BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDENTS INFLUENCING DROPOUT RATE OF UNIVERSITIES IN KENYA

BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDENTS INFLUENCING DROPOUT RATE OF UNIVERSITIES IN KENYA: A CASE OF JOMO KENYATTA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY

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MAUREL WAMBUA

A RESEARCH PROJECT SUBMITTED IN FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE IN COMMUNICATION AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES OF JOMO KENYATTA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY.

OCTOBER, 2018

DECLARATION

This research project is my original work and has not been presented to any other examination body.

________________________________ ____________________________
Maurel Wambua Date
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and
Techonology, Kenya

This research project has been submitted for examination with the approval of my supervisor.

________________________________ ____________________________
Prof. Date
JKUAT, Kenya

DEDICATIONS

To my loving family for encouragement and continuous support throughout my studies.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I highly acknowledge my supervisor and all other individuals who had significant role towards ensuring that this research proposal was completed. I thank my supervisor for tirelessly working hard without giving up till I submitted this work.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE

DECLARATION ii
DEDICATIONS iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS v
LIST OF TABLES ix
LIST OF FIGURES xi
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMES xii
OPERATONAL DEFINATION OF TERMS xiii
ABSTRACT xiv
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background of the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 6
1.3 Purpose of the Study 7
1.4 Objectives of the Study 7
1.4.1 General Objective 7
1.4.2 Specific Objective 7
1.5 Research Questions 8
1.5 Significance of the Study 8
1.6 Scope and Limitations 8
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 11
2.1 Introduction 11
2.2 Theoretical Framework 11
2.3 Conceptual Framework 12
2.3.1 Parents’ Level of Education Status 15
2.3.2 Parental Level of income 15
2.3.4 Family Size 18
2.3.4 University Dropout 21
2.4 Empirical Review 22
2.5 Critique of Existing Literature 24
2.6 Research Gaps 26
2.7 Summary 28
CHAPTER THREE 30
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 30
3.1 Introduction 30
3.2 Research Design 30
3.3 Location of the Study 30
3.4 Target Population 31
3.5 Sample Size 31
3.5.1 Sampling Procedure 32
3.6 Research Instruments 32
3.6.1 Questionnaire 32
3.7 Pilot Study 34
3.7.1 Instrument Validity 34
3.7.3 Instrument Reliability 34
3.8 Data Collection Procedure 34
3.9 Data Analysis Techniques 35
3.10 Ethical Considerations 35
CHAPTER FOUR 37
DATA ANALYSIS, PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION 37
4.1 Introduction 37
4.2 Response Rate 37
4.3 General Information on Respondents 38
4.3.1 Gender 38
4.4.2 Parents Level of Education Statements 42
4.5. Influence of Parental Income on Student Dropout Rate 42
4.5.1 Parents /Guardians Occupation 44
4.5.2 Parents /Guardians Occupation Statements 46
4.6 Influence of Family Size on Student Dropout Rate 47
4.6.1 Number of Family Members 49
4.6.2 Family Size Statements 49
4.7 Dropout Rate From Kenyan Public Universities 50
CHAPTER FIVE 53
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 56
5.1 Introduction 56
5.2 Summary of the Study Findings 56
5.3. Conclusions of the Study 59
5.4 Recommendations. 59
5.5 Recommendations for Further Research 60
REFERENCES 61
APPENDICES 66
APPENDIX 1: LETTER OF INTRODUCTION 66
APPENDIX 2: QUESTIONNAIRE 67

LIST OF TABLES

Table 3.1 Sampling Frame 28
Table 4.1 Response Rate 38
Table 4.2 Gender 38
Table 4.3 Age 39
Table 4.4 Working Experience 39
Table 4.5 Marital Status 40
Table 4.6 Parents/Guardian Level of Education 41
Table 4.7 A crossectional table showing the relationship between parent education and drop-out from university 41
Table 4.8 A crossectional table showing the relationship between parent education and drop-out from university 42
Table 4.9 A crossectional table showing the relationship between parent education and drop-out from university 43
Table 4.10 Parents /Guardians Occupation 45
Table 4.11. A crossectional table showing the relationship between lack of family income and drop-out from university 45
Table 4.12. A crossectional table showing the relationship between lack of family income and drop-out from university 46
Table 4.13. A crossectional table showing the relationship between family income and drop-out from university 47
Table 4.14. A crossectional table showing the relationship between poverty and drop-out from university 47
Table 4.15. A crossectional table showing the relationship between poverty and drop-out from university 48
Table 4.16. Number of Family Members 49
Table 4.17. A crossectional table showing the relationship between family size and unlikeliness for completion of university education 49
Table 4.18. A crossectional table showing the relationship between family size andunlikeliness for completion of university education 50
Table 4.19. A crossectional table showing the relationship between family size factors and drop-out from university 51
Table 4.20. A crossectional table showing the relationship between lack of basic needs and drop-out from university 51
Table 4.21. A crossectional table showing the relationship between number of students admitted is higher than the number of students who complete degrees and drop-out rate from university 52
Table 4.22. A crossectional table showing the relationship between class attendance and drop-out rate from university 53
Table 4.23. A crossectional table showing the relationship between absent in class and drop-out rate from university 54
Table 4.24. A crossectional table showing the relationship between absent in class and drop-out rate from university 54
Table 4.25. A crossectional table showing the relationship between absent in class and drop-out rate from university 55

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1: Conceptual Framework 15

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMES
GNP Gross National Product
EFA Education For All
HELB Higher Education Loans Boar ()
UNESCO United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

OPERATONAL DEFINATION OF TERMS

Socio-economic factors are the factors that emanate from societies social and economic way of life that affect the learners schooling (Kimondo, 2007)

ABSTRACT
The main objective of the study is to describe the background characteristics of students that influence the dropout rate from Kenyan public universities. The study specifically aimed to establish the influence of parental level of education on the drop-out of students from public universities in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, determine the relationships between the parental level of income and dropout of students from public universities in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and find out the influence of the family size on drop-out of students from public universities, in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The research adopted a descriptive survey design. The study was carried out at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kiambu County. The target population for the study was 12 staff and 15 students (Year 3 ; 4) at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The study applied a stratified random sampling technique to select a total of 27 people for this study. The main data collection instruments were the questionnaires containing both open-ended and close-ended questions with the quantitative section of the instrument utilizing both a nominal and cross sectional tables.. A pilot study was carried out to test the reliability and validity of the questionnaires. A descriptive statistics data analysis method was applied to analyze data aided by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to compute responses frequencies, percentage and mean. The findings were presented using tables and charts. The study established that parental level of education and drop-out of students went hand in hand and that the drop-out was influenced by the level of education of the parents. It was noted that parental income influences student drops out i.e. if the parents have no income their children may drop-out of college. The study noted that students dropped out of public universities either from big families or even when all their basic needs are met. This indicated that the family size is an important factor in influencing the dropout rate of students. The study concluded that parental level of education, parental income, and family size. The recommendations were that parents should be encouraged to come up with new strategies of increasing their earnings so as to increase their income and be able to pay fees for their children. Parents should be made aware of the importance of children education through seminars at the University and at the County level. The principals of the schools should come up with strategies to promote completion rate among students in public universities like motivating the students, guiding and counseling them and starting student’s welfare that will look into problems faced by them in college. The government and private agencies should intervene and provide more funds in the universities as bursaries so as to help students from low-income families finish their university education. The Ministry of Health should create awareness on the importance of family planning so that parents can easily manage to educate their children.

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
This section provides an overview of the background of the study, statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, objectives of the study, scope of the study, the significance of the study and the conceptual framework of the study. It introduces the main concept of socio-economic factors influencing drop-out of students from Universities in Kenya.
1.1 Background of the Study
According to the Education – Universalium (2012), education can be defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing a person intellectually for mature life. The Education – Universalium further expound that, education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge and skills, as for a profession. According to Murray (1999), education is what takes place in a societal institution of systematic planned learning.
Alvarez et al. regards education as a prime mover for the socio-economic development of countries and one that accounts for as much as 20% of the annual Gross National Product (GNP) of developing nations. According to Edward Lazear, this is considered so because education has been found to improve human productivity by imparting knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour traits collectively referred to as human, social and cultural capital which are essential in producing goods and services. Besides the productive value, education promotes a healthy living, harmonious co-existence, effective citizenship, population control, nutritional adequacy, and good child upbringing (Lazear, 2002).
Education is still considered as a fundamental human right as well as a catalyst for economic growth and human development (World Bank, 2008). In almost all developing countries, school dropout or low completion rates have been a subject of interest to academics, researchers, and policymakers for a long time. There is a general consensus that the school dropout problem has reached epidemic proportions internationally and has become a global problem confronting the education industry around the world (Oghuvbu, 2008). A report by UNESCO (2000) on the state of the world’s children, indicate, that about 130 million children in the developing world are denied their right to education through dropping out. To Maton and Moore (2010), the problem of dropping out should be the concern of every member of society since it has negative consequences at both the individual and social level. As a result, dropout is not a mere problem affecting or impacting an individual but one that affects the entire community as it has been observed that certain dropouts engage in crime (Jamil, et al., 2010).
Education has been cited by early economic experts as the cornerstone for all economic and social stability within any country (World Bank, 2005). Furthermore, education has the power to alleviate poverty all over the world through developing people’s skills that increase personal income and therefore the best way to attain self-reliance in economic growth and development (World Bank, 2004). Education is thus a very basic need and requires good organization so that the set Education For All (EFA) goals may be achieved. However poor organization of EFA resources has made it not to be attained and that’s why the rate of drop-out of the boy-child is on the increase (Mukudi, 2004).
Kamanja (2012), argues that the boy-child of the 21st Century is faced with many problems which unless properly addressed will result in the society losing him. This tremendous boy-child drop-out rate is a global problem and researches are being done to curb it. Although there has been some progress in improving school participation since 1990 after the world conference on Education For All (EFA) in Jomtien there are still high rates of drop-out especially for boys which may be as a result of socio-economic factors in many African countries (Smith, 2011).
Higher education is considered to be one of the main indicators of educational achievement in Kenya and other emerging economies in Africa (Breier, 2010). It is specifically seen as the prerequisite to eradication of poverty in Kenya. However, Kenyan universities face significant challenges in developing students with employability skills. However, lack of employment has not been cited as a contributor to university dropout in Kenya. From a historical point of view, the Kenyan higher education system has expanded significantly since independence in 1963. By 2009, Kenya had 7 public universities, more than 22 private universities, and 12 university colleges. Higher education in public universities in Kenya is funded by the government, Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and parents or guardians. Access to and completion of university education in Kenya is significantly influenced by socio-economic factors. This is depicted by disparities in the fees paid by government-sponsored and privately sponsored students. Njoroge et al., (2016) reveals that students from poor families who fail to get government sponsorship to in higher education have a high risk of attrition and dropout.
According to Kanes (2004), the problem of boy-child drop-out globally is on the rise. He points out that both high and low social classes of people are affected by the drop-out of boys from school. According to his study, 30 % of students in the United States leave school before completing the intended education cycle. A research carried out by Siddhu (2011) found that India has boy dropout rate of 12% while Asia has boy dropout rate of 5%.
In Kenya, girl-child education is elusive. According to Mwangi, (2004) a combination of factors including poverty, disease and regressive cultural practices continue to deny the girl-child her right to education. Besides the introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE), access to education still remaining a wide dream to many Kenyan children especially girls who still find themselves out of school due to a number of reasons (Hunt, 2008). Some of these reasons include; assisting in looking after their young siblings; doing house chores, child marriage, the death of a mother, and looking after the sick member of the family. Some of these young girls are married contrary to their wish and when they try to decline such proposals, they are threatened with death. Such children are usually married off at a young age in quest of dowry from the husbands. The girls continue to lament that because of such setbacks they have been unable to escape from poverty and their parents equally have nothing to show for the dowry received. Some of the parents justify their actions of denying the girls their right to education as a way of preventing them from bringing shame to the family through teenage pregnancy (Hallman and Grant, 2006).
Shiels et al. (2011) indicate that university dropout is a challenge that policymakers, parents, and college administrators across the world have faced in the past few decades. Even though the rate of university dropout varies from college to college, province to province and country to country, policymakers, parents and college administrators need to come together to find practical and long-term solutions. Cuseo (2010) argues that the problem of university dropout is determined by the reasons why students do not complete their higher education. Notably, university dropout can be involuntary. Students who drop-out of college due to a violation of university regulations or administration non-fulfillment often leave involuntarily. Students who drop-out of university due to economic constraints also often leave involuntarily. On the other hand, those who seek to go to another college or to pursue a different course often leave on a voluntary basis. Hunt et al. (2012) demonstrate that university dropout is a concern when students leave involuntarily.
There are some factors which extensively contribute to an increase in students’ dropout. In this respect, the findings of Holcamp (2009) support the argument that some socio-cultural factors highly impact girls’ dropout rate through those factors also contribute to boys’ dropout rate but to a lesser extent. Therefore, we can argue that some particular factors produce a poor educational outcome which consequently increases the dropout rate for girls. Therefore, from this viewpoint, the main objective of this paper is to clarify which factors contribute to the increase in the dropout rates. Dropout rate does not arise through a single factor; it is a combination of several factors. A number of studies have been conducted on students’ dropout issue based on particular regions, societies and cultural perspectives in various parts of the world. In this paper, we accumulate the factors and illustrate a conceptual model of dropout for students which can give further opportunity to researchers to view the relevant factors on students’ dropout issue.
According to Mutwol (2013), overall wastage rates in Kenya range from 30% – 40 %. This is very discouraging because the government uses a huge amount of public expenditure on education. According to the 2011 economic survey report, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MoEST) takes the lion’s share of the budget. For example, in the financial year 2002 – 2003 the ministry was allocated 64.1 Billion shillings, with this figure rising to 193.3 billion shillings in the financial year 2010 – 2011 (Mudemb, 2013).
Findings from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology reveal that not all the students who enroll in Universities finish with their education cycle (MoEST, 2007). It is thus clear that some students drop-out due to varying individual reasons. It has already been noted that a high number of dropout in the public universities are boys. Moreover, despite the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) disbursement and bursary allocations to the needy students (boys) in public universities, students have continued to drop-out (MoEST, 2007). This massive dropout of boys is thus a cause for alarm.
It is against this backdrop that this investigation seeks to find out the relationship between socio-economic factors and university drop-out rates in the public universities in Kenya. Where the study will seek to answer the following questions: How does a parental level of income contribute to the rate of students drop-out in Kenyan public universities? What is the relationship between the size of the family and the drop-out rate from Kenyan public universities? and; What is the relationship between parental education status and the dropout rate of students from Kenyan public universities? The study will focus on socio-economic factors that influence college dropouts in Public Universities in Kenya. Where, dependent variable, University Drop-out as affected by the independent variables, socio-economic factors which have the elements namely parents’ level of education, parental income level and the size of the family.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
University dropout in Kenya is one of the topical areas in sociology of education that has not been addressed by researchers. The specific socio-economic factors that influence the high rate of dropout of students from universities in Kenya have not been explored by researchers. This is regardless of the close correlation between socio-economic status and student attrition in universities. University dropout impacts negatively on students, families and the Kenyan community at large. This is because inability of students to finish their education impacts negatively on their overall wellbeing and participation in growing the local economy. Lack of research on the socio-economic characteristics that contribute to increase in university dropout in Kenya reveals that policy makers and other stakeholders have no scientific basis for implementation of practical solutions to the problem. Planning for positive educational outcomes of students at the community, university and national level requires access to reliable scientific data. This planning is important because high rates of university dropout impacts negatively on the realization of Kenya’s vision 2030. Research findings indicating the rate of attrition in Kenyan universities is 37% (Njoroge et al., 2016) are worrying. This is because universities that record a high rate of attrition suffer from high rates of dropout (Clinciu, 2013). Poor graduation rates from medical and engineering courses offered in Kenyan universities indicates that the current problem of inadequacy of professionals will persist. Therefore, it was important to undertake the study to investigate the background characteristics of students influencing drop-out rate of public universities in Kenya.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of background characteristics of students on dropout rate from public universities and colleges in Kenya.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.4.1 General Objective
The main objective of the study is to describe the background characteristics of students that influence dropout rate from Kenyan public universities.
1.4.2 Specific Objective
The specific objectives of the study are highlighted below.
1. To establish the influence of parental level of education on the drop-out of students from public universities case study Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
2. To determine the relationships between the parental level of income and dropout of students from public universities case study Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
3. To find out the influence of the family size on drop-out of students from public universities, case study Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
1.5 Research Questions
1. What is the relationship between parental education status and the dropout rate of students from Kenyan public universities?
2. How does parental level of income contribute to the rate of students’ dropout in Kenya public universities?
3. What is the relationship between the size of the family and dropout rates of students from Kenyan public universities?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study will contribute to an in-depth understanding of socio-economic factors and student characteristics that contribute to the rate of university dropout in Kenya. Through this study, stakeholders, who include the government, universities, the community, and parents, will be able to understand the problem of university dropout from a theoretical framework. The study will also provide a clear picture of the challenges that cause university dropouts from firsthand accounts of students in public universities. This means that the study will provide a realistic view of the problem that will shape the adoption and implementation of practical solutions. More importantly, the study will clarify on a specific student, university, family and community factors that cause an increase in university dropout rate in Kenya with a view of recommended relevant solutions. In addition, the findings of the study will allow stakeholders to determine the changes they need to implement in order to increase the chances of students graduating from universities.
Problematic socio-economic characteristics of students that contribute to the rate of dropout from Kenyan universities will be revealed through the study. This will enable universities to implement effective regulatory and policy frameworks that promote positive social behaviors among students. Furthermore, the study will influence positive policy changes pertaining to the funding of higher education in Kenya. Such changes will enable students with socio-economic challenges to finish their academic programs and graduate. The findings and recommendations of the study will contribute to the realization of Kenya’s Vision 2030. This is because an increase in completion rates will promote the development of the local economy due to the contribution of graduates to positive social and economic change. The study will also fill current gaps in the literature on socio-economic factors and characteristics of students that contribute to high university dropouts in Kenya. Therefore, the research will add into current knowledge on the experiences of university students, the challenges they face and solutions that will enhance their chances of completing their higher education within the stipulated period of time.
1.6 Scope and Limitations
The study will be limited to public universities in Kenya. Notably, the study will focus on assessing the experiences of students in public universities in the context of socio-economic factors. The study will also be limited to government-sponsored students. In this sense, the research will seek to assess the specific socio-economic attributes or characteristics of government-sponsored students in public universities that influence their studies and propensity to complete higher education and graduate. Research data will be collected from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

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