Student Retention, Secondary Schools, East Kenya Union Conference (EKUC), Seventh-day Adventist Church
The study assessed students’ retention in secondary schools of the SDA Church in EKUC. It employed a concurrent mixed methods research design and adopted an exploratory approach using a descriptive survey. The subjects of the study included students, principals, the Conferences/Field Education Directors and the Board of Management (BoM) chairpersons. Based on expectancy theory of motivation, the study adopted the concurrent mixed methods research design. The target population was the twenty Seventh-day Adventist Church maintained Secondary Schools in EKUC. The unit of analysis was eleven secondary school principals, five education directors and, eleven chairpersons of the school boards of management (BOM) and 335 students. Cluster sampling technique was used to get the samples. The target population was divided into five clusters (principals, students, education directors and, board chairpersons). Samples were obtained from each of these clusters. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaires for students. Interview schedules were organized for education directors, the school BoM chairpersons and the principals for triangulation. Observation schedule was also organized. This targeted the school infrastructure and generally all what goes on in the school. The school learning facilities and the behavior of teachers in school was also captured here. The other instrument used was the tool for document analysis to collect data for 8 years. Students (335) were required to fill the provided questionnaire, but the eleven principals, five education directions and eleven BoM chairpersons were subjected to interviews. Documentary analysis method was used to get information on KCSE performance for the same period of eight years. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations. Documentary analysis was done on records about teacher retention. Content analysis was done on responses from interviews and in open-ended questions. The findings show that there were high numbers of students in Form 2 and 3 who dropped within the year and those who joined. Students were being replaced as they dropped out in some of the years. All in all, there were high annual turnover rates. This could affect the learning processes as well as students’ academic performance. The study recommends the need for schools to put in place strategies for ensuring that students learning facilities were available. Students should also be motivated to remain in school. Bursaries and sponsorships for students from poor backgrounds should be availed. Spiritual guidance, work programs and flexible fees payment mechanisms should also be instituted so as to support children from poor background to remain in school.
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