary school boys' dropouts in Laikipia Central district, Kenya It highlights the effects of school physical facilities, curriculum and teacherstudent ratio, head teachers administrative skills, school type and discipline and their influence on secondary school boys' dropouts in Laikipia Central district. Ex post facto research design was used. Questionnaires for head teachers, teachers and students were used to collect data. The respondents comprised 12 head teachers, 134 teachers and 338 students in public secondary schools in Laikipia Central district. Most of the respondents stated that the type of school attended by a student always influenced dropouts in the division. Majority of the head teachers, teachers and students stated that discipline was a major cause of boys' dropouts in many schools in the district. The questionnaires were validated through appraisal from the experts' judgment then subjected to a pilot study. The instrument was tested for reliability through test-retest technique and reliability coefficient was 0.9. Descriptive statistics were used assisted by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme and the results presented in form of tables, frequency and bar graphs. The findings of the study were that the schools had a dire shortage of physical facilities. 58% of the head teachers and students felt that physical facilities often contributed to boys' dropouts in the district. The head teachers, teachers and students stated that curriculum often influenced boys' dropouts in the district. 67% of the head teachers and students felt that teacher- student ratio often contributed to boys' dropouts in the schools. Over 50% of the teachers and students indicated that the head teachers' leadership skills played a major role in boys' dropouts. The study concluded that there is need to ensure one hundred percent retention of the few pupils who reach secondary level of education as secondary school student dropouts is an indication of failure of an education system. The recommendations made by this study are that the Ministry of Education must ensure that schools have all the physical facilities and other school resources necessary for effective teaching/learning process. The Ministry of Education should employ the needed teaching force for the teacher-student ratio to be at the recommended level and for effective education to commence in the schools. The Ministry of Education must ensure that the school curriculum offered is relevant and motivating to the learners. Guidance and counseling should be emphasized in schools to help curb indiscipline and the rate of boys' dropouts by deploying specially trained teachers to the schools. A comparative study on. the institutional characteristics influencing boys' dropouts in public secondary schools in other ASAL districts should be undertaken as this study focused on Laikipia Central District only. The education stakeholders in the district must strive to assist in equipping public secondary schools with the needed physical facilities to eliminate this as a causative . factor for boys' dropouts. There is therefore a need to prevent the occurrence of boys' dropouts in public secondary school by creating conducive environment to retain them in school. Further research should be undertaken to compare characteristics influencing public primary schools boys' dropouts in the district.