Narok University College (KENYA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2440-2444
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In Kenya ,quality assurance and standards department is one of the five departments in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science & Technology mandated to ensure that Education Standards are adhered to.

One of the factors that is considered in defining the quality of education is the school quality (Eshiwani, 1993) which is dictated by the category of the school (national ,provincial ,district and private) in Kenya. Once a learner joins a school, the school characteristics may influence his or her achievement. The quality of instructional process experienced by each learner determines the school quality. Factors associated with the instructional processes are material inputs such as textbooks, quality of teachers, teaching practices and classroom organization, school management and structure.

A problem however arises when schools are categorized into national, provincial, district and private schools. These categorization renders the schools so unique from one another such that applying the same standards assurance may not be fair. Categorization has made the schools to have students with different entry behavior different sources of funding, different teachers’ characteristics and different physical facilities to mention but a few. The schools with good political good will where teachers are highly motivated are likely to perform better than those for who motivation is unheard of& especially where there’re political wrangles on a daily basis. Political goodwill also enables schools to access Constituency Development Funds to enable them improve their facilities and pay fees for the needy students. This makes students in schools with political patronage concentrate in their studies while those from schools with no political patronage are perpetually sent home for fees. This affects performance in the final analysis.

The findings indicate that categorization of schools and hence students have rendered the work of the quality assurance officers irrelevant. This is because each category of school is unique with unique problems, given the regional disparities in Kenya. Assessing students whose future performance is already predetermined by the type of schools they attend and their entry behavior not to mention the characteristics of their teachers is absurd. National schools and especially those in urban centers have the best facilities including the best teachers, some of who set and examine at the national level. These category of teachers tend to teach examination oriented materials in order to appear in the top list of achievers when examination results are released. Students attitudes towards education,themselves( self concept) teachers and their schools in general differ from school to school. This difference is reflected in their performance in national examinations. Those who perform above average are generally inclined to have more positive attitude and therefore perform well. Schools are different and it’s this difference in terms of discipline, student selection ,teachers confidence in leadership of the school which has a bearing on how students perform in national examinations.

The study recommends that standardized quality assurance regulations be discarded and specific standards for each school be applied for maximum improvement of academic performance since schools are not homogenous.