FACTORS AFFECTING COMPLETION RATES OF STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ABOGETA DIVISION IN IMENTI SOUTH DISTRICT, MERU COUNTY, KENYA
Students enrol in secondary school in great numbers and drop out along the way leading to low levels of completion. This study sought to explore factors affecting completion rates in public secondary schools in Abogeta Division Imenti South District. The study explored how economic status of the family such as inability to pay school fees, child labour, gender and position of a student in the family, school uniform and school factors such as curriculum load, discipline and school policies affect completion rates of students. A theoretical and conceptual frame work was formulated to guide the study. The study employed descriptive survey research design. The population of the study was 7122 which comprised of 7038 students, 42 class teachers and 42 head teachers. The sample size was 380 comprising of 340 students, 10 class teachers, 10 head teachers and 20 students were added to cater for attrition. Stratified sampling method was used to ensure each category of the school was represented. Simple random sampling was used to select students and purposive sampling to select class teachers and head teachers. Data collection instruments were used; questionnaire for student, class teacher and head teachers. The validation of the instruments was established through experts’ opinions. Reliability was tested by subjecting the instrument to a pilot study. The Spearman Rank Order Correlation Coefficient Formula was used to compute the reliability. A coefficient correlation of 0.828 was obtained. The data was coded and analysed using descriptive statistics facilitated by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 15. Distribution tables and figures were used for presentation. The study will be of importance to the policy makers and implementers, government, NGOs, parents and will give way forward for further research. The study recommended that incentives for bright needy students be given on merit, monitoring of bursary allocation, integration of some subjects and guidance and counselling programmes to avoid expulsion of students. It also recommended that school administration identify slow learners so as to give them remedial work and that the policy makers enhance government policies.