School Based Factors Influencing Retention Of Boys In Secondary Schools Of Maara District, Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya
Education represents the only way out of a life of entrenched poverty for most of the Africa`s children. The boy child now makes up a marginalized group; there were more female students than males enrolled in Maara District secondary schools in the period 2008 -2012. The purpose of the study was to investigate school based factors influencing retention of boys in secondary schools in Maara District of Tharaka Nithi County. This study sought to determine the extent to which teachers’ attitudes towards male students, repetition, adequacy of physical facilities and principals support for guidance and counseling influenced retention of boys in Secondary Schools of Maara District. The study adopted a descriptive research design and targeted 40 principals, 510 teachers and 7,693 boys in 5 boys’ schools and 35 mixed secondary schools in Maara District of Tharaka Nithi County. Stratified sampling was used to come up with a sample of 20 principals, 102 teachers and 769 students. The data was collected using self-administered questionnaires. Descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) were used to analyze data with the help of SPSS software. The findings were presented in form of tables and figures. Majority of the principals in the study indicated that boys’ school dropout was a big problem in their respective schools. Majority of the teachers indicated that there existed cut-off points which students had to attain in order to be promoted to the next class failure to which a student was forced to repeat the same class. A significant number of the students indicated that their teachers encouraged, inspired, motivated them, created an exciting atmosphere and paid equal attention to the weak and bright students. Majority of the students in the study indicated that their schools’ physical facilities were good. A significant number of students in the study indicated that their respective schools had guidance and counseling teachers. Teachers’ attitude towards male students had a weak positive correlation (r=0.118, df=97, p>0.05) with retention of boys. Repetition(r=0.641, df=97, p<0.05) had a strong positive correlation with boys’ retention in secondary schools. Adequacy of physical facilities had a weak negative correlation (r= - 0.296, df=97, r>0.05) with retention of boys. Principal’s support for guidance had a weak negative correlation (r= -0.118, df=97, p>0.05) with boys retention. The researcher concluded that repetition of boys in school contributes to a very large extent in poor retention rates and high boys’ dropout rates in public secondary schools. The researcher recommended that repetition should be banned by the ministry of education; instead, structures should be put in place that identify weak students and offer them special programmes. The researcher also recommended that principals and teachers should desist from making weak students repeat as a method of improving performance.