AN INVESTIGATION OF LEARNERS’ ENROLMENT IN BELA-BELA FARM SCHOOLS: A PERSPECTIVE IN EDUCATION MANAGEMENT

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CHAPTER ONE 0RIENTATION TO THE PROBLEM.

    INTRODUCTION.

Enrolment of farm school learners appears to be declining in most farm schools. Farm school educators face challenges such as migrating of learners to urban area schools because of inadequate sports facilities and lack of educational resources. It is against this background that the present study has been undertaken. The aim of the study is to investigate learners’ enrolment in Bela – Bela farm schools.

The method of investigation will include observation and interviews. Three schools will be purposefully selected for this investigation. Three principals, three School Management Team members (SMT) of purposefully selected schools as well as the Circuit Manager (CM) will take part in the research.

In this chapter, the background to the study, the statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, definition or clarification of concepts, delimitation of the study, the method of the investigation and chapter division are presented.

   BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY.

The literature study is the main method of research used in the investigation, and is undertaken in fulfilment of all aims stated in paragraph 1.4.

   Administration of farm schools.

Recently most of the Bela – Bela farm schools have low enrolment as compared to the past decade. The number of learners range from 6 to 20 as the school enrolment. This situation is similar with the one in the Russian Federation, according to data of the State Committee for the statistics of the Russian

Federation, the predominant size of enrolment in primary rural schools these days is 10 students or fewer (Gur’ianova 2006:71).

Gur’ianova (2006:68) further points out that farm schools in Russian Federation have a great deal of attention to organise work activities for the students, for example, they have carpentry shops and mechanic shops, many of them keep live stock facilities and have teaching plots and subsidiary farm operations. These types of practical situations are not prevailing in Bela – Bela farm schools. The reality in Bela -Bela farm schools is that general education is based on the system of the advanced regions without any reference to local conditions, as a dispenser of book learning which is doing nothing to prepare farm school learners for the real working world but accelerate the drift from the country side to towns (UNESCO 1980:17). The matter is supported by Ponder and Straham (2005:231) by citing that farm schools offer extremely limited educational opportunities and the education provided for the children is often inadequate and sub- standard.

One serious problem of farm schools is that they have limited pedagogical resources for organising the process of education. According to Leeb and Aitchison (1990:3) there is little academic activities and non-extramural curricular activities in the farm school, the matter is further stipulated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1994:10) by emphasising that farm school education is a matter of particular concern, as there is shortage of physical facilities and lack of equipment and resources. In terms of Christie and Gordon (1992:413) an adolescent who had not been

able to stay at school blamed school for their failure because they felt dejected and exploited and could have completed their schooling if they had had sufficient resources.

The researcher believe that once the learners feel that the schools had failed them, for example, because of poor management, they are likely to develop anti-school attitude, rather than those who see the school as providing the with skill and knowledge that will help them later on life. Benskin (1994:180) points out that, children do develop anti- school attitude if they feel that their teachers are not co-operative with them, and such learners are likely to drop out of school.

Constant absenteeism, early dropouts, regular late coming, limited participation in recreational and extra-curricular activities and poor academic performance is some of the features of farm school learners. The farm school administrators should get parents involvement together with other stake holders and nurture ties with community to improve and provide good education programmes in rural schools (Lawrence 2007:72). The administration of farm schools is more elaborated in chapter 2.