This will be both Quantitative and qualitative research that will seek to investigate the contributing factors to pupils’ performance in English at Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination. This chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, hypothesis, significance of the study and the limitations of the study. 1.1 Background of the study
Long before the coming of Arabs and Europeans to Africa, the African people had developed their own systems of education; although the systems varied from one community to the other, their goals were often strikingly similar. Otiende, (1980). At independence in 1963, education was viewed as the means to eradicating poverty, ignorance and disease from Kenya. English language was seen by the society as the foundation of livelihood since it was applicable for one to basically understand anything in live. It is vital to the technological knowledge and important for the social economic development of the nation. Because of this, it is compulsory both in primary school and secondary levels in Kenya. English language is also used as a basic entry requirement into any of the prestigious courses such as medicine, architecture and engineering among other degree programmes. Despite the important role that English plays in society, there has always been poor performance in the subject at national examinations. The three selected primary schools which are basically; Thaara, Kiamwangi and Kiganjo primary schools from Kiganjo Zone are public primary schools with approximately 688 pupils each and teacher population of 14 each. Throughout the researcher’s teaching experience, she has detected that English language is being poorly performed by not only the selected schools but also the entire district and the county at large. This has always left her wondering what the reason is thereby promoting her to take this special interest in ascertaining the root causes of that underlying issue. 1.2 The problem statement
It is evident that the performance of English in our primary schools has declined. One of the indicators of the fallen performance is the pupils’ inability to write their composition with ease but mix it up with ‘sheng’ - recently; there was an outcry from university lectures over an increasing trend of the drop in English scores. It has been confirmed that English is extensively being used “casually” by both teachers and pupils/students in school to the extent and that the same style now replicates itself in writing. It is now evident that in rural areas like Gatundu and Maragwa which are a largely kikuyu language dominated region, key people such as teachers and other role models who are supposed to be promoting the use of the language are now the worst culprits. There is too much casual use of the language, especially in this region. Teachers don’t speak English in staff rooms and even the class rooms are dominated with mother tongue as opposed to the use of English. One of the greatest issues in the current crop of pupils is that, they have no time to read novels and magazines, which are vital in improving vocabulary and language usage. Language proficiency is key in promoting student/pupils’ understanding, interpretation and analysis of content, especially when it comes to reading and answering questions in examinations and this correlates with all other subjects as well except Kiswahili. The use of sheng has been embraced by all including some parents and the media. This coupled with poor pronunciation by some teachers, has also played a role in reducing the proficiency in English language. The truth of the matter is that; there are some parents who speak sheng in the presence of their children. The children end up picking the language, believing that it is right since it comes from parents and end up using it in school both in speaking and writing. All these things translate to poor...
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