THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS EDUCATION SUBJECT ON STUDENT BEHAVIOUR IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS (A CASE OF NORTH IMENTI MERU COUNTY, KENYA)
The Ministry of Education through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development have put a lot of effort in the implementation of CRE Subject. Unfortunately, its goals seem not to have been fully realized. The 8-4-4 CRE Subject has not been able to directly address emerging issues that would impact fully on students‟ behaviour change. The purpose of the study was to explore the effect of Christian Religious Education Subject, on Behavior Change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County. The study tried to find out the effects CRE subject has on student behavior change, to investigate the effects of teaching methods on behavior change, to examine the effects of CRE teachers‟ attitudes on student behavior change and determine effects of teaching resources on behavior change of Day Secondary School students. The study adopted Curriculum Theory proposed by John Bobbitt‟s in 1918 and cited by Pinar (2004). The Cross-sectional descriptive study design was used and Target Population was 72 CRE Teachers of Day Secondary Schools, 48 Heads of Religious Education and 600 CRE students in Imenti North Sub County. The sample size was 144. The study adopted Construct Validity and Content Validity. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 23). Percentages and frequency counts were used to analyse the quantitative data obtained. The study findings showed that about 10 (7.63%) respondents agreed that CRE subject contributed positively to the transformation of self and the society as a whole, about 15 (11.45%) noted that the subject helped learners to gain insight into the unfolding of God‟s self-relation, while 10 (7.63%) respondents said the subject helped the students know more about Jesus and strengthened them. Apparently, 119 (90.5%) respondents admitted that teaching methods play a vital role in behavior change of students while 2 (9.5%) declined. The study found that about 120 (91.60%) of the respondents agreed that the attitude of CRE teachers influences behaviour change in students, while 11 (8.40%) indicated that the attitude of CRE teachers has no influence on behaviour change among students. About 18 (85.7%) respondents agreed that there were enough CRE teaching resources in various schools, while 3 (14.3%) indicated that teaching resources were not enough. Majority of the respondents (130, 99%) respondents showed that CRE subject, teaching methods, CRE teachers‟ attitudes and teaching resources positively impacted behaviour change among students. The study thus recommended a revision of the subject, embracing more teaching methods, maintaining teachers‟ positive attitude and purchasing more teaching materials to create more positive impact on student behaviour change. Regardless of this, as the study focused on Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti Meru County only, there was need for expansion of the study to boarding schools within and outside the county so as to generalize the results. Nonetheless, this study‟s findings may contribute in improving the CRE subject, revealing the methods used in teaching CRE subject, the materials needed in teaching CRE and the necessary resources impactful in developing behaviour change in Schools.
Background of the Study
Religion plays a great role in an individual's moral development throughout the history of mankind by impacting of values and beliefs. Christian Religious Education (CRE) was introduced into Kenya‟s School Curriculum since the inception of formal education with the sole responsibility of inculcating in each generation those forms of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes which society needs to prosper. Despite the teaching of CRE in schools, however, there has been little positive change in behaviour among the students.
CRE subject has attained abundant philosophical evidence from numerous leaders and intellectuals from all places of the world. The former head of Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI noted that CRE subject provided instruction in Christian doctrine, faith and moral example in a School or College (O‟Keefe, 2013). The Pope further added that it was the philosophy of a certain religion by its example that formed a specific nation through its customs, beliefs, doctrines, rites, and individual roles. In his preaching, he advised the young to keep away from all forms of radicalization, community and international conflicts, violence, discrimination, social injustice among other vices. The state of religious education of a country explains further the future of the nation; through the values taught. In western and secular culture, religious education suggests a different means of education which is largely isolated from academia, and which largely regards belief as important norm and operating modality (Owoyele & Toyobo, 2015).
In the United States (US), CRE subject has been provided in “Sunday School" where they refer it as a programme and allocate specific time for it - known as "the Hebrew School", or the Catechism Programs. It was communicated to the children and their families, including in the places of worship and done in a normal church service or during special time of the week. Most of the families believed in religious education and that is why they sent their children to private schools which were sponsored by a religious body or associated with a specific congregation (Jackson, 2013). This has been supported by most parents or families in US.
The government of UK believed that Christian education subject had a great role in shaping the nation, where, the pupils and students were made aware of peace keeping, behavioural development and community development (Government of UK, 2015). The main challenge of the subject was that its introduction was not in stages. The Council of England and Wales (RECEW) suggested a committee to help in review which was later assigned the directive to pinpoint the challenges and solutions to the problem cited. The study showed that there were no framework used during the subject delivery. In that regard, the RECEW published a paper in October 2013, presenting the analysis of the challenges and the context fronting CRE. The document was given over to the then education secretary of the state, Michael Gove. He applauded the framework “as a national benchmark paper for use by all RE users who included religious leaders and teachers (Government of UK, 2013).
In China, CRE subject had been banned except in the licensed schools and colleges like for example the Theology ones. Most of these colleges were supported by the
government and their numbers were small due to limited enrolments and budgets. In other cases, religious education subject happenned in planned sessions in private homes. Religious instructors taught on weekly or monthly basis (Moore, 2007).
In Africa, CRE subject was outlined way back even before the coming of the Christian missionaries who deemed Africans as being uncivilized and heathens. Religion was an effective element with strong traditional backgrounds that influenced the living of the people (Michael, 2002). Religious teachings in Africa has been a key vehicle of inculcating moral standards (Amugune, 2005). In Africa, indigenous ethnic religious traditions were as diverse. As in other numerous traditional African societies, religion and education were also intimate. Every ethnic community was required to have its particular spiritual beliefs and practices.
In Nigeria, Christian Religious subject has been one of the vital subjects in the country‟s education system after the missionaries introduced schools in the 19th century. The subject was intended to help people to get knowledge and be of help to the goals of the colonial trinity. Teachers‟ performance was associated with the implementation of CRE Studies in the country (Rose, 2013).
In Kenya, despite the consistency in teaching of CRE subject, learners‟ morals can be described as upended or in other words affected to the point of being upset or flurried. The general conduct of many young people in the broader society has continued to reflect unskillfulness in social interaction. Unreasonable conduct has evidently reigned the character traits of the young people in the society and this has been taken to dispute their acquired knowledge in CRE. That has signified that the teaching of critical
thinking through CRE in the Kenyan education system could be challenged (Rose, 2013).
A study done by (Maloko, 2014) indicated that in Kenya, secondary school students have completely lost their morals and the Ministry of Education may need to do a critical review on basic CRE that is taught from form one to form four. More studies reveal that the teaching of CRE subject in Kenya alleged a key position since the coming of first missionaries in 1846 that started the first School (Stanfield, 2015). The main work of the Christian missionaries was to convert Africans to Christianity. Missionaries used schools as a means of recruiting mostly the young to go to the church. They were given gifts and teachings during the sessions (Brenda, 2013).
In the 1990s, the Koech Report (Republic of Kenya, 1999) observed that when RE was introduced, the education system in Kenya became more popular among students. According to the report it was noted that CRE subject students performed very well in their examination. The commission however, supported the report of teaching and learning of CRE subjects in all schools in Kenya. According to the report, CRE subject was considered by various religious organizations as not just another academic subject, but it was expected to impact on behavioural change among learners.
Thus, since CRE subject was introduced in secondary school curriculum in Kenya, its aims have only been partially accomplished. In Meru County schools for instance, some of the teachers of CRE subject measure the attainment of CRE subject objectives by the grades obtained by learners in the national examination (MOE, 2016).
The study done by (Momanyi, 2015), demonstrated that many of the learners chose to take CRE subject for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) as a booster in their performance. The study further, showed that majority of the students who had a positive attitude concerning CRE subject were not ready to continue with it in case they qualified for university education. The findings also showed that most of the CRE subject teachers were found to be discouraged as they did not get recognition from the national and county governments when compared to their counterparts in languages, mathematics and science. The study concluded that teachers blamed the government for undermining the implementation of CRE subject by failing to motivate and recognize them.
Various studies on CRE subject have been done but none has focused on the role of CRE subject in behaviour change. Therefore, this study provides information on the research questions concerning the effects of CRE subject, teaching methods, CRE subject teachers‟ attitudes and CRE subject teaching resources on the behaviour change of Day Secondary School Students.
In Kenya, there are three main religious traditions which have been adopted and have been described to have significant influence on the education system in the country and may contribute positively on behaviour change of the students. As identified by Bastide (2017), these traditions include: native ethnic religious traditions, alien ethnic religious traditions and overseas extended religious traditions.
Historically the teaching of CRE can be accredited to the arrival of Christianity which became the predominant missionary religion in Kenya. It was first introduced to Kenya
through Portuguese traders in the early sixteenth century. Despite their stay at the coast for nearly three centuries, their missionary efforts were not successful (Ochieng, 2017). The second phase of missionaries came towards the end of the first half of the Nineteenth Century following the arrival of Ludwig Krapf and Johann Rebmann, both of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) (Sifuna, 2015). The main reason of the two Christian missionaries coming was to evangelize the region. However, they came to realize that this was not possible without teaching how to read and write. They therefore set up schools which they used as vehicles for evangelization and spreading Western civilization (Ochieng, 2017). This was the beginning of Christianity and formal education in Kenya.
Christian Religious Education was known by different names and became one of the key subjects in School Curriculum. To ensure its success in achieving the intended objective of evangelization, CRE was taught by identified persons who had good morals and were practising Christians (Ochieng, 2017). Before and after the immediate post-independence years, Christian education was known by different names such as Religious Instruction (RI), Bible Knowledge (BK), Bible Study (BS) and Divinity among others (Chee & Leong-Yong, 2018). It was provided by two major Christian denominations in Kenya, namely Protestant and Catholic groups. The Protestant groups comprised of the: Anglican Church; Church of God; Seventh Day Adventist (SDA); Friends Mission; African Inland Church and Presbyterian Church. Some of the Catholic Missionaries were: Holy Ghost Fathers, Consolata Missionaries and Mary Hill Fathers (Ochieng, 2017).
CRE has been a subject of significance to the Kenyan education system. Potentially giving directions towards positive behaviour change in students. However, Successive syllabus changes have sought to move CRE subject away from divisive to something more inclusive ((Owoyele,2015). The hypothetical inclusiveness, however, is superficial, despite the Secondary Syllabus‟ general objective being to help learners develop awareness of their negative attitudes and promote behavior change. However, in training, these things have not been done and numerous Kenyan studies reveal that school leavers exit the system with none of those critical thinking skills that CRE subject claims to promote, and no ability to make considerable moral choices or internalize socially-acceptable behavior (Chee & Leong-Yong, 2018).
Statement of the Problem
The Ministry of Education through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has put a lot of effort in the implementation of CRE subject. However, it has been observed that the goals of CRE subject towards changing the students‟ behaviour have not been achieved 100%. The academic aspect of religious education seems to be more amplified at the expense of moral and spiritual training which is one of the goals of teaching CRE. Student behaviour appear to remain uninfluenced by CRE. This is evidenced by rising numbers of school strikes and protests resulting in destruction of schools property, use of substance of abuse has also been on increase also contributing to the rise of indiscipline
Some studies on the role of CRE subject on student behaviour in schools have indicated that seventeen percent of the secondary schools in Central Kenya caused strikes in the year 1986 and 1991(Nasibi 2013). In 2008 the rate rose again from 13% to 26.8%. Learners‟ behaviour has continued to be a major fear to schools‟ management who may have been affected. Since 1999, juvenile delinquency has been quite alarming and quite a worrying trend in Meru county schools (Francis, 2011).
This study therefore sought to examine the importance attached to CRE in terms of its contribution towards the achievement of spiritual formation and positive behaviour change in students. The study hopes to fill the knowledge gap by investigating the role of CRE subject in Students‟ behaviour change in Day Secondary Schools in the sence that no other study of this nature has been done in this area.
Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study was to explore the effect of Christian Religious Education Subject on behaviour change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County.
Specific Objectives of the Study
1. To examine the importance of CRE subject on student behavior change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County.
2. To assess to what extent does CRE subject teaching methods impacts on students‟ behavior change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti Meru County.
3. To investigate the extent to which the attitude of CRE subject teachers influences behaviour change among students in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County.
4. To examine the relationship of CRE subject teaching resources and student behaviour change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County.
1. What is the importance of CRE subject on behaviour change of Day Secondary School students in North Imenti, Meru County?
2. To what extent does CRE subject teaching methods impact on students‟ behavior change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County?
3. To what extent does the attitude of CRE subject teachers‟ influence behaviour change among students in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County?
4. What is the relationship of CRE subject teaching resources and student behaviour change in Day Secondary Schools in North Imenti, Meru County?
Justification of the Study
The study‟s findings offer insights to CRE subject planners and designers into the role and status of CRE teaching in secondary schools in Meru and the role played by the subject in the spiritual and academic formation of the students towards behaviour
change. It may be vital to the administration of the organizations, government ministries such as the Ministry of Education (MOE) in their proposal to deal with behaviour change in schools and increase the standards of education. It helps the government through Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in developing a subject that will be used to progress the capacity of all the administrators, teachers, and the students in managing behaviour change in secondary schools. It proposes solutions to other learning institutions in Kenya prone to cases of misbehaviour.
The study results provide CRE subject teachers with an opportunity to review their methodologies of teaching CRE subject in regard to the curriculum implementation and behaviour change as well as guide and caution students against bad behaviours. The study provides a literature review to be used by future researchers in the field of CRE subject in secondary schools and other institutes of learning.
1.6. Limitation and Delimitations of the Study
Though there was good effort in the literature to determine the effect of CRE subject on behaviour change especially in Africa in general and Kenya in particular, the review of literature on the subject pointed out a global perspective as much as possible.
This study only focused on the effect of CRE subject on behaviour change. The researcher confined himself to the sub-County, since carrying out research outside the County demanded more finances. Thus in essence the study is limited in the generalization of the results. The study covered the enfluence of CRE subject, teaching methods, teachers‟ attitudes and CRE subject teaching resources in relation to behavior change. Thus the other variable attributed to behaviour change were not manipulated.
Significance of the Study
The findings of the study offered insights to curriculum planners and developers towards improved CRE teaching in secondary schoolsm in kenya. The results are also an aknowlegedment of the role played by the subject in the spiritual and academic formation of the students towards behavior change. It is also important to management of organizations and Government ministries, especially the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in their bid to deal with behavior in schools and improve the quality of education standards in the Country. The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development can develop a curriculum to be used to enhance the capacity of the administrators, teachers and the students in handling negative behavior in Schools. The study proposed solutions that can be generalized to other learning institutions in Kenya prone to cases of misbehaviour. The study results provided CRE teachers with an opportunity to review their methodologies of teaching CRE in regard to curriculum implementation and behaviour change. The teachers may use the recommendations of the study to guide and caution students against bad behaviours.
Assumptions of the Study
The study assumed that there would be cooperation during the data collection from the school administration and teachers. The information obtained was reliable and it was used to determine the influence of CRE on student behavior. Lastly, it was assumed that the CRE teachers used the approved CRE Curriculum by the Ministry of education in kenya.
Operational Definition of Key Terms
Attitudes: The learned tendency of behavior in day secondary school students.
Assess: Evaluating a variable through asked questions in the questionnaires.
Behavior: Refers to the way a learner conducts himself and herself.
Behavior change: Refers to the transformation of a student conduct from one way to another.
Christian Religious Education: a subject that is offered in schools which reflects Christian teachings.
Curriculum: Refers to the CRE guideline of what learners should be taught in Secondary School.
CRE Teaching Methods: refers to classroom activities lead by the CRE teachers during CRE lesoons.
Discipline: System of rules and behavioural approaches in the regulation of student behaviours in schools.
Examine: To study a variable through asking questions in questionnaires.
Morals: Refers to the principles the schools regard as right in behavioural guidance. Subject: Refers to a religious unit taken in secondary school in the arts category Syllabus: Refers to the outline of the CRE course used in secondary school with regards to course objectives and expectations.
Performance: These are the grades a student has attained in course of school life. Social violence: Act of violence that is concerned with acting against societal expectations and interferes with set standards..