INFLUENCE OF PLANNING OF PHYSICAL FACILITIES ON THE PROVISION OF QUALITY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NAROK NORTH SUB-COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
The responsibility for planning of school physical facilities should involve all stake-holders in the school, to ensure that every child has a favorable learning environment for quality education. The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of planning of physical facilities on the quality of learning environment provided by secondary schools in Narok North Sub-County. The study objectives were to determine whether secondary schools use government provided guidelines on construction of school physical facilities, to determine the quality of school physical facilities provided for teaching and learning, to determine the adequacy of school physical facilities provided for teaching and learning and to determine the relationship between planning of school physical facilities and quality of learning environment in secondary schools in Narok North Sub county. The study used the descriptive survey research design. The target population consisted of one Sub-County Director of Education (SCDE), 23 principals, 345 teachers, and 1150 students from 23 public and private secondary schools in Narok North Sub-County. A random sample of, 100 teachers and 120, form three students was selected for the study. The study sample also included one SCDE and 23 principals who were purposively selected, to give a total of 267 respondents. The instruments for data collection were questionnaires for teachers and Form Three students. An interview schedule was administered to the administrators. The instruments were subjected to content and face validity through expert judgment by university supervisors. Reliability was estimated using Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient, which was accepted if it was over 0.7. The reliability of the teachers’ and students’ questionnaires were 0.9 and 0.875 respectively. The major findings indicated that a majority of the school administrators were aware of the existence of government approved building guidelines. However they did not adhere to them when putting up school buildings. Most of the administrators also observed that there was no enforcement mechanisms in construction of school buildings and no inspection of facilities were carried out by the government. Teachers observed that the classrooms had good quality lighting, ventilations to provide a high indoor air quality, while other aspects of the classroom did not meet the standard for inspirational setting for learning. This was because classrooms were inadequate resulting into overcrowding and, without enough furniture. The students concurred with most of the perceptions of their teachers. On the issues of sanitation facilities the respondents agreed that the facilities were the most neglected. The study found that there was a statistically significant relation between planning, adequacy and quality of physical facilities of schools. Based on these findings it is then recommended that government to use qualified building constructors, conduct regular inspection of school facilities to ensure compliance with construction guidelines and therefore ensure provision of adequate quality learning environment. These findings are likely to benefit the ministry of education and the school administrators, in understanding the importance of planning of school physical facilities, in order to provide quality learning environment, hence improve the quality of education.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
A school is a special environment that exists for the purpose of enhancing the teaching and learning process. The school physical facilities require proper planning to provide inspirational setting for learning. Berry (2002), observed that effective planning of a school’s physical facilities is achieved through good design. A well designed school building is the one which is structurally sound so that it can provide a secure learning environment and able to enhance learning, boost students’ and teachers’ morale and increase motivation (United Nation Child Education Fund [UNICEF], 2009). However a soundly constructed building that hinders learning may be more a liability than an asset (Lackney, 2008).

Over time, communities and parents have been responsible for and have made substantial investments in school infrastructure. Development partners, churches, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and individuals have also supported communities in order to improve learning environments. Given the importance of these public investments, the school administrator needs to adequately address the issues of planning of educational physical facilities in order to provide quality learning environment (Kenneth & Jeffery, 2006).

Educational buildings need to have learning spaces that support the learning process; are secure, comfortable and provide inspirational setting for teaching and learning to take place (Abend, 2006). The quality of school facilities seems to have direct effect on learning, an effect that is hard to measure. However, research has shown that clean air, good lighting and small, quiet, comfortable and safe learning environments are important for academic achievement (Cash, 1993).

According to a report by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] (2006), some secondary schools are started within existing primary schools which already suffer from inadequate and poor quality facilities. A child in poor quality facilities often feels being disregarded. This could negatively affect students’ behavior, attitude and motivation, self esteem, consequently their academic performance (Edward, 2008).

When students perceive that they are being prevented from succeeding due to unpleasant environmental conditions, they become frustrated, angry and loose interest in education (Walwe, 2010). A study by Peterson (2011) indicated that school buildings with sufficient environmental elements such as indoor air quality, ventilation, thermal comfort, day lighting, and classroom acoustics are well-designed and properly maintained, school climate improves and students respond by producing higher academic outcomes. Student success is related to overall school building condition. Furthermore, when a school’s facility deteriorates, student absenteeism increases, reducing a student’s likelihood of receiving a quality education. The condition of a school’s facility sends a message to students, teachers, and administrators about the institution’s concern for their academic interests.

In developing countries, low levels of learning among children may partly be attributed to poor or inadequate facilities in schools. A research in India by Govinda and Varghese (1993), indicated that those schools without buildings and which hold classes under trees or in borrowed spaces from other schools or other users, tend to have poor attendance. At the same time, those who attend are inclined to have a poor academic performance. Research shows that availability of the physical facilities has a significant positive influence on the performance of the students. A study undertaken in Nigeria by Shami and Hussain (2005) indicated that the availability of physical facilities in a school had a significant impact on students’ performance.

According to Williams, Persaud and Turner (2008), school facilities enable the teacher to accomplish his/her task as well and help the learner to learn and achieve effectively. Additionally, they emphasized that the availability and proper use of school facilities can affect the interest of the teacher to teach effectively in turn that positively affects student’s academic achievement. Therefore, the school facilities in the school needs a proper attention as they have a great value in the support of teachers and students morale, motivation and plays a significant role to improve the quality of education.

In Kenya, there is a major backlog of infrastructural provision such as permanent and quality classrooms, particularly in marginalized areas such as North Eastern, Narok, Turkana and Samburu.

Therefore, there has been a marked increase in unplanned educational buildings that are poorly built and lacking basic facilities. At the same time, existing infrastructure is generally in poor condition due to lack of planning, poor construction standards and inadequate maintenance (UNESCO, 2006). With the significant increase in primary school enrolment following the introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2003, additional pressure has been put onto the existing secondary school infrastructure. This is likely to lead to poor conditions and overcrowding that may not be conducive to a good learning environment (Republic of Kenya, 2010).

The Koech Commission of Inquiry into the Education System in Kenya placed importance on the provision of school physical infrastructure and attributed declining standards of education to inadequate and unsustainable physical facilities (Republic of Kenya, 2003). Further the Sessional Paper No 1 of 2005 also recognizes the need for additional school infrastructure to ensure the successful implementation of Tuition Free Secondary Education (TFSE) (Ministry of Education Science and Technology [MOEST], (2005). Nyakundi (2010), points out that the Tuition Free Secondary Education in Kenya has led to a rapid expansion in enrolment in secondary schools. It is obvious that such an enrolment will bring about a demand for more school physical facilities. As a result, an additional number of public secondary schools have been started using Constituency Development Funds (CDF). Some of such schools are started within existing primary schools which already suffer from inadequate facilities (UNESCO, 2006).

Schools in Kenya vary significantly in design, size and building materials. The school size, designs and quality have been left to schools and communities with little or no government supervision. This however has resulted into make-shift kind of structures in the name of schools which are likely to hinder the learning process because of their poor quality. One may wonder if there are government construction guidelines that are supposed to be followed during construction of such schools. The size of the classroom, in terms of length and width, should be 7.5m x 5.85m or 7.5m x 6.0m, and should accommodate 30 learners in one seater desks or 40 learners in two seater desks (Ministry of Education, 2008). According to UNESCO (1997) the minimum student classroom space should be 1.5 square meters per pupil with one-seater desk, which would translate to 45 square meters for a room expected to hold 30 learners.

Classrooms that are congested hardly provide space for movement and affect effective teachers’ control of classes. An ideal classroom should be spacious to allow free movement, space where students can form round table discussion with movable tables and chairs. The class teacher should ensure that the desks are arranged in a manner that facilitates easy and orderly movement of learners in the classroom and the space between any two desks should be at least two feet (Republic of Kenya, 2005).

According to the School Safety Manual (Ministry of Education, 2008), school physical infrastructure should be safe and sound to foster quality learning environment. The objective of this manual is to promote a safe, secure and caring environment that facilitates and enhances quality teaching and learning processes in all schools in the country. It recommends that, there should be adequate provision of clean and well maintained facilities such as classrooms, toilets and other sanitation facilities (Ministry of Education, 2008). However, another report on Child Friendly School from the Ministry of Education indicates that primary and secondary schools still continue to experience many challenges relating to overcrowded classrooms and inadequacy of sanitation facilities (Ministry of Education, 2010).

A report from the Narok District Education Office (2008) shows that secondary schools in Narok have an imbalanced provision of educational physical facilities. It is common to have schools with class sizes up to between 80-100 students. In some schools, there are inadequate classrooms, staff offices, laboratories, toilets, and libraries. In some situations it is observed that some secondary schools in Narok North District have structures of different sizes and constructed using different materials varying in quality from mud, timber iron sheet to building blocks. Some classes lack well fitted doors and window-panes, while others have leaking roofs, earthen and dusty floors. Many schools suffer from inadequate maintenance and have dusty compounds that are likely to be hazardous to the health of learners and teachers. This situation does not provide quality learning environment and therefore may have direct or indirect impact on the teaching and learning process and eventually, negatively effecting students’ academic performance.

Records from Narok District Statistics Office (2010), indicate that secondary schools in the district perform poorly at national examinations. Several reasons that have contributed to poor performance were given. These include inadequate provision of quality educational facilities, and poor planning of educational physical facilities. Therefore the school managers and parents need to be informed about the conditions of their school facilities in order to appreciate the difference facilities could make in the quality of education acquired by their children.

Statement of the Problem
Educational physical facilities need proper planning if they are to provide inspiration learning environments. According to Narok North District Statistics Office (2010), secondary schools in Narok Sub County perform poorly at national examinations. These schools have an imbalanced provision of educational physical facilities. It was observed that some secondary schools had classrooms of different sizes and constructed using different materials varying in quality from mud, iron sheets, timber and stones. In some schools, there were inadequate classrooms, staff offices, laboratories, libraries and sanitation facilities. Others had none, and where they existed, such facilities were poorly planned and maintained. These conditions existed in many schools despite the presence of the Education Health and Safety Standards Act that regulates the provision and maintenance of school physical facilities to provide quality learning environments. These differences in schools’ physical facilities could influence the quality of learning environments, student learning behaviour and in turn impact on academic achievement in the schools. It was therefore necessary to conduct this study to determine the influence of planning of physical facilities on the quality of learning environment, and whether this affected the quality of education provided by secondary school in the Sub County.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of planning of physical facilities on the provision of quality learning environment provided by secondary schools in Narok North Sub County.

Objectives of the Study
The study was guided by the following objectives:

i. To determine extent secondary schools use government provided guidelines on construction of educational physical facilities in Narok North Sub County

ii. To determine the quality of school physical facilities provided for teaching and learning in secondary schools in Narok North Sub County.

iii. To determine the adequacy of school physical facilities provided for teaching and learning in secondary schools in Narok North Sub County.

iv. To determine the relationship between planning of school physical facilities and quality of learning environment in secondary schools in Narok North Sub County.

Research Questions
The study was guided by the following research questions.

i. To what extent do secondary schools use government provided guidelines on construction of educational physical facilities in Narok North Sub County?

ii. What is the quality of school physical facilities provided for teaching and learning in secondary schools in Narok North Sub County?

iii. How adequate are the school physical facilities provided for teaching and learning in secondary schools in Narok North Sub County?

iv. What is the relationship between planning of school physical facilities and quality of learning environment in secondary schools in Narok North Sub County?

Significance of the Study
The study is intended to assist the stakeholders in the educational sector to understand the importance of planning of school physical facilities and how it influences the quality of learning environment.

The study may also assist the educational planners, school administrators, teachers, parents and learners to appreciate the relationship between planning of school physical facilities and the quality of learning environment. This study may also help the educational planners and the Ministry of Education to address the planning and quality issues in an effort to provide quality learning environment.

Improvement in quality of educational facilities may be of great importance to the government and the school administrators interested in enhancing teaching and learning process and learning environment. Appropriate planning of educational physical facilities may provide quality learning environment that may support students and teachers in achieving educational goals. It is assumed that with effective planning of physical facilities, and provision of quality learning environment there will be improved quality and education standards in Narok North Sub County and in the country at large. The school managers may appreciate the role of educational facilities, the nature of planning process and to adopt effective methods of facilities planning to improve quality of learning environment for the provision of quality education in Narok North Sub County.

Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in 21 public and 2 private secondary schools in Narok North District. The target and accessible population consisted of 23 Principals and 345 teachers. Educational official included one District Education Officer. Only Form Three classes were considered because they had spent the longest time in the schools than either form two or one. The study concentrated on the basic facilities that were used by students and teachers on daily basis that could have a direct impact on the teaching and learning process. The physical facilities included the sanitation facilities classrooms and classroom furniture which included desks and chairs. The study limited itself on influence of planning of secondary schools physical facilities on the provision of quality learning environment in Narok North Sub County

Assumptions of the Study
The study was conducted on the basis of the following assumptions: The questionnaires were adequate instruments for the study; the information given by respondents was honest; school management was aware of the MOE safety standards guidelines and government construction guidelines; Every school provided physical facilities for teaching and learning and the issue of planning, quality and adequacy of school physical facilities were adequately addressed.

Limitations of the Study
According to Nachmias and Nachmias (2009) limitations are conditions beyond the ability of the researcher that may place restriction on the conclusions of the study and their application to other situations. The study was to determine the influence of planning of physical facilities on the provision of quality learning environment provided by secondary schools in Narok North Sub County. These physical facilities include classrooms, libraries, sanitary facilities dormitories, dining halls and laboratories, but the study restricted itself to the classrooms and sanitation facilities as the basic physical facilities for teaching and learning.

The first limitation was on the part of obtaining information from the students where some were not willing to give information regarding their school for fear of victimization by their teachers. Efforts were made to assure them of confidentiality on their identities. The other limitation was on the part of the researcher to carry out the research in the whole of Narok North Sub County as the topic suggests. The researcher carried out the research in sampled schools.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 99 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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