Tackling unemployment through vocationalisation of education is a strategy that has worked in countries such as United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Mozambique among others. It is in the light of this that the study sought to evaluate the methods of teaching Home Science in secondary schools for the purpose of informing policy on quality education delivery in vocational education. Home Science is a vocational subject which, if effectively taught; impacts learners with practical skills and attitudes necessary in equipping graduates with the ability to transform themselves into self-employed citizens. This study sought to investigate the influence of classroom practice of Home Science on employability in Kakamega County. The study objectives were; to create sensitization on the problem of unemployment among the youths in Kakamega County, to examine the methods used in teaching Home Science in Secondary Schools in Kakamega County, to identify the competencies developed through Home Science that are related to employability in Kakamega County and to establish the challenges affecting the teaching and learning of Home Science in Secondary Schools in Kakamega County. The study adopted a descriptive survey design in which 188 respondents were sampled to take part. Respondents were identified from Secondary Schools in Kakamega Central teaching Home Science subject. Respondents from the study included students, Home Science teachers and head teachers. The study used questionnaires for Home science teachers and students and an interview schedule for head teachers in collecting data. To ascertain validity of data collection instruments, a pilot study was undertaken before administering the instruments to respondents and feedback from the pilot study informed the corrections in the data collection instruments. Reliability of data collection instruments was ascertained through the use of test-retest method where Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient was computed and found to be reliable. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were employed in the process of data analysis. Study data was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) version 22.0 for windows. Descriptive statistics included frequencies and percentages. These were used to summarize and describe the study data. Inferential statistics used in the study included regression analysis, t-test, Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and Chi-Square. Inferential statistics were used to determine independence of scores and relationships between and among study variables. All statistical procedures were computed at 95% confidence level. Study findings revealed that there were significantly high rates of unemployment in Kakamega County. It was also found that class room lecture method, practical method, discussion method, group work, field work and project methods were the preferred methods for teaching Home Science in Secondary Schools in Kakamega County. Further still, the study established that offering Home Science in Secondary Schools in Kakamega County did not have a significant relationship with unemployment trends and that there was a statistically significant positive relationship between policies and effectiveness of teaching methods for Home Science in Kakamega County. The study has stretched the frontiers of knowledge with regard to the relationship between teaching methods and effectiveness of delivery on vocational subjects. Recommendations have been made regarding a number of measures that could enhance the quality and relevance of Home Science and other vocational education subjects in creating employment especially for the youthful school leavers. These measures include stakeholder involvement, limiting the number of schools teaching vocational subjects to only those with adequate equipment and increasing funding to support effective teaching and learning of vocational courses among others.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
This chapter presents background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study and research questions. Further still, assumptions and limitations of the study, theoretical framework, conceptual framework and the operational definition of terms have also been covered.
Background to the Study
Whereas secondary education was once viewed as academic preparation for entrance in to higher education, over the years greater attention has been given to the relevance of what is taught at the secondary School level to preparing graduates for the world of work. This in so doing meets the needs of not only those who go into higher education but also those likely to get paid or self employment immediately after completing secondary school. It is where the relevance of vocationalisation comes in. Vocationalising education provides more training opportunities for the increasing number of students completing school with a view to preparing them for self- employment through the promotion of the requisite practical skills, knowledge and attitudes.
Vocationalised Secondary education is here understood as being a curriculum which remains overwhelming “general” or academic in nature, but which also includes vocational or practical subjects as a minor portion of the timetable during the Secondary School course. The greater that portion becomes, the more training and vocational education (TVE) is required in terms of time and objectivity for purposes of employment preparation.
A “diversified” curriculum structure can be seen as a means to greater equality of opportunity because it would purportedly cater to a wider range of talents and prepare for a wide range of future activity than to purely academic curriculum. This view has historically been part of the rationale for comprehensive secondary schools in many countries. There is the international influence of the US high schools Model. Some African countries have historically been influenced by North American or by Soviet models of comprehensive secondary school. Vocationalisation of Secondary Education Revisited (Maclean and Wilson, 1999).
In Ghana, a key feature of the 1987 Education Reform Programme was the provision of vocational education at both the 3 – year junior and 3 – year Senior Secondary School level in order to equip students with skills for paid or self employment. All junior secondary school (JSS) students were to study a ‘pre-technical’ subject (Akyeampong, 2005).
The Botwana government newspaper, Daily News (7 October 2002) reported that president Festus Mogae had the following to say at the 30th Anniversary of Manu Senior Secondary school. The primary focus of Botwana has been to prepare Botswana for a transition from traditional agro-based economy to an industrial one… diversified and expanded curriculum that includes practical subjects that would enhance the development of entrepreneurship and employment skills among school leavers (Weeks, 2005).
In Kenya, Vocationalisation on a large scale was chosen in the 8 – 4 – 4 reform of 1986, in order to help the transition of Secondary school leavers into employment and further vocational training. A practical oriented curriculum was to offer skills for a wide range of employment opportunities. The new system was to ensure that students graduating at every level would have
some scientific and practical knowledge that could be utilized for self –employment, or further skills training. There was also some concern with preparing students so that they would better adjust to the domestic worlds. All secondary schools were required to offer vocational subjects. (Mwiria, 2005).
The issue in the African countries, at the heart of policy debate on vocationalisation has undoubtedly been “economic relevance”. By teaching vocational skills, the hope has been that students would more easily find work when they leave school, and become more productive and trainable, sometimes a declared goal in preparation for self-employment.
This research is an extension to the study on Vocationalisation of Secondary Education in Kenya by Kilemi Mwiria (2005) prepared for the Vocational Skills Development Review, which was carried out in 2002 – 2005 by the Human Development Department in the World Banks Sub – Sahara Africa regional department. The study yielded discouraging findings on the failure of vocationalisation in Kenya. It provided a review on the results of implementation of the vocationalised reform (8-4-4) system of secondary education. Under the 8-4-4 system the secondary school curriculum was expanded to include a number of practical subjects that prepared learners for practical challenges of the labour market and industry in general. Some of the applied subjects such as Home science, Agriculture, Business studies (Accounting, Commerce and Economics), and Industrial Education were introduced into the curriculum prior to 1986.
This research narrows the problem and selects to study an individual vocational subject; Home Science, reviewing the methods of teaching Home Science with the rationale of assessing if the
learning outcome translates into employment. The employment factor is the expected outcome of the 8-4-4 reform, a system introduced to vocationalise the school education in Kenya. Exploring a narrower scope, Home Science for this matter provides a clear link of skills taught and how they apply for a secondary school leaver to get paid or self-employed. It is upon this backdrop that the study sought to investigate the influence of classroom practice of Home Science on employability in Kakamega County.
Statement of the Problem
The specific objective of vocationalising the education system in Kenya was to enable Secondary School leavers to join the labour market with requisite skills and also enable them to access opportunities for further training in relevant institutions of higher learning. Therefore each vocational subject taught was to produce skills that would positively impact on employment in a respective area of job creation, tackling the challenge of youth unemployment crisis.
While the objective remains worth, there is need to assess the success of the reform measures implemented for the policy in order to ascertain if intended objectives set for vocationalisation are being attained. It was thought prudent that pilot studies may be launched for independent research to study specific vocational subjects and how their curriculum is delivered since the result determines the skills and attitudes learned which directly transform into employability.
It is in this context that this study sought to investigate the influence of classroom practice of Home Science on employability in Kakamega County.
Purpose of the study
The purpose for this study was to investigate the influence of classroom practice of Home Science on employability in Kakamega County
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the influence of classroom practice of Home Science on employability in Kakamega County
The study was guided by the following specific objectives;
- To create sensitization on the problem of unemployment among the youths in Kakamega County
- To examine the methods used in teaching Home Science in Secondary Schools in Kakamega County
- To identify the competencies developed through Home Science that are related to employability in Kakamega County
- To establish the challenges affecting the teaching and learning of Home Science in Secondary Schools in Kakamega County