An evaluation of the implementation of life skills programme in pre-schools in Embu West District, Kenya
Njeru, Wilfred K
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Life Skills are a group of psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help people make informed decisions, communicate effectively and develop coping and self management skills to lead to healthy and productive life. The Life Skills Programme in Kenya was started in 2008 in all pre-schools, primary and secondary schools. It was started to equip the children and the youth with knowledge, skills, and attitudes and values those which will empower them to face realities of life and thus enable them to take responsibility for their actions. The study therefore sought to evaluate the implementation of Life Skills Programme in preschools in Embu West District in the areas of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. It used cross-sectional survey research design which involves obtaining data at one point in time. The study participants were 29 head teachers, 43 pre-school teachers, 30 parents who had their children in pre-schools, standard one teacher and pre-school children in Embu West District. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select the all the study participants. The study used questionnaires, interviews and observation schedule together with documentary analysis form to collect data. Instruments were first checked for validity and reliability. To ensure validity of the instruments, expert's opinion was sought from the two research supervisors and also pilot study was done. Afterwards, adjustments for the instruments were made. An instrument reliability was ensured by use of test re-test technique was employed on all the instruments for the study. Data was then analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods and then presented in various themes which were relevance of the implementation Life Skills Programme, efficiency and effectiveness of implementation of Life Skills Programme. There was also impact of implementation of life skill programme and sustainability of the implementation of Life Skills Programme. Implementation of Life Skills Programme was found to be relevant, efficient, effective, and sustainable and had impact in schools. Responses from headteachers and teachers indicated that the programme existed in preschools. Teachers who participated in the study reported that the programme was relevant. There were various professional documents availed by teachers and were also found to be in use. According to the headteachers the programme was efficient and rated majority of teachers as good in the subject. Additionally, 26 teachers out of 43 teachers reported that there was inadequacy of teaching / learning resources in their schools. The study found out that the programme was effective in schools as head teachers were aware of the lessons allocated for the subjects per week. It was also found out that there were various teaching methods like story telling and demonstration, which were commonly used by teachers. It emerged that the programme has a positive impact on children's behaviour as it was reported by parents who participated in the study, preschool teachers and standard one. These findings implied that the programme was sustainable as it received support from the parents. However during the study, it was noted to face some challenges such as some head teachers' inadequate knowledge on policy regarding implementation of Life Skills Programme, training of teachers, awareness among parents, inadequate materials and large numbers of children in class. The study therefore recommended that the government needed to create awareness programmes among parents to enable them know and appreciate Life Skills Programme and also train more teachers to improve their efficiency. It was also recommended that the government should harmonize Life Skills content with available time to improve efficiency and ensure head teachers are made aware of policy regulating implementation of Life skills. The study came up with various recommendations like that the government should create awareness among parents to enable them know and appreciate Life Skills Programme and that there is need to train head teachers and preschool teachers on Life Skills Programme.