INFLUENCE OF SELECTED CULTURAL PRACTICES ON GIRLS’ PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOL LEVEL IN KURIA DISTRICT, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Participation of girls in education seems to be dismal in many parts of the world, and it has become a real concern for many developing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya included. The dismal level of participation is attributed to the factors that influence girls’ enrolment, retention and completion of education at the secondary school cycle. Girl child education provides benefits to the family and the society at large thus factors influencing it should be addressed for the sake of human and societal development. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected cultural practices on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria District, Kenya. Specifically the study investigated the influence of female genital mutilation, gender roles, societal attitude and early marriages on girls’ participation in education at the secondary school level. This was considered crucial as Kenya strives to achieve Education for All by 2015. The study utilized descriptive survey design. 320 girls drawn from three public schools specifically forms 2 and 3 participated in the study. Simple random technique was used to select a sample of 175 for the study. A questionnaire based on the objective of the study was used to collect data that was analyzed by use of descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages), with the aid of the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) for windows version 18. The reliability of the instruments was at 0.77. This was considered an acceptable threshold. The research supervisors of Egerton University established the validity of the instruments before they were administered. The findings of the study revealed that selected cultural practices negatively influence girls’ participation in education at the secondary school level in Kuria district, Kenya. The study challenges members of the community that still value strong retrogressive cultural practices to reconsider their stand. In effect unless these factors are addressed, secondary school education will continue to be disadvantaged in Kenya school system. The study recommended that the Ministry of Education in Kenya should create awareness to all stakeholders on the importance of the girls’ education in the country. It further recommends that a study involving Sub-Saharan African developing nations experiencing low girls’ participation in education at the secondary school level be carried out to corroborate the findings.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
The girl child participation in education has become a real concern to the world particularly the developing countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya included .Girl child education contributes to family and the community at large, thus the selected cultural practices that influence girls’ participation in education need to be addressed. International organizations, Non governmental organization and the government of Kenya have addressed the quality of education in Kenya and particularly for girls. Despite such concern, girls’ participation in education in Kenya is still low at all levels as compared to other nations of the world. Dropout and repetition rates are higher for girls than boys in most districts in Kenya, (GOK, 1999). This has been perpetuated by cultural causes, in that the society gives priority to boys’ education. For example, biased gender roles, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages and societal attitude towards girl-child education, have been cited as accounting for the inequalities being realized,(Bala 2006).

Abagi (1995), noted that gender gap in education has its roots in the colonial period as is clearly indicated in history. While most governments attempt to increase girls’ participation (enrolment, retention and completion) in education, a lot needs to be done so that full participation is actually realized. Indeed, despite sensitization programmes, seminars and policy statements, many of the good intentions to improve girls’ education remain at the theoretical level. According to the Ministry of Education (2007), governments concentrate on provision of education for children, yet some societies still discriminate between sexes on the success to education.

Myers (2000) pointed out that equal opportunity strategies relating to gender have largely fallen off the educational agenda in recent years, unless they relate specifically to improving girls’ achievement. In addition, extensive social and economic changes, as well as the impact of second wave feminism in the second half of the twentieth century, have led to shifts in gender roles in western society, most easily evidenced in the ever-increasing numbers of women now engaging in paid work. Wango (2000) observed that despite the recent educational success of girls and women’s’ increased representation in the workplace, gender continues to contribute to behavior, choices and life outcomes. Francis (2000) found out that gender roles in the family remain largely unchanged and the most powerful jobs to be overwhelmingly dominated by men. Within education, male and female students continue to construct their gender identities differently with consequences for their learning and school experiences, (Francis 2000).

Francis (2000), further observed that research continues to demonstrate that a hidden curriculum helps to perpetuate, rather than to deconstruct, gender difference. Further, these gender constructions contribute to the subject choices made by students as soon as an element of educational choice is introduced. Such choices hold implications for their future career paths and quality of life. It is imperative that effective strategies for improving both girls’ and boys’ educational experiences and opportunities be identified and pursued. In the recent past, various governments, International Development Agencies, United Nations (UN), International and National Women’s’ Organizations and Professional Associations of developed policies have come up strongly to oppose the practices.

The Kuria community in Kenya has been resistant to change, it was not until the mainstream churches, NGOs and advocacy groups made efforts to create awareness on the dangers of cultural practices, whose influence was highlighted (Bala, 2006). However, very little progress has been realized, since inequality on the provision of education based on gender seems to persist in many parts of the district. It is very clear that inequality in the provision of education may have negative consequences not only to the individual but also to the community. Education is a means of evaluating the level of achievement for the purpose of training, employment and empowerment, which is the key to development of both the individual and the society. This study seeks to determine the influence of the selected cultural practices such as early marriages, sex roles, Female Genital Mutilation and, societal attitude, on girls’ participation (enrolment, retention, and completion) in education at secondary school level in Kuria district. This study intends to explore some of these variables, which may hinder or disadvantage the process of girls’ participation in education at the secondary school level.

Statement of the Problem
Inadequate education for girls means underdevelopment to the individual and the society in a given nation. In many parts of the world, enrolment shows a decline in the case for the girls. In Kuria district, girls’ participation in education at secondary school level seems to be quite low.

Cultural practices such as early marriages, gender roles, societal attitude, and Female Genital Mutilation, influence girls’ participation in education in regard to enrolment, retention and completion. Therefore there is need for more research into the selected cultural practices that influence girls’ participation in education at the secondary school level in Kuria district, Kenya

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected cultural practices on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district in Kenya.

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

i. Determine the influence of Female Genital Mutilation on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district.

ii. Establish the influence of gender roles on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district.

iii. Find out the influence of societal attitude on girls’ participation in education, at the secondary school level in Kuria district.

iv. Determine the influence of early marriages on girls’ participation on education at secondary school level in Kuria district.

Research Questions
The study addressed the following research questions.

i. What is the influence of Female Genital Mutilation on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district?

ii. Does gender role influence girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district?

iii. What is the influence of societal attitude on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district?

iv. Does early marriage influence girls’ participation in education at the secondary school level in Kuria district

Significance of the Study
The findings of the study may provide information on the influence of selected cultural practices on girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district, Kenya. It highlights some of the negative cultural practices and beliefs that impede girl-child education. The information may challenge the members of the society to reconsider such practices. The report may provide information that can be used by policy makers and educational administrators on problems facing girls’ education and ways of improving it at the secondary school level in Kuria district. The findings of this study may assist the government, Ministry of Education and other development partners in the evaluation and filling up the gaps in education for girls, giving them grounds for allocation of more resources for development at the secondary level in Kuria district. The report might form a source of reference to educators, teachers, scholars, educational planners and other agencies interested in girls’ education. This might in turn provide sustainable interventions to keep girls in school and enhance opportunity for them to compete favourably well in education.

Scope of the Study
The scope of the study targeted Kuria district in Kenya, three girls’ public secondary schools in Kuria district. The researcher’s interest was limited to selected cultural practices. The variables in the study included, FGM, gender roles, societal attitude and early marriage that influence girls’ participation in education at secondary school level in Kuria district.

Limitation of the Study
The study was guided by the following limitations

i. The selected populations value their cultural practices and it was difficult for them to respond accurately to the questionnaire due to suspicion. However the research er assured them of confidentiality.

Assumptions of the Study
The study was guided by the following assumptions:

i. That all girls of secondary school going age had equal opportunity for education at the secondary school cycle.

ii. That all the respondents gave the required information in an honest and accurate way.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 56 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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