Effect of sand harvesting on pupils’ learning in public primary schools in Kenyawa division, Kajiado county, Kenya
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Despite the national and county governments’ effort to control sand harvesting through issuance of guidelines and occasional banning of harvesting, the practice has persisted. Pupils at primary school are among the harvesters who motivated by the ready cash, are depleting the resource with far reaching ramifications. The purpose of the study was to investigate how sand harvesting has affected pupils’ learning in public primary schools in Kenyawa division, Kajiado East sub-county, Kajiado County. The study objectives were to establish the effect of sand harvesting on pupils’ school attendance, to examine the effect of sand harvesting on pupils’ academic performance and to assess the effect of sand harvesting on pupils’ physical learning environment in Kenyawa division. The study was premised on the classical liberal theory of equal opportunity as advanced by Horace Mann. The study adopted ex-post-facto research design. The study targeted 50 head teachers, 304 teachers and 1496 class seven and eight pupils. Fifteen head teachers, 30 teachers and150 pupils were sampled for the study. Data collection instruments included class teachers’ questionnaire, pupils’ questionnaire and head teachers’ interview schedule. Pilot testing was done in the neighbouring Mashuuru division. Content validity of data collection instruments was ascertained through pilot testing and by availing the instruments to two University supervisors. Reliability of the instruments which had mainly qualitative items was ascertained by ensuring the instruments’ credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability. The study found that about 30% of pupils in public schools in Kenyawa division are immersed in sand harvesting. The practice takes part mostly at night and weekends. The practice has led to pupils’ chronic absenteeism, truancy and low concentration in school. Overall, the mean attendance of the pupils not involved in sand harvesting was found to be significantly higher (t = -10.8, df =153, p < 0.05) than those involved. The mean mark of all sampled pupils (regardless of gender) not involved in sand harvesting was found to be significantly higher (t = 10.6, df =153, p < 0.05) than those involved. Uncontrolled sand harvesting has led to wanton environmental degradation, such air pollution and noise pollution. It was also found that, the noise levels in six schools’ environment were significantly greater that the safe threshold of 85 dBA (p < 0.05). The study recommends that, a concerted effort by all stakeholders to ensure more children in upper classes are in a boarding schools in order to reduce the possibility of joining the sand harvesting business.
Africa Nazarene University