Influence of students' involvement in maintenance of discipline in public secondary schools in Westlands District, Nairobi County, Kenya
This study set out to investigate the influence of students' involvement in maintenance of discipline in public secondary schools in Westlands District, Nairobi County, Kenya. The study sought to: identify discipline challenges exhibited by students in public secondary schools in Westlands District, establish their causes, determine ways in which their head teachers involved them in maintenance of discipline and examine whether the category of a school had any influence on their involvement. Literature review discussed findings of some researches on school discipline from a global perspective to regional and eventually in the Kenyan context. Glasser's Reality Therapy Theory was used. The ex post facto research design was employed in the study. Questionnaires were used to gather data from students, teachers and head teachers. Two schools were used for a pilot study. Four schools out of ten in the district were used in the main study. Stratified random sampling was used to select: 1 national school out of 3, 2 provincial schools out of 5 and 1 district school out of 2. Stratified random sampling was used to select 400 students, 100 from each school and 40 teachers, 10 from each school. All the questionnaires were carefully read through and those wrongly filled identified. After checking the authenticity of the data collected, the content was analysed through descriptive data analysis. Responses to open-ended questions were paraphrased to standardize them. The data collected was then coded by assigning each answer a number and content analysis done by the use of Microsoft Excel. From the analysed data, it was found that students in public secondary schools in Westlands District exhibited many discipline challenges. These discipline challenges included theft cases, fighting among students, use of mobile phones, cheating in exams, students evading exams or assignments, students disrespecting teachers, boy-girl relationship in mixed schools, drug abuse and sneaking from school. Cases of theft were the challenge that appeared to be rampant with many students agreeing that it was indeed a discipline challenge. The principals and the teachers involved students in maintenance of discipline through the use of prefects, holding discussions on discipline matters with students, providing guidance and counseling services and using suggestion boxes among others. The study also found that the category of a school had an influence on the involvement of students in maintenance of discipline. Based on the findings, the key recommendations made were that: head teachers and class teachers should regularly hold meetings with all students to discuss discipline issues, appreciate more the contribution of students towards maintenance of discipline and that parents be encouraged to provide enough basic needs to their school going children to alleviate theft cases in schools. Finally, it was recommended that students be sensitized more to appreciate the need for guidance and counseling in their schools. The study suggested that further study be done on the same concept but in a different setting such as in a rural area to establish a basis for generalizing the findings to all public secondary schools in Kenya. The study also suggested that a comparative study be done between schools that directly involve all students in maintenance of discipline through open meetings and those that mainly involve students in maintenance of discipline through prefects.