Subject choice leading to post secondary school career choice for school leavers in Kenya has become more challenging in the light of competition for admissions to relevant University, tertiary institutions’ courses and access to job opportunities. Many students miss relevant placement for agricultural courses and employment opportunities due to wrong subject combinations in secondary school. The problem that was investigated was the reasons for the decline in enrolment in Agriculture subject in secondary schools especially in Nakuru and whether there was a relationship between the low enrolment and variables like; performance of agriculture subject in the previous KSCE results, availability of teaching and learning resources and the category of the school on the students’ choice of agriculture in secondary schools in Nakuru County, Kenya. The study used an ex-post facto research design. The target population composed of 7955 Form Three agriculture students and 18 agriculture teachers in Nakuru County. A sample of 367 Form Three agriculture students was selected using stratified random sampling technique. The different school categories formed the strata. Two sets of questionnaires were developed for the study. One set was used to collect data for the students and the other set was used to collect data for teachers. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Pearson Moments Correlations (r) and Spearman’s (Rho) tests were used to examine and analyze relationships among study factors. Hypotheses were tested at 0.05 alpha levels. The study revealed that several factors including schools are related to students’ choice of agriculture subject. The study recommended that the subject should have relevant resources and facilities to reflect its practical nature and promote subject choice. The findings of the study may be useful to curriculum developers and policy planners in developing policies and strategies that will increase and sustain secondary school students’ interest and participation in agriculture subject in Nakuru County and the entire country, Kenya.

Background of the Study
Education systems worldwide are characterized by several optional subjects that students have to choose from for their future careers. There is a need for every student choosing a subject leading to a career to understand the implications and consequences of making such choices. In USA for example, the students choosing vocationally oriented subjects tend to do it, having been fully exposed to the implications of their choices and having acquired a substantially better understanding of general educational skills in their future occupations (Mustapha & Greenan, 2007). A choice in agriculture as a learning subject at a high school level in the USA is motivated by three main categories of learning experiences: classroom instruction, Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), and learning by doing through youth agricultural activities such as the Young Farmers Association (YFC) and the Future Farmers of America Organization (FFA) as argued by (Phipps, Osborne, Dyer, Ball, Lloyd, Edward., 2008 & Konyango, 2010) has led to increased number of students pursuing the course.

In Malaysia, vocational agricultural education has produced educated, skilled and motivated workforce in the agricultural industry. This finding is based on the view that technical and vocational education is considered as an important measure for development of workforce (Syeda, 2011). In Bangladesh, technical subjects, agriculture included, are highly recognized due to their contribution to national development in areas of man-power creation and running of industries (Gazi, 2008).The vocational education in other parts of the world, for example, in Europe is characterized by students taking vocational courses with a substantially better understanding of general educational skills (Mustapha & Greenan, 2007).

The countries in African continent, take agriculture as an optional subject, except in South Africa and in Uganda where agriculture subject is not optional(Ajidagba, 2010). Attracting youth to and retaining them in the agriculture sector remains a global challenge. Many developing countries, such as Uganda, are faced with the challenge of ensuring food security for their growing populations amidst a decline in youth engagement in agriculture (Ahaibwe, Mbowa, & Lwanga, 2013; Mukembo, 2013). Although the employment opportunities available in the sector continue to increase for graduates in agriculture, in many countries, too few youth have embraced food production as a career field (Food and Agriculture Organization, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, & International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2014; Kruijssen, 2009; Russell, 1993). According to Uganda Secondary School Examinations (UCE Examinations, 2013) Agriculture belongs to group (V) which includes Science Subjects (500 General Science, 527 Agriculture: Principles & Practice, 535 Physics, 45 Chemistry, and 553 Biology).

Whereas in Kenya, agriculture as a subject of study in high schools has been in the curriculum since the introduction of the subject in Kenyan high schools since 1959(Konyango, 2015) the recognition with reference to student choice poses challenges. This is due to the grouping of subjects in which the subject is grouped with ten other subjects including; Home Science, Art and Design, Woodwork, Metalwork, Building Construction, Power Mechanics, Electricity, Drawing and Design, and Aviation Technology, Computer Studies and Business Studies from which a student chooses only one even if the school offers two from the group. This grouping creates a challenge for learners to choose the subject. The above is further complicated with a Kenyan policy on KCSE in which there are three compulsory subjects: Mathematics, English and Kiswahili, any two science subjects, one humanity subject, one technical subject comprising a minimum of seven subjects for grading (KIE, 2002). There are other twenty three subjects, Agriculture included, to choose from (Table 1) below is a reflection of the challenge a student may face in making a choice for agriculture....

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 68 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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