Factors influencing discipline of boys and girls in public secondary schools in Machakos sub-county Machakos county, Kenya.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors influencing discipline of boys and girls in public secondary schools in Machakos Sub-County. It was guided by the four objectives; to establish the influence of the type of school, students’ individual factors, students’ peer pressure, and the principals’ leadership style on boys and girls discipline. Secondary information was obtained from different scholars to provide related literature of the study which was presented as per the study objectives. Primary data for the study was collected through the use of questionnaires. The study targeted principals, guidance and counseling teachers and form four students (girls and boys) in public secondary schools. Descriptive survey research design was used in this study because it enabled the researcher to obtain information that described existing phenomena by asking individuals about their perceptions, attitudes, behaviour and values. Simple random sampling was used to sample 5 schools in each type of the schools totaling to 20 schools where 8 students were from each of the sampled schools. Census sampling was used to identify all the principals and heads of guidance and counseling department from the 20 sampled schools. Therefore the sample population for the study was 20 principals, 20 guidance and counseling teachers and 160 students (80 girls and 80 boys) thus, a total of 200 questionnaires were issued to the respondents. All the questionnaires from all categories of respondents were returned realizing an instrument return rate of 100 percent, which was very satisfactory for the purpose of the study. Data collected was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. From the study findings boys were more affected by discipline issues than girls in all types of schools. Thus, students in single sex schools had less discipline issues than in mixed sex schools, showing that in mixed schools boys and girls influenced each other. Boys’ and girls’ individual factors influenced their discipline; the study findings showed that boys’ and girls’ intellectual ability and parenting had a great impact on their discipline. Secondary school boys and girls were more likely to follow their friends so as to fit in their group setting and engaging in the vices so as to enjoy their socialization, an indication that young people’s discipline was influenced by their peers. Principals in public secondary schools applied different leadership styles which included; Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-faire, Bureaucratic and Contingency styles which influenced learners’ discipline at a high extent. The study came up with the following conclusions: Boys were more affected by discipline issues than girls and that discipline is higher in single sex schools than in mixed schools. Boys and girls were faced by different individual factors at this prime age in their teenage which was translated in their discipline. Secondary schools students, groupings influenced boys and girls conduct since they at times found themselves engaging in cases that affected their discipline both in school and at home just to fit in peer groups. Secondary schools principals applied different kinds of leadership styles hence they were able to handle boys’ and girls’ discipline. Based on the findings and conclusions of the study, the study recommended that: the government through the ministry of education should organize for more seminars and workshops in line with the new constitution and children’s rights to sensitize teachers and principals in secondary schools on new measures to improve discipline among boys and girls. The study suggested that a study to be carried out to find out the effect of boys’ and girls’ discipline on their retention in public secondary schools.