Competency and performance of Kiswahili language skills in primary schools in Kenya
Achieng', Gertrude O
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This study is on Kiswahili Language. It seeks to establish the competency and performance of Kiswahili language skills. Language is an important aspect of life as it used to express inner thought and emotions as well as expressing and presenting knowledge as constructed for use. There are about 6500 languages in the world of which 2000 are in Africa. Kiswahili is gaining providence in East and Central African countries. As a result it has become a business of not only production and able to dialogue in it but also the competitive nature of the language. It results in social mobility as it an asset having mastery of it. Herein lays the challenge. Its mastery will soon become paramount as Kiswahili gains prominence in the international world community. Being competent in Kiswahili is therefore important. In Kenya, Kiswahili as a national language. This research therefore comes at an opportune time. Indeed it's competency should be established, tracked and ensured and so the research. This research aims at finding out the competency and skills of Kiswahili in the primary schools. The research is conducted through a case study of one of the primary schools in Migori County, in rural Kenya. This was among the groups whose orientation to language locally then is not Kiswahili but Mother-tongue or Luo language. The research addressed language competency skills. Specifically, our language skills desirable for a complete communication of listening and speaking or reading or writing and grammar. Issues of ecological, social and and administrative factors that influence performance in Kiswahili were addressed but not explored fully. The research established that there are challenges. On reading skills, even though 66% of the pupils were able to read the text well, they were not able to understand the text and pronounce words correctly. In the composition writing, 46% of the pupils had problems in sentence structure and language usage. On the grammar competency 69% of the pupils didn't understand the different word classes and correct sentence constituent. On the other hand, those who did well n the grammar test automatically did well on the reading and writing tests. On the oral skills, pupils need to master the correct word order, tonal diction competent analysis of ideas and rhythmic patterns. The result is congruent with findings in the literature. It is important to focus on issues that result in competencies in Kiswahili as Kiswahili gains prominence among the international.community. Key recommendation is strategies that engage the larger community in gaining these skills. The school setting is one such place in Kenya government can. focus on. This brings to bear the teachers level of competency, the curriculum, resources such as text books, and the policy that the government embraces that will meet not only producing those who pow the language but also those who are competent at Kiswahili at an early age.