RECONSTRUCTIONIST ANALYSIS ON THE RELEVANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN PROMOTING NATIONAL COHESION AMONG STUDENTS IN MACHAKOS TOWN SUB-COUNTY, KENYA
RUTH MUTUNGE MWANZIA
Education is the primary means of promoting national cohesion, international cooperation as well as socio-economic development. Since Kenya’s political independence, national unity has continued to feature prominently among the national goals of education. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has also emphasized the importance of education in promoting cohesion and integration among Kenyan communities. Despite this emphasis however, the country is faced with thnic divisions and violence and this raises concern on relevance of the school curriculum in promoting national cohesion. This study analyzed the relevance of secondary school curriculum in promoting national cohesion among students in Machakos Town Sub-County. The analysis was based on the ideals and principles of a school curriculum as advocated by re-constructionist philosophy. Descriptive survey research design was adopted for the study. Critical and conceptual philosophical techniques were used to ensure that elaborate description of the phenomenon was done. The target population of the study was 24,441 subjects. A sample size of 409 respondents comprising of 360 student leaders, 48 teachers and Sub County Quality Assurance and Standards Officer (QASO) was used for the study.
Stratified sampling method was used to ensure that all categories of schools were involved in the study. Purposive sampling was adopted to select student leaders, teachers and the Sub-County Quality Assurance and Standards Officer. The research instruments were questionnaires for teachers and student leaders and an interview schedule for the Sub-county QASO. Piloting of questionnaires was done in the neighboring Mwala Sub-County.
Validity of research instrument was ascertained by supervisors and other experts in Faculty of Education and Resources Development. Reliability of instruments was estimated by use of cronbach coefficient alpha method and the coefficients obtained were 0.78 and 0.81 for teachers and student leaders’ questionnaire respectively. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 was used in data analysis. Descriptive statistics involving frequencies and percentages were used to analyze data. The study established that the secondary school curriculum content gave the students little opportunity to reflect critically on issues related to national cohesion which is attributed to lack of practical skills on issues related to national cohesion. This may have led to failure of learners in internalizing the values of nationalism and patriotism. The curriculum does not adequately capture learner related peculiarities such as aptitude, interests and regional diversities. Although many schools participate in co-curricular activities, the focus is on competition rather than a dimension to inculcate the intended cohesion and integration values. The study recommends review on secondary school curriculum in reference to national cohesion and integration. There is need to explore evaluation strategies that incorporate all the three domains of learning. The findings and recommendations of this study will provide critical information to all educational stakeholders on policy formulation and implementation in order to enhance the relevance of secondary school curriculum in promoting national cohesion.