The Influence of Secondary Schools Teachers' Distribution of Student Responsibilities on the Learners' Perception of Gender Equality in Uasin-Gishu County, Kenya

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Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between secondary school teachers' distribution of student responsibilities on the learners' perception of gender equality. It is based on a study conducted in Uasin-Gishu County in Kenya. The purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between the hidden curriculum and gender equality amongst secondary school students. The authors adopted a survey research design. The target population consisted of the accessible population was the selected students in sampled mixed schools in the area. Proportionate stratified sampling technique was used to select 21 schools. Stratified random sampling based on gender was used to obtain the representative sample of 271 participants. The authors used questionnaires and document analysis as the main tools for collection of data. The collected data was coded using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively, and then presented using descriptive statistics. It was found that the teachers failed to promote gender equality amongst the students in assignment of responsibilities and rather believed that certain duties were masculine while others were feminine responsibilities, a situation that further promoted gender inequality amongst the students. As such, it was recommended that teachers be sensitized through seminars and workshops on the need to provide equal opportunities as well as the need to change attitudes towards girls, especially as regards girls' interest and performance in Mathematics and Technological subjects. Schools must focus on reversing the traditional allocation of responsibilities and roles to girls and boys in order to build and shape them towards equality. The study is important both scholars and general readers as it sheds light to teachers and aids in understanding the effects of the attitudes, assumptions and expectations that may be placed on the students and therefore cause the gender gap.

Keywords: influence, secondary, schools, teachers, distribution, student, responsibilities, learners, Kenya.

INTRODUCTION

Gender issues have continued to play a key role in the formulation of public policy, not least in the education sector, where the gender gap in many developing countries remains a challenge (Sifuna et al., 2006). It is, however, important to understand the process of policy formulation because it is crucial to the final outcome of its implementation. In contemporary educational theory and practice, feminist thought provides invaluable direction on gender policies that seek to enhance inclusiveness and equality in education (Sifuna et al., 2006). The Sessional paper No. 1 of 2005 (GoK, 2005) points to the support and implementation of affirmative action in secondary education to address the needs of the marginalized and/or those in difficult circumstances and the need to ensure that the school environment is gender and special needs education responsive.

Sifuna et al. (2006), however, point out how education policies reveal the absence of comprehensive gender policy with specific Monitoring and Evaluation guidelines. Further, the Kenya Government hardly provides effective guidelines on how to ensure that schools are, not only, learner-friendly, but also that girls are made to feel safe at school. Further, unless the policies are explicit on girls' educational needs, the gender gap would continue to be skewed in favour of the boys. There is therefore need to address gender issues within the broader policy concerns and in the context of the global focus of EFA, the MDG's and other international conventions and treaties that advocate equal education for every person.

Some of the key international treaties, according to Chege et al. (2006), include:

(a) The international Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which was adopted in 1966 and came into force 10 years later in 1976, albeit with a limited coverage of gender and education issues. …