DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON PUPILS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND SCHOOL PARTICIPATION: A CASE STUDY OF KIANDUTU SLUM – THIKA MUNICIPALITY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Domestic violence is a paradox because it occurs in the family, a place where people are expected to maintain intimacy and experience greater emotional support in their relationships. It is ironical therefore, that this very supportive social unit is also the arena where violence is experienced especially in urban slums with untold suffering to the partners involved and also on their children. Children who witness violence between their parents face increased risk for such emotional and behavioural problems as anxiety, depression, poor academic performance, low self-esteem, disobedience, nightmares and physical health complaints all of which may be associated with academic performance and school participation. This research aimed at analyzing domestic violence and its influence on pupils’ academic performance and participation in schools in Kiandutu slum of Thika Municipality. The study used cross-sectional survey on the targeted population, which was made of households living in Kiandutu slum with children going to the local primary schools. It explored cases and types of domestic violence and how they relate to academic performance and participation of pupils in school. The target population comprised of about 700 households from which 80 households were sampled using simple random sampling technique. The study used two sets of tool for data collection: household questionnaire and pupil school participation profile (PSPP). The data was collected in two phases. Phase I involved questionnaire administration at the household level while phase II involved administration of another set of questionnaire to the class- teachers in the primary schools attended by the 154 pupils in the selected households in phase I. Descriptive statistics of mean, standard deviation, frequencies and coefficient of variation as well as tables and charts were used to summarize the data. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), Pearson product moment correlation coefficient ( ), Chi-square ($²), and student t-test were used at 5% level of significance to test the hypotheses. The study revealed that domestic violence affects pupil’s academic performance and school participation. It also revealed prevalence of all the forms and extent of domestic violence investigated in this study. This study recommends that different education sector stakeholders should address domestic violence as a social vice in order to improve academic performance and school participation of children coming from the slum areas. Education policy makers, school administrators, teachers, local administrators, social workers and non governmental organisations (NGOs) should formulate strategies for addressing the ills of domestic violence and encourage socially inclusive intervention mechanisms within the slum areas. The legislative framework should incorporate protective laws against domestic violence and school participation, basic education rights and regulations. This study also recommends further research in order to investigate the pre- disposing factors that may exacerbate the influence of domestic violence on pupil’s academic performance and school participation in the slum areas.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background Information
Pupil school participation as seen in attendance, academic performance and class participation is related to their psychological and physical state which in turn could be influenced by family relations including domestic violence. Domestic violence is almost always accompanied by psychological abuse and in many cases by forced sex as well. Although the family is a place where people are expected to maintain intimacy and experience greater emotional support in their relationships, domestic violence presents itself as a paradox. It is ironical that this very supportive social unit is also the arena where intimate partner violence (IPV) is more often experienced. Children from slum areas, who witness violence between their parents on top of other social challenges, are exposed to the aftermath of domestic violence such as anxiety, depression, poor academic performance, low self- esteem, disobedience, nightmares and physical health deterioration all of which may negatively impinge on their academic performance and school participation.

The extent and magnitude of domestic violence cannot be precisely measured because there are many cases whereby victims fail to report thus making this vice an inter-personal and family secret. Violence between spouses or IPV usually has far reaching consequences on children. Besides the scenes of violence being traumatic, the children may suffer short- term as well as long-term emotional imbalances, which not only affect their behaviour and performance in schools, but also may adversely affect their social and interpersonal relationships. These children may then end up being abusers themselves in what can be seen as continuity hypothesis. Children who witness violence between their parents often develop many of the same behavioural and psychological problems as children who are themselves abused (Tony, 2002).

According to United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), domestic violence in Kenya has revealed high figures as indicated in a study carried out in eight provinces of Kenya (Prem & Essd 2003). Among the findings of that study was that 41% of women have been sexually abused, 61% of women have been physically abused one time or several times as adults and that the peak period for physical and sexual abuse is between 21 and 30 years of age. Thus, the possible implication of this is that the children who witness violence between their parents are more able to express their fears and anxieties regarding their parents’ behaviour. They therefore can exhibit difficulties with schoolwork including poor academic performance, not wanting to go to school and difficulties in concentration (Wexler, 1990). Similarly, Raphaela (2005) affirm such children as constantly fighting with peers, rebelling against adult instructions and authority and being unwilling to do school work.

Most researches have examined the direct impact of violence on its victims; with little attention directed to the effect that physical and /or sexual victimisation of women and girls may eventually have on their offspring. There is evidence suggesting that women who are victimized suffer emotional and behavioural consequences that interfere with effective and nurturing parenting, which then can affect their children’s development and behaviour (Sedlak & Broad Hurst, 1996). Prospective studies of children who have been abused have shown that during their adolescent and adult years they are more likely to experience symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), be arrested for non-violent and violent crimes, develop substance abuse disorders, be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, and demonstrate lower levels of intellectual ability and academic achievement than children who have not been victimized, even after controlling for other family characteristics often associated with poor outcomes, such as poverty and parental substance and arrest (Widorn, 1999). Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year. About two-thirds of abused children are being parented by battered women. Of the abused children, they are three times more likely to have been abused by their fathers (Tony, 2002).

The Kenya Government’s policy on primary education was to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2005, which was a key strategy towards attaining the overall Education for All (EFA) goal by 2015. Attaining UPE would ensure that all Kenyan children eligible for primary schooling have opportunity to enrol and remain in school, to learn and acquire quality basic education and skills training. In pursuit of this policy objective, the Government introduced Free Primary Education (FPE) in January 2003, which resulted in an increased enrolment of children from 5.9 million in 2002 to 7.2 million in formal public schools alone in 2004. Another 300,000 primary school-age children were enrolled in non-formal learning centres. But despite this rapid influx, about one and a half years later, an estimated 1.7 million children and youth (1.5 million aged 6-14 years and 200,000 youth) who for various socio-economic reasons had been unable to access education had dropped out of primary schools countrywide (Kenya & UNESCO, 2004/2005). This problem was and is particularly acute in informal urban settlements like Kiandutu slum; Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) and areas exhibiting pockets of poverty across the country. The possible pitfalls that might reduce the participation and academic performance of pupils in primary schools could be the result of trauma, neglect, physical, sexual, verbal, emotional abuse and any other forms of domestic violence normally common in such hardship areas. Increasing cases of domestic violence are being reported in Kenyan urban slums including Kiandutu in Thika Municipality (Wambui, 2000). The slum has five primary schools (Garissa Road, Kianjau, Mugumo-ini, General Kago, and Athena) all of which draw a good number of their pupil population from this slum.

Statement of the Problem
While domestic violence has been recognised as one of the most entrenched and pervasive forms of violence in Kenya today, its influence on school going children have yet to receive the same degree of attention (Tony, 2002). This is despite the fact that every year in Kenya thousands of children as well as women suffer physically, psychologically, and sexually as a result of acts of violence against them in the home- in the urban as well as in the peri-urban areas such as Kiandutu in Thika Municipality. Despite the introduction of FPE about 20% of school aged children in Kenyan urban slums including Kiandutu have dropped out of school (MOEST, 2005). Children who are victims or witnesses of domestic violence may develop physical, psychological and behavioural problems as a result of physical, verbal, psychological and other forms of violence. This may affect their participation in school as they may go to school when they are too scared to learn and a good number of them may lag behind in class as well as in life due to exposure to domestic violence (Wathen, 2003). The short-term and long-term emotional and physical aftermath of domestic violence may affect pupil’s school attendance, academic performance, and behavioural patterns in school and class participation. It’s unclear how the types and extent of domestic violence affect pupil’s academic performance and school participation, but this study sought to investigate this scenario.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to explore domestic violence and establish its influence on academic performance and school participation of pupils in Kiandutu slum.

Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study were to:

1. Establish the extent of various forms of domestic violence among households of different socio economic characteristics in Kiandutu slum.

2. Determine the influence of domestic violence on pupil’s school attendance in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

3. Determine the influence of domestic violence on academic performance of pupils in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

4. Determine the influence of domestic violence on school behavioural patterns of pupils in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

5. Determine the influence of domestic violence on pupils’ class participation in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

6. Determine the influence of domestic violence on primary school dropout rates among children in Kiandutu slum.

Hypotheses
Ho1 There is no significant difference in the extent of various forms of domestic violence among households of different socio-economic characteristics in Kiandutu slum.

Ho2 Domestic violence does not significantly influence pupils’ school attendance in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

Ho3 Domestic violence does not significantly influence pupils’ academic performance in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

Ho4 Domestic violence does not significantly influence pupils’ school behavioural patterns in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

Ho5 Domestic violence does not significantly influence pupils’ class participation in primary schools in Kiandutu slum.

Ho6 Domestic violence does not significantly influence primary school dropout rates among children in Kiandutu slum.

Significance of the Study
By revealing the extent of domestic violence among Kiandutu slum dwellers in Thika municipality and showing the influence it has on primary school pupils school participation and academic performance, the study may assist different education sector stakeholders in addressing domestic violence as a social vice and to improve the academic performance and school participation of children coming from the slum areas. Education sector policy makers, school administrators and teachers may use the findings of this study to formulate strategies for implementing FPE that promote participation of children coming from families vulnerable to domestic violence.

The local administration and social workers as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may use these findings in identifying such families, abused children and in formulating strategies for addressing the ills of domestic violence and encourage socially inclusive intervention mechanisms within slum areas. The study may also benefit the legal or legislative framework by providing information needed to incorporate protective laws against domestic violence and school participation, basic education rights and regulations. The results may also contribute to the national debate on domestic violence and its control as well as insights into more research on the causes, impacts and relationships of domestic violence with other elements of economic and social well-being of society.

Assumptions of the Study
This study made the following assumptions:

1. The respondents were to co-operate and provide honest responses to the questionnaires. This was seen important as this study demanded honest exposition of the forms and extent of domestic violence among the households selected.

2. The influence of financial constraints on pupils’ school participation was comparable owing to the introduction of FPE and the slum conditions.

3. The influence of other financial requirements such as school levies and finances for uniforms were taken to be almost similar to all households in Kiandutu slum.

4. That the examinations undertaken in the municipality are the same for all the primary schools within.

Scope of the Study
The study focussed on the forms of domestic violence in relation to spousal and child abuse regarding verbal, psychological/emotional, physical, and sexual and child labour. This study also looked at pupil’s school participation indicators such as attendance/absenteeism, behaviour patterns, class participation and the number of children (school children) out of school. The study limited itself to primary schools since it is where free education has been institutionalised and not in the secondary schools where other factors such as ability to pay school fees may have influenced pupil’s academic performance and school participation. Pupil school participation was measured by the number of days the pupil was absent from school, behaviour patterns which include discipline and interaction with other pupils, the level of pupil class participation and the number of children of school going age but are out of school. Academic performance was measured by the getting the mean score in examinations of a pupil in the past one year. The study was limited to Kiandutu slum area and in the five schools, which draw their pupil population from this slum. These are Garissa Road, Athena, Mugumo-ini, General Kago and Kianjau primary schools.

Limitations of the Study
1. Although the researcher employed Life History Calendar (LHC) method in an attempt to trigger respondents’ recall, there were still some respondents who had compartmentalised their experiences to domestic violence and therefore they did not seem to have noted its effect on their children especially those who had remarried after the death of their spouse or divorce and were now not experiencing domestic violence in their relationship with their current spouse.

2. Security concerns within the slum area posed a great challenge to the researcher. Thus she was forced to use some proxies in some instances in order to access some respondents. However, this was seen to create some anxiety in some respondents and therefore posed a barrier to some respondents’ opening up.

3. The researcher was unable to analyse responses in more details as the primary impetus for the questionnaire was to collect information on the extent and forms of domestic violence. Therefore no follow-up was made to counsel or make referrals of the affected spouses to the appropriate social facilities for further management and to prevent further exposure to violence of their children which would improve their academic performance and general school participation.

4. Since IPV is often committed in privacy, verifying respondents’ experiences of IPV was difficult unless couples were observed 24 hours a day. Such an approach would have not only posed enormous ethical and practical difficulties, but would also have affected the occurrence of IPV.

5. This study found out that individuals were less reporting their own acts of abuse than those of their partners, and that the tendency to respond in socially desirable manner was associated with lower reporting of a person’s own use of violence. Since questionnaires by their nature depend on self-reporting, the researcher was unable to determine the sensitivity or specificity with this tool as the actual incidences of domestic violence in our population is not known.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 85 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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