Factors contributing to low enrolment in economics in secondary schools : the case of Homa-Bay and Suba district, Kenya
Author(s)Otieno, William Osewe
KeywordsEconomics--Study and teaching--Kenya--Homa-Bay district//Economics--study and teaching--Kenya--Suba district
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AbstractThe HB 74.5.O8
In Kenya, there has been an outcry over the low enrolment and dismal students' performance in Economics since the inception of 8-4-4 system of Education. According to (KNEC, 2000), dwindling enrolment and deteriorating performance in Economics has reduced the number of students enrolling for the subject at KCSE examination in the country and in particular in secondary schools in HomaBay and Suba Districts. This scenario raises a basic policy concern about the factors causing low enrolment in Economics and what steps to be taken to reverse the current trend so as to enhance students enrolment in Economics. To this end, the main purpose of this study was to investigate factors contributing to low enrolment in Economics at secondary school level in Homa-Bay and Suba Districts of Kenya. The specific objectives were to determine the trend of students enrolment in Economics in Homa-Bay and Suba Districts and also determine the variety and adequacy of teaching/learning resources in schools in Homa-Bay and Suba Districts. The study adopted descriptive survey, conducted in 2 public secondary schools offering Economics. The researcher used purposive techniques to select 2 Public schools offering Economics, all the 24 students taki Economics, 2 teachers of Economics and 2 principals of the schools in the study districts. Simple random sampling (lottery) was used by the researcher to select 56 students not taking Economics. This sampling yielded a total of sample size of 84.Validity of the instruments was established by the curriculum experts x reliability was determined by a test re-test or coefficient of stability using Spearman's rank order method. The data collected from the 84 participants were organized, edited and analyzed using descriptive statistical tools such as measures of central tendencies (mean, mode and median), frequencies, percentages and variability (Standard deviation and Variance) The findings of this study revealed that: students' enrolment level is generally low due to negative perception of students towards Economics. Students believe that Economics being an abstract and complex subject has made it difficult to be understood by the learners. Textbooks distribution ratio used by students was favorable although the language and terminologies used made the subject difficult to be understood. There was lack of printed materials such as magazines and journals. Inadequate instructional materials also made teaching-learning of Economics very difficult. There was inadequate field -trips, guest speakers and teaching-learning materials were scanty. Most teachers over-relied on teacher-centred methods such as lecture technique. This study however, revealed that group/class discussion is the most preferred methods to teacher-centred exposition. Finally, from the findings of the study it was concluded that participatory learning methods such as class/group discussion, case studies, inter-school debates and symposiums, role plays, project work, questions and answers are the best methods for teaching/learning Economics in order to improve performance and consequently enrolment in the subject. The study recommended that a similar study be conducted in Accounting, Commerce, Business Studies, humanities and science subjects. Secondly, a study replicated in another district using a larger sample.