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Empowering Male Children for Sustainable Development

CHAPTER ONE 1.0 Background of the Study
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has a right to primary education and of which should be free. The boy child’s needs and interests have been neglected and marginalised by some educational policies, cultural practices, poverty, and many more factors which tend to subject the boy child to stressful conditions or alienate the boy child from the means of acquiring education, intra-family priorities, and the labour culture in Kenya. When affirmative action gained currency in Kenya, the needs and aspirations of the girl child were prominently amplified by the civil society, donor agencies, and lobby groups who included feminist scholars. This was followed by the concerted effort by the government of Kenya to address the plight of the girl child in Kenya. Today, a lot of attention has been directed to the girl child leaving the boy child quite vulnerable. Most programs in both the public and private sector are focused in improving the welfare of the girl child in education, health, and in the recruitment process.
Hence, this study addresses the plight of the boy child so that adequate effort is made to ensure that he accesses education without due regard to gender affiliations. The boy child of today has become vulnerable physically, mentally and economically. The simplest way to identify past achievements in child development is to observe the behaviour patterns of the current adult population. The rise of male battery in Kenya, the increase in cases of substance abuse amongst the youth, the rise of crime levels, the sharp increase in traffic accidents attributed to human error, the burning of public service vehicles during night hours, and the increase in the number of absent fathers is a reflection of bleeding Kenyan society.
The study contends that the empowerment of the boy child through education to avoid early drop out is quintessential to economic, social and political growth of Kenya as a whole. In general, insufficient government policies, widespread poverty, cultural practices that negate boy child education, partisan focus towards the plight of the girl child has negated the empowerment of the boy child educationally.
1.1 Statement of the Research Problem
The efforts which have been employed since independence to achieve gender parity in education have failed its objectives and manage effectively the empowerment of the boy child in Kenya. In spite of the government effort to enable both the boy child and girl child participation and access to education, there is still a high dropout rate in both primary and secondary levels. In an economic perspective, education is known to be a key determinant of economic growth and premature dropout means loss of potential productivity for the boy child. In an educational perspective, dropout raises the cost of achieving a targeted proportion of the population having some level of schooling (Hanushek, Lavy, and Hitomi 2006). Although drop out may appear insignificant in proportion but it is preponderant among the poor which thereupon turns the wheels of intergenerational transmission of poverty against them. At personal level, dropping out of school will mean consigning one to a future of low-income trajectory and abject poverty. The aim of this study is to identify these governmental policies, personal problems, and societal practices of the Luhya and Iteso communities in Busia County that account for high dropout levels of the boy child’s education. However, the dropout rate across genders has been a perennial problem in the Kenyan education system. Similarly like many parts of Kenya, Busia County has been experiencing a high dropout rate of male students in both primary and secondary schools. This study seeks to investigate the reason for this trend.
1.2 Research Questions
The research seeks to answer the following questions:-
What are the school based factors that keep the boy child out of school?
What socio-cultural factors lead to drop out of the boy child in Busia County?
What personal factors lead to boy child drop out from primary and secondary schools?
What are the possible factors of retention of the boy child in schools?
Does performance among the boys affect their dropout rate?
What are the possible policies gaps that encourage boy child drop out from schools?
1.3. General Objective
The main objective of this study is to investigate the factors leading to drop out of the boy child from primary and secondary schools and the role of government in ensuring the boy child is empowered educationally in Busia County.
1.3.1 Specific Objectives
The principle objectives of this study are:
To determine the school based factors that lead to drop out of the boy child in schools.
To establish socio-cultural factors that lead to drop out of the boy child in schools.
To establish boy child’s personal factors that lead to drop out from schools.
To suggest possible ways of enhancing retention of the boy child in schools.
To establish policy based factors that lead to drop out from schools.
1.3 Significance of the Study
The study is significant in that:-
The research findings and recommendations of the study would assist educational stakeholders, planners and policymakers to:
Identify, test and apply principles for successful achievement of gender balance in enrolment, successful completion of study and transition to the labour market
Promote the value of neutral governmental policies in ensuring both the girl child and the boy child attain their full educational potential
The research would provide information to the government of Kenya and other educational stakeholders on how to expand educational opportunities for both the boy child and girl child
The research will provide information on the role of cultural practices in curtailing or improving boy child education, and ways to reverse a negative trend
The study would be important in its attempt to identify ways that education stakeholders can initiate to enhance community involvement in the development of education in Kenya
1.4 Scope of the Study
The study is to be confined to primary pupils, secondary school students, teachers, head teachers, parents, out-of-school pupils, and county education officials in Busia County.
1.5 Definition of Terms
Drop out – Early withdrawal of pupils and students from primary and secondary schools respectively without completing the required primary or secondary school years and the concerned pupils or students do not enroll back to school again.
Gender – Social and cultural distinctions between men and women where distinctions refer to roles, relations and identities associated with sex. Those roles associated with male are called masculine while those associated with female are called feminine.
Transition – Refers to changing from one state to another. It means the pupils who complete the primary school cycle and move to the secondary school. Once in secondary school, they complete the secondary school cycle and proceed to university.
Schools – Primary and Secondary institutions of learning
CHAPTER TWO 2.0 Literature Review
This chapter outlines the literature that is based on studies that have been conducted and are directly or indirectly related to this study.
2.1 Overview of boy child education around the world
From 1990, UNESCO has played a key role in making Education for All a priority. This extent, most segments of society have accepted that human rights, good governance and an educated citizenry are the best and strongest in achieving development, economic growth and stability (UNESCO/World Economic Forum, 2008).
2.2 Overview of boy child education in Africa
In 1970s, Tanzania’s successful applicants to public secondary schools represented 11% of primary school leavers but the number dropped to only 1% of primary school leavers in 1984 because Tanzania neither permitted private secondary schools nor expanded public primary schools due to its socialist system. But when Tanzania began licensing private schools in the mid 1980s enrolment grew rapidly and it exceeded the enrolment in public schools. This growth demonstrated the previously unmet demand for secondary education in Tanzania (Word Bank, 1995).
2.3 Overview of boy child education in Kenya
Education in Kenya is still a challenge due to lack of enough facilities to absorb the ever increasing number of pupils who successfully achieve high marks in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations. This has resulted in many pupils missing an opportunity to join secondary schools due to inadequate facilities to meet the high demand. An estimated 206,282 (28%) of pupils who sat for KCPE examinations in 2010 did not get a slot to join form one in 2011 because the maximum number of enrolments in secondary had been reached (Daily Nation, January 11th 2011). Although this represents a transition rate of 72 % as compared to the Millennium Development Goals target of 70%, the number of pupils missing to join form one is still very high in Kenya and this includes boys.
2.5 Overview of boy child in Busia County
Kingdon in his studies on: “Where has all the bias gone? Detecting gender-bias in the household allocation of education expenditure” found out that the most important factors affecting educational attainment are parental background, wealth, opinions, individual ability, age-at-marriage and the quality of the primary school attended. (Kingdon, 2005)
2.5.1 Personal factors leading to students dropout from school
The concerns of the boy child can cause him to drop out of school. The socialization process in schools will either lead to the integration of the boy child to the education system or feel out of place. According to Wrigley (1995), there is a simple relationship between education and gender equality. Schools act as sites of pervasive gender socialization. Wanyoike (2003) argues that the pupil or student peer groups if not guided well can lead to distressing outcomes like engaging in substance abuse, unprotected sex and bad study habits. This will eventually lead to dropping out of school.
2.5.2 Socio-cultural factors leading to students drop out from school
Social cultural factors leading boy child drop out from primary and secondary schools will be viewed under family set up and beliefs, early marriage and family economic status in both rural and an urban setup will be observed. Family set up and beliefs
According to the World Bank (1996), there are socio-cultural practices that affect the functioning of schools in developing countries. Brown (1980) observed that that some children are withdrawn from schools by parents in rural areas to assist in household chores like babysitting younger children, escorting parents to public functions, ferry water from long distances, caring for the sick relatives, grazing of cattle among others. This eventually affects the performance of the boy child and in most cases lead to drop out. This study will therefore determine the extent in which family set up leads to the boy child drop out of school in Busia County Early Marriage
The problem of early marriage has been considered a problem affecting the girl child alone. There are some traditional practices such as male circumcision and other initiation ceremonies that force the boy child out of school early to start his own family. These factors will be investigated in Busia County to determine whether they are prevalent. Family Economic Status
The situation analysis survey done in Kwale county in 1995 points out that poverty as the most important factor for students dropping out of school (33 %t and 64 %). (Okumu, 1995) Report by the Ministry of Education (2007) indicates that 58% of the Kenyan population is living below the poverty line. This however leads to inability of the poor to meet education cost for their children be it boys or girls. As a result, this becomes a barrier to the education for boys who withdraw from school to engage in informal trade such as “bodaboda” a factor which the study seeks to investigate. Psacharopoulos and Woodhall (1997) further point out that those families that can barely sustain their livelihoods due to abject poverty opt to keep their children out of school and use them as labourers to earn extra income for bare minimum survival.
2.5.3 School based factors leading to boy child drop out from school
The school based factors on the causes of male students drop out from primary and secondary schools will be looked at by observing discrimination, and sexual harassment by fellow pupils or students and teachers.
2.5.4 Student discrimination by teachers
Blackmore and Cooksey (1981) explain that when a student is admitted into primary and secondary schools, there are certain routine procedures that take place. The pupil or student is subject to command from the teachers. This study will therefore confirm whether the drop out of male pupils or students is related to discrimination by teachers in Busia County.
2.5.5 Sexual harassment
There has been a growing number of reported cases pupil or student sexual harassment by teachers or fellow students. The Ministry of Education (2007) argued that gender insensitive school environment include attitudes of the key stakeholders in the school leads to many reported incidents of sexual harassment and gender based biases.
2.5.6 Policy based factors leading to boy child drop out from school
According to the Ministry of Education report on KCPE examination registration per county in 2013, there has been a decline in the number of boy child registration in several counties including Bungoma, Nyandarua, and Machakos among others (Ministry of Education, 2013). This study will seek to understand the reasons as to why this trend is emerging.
2.5.7 Theoretical framework
Theoretical frame work used in this study will be based on theories such as rational choice theory and liberal theory. Rational Choice Theory is a framework for understanding and often formally modelling social and economic behaviour. Rational choice theory can help shed light on the motives of influential national, county and local actors and interests groups involved in making education policies in Kenya. This will enhance access, retention and completion rates. It is therefore imperative to adopt rational choice and classical liberalism theories because the both theories will bring out the influences of society and individual decisions that affect the education of the boy. Thus the need to utilize the theories as the study seeks to establish the factors leading to drop out and low boy child empowerment in education in Busia County.
Abagi, O. (1992). Addressing the Gender Gap in Education in an Emerging Democratic Society of Kenya; A paper prepared for the workshop on democratic and democratization in Kenya. Nairobi: Department of foundation Kenyatta University.
Brown, F.B. (1980). A Study of the School Needs. Phidela Kappan. p. 61, 537 – 540.
Borg, W. R. S.

Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget, best known for his work in developmental psychology, was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, on August 9, 1896. As a child, Piaget found his mother to be neurotic which led him to an interest in psychology. As the oldest child, Piaget was very independent and at the age of ten he published his first scientific paper on the albino sparrow allegedly to convince the librarian he was not a “child”. In Piaget’s adolescence his mother urged him to study religion which he found to be childish. Instead, he decided to devote his time to discovering the “biological explanation of knowledge”through the study of philosophy and the application of logic. This failed Piaget in his quest for answers, and he turned his focus to psychology. In 1918, Piaget graduated with his Doctorate in Science from the University of Neuchâtel. While teaching at the Sorbonne in Paris, he met Alfred Binet and began working with him evaluating children’s intelligence tests. Piaget was not concerned with the right or wrong answers of the child, but was instead fascinated that certain errors occurred at predictable ages and began focusing on how children reasoned. In 1923, he married Valentine Châtenay and had three children with her. Piaget’s children immediately became the focus of intense observation and research and resulted in three more books (, 2010).
Jean Piaget designed a model explaining how humans make sense of the world around them through collecting and organizing information from experiences with people, objects, and ideas. This was called the Theory of Cognitive Development. Piaget identified four factors; maturation, action on your environment, learning from others or social transmission, and searching for a balance or equilibrium that influence the way thinking and knowledge are developed. He also theorized that all species inherit the tendencies to organize thoughts and behaviors while adapting to his/her environment. Organization of thoughts and actions that allow a person to mentally “think about” events or objects are called schemes. Adaption of knowledge and thinking processes involves assimilation or incorporating new information into existing schemes, as well as changing existing schemes to respond to a new situation or accommodating. Piaget also believed that as young people develop they pass through four stages. The first stage of cognitive development, which occurs between the ages of birth to two years, is called the Sensorimotor stage. In this stage, the child uses his/her five senses and motor abilities to comprehend the world around them. The child also distinguishes his/her self from objects and begins to act intentionally towards a goal. Object permanence is also achieved at this stage. The second stage is called the Preoperational stage and occurs between the ages of two to seven years. In this stage, the child begins to develop the ability to form and use symbols as well as think operations through logically in one direction. Egocentrism also dominates the child’s thinking and language during this time. The third stage of cognitive development is between the ages of seven to eleven years is called the Concrete-Operational stage. The characteristics of this stage are the ability to solve concrete tangible problems logically, the ability to demonstrate conservation, the mastery of grouping objects into categories based on characteristics, reversible thinking, and sequentially arranging objects according to weight, size and volume. The final stage of cognitive development, called Formal Operations, occurs from eleven years through adulthood. In this final stage, the adolescent becomes extremely focused on analyzing their own attitudes and beliefs while not denying that others may have different perceptions. The ability of an adolescent to think hypothetically, considering all possible combinations and choices, while reasoning deductively are other characteristics of this stage as well (Woolfolk, 2008).
In Piaget’s Four Stages of Cognitive Development, the Preoperational stage would be the most noteworthy to me since this is the age range I will be teaching in elementary school. It is necessary to teach children in an active discovery learning environment, encouraging them to question, explore, manipulate, and search out answers on their own. This theory teaches me that as an educator, I must also be an observer in my classroom. I must carefully assess my student’s current stage of development, cognitive level, as well as strength and weaknesses, while tailoring a set of tasks and curriculum that is specific to each child’s needs. Piaget’s theory is also beneficial to me because it teaches me that I will need to focus on the learning process of my students, rather than the end product. This theory also tells me that intelligence grows through assimilation and accommodation; therefore, I must provide many opportunities for my student to experience both.
This theory can help me better understand my kindergarten students because I will be knowledgeable to their skill acquisition at certain ages. It will also guide my teaching strategies as well as help me design lesson plans and activities based on my preoperational students ability levels, while not causing frustration. According to Piaget, the characteristic of egocentrism is often seen in preoperational children. To combat this, I would provide my students with opportunities to work in groups, so they can learn from each other, participate, and be productive at their own pace.
A basic understanding of Piaget’s theory could tremendously benefit parents, by knowing when to introduce new skills to his/her child in order to maximize understanding and success. I would recommend that parents observe his/her child, to make sure that what they are teaching is appropriate for their child’s present stage of learning. Avoid stressing standardized learning such as committing rules and facts to memory and instead choosing constructive hands-on experimentation. I would also advise parents to allow active learning through game playing, exploring, and drawing. When giving directions to their child, I would suggest keeping things short and simple. To help a child getting ready for school in the morning, I would recommend having a clock with hands in his/her room. The child does not have a sense of time at this age. The parent should tell the child that when this hand points to this number, have your clothes on and be ready. I would also suggest for parents to talk to his/her child about their experiences and constantly engage them with questions about what they are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting.
As a teacher with students in the preoperational stage, I must remember that my students may or may not reach each of Piaget’s stages at the predetermined age assigned since each child develops individually. It is essential to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to experience new things. This will help them continuously build on his/her foundation of language and learning. Learning at the preoperational stage, takes place by the student constructing new schemas through knowledge discovered in hands-on learning. Lesson plans should include hands-on activities, field trips, and learning games with props or visual aids. Hands-on environments should be set up in your classroom with different stations to learn math, science, social studies, etc. To teach math, I would use colored chips or even pennies for counting, adding and subtracting. To teach science, I could use a magnifying glass to see how objects such as pictures of snowflakes are the same or different from each other. When taking field trips to places such as science museums or the zoo, I would constantly ask questions about what my students are experiencing. To assess the skills that my students are acquiring, I could use portfolios, group presentations, and demonstrations that would let my students explain his/her learning process to me.
NNDB: Tracking the entire world. (2010, February 9). Retrieved February 10, 2010, from
Woolfolk, A. (2008) Educational psychology: Active learning edition. Personal, moral, and social development (pp. 36-45).