TEACHERS’ AND STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS ON THE INFLUENCE OF SELECTED FACTORS ON PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN KISWAHILI LANGUAGE AT KCSE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NJORO SUB-COUNTY, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Kiswahili is one of the most widely used languages for communication in the world. It is a lingua franca for Eastern Africa and the neighbouring countries. In Kenya it is the national language of communication. It is also one of the core subjects taught in secondary schools’ curriculum. However, the performance has not been good. The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers’ perception on the influence of selected factors on students’ performance in Kiswahili language at KCSE level in public secondary schools in Njoro Sub-county. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The target population of the study was 3256 students and 55 Kiswahili teachers while the accessible population comprised of 2340 students and 55 Kiswahili teachers from 19 public secondary schools in Njoro Sub-county. Probabilistic sampling formula by Krejcie & Morgan, (1970) was used to select a sample size of 330 students from the 19 secondary schools. All the Kiswahili teachers from the accessible population participated in the study through census method. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the sampled respondents. These instruments were validated by supervisors, professionals and research experts from the department of Curriculum and Instruction and Education Management of Egerton University. Cronbach’s Alpha was used to measure the level of internal consistency of the items in the instruments to ascertain its reliability. The alpha coefficient for the teachers’ questionnaire was 0.82 while that of students’ questionnaire was 0.81 and therefore accepted for this descriptive study. Data was coded then analyzed with the help of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The results were presented using percentages, means and frequency distribution tables. The study found that there was a positive relationship between the teachers’ workload and students’ performance in Kiswahili language but not significant at the 0.05 significance level as indicated by a correlation coefficient of 0.053 and a p-value greater than 0.05. The study also reported a positive and significant relationship between instructional materials and students’ performance in Kiswahili language as supported by correlation coefficient of 0.317 and a p- value less than 0.05. It was established that there was a positive and statistically significant influence of teachers’ attitudes towards Kiswahili on the performance of students in the subject due to a correlation coefficient of 0.497 and a p-value less than 0.05. It was also revealed that students’ attitude towards Kiswahili language positively and significantly influenced their performance in the subject as denoted by a correlation coefficient of 0.147 and a p-value of less than 0.05.This study may be beneficial to all education stakeholders in Nakuru County and Kenya at large as it is hoped to shed light on how selected factors influence Kiswahili performance at KCSE level. The findings in this study may be useful to the Ministry of Education and school administration to take a corrective measure in improving Kiswahili language performance. The study may contribute to the wider knowledge, both in research and academics since the findings of the study may help future researchers, as a basis for further studies on Kiswahili language.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Language is a systematic means of communication by use of words or symbols. It is the process of communicating thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals such as voice, sounds, gestures or written symbols (Fasold & Linton, 2006). Kiswahili is one of the languages used in many parts of the world (Mulokozi 2002). In Kenya, it is the official national language as well as a compulsory subject of study at primary, secondary schools and teacher training colleges. It is also taught in many universities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the Middle East, Europe, Japan, China and USA among others. This language is also used as one of the broadcasting languages in Kenya, Africa and many world broadcasting corporations at large. Kiswahili is also one of the four national languages used in Congo Kinshasa and is extensively used in Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and Somalia. The language has made its presence felt in the world of art, music, theatre, movies and television programmes. Good performance in Kiswahili is so critical that its poor performance threatens the social– economic fabric in Kenya, not to mention the whole of East African region since is used at all its social-economic levels (Kimemia, 2001).

The promotion of Kiswahili language is not only in its use, but deliberate efforts are also being made throughout the world to include it in the curricula of higher institutions of learning (Akaka, 2011). Learners who acquire a good masterly of the subject are able to express themselves in Kiswahili and can even pursue it for further studies. According to the Ministry of Education secondary school syllabus, all students are expected to have acquired a good command of the Kiswahili language at the end of their four year secondary school education. This should be both in spoken and written forms to enable them communicate fluently, study Kiswahili text books and read for pleasure (K.I.E., 2002). Despite Kiswahili being a national and official language in Kenya, students’ performance in the subject is still low. For example, a total of 521,159 students who sat for Kiswahili at KCSE in the year 2015 obtained a mean of 47.93. This poor performance threatens Kiswahili growth since it is a discipline itself.

The use of sheng’ may have affected performance of Kiswahili negatively. In the recent past, Kiswahili like other languages has been hit by a wave of ‘Sheng’ speakers who are mostly adolescents and young adults. Sheng’ is an evolving hybrid language which exhibits immeasurable creativity, innovativeness and coinages in its lexicon (Makori 2011). Different theories have been advanced by researchers as to the exact origin of Sheng’ but they all agree at one point that the code started in the less affluent and slum areas of Eastlands of Nairobi (Ogechi 2005; Githiora, 2002; Abdulaziz & Osinde, 1997; Spyropoulos, 1987).Most of the Sheng’ words are introduced into the various communities and schools, given the wide exposure by music artists who include them in their lyrics. As Kimemia (2001) puts it, Sheng’ negatively influences the learning of Kiswahili and English, and therefore it should be discouraged. The best place to do this is in school.

Another challenge affecting Kiswahili language is the shortage of Kiswahili teachers. This has had some negative effects on the performance of students because teachers play a key role in the teaching/learning process and consequent performance of students. The Ministry of Education has failed to employ enough teachers thus leading to an acute teacher shortage in secondary schools. The student-teacher ratio for all subjects in secondary schools in Kenya including Kiswahili subject stood at 60:1 as at the year 2017 (Karega, 2017). Education Report of 2016 indicates that the country requires to employ 85,000 teachers in order to close the gap in various subjects including Kiswahili (Nyassy & Okwany, 2016). Lack of adequate time allocation for Kiswahili lessons is another challenge that affects its performance negatively. Time is an asset that should be utilized properly. Mutoro (2001) argues that the amount of time allocated to a particular subject influences the amount of learning that takes place in it, which in turn affects the performance of the students. The ministry of education has allocated Kiswahili six lessons in a week while English has eight lessons over the same period (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2009). This lack of allocation of adequate time for Kiswahili learning is yet another challenge which may influence the students’ performance negatively.

Teachers’ experience has also been argued to influence students’ performance in Kiswahili language. Adeyemi (2008) notes that teachers’ experience plays a significant role on the level of understanding and achievement of learners. A World Bank Report (1997) observes that there is a significant positive relationship between the number of years a teacher has taught and the achievement of students. Olembo, Wanga and Karugu (1992) acknowledge that demand on teachers increases considerably with increase in their teaching experience. Shiundu and Omulando (1992) observe that given the vital role teachers play in curriculum implementation, they need appropriate, relevant and continuous training to update their skills.

The teacher being the implementer of change at the classroom level needs to be kept abreast with new trends in education, especially new pedagogies through regular in-service courses.

Lack of adequate teaching and learning resources is yet another likely cause of poor performance of students in Kiswahili language. The significance of teaching/learning resources in any subject cannot be underrated as confirmed by Seidel and Scheerens (2005) who argue that the availability of teaching/learning resources enhances the teaching/learning effectiveness that can bring about improvement in academic achievement. Eshiwani (2003) further notes that most schools perform poorly due to lack of teaching and learning resources that make learning interesting to the learners. Barasa (2005) stresses that learning materials enhance better grasping of ideas. He further argues that well established schools with better resources perform well. In addition, in this study he found out that these well performing schools were more aware of the use of the new resources for language learning and teaching.

Ayot and Patel (1992) supports the need for schools to be well equipped with teaching and learning resources by arguing that, when teaching aids are used properly, they help the students to perform concrete physical actions or acquire abstract symbolization skills more easily. They continue to argue that teaching aids make learning easier and enjoyable since they allow stimulus variation thereby avoiding boredom. An indispensable teaching resource is the textbook. The textbook may be described as the core of instruction and therefore, it should be made available to students to make it easier for them to 1earn Kiswahili effectively and with ease.

Teachers’ attitudes towards Kiswahili language may also influence students’ achievement in the subject. Ombui (2012) argues that Kiswahili teachers’ attitude affects the students’ performance in national examinations. Brown (2007) supports this by observing that attitude of teachers in a school system provides the most valuable indicator of the problems to be faced than any other source. Richards and Lockhart (1994) argue that what teachers do is a reflection of what they know and believe, and those teachers’ knowledge and thinking provide an underlying framework which guides their classroom actions. William and Burden (2009) added to this by arguing that teachers’ actions are highly influenced by their beliefs and attitudes even more than they are determined by their knowledge. Therefore, teachers need to have a positive attitude towards Kiswahili in order to promote better attitudes among their students.

Students’ attitude is yet another challenge in Kiswahili language teaching. Positive students’ attitude towards learning Kiswahili is expected to develop as they progress through school. Kiptui and Mbugua (2009) argue that attitudes of students towards a particular subject have an implication on their academic achievement. Learning occurs more easily, when the learner has a positive attitude towards the language and learning. Shiundu and Omulando (1992) observe that students go to school with certain predetermined targets and aspirations for themselves. The teachers’ role is to encourage their students to develop a positive attitude in order to achieve them.

The number of lessons taught per week by Kiswahili teachers may influence his/her teaching effectiveness. Kamotho (2000) in a newspaper article argues that teaching load for Kiswahili teachers make it difficult for them to produce good results. He suggests that the workload of the Kiswahili teachers be therefore minimized so that they can handle the subject well and create interest in learners. This finding is also supported by Osagie and Okafor (2010) who argued that teachers workload is one of the factors that inhibited students’ academic achievement. The finding points to the negative impact of increased Kiswahili teachers’ workload on the teaching/learning process.

Lastly, Students’ Kiswahili language performance may also be affected negatively by inappropriate teaching methods applied by their teachers. Mondoh (2002) argues that teaching methods used by teachers affect the effectiveness of students’ understanding of the concepts taught in the classroom. The factors that guide the choice of a given method to be used in class by teachers are the objectives to be attained, the subject matter and learners’ entry behaviour (Kanoya, 1992). While appropriate methods enhance learner achievement, inappropriate ones stifle knowledge retention and application (Kiptui & Mbugua, 2009).

In spite of the benefits of a good mastery of the Kiswahili language, which include providing opportunities for further studies, an entry point in the job market, enabling students to express themselves using the language among others, its performance at KCSE level has been poor for many years in Kenya and in Njoro sub-county in particular. Candidates in a number of schools have been scoring a mean score of C- and below (MOEST Njoro Sub-county, 2016). Table 1 shows the mean scores of the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) results for the year 2011 to 2016.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 75 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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