INFLUENCE OF COMMUNITY INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE OF SCIENCE ON STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF SAMBURU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
African communities have a relatively rich body of indigenous knowledge and related technology. This is embodied in the continent’s cultural and ecological Indigenous Knowledge Systems and has been used by the African people for thousands of years to solve their specific developmental and environmental problems. According to Kenya National Examinations Council report, Secondary School students’ performance in Chemistry has been poor for many years. This has been attributed to many factors including Cultural knowledge systems. However, it is not quite clear how this has influenced students’ performance in Chemistry. The current concern in Samburu county among parents and other stakeholders in education is that, students’ performance in chemistry was more likely to be negatively affected. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of Community Indigenous Knowledge of Science on Students’ Performance in Chemistry in secondary schools of Samburu County. Cross-Sectional study design under the descriptive survey research was used. A stratified random sample of 9 secondary schools including both the public and private was drawn. From the target population of 752 form three students of Samburu County in the year 2013, stratified and simple random sampling was used to select a sample of 224 students. The instruments were validated and pilot tested before use. The reliability coefficient for Chemistry Performance Test (CPT), Students’ Questionnaire (SQ) and Students’ Interview Schedule (SIS) was 0.80, 0.68 and 0.72 respectively. The instruments were scored and data was analyzed using descriptive statistics where means, percentages and frequencies were used to analyze the data. Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient was used to establish the relationships between the different variables in the study. All statistical test of significance were conducted at coefficient alpha (α) equal to 0.05 with the help of the computer program, statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The results of the study showed that students’ performance in chemistry was below average whereby boys’ schools performed better than both the girls’ and co-educational schools. There was no statistically significant relationship between Community Indigenous Knowledge and Students’ Performance in Chemistry. Community Indigenous Knowledge of Chemistry and its application in treatment of diseases promote students’ understanding of chemistry. The researcher recommended that the Ministry of Education should initiate in-service courses for science teachers to equip themselves with the skills of Community Indigenous Knowledge of Science to enhance their effectiveness in teaching of science subjects. The findings of this study are of great benefit to teachers, curriculum developers and policy makers in addressing the current poor performance of chemistry and realization of strategies for boosting performance of chemistry in secondary schools countrywide.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Education is an integral part of life in any society. The social and cultural forces surrounding each individual thus form the basis of indigenous education. Hinzen (1988) observes that during the long ages of pre-history, human beings survived because they were capable of learning by example and experience to adapt their way of life to their environment throughout succeeding generations. Indigenous education in its various forms is intimately intertwined with social life. Sifuna (1990) emphasizes that what is taught in traditional societies was related to social context in which people lived as well as the demands of their particular environment. Thus, indigenous knowledge had a direct and symbiotic relationship with the environment (Castle, 1966 & Ocitti, 1973). Indigenous Knowledge also responded to social change and was an important catalyst of change. Indigenous knowledge was therefore associated with social development.

Indigenous knowledge takes many forms, depending on the particular historical and cultural background. According to Ishumi (1976), this education was influenced by the prevailing economic, social, religious and political systems. In short, this system of education sustains community development. In support of this, former President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, described indigenous education as an integral part of life (Hino, 1996).

Africa has a relatively rich body of indigenous knowledge and related technologies. This is embodied in the continent’s cultural and ecological diversities and has been used by the African people for thousands of years to solve specific developmental problems (Ogunleye, 2009). Indigenous knowledge and technologies play major roles in biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and prospecting. In addition, their contributions to increasing food production, fighting HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and stemming environmental degradation are considerable (Hills, 1989). Despite their contributions, indigenous knowledge and technologies are not adequately promoted and protected in most African countries (Turnbull, 2000). Institutions to safeguard the rights of indigenous knowledge holders are weak in most countries. In addition, there are weak links between the formal institutions and the local communities that hold and use the knowledge. This has denied Africa the opportunity to better understand and use its indigenous knowledge

base hence having a wider gap between IK and Western Science (Hills, 1989 & Ogunleye, 2009).

African leaders have recognized and stressed the importance of protecting and promoting indigenous knowledge and technologies to solve specific problems and improve the continent’s economies. NEPAD framework document are devoted to the protection and promotion of indigenous and related technological innovations (Turnbull, 2000). Paragraph 140 of NEPAD states:

“Culture is an integral part of development efforts of the continent. Consequently, it is essential to protect and effectively utilize indigenous knowledge…and share this knowledge for the benefit of humankind…special attention (will be given to) the protection and nurturing of indigenous knowledge…inventions…and all other tradition- based innovations and creations” (Turnbull, 2000: Pp.210-387).

Indigenous knowledge has been used in treatment of various diseases using herbs for example the Chinese Wormwood (Artemesia annua) for treating malaria and Prunus Africana bark used for treating cancer (Turnbull, 2000).

Culture has received considerable attention in the global world with its varying definitions. The assumptions that culture is the primary determinant of academic achievement can be dangerous and counterproductive if misinterpreted (Hills, 1989 & Ogunleye, 2009). Culture depicts people’s peculiar patterns of values, attitudes, knowledge, skills, behaviours, language and technology (Akinwale, 2004). It is the sum total of the learned behaviour of a group of people that are generally considered as their tradition and are transmitted from generation to generation and in various forms (Ogunleye, 2009). Cultural differences and characteristics manifest themselves in different domains and at different depth. Applying UNESCO’s general definition, domains of culture include spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or group, in addition to its art and literature, lifestyles, way of living together, value system, traditions and beliefs (Akinwale, 2004).

Chemistry teaching can only be result-oriented when students are willing and the teachers are favourably disposed, seeing the appropriate methods and resources in teaching the students. With the current increase in scientific knowledge in the world all over, much demand is placed, and emphasis is laid on the teacher, the learner, the curriculum and the environment in the whole process of teaching and learning of science (Emovon, 1985).

Despite the importance of Chemistry to mankind and the varied efforts of researchers to improve on its teaching and learning, the achievement of students in the subject remains low in Nigeria and also in Kenyan secondary schools (Changeiywo, 2000). Among the factors that have been identified to lower the outcomes in chemistry are, poor methods of instruction (Osuafor, 1999), teacher’s attitude (Aghadiuno, 1992), laboratory in-adequacy (Rajah, 1999 & Adeyegbe, 2005) and poor science background (Oshokoya, 1998 & Adesoji, 1999).

Positive perception of Science by students plays a major role in advancement of modern technology of any country in the world. America, Britain, Japan and China have excelled well in the field of Industrialization because of being well established with scientific skills (Aduda, 2003). Kenya envision being a middle income country by the year 2030, however looking at the performance of science subjects at Secondary education level, achievement of the vision may be in doubt because of the negative perception of Mathematics and sciences leading to lower performance by students at Kenya Certificate of Secondary education (SMASSE project, 1998). Many students in Kenya choose to drop science subjects when given a choice and even for those who take them, the performance is below average (Changeiywo, 2000). The poor performance is evident from results in Table 1, which compares the students’ performance in Chemistry and other science subjects and the situation is similar to that one in Samburu County.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 94 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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