Influence of Miraa business on pupils’ performance in Kenya certificate of primary education in Igembe East division, Meru county
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of miraa business on pupils’ performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, in Igembe East division Meru County. The objectives of the study were: To establish the extent to which involvement of pupils in public primary schools in picking, packing and transporting miraa for traders influences their performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, to determine the extent to which participation of pupils in public primary schools in buying and selling miraa influences their performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and to find out if chewing of miraa by pupils in public primary schools influences their performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. The study was informed by Walberg's theory of educational productivity. Descriptive survey design was employed. The researcher collected data using an interview guide, questionnaires and a focus group discussion. Simple random sampling technique was used to identify respondents. The sample size included 16 head teachers, 2 education officers, 60 teachers and 125 public primary school pupils. Data was analysed by use of descriptive statistics and presented in tables, charts and graphs. Study findings indicated that pupils in Igembe East division are highly involved in picking, packing, and transporting miraa for traders. As a result, these activities limit the possibility of pupils to attend school, do homework and revise for their exams. It is due to irregular school attendance as a results of harvesting activities pupils struggle to catch up with the curriculum but the general sense amongst head teachers and teachers was that the pupils’ education does suffer, resulting to poor KCPE results. Therefore there is need for strict and rigorous supervision of miraa trade activities so as it does not compromise schooling of primary school children. The local leaders such as the chief and the county education secretary should be empowered to strengthen monitoring of parents and miraa traders who are engaging pupils in picking, packing and transporting miraa. Study findings also indicated that primary school pupils in the region are involved in buying and selling miraa. More boys than girls are involved in buying and selling miraa which earns them quick money. This results to truancy, failure to do homework, failure to revise for examinations and lack of concentration in class. Since pupils cannot focus on their studies, the result is poor performance in KCPE. Therefore, school supervisors should work closely with parents to ensure students are not missing school to participate in buying and selling miraa. Moreover, participation of pupils in miraa trade activities exposes them to miraa chewing habits. This results to pupils missing school, missing lessons, failing to do homework, failing to revise for exams and lack of concentration in class. As a result pupils’ performance in KCPE is negatively affected. To curb the habit of chewing miraa there is need for guidance and counselling programs in all institutions of learning with trained personnel to counsel and disseminate relevant information concerning the harmful influence of chewing miraa on primary school pupils.