Factors influencing students' choice of geography in public secondary schools in Kieni East Sub -County Nyeri County, Kenya
Kaberia, Basilio Muchui
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Geography is a fundamental subject at the secondary level of education. The subject is not only relevant to students who intend on pursuing geography as their career path but also to those that only pursue it at the secondary level of education. Despite this, the number of students choosing geography as a core subject has declined from 16.8% in 2014 to 14.8% in 2018. The main purpose of the study was to examine factors influencing students’ choice of geography subject in public secondary schools in Kieni East Sub County Nyeri, Kenya. The study aimed at examining the influence of students’ aspirations on the choice of geography subject, establishing the influence of students’ attitude on the choice of geography subject, assessing the influence of parents on students’ choice of geography subject, and examining the influence of the school subject combination on students’ choice of geography subject. Social learning theory and social cognitive theory guided the study. The descriptive research design was adopted. The study’s population comprised of 463 Form Three geography students, 57 geography teachers and 28 heads of department. Two hundred and ten students were sampled using a simple random sampling method. From each of the 26 schools, two geography teachers and one head of department were purposefully selected. Data were collected through heads of department questionnaires, geography teachers’ questionnaires and students’ questionnaire. Content validity was estimated by incorporating the views of content experts consisting of three lecturers from Africa Nazarene University. Cronbach’s alpha for internal consistency was used to test reliability. The analysis of data was done with the use of frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviation. The hypotheses were tested at 95% confidence level using regression analysis. The findings of the study indicated that the students’ in Kieni East sub-county chose geography because of its relevance to their career aspirations. Also, it came out clearly from the students, teachers and heads of department that the geography students have a positive attitude towards the subject. The multiple regression analysis that was used to test the four formulated hypotheses indicated that students’ attitude had a positive and significant influence on the choice of geography (β = 0.441, t = 6.412, p < 0.05). Similarly, school subject combination had a positive influence on the choice of geography (β = 0.272, t = 4.134, p < 0.05). Moreover, students’ aspiration had a positive and significant influence on the choice of geography (β = 0.164, t = 2.675, p < 0.05). However, parents had a negative influence on the choice of geography by students (β = -0.184, t = 2.925, p < 0.05). It was concluded that students’ in Kieni East sub-county chose geography because of its relevance to their career aspirations. Also, students’ attitude is a key determinant on whether they choose the geography subject or not. Moreover, the findings indicated that parents are not highly involved in the students’ subject choice. Besides that, the public secondary schools offered all the group three subjects namely geography, history and government and religious education hence the students were not constrained to settle on a subject they did not intend to study. The researcher, therefore, recommends that it is utmost necessary for the geography teachers to acquaint students on the various career paths they could take with a background in the geography subject. Besides, geography teachers need to make it their priority to ensure that the geography lessons are interesting to learners. Further, the public secondary schools need to encourage the parents to be familiar with the school curriculum and ensure that there is an orientation for students on the criteria for choosing subjects.
Africa Nazarene University