Mainstream print media coverage of the teachers’ strike in January 2015 in Kenya: a comparative content analysis of the nation and standard newspapers
The education sector is experiencing frequent labour conflicts between the teachers’ trade unions and the government raising questions about the quality and standards of the teaching and learning achievements in line with both national and international educational goals. There have emerged concerns that in the recent past, teachers’ strikes have become too many and too frequent for meaningful learning in public primary and secondary schools. The net losers, it is feared, are the innocent children whose learning time and process is frequently disrupted. Often, the industrial dispute plays out to the public through the media thus making the media a key player in setting the agenda. This research, therefore, aimed to investigate how the mainstream print media in Kenya covered the teachers’ strike of 5th to 16th January 2014 that paralysed learning in primary and secondary schools. It was a comparative content analysis of the Nation and Standard newspapers meant to examine how the print media reported the issues in the industrial action and to what extent the mainstream print media set the agenda during the strike period. A total of 58 newspapers were reviewed, through a census survey, for all the stories concerning the strike. Quantitative data was analysed and tallied to establish frequency of occurrence, percentages, averages, medians and mode. Similarly, placement of the stories about the teachers’ strike was assessed to determine the prominence and salience that each newspaper under study allocated the stories. Qualitative data was analysed to establish the framing of issues and strike messages in the mainstream media. The study then made appropriate recommendation in a bid to address the issue.