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1.0 Background to the Study

One of the national goals of education in Kenya is that education should promote sound moral and religious values. Education should provide for the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will then enhance acquisition of sound moral values and help children to grow up into self-disciplined, self-reliant and integrated citizens. [Report of the Task force on student discipline and unrest in secondary schools,2001]. Christian Religious Education seeks to develop a positive attitude in the learner, towards God, the self, others and the environment in which he/she lives.

Following the recent spate of incidents of students unrest in secondary schools it was recommended that pastoral care progammes be enhanced in all public schools and be handled by trained religious personnel who are able to relate the teaching and its moral implications (Report of the Task force on student discipline and unrest in secondary schools, 2001). The Report of the Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond, of 1998 (Kamunge Report, 1988), states that the philosophy of education and training must always be in consonance with and positively contribute to national development.

This was further echoed by the Commission of Inquiry into Education System in Kenya of 1999 (Koech Report, 1999) which states that, “the philosophy of education must be based on the need to fashion the individual to grow and develop into a sound and effective citizen with the mental capacity to appreciate the cultural heritage of his/her nation as well as being able to make at meaningful contribution towards further development and the socioeconomic stability of the nation.”The inclusion of C.R.E. in the Kenya Secondary School Education Curriculum has been done with a purpose and goal, as it is the case with any other subject.

The learning of C.R.E. is geared towards promoting a whole round student, morally upright and academically sound. The many topics covered in the entire C.R.E. syllabus alongside Christian Ethics are sufficient to meet the expected objectives of the subject. This is because at the end of the syllabus the student would have adequately been instilled with Biblical as well as healthy African traditional values. These values influence the student and mould him or her into a morally mature person in a position to make reliable rational decisions in all spheres of life situations.

During C.R.E. class lessons the student participation and critical discussions often leave the subject teacher assured that the students are not only gaining academically, but also moulded spiritually and morally . However, in spite of these moral values acquired in C.R.E., Christian Ethics and Pastoral care programmes in the majority of the Kenyan secondary schools, still there has been unexpected student unrests. Although the area of concentration in this project is not to research on the course and causes of student unrests, but just to give various examples of these, because they tend to place the moral contribution of C.R.E. and Christian Ethics in a questionable scenario.

A good number if not all of these students involved in strikes and unrests take C.R.E., hence exposed to valuable Biblical and traditional values. Some of these values consist of sanctity of life, respect for other people’s property, among others. When students go on the rampage, these sacred values are down trodden and one is left asking, “Haven’t these students any sense of morality and Ethics?” Cases of student unrest have been in existence as far back as the beginning of the 20th century when the first case was reported in . Maseno in 1908.

[Report of the Task force on student discipline and unrest in secondary schools, 2001]. Lately the concern has been the changing nature, characteristics and increase of the number of schools experiencing student unrest. The increase in the number of schools”experiencing some form of student unrest alarmingly increased in the seventies. It is worthy noting that these disturbances were confined to secondary schools. The disturbances were characterized by violence and wanton destruction of school property.

Between 1980 and 1990,the number of schools, experiencing student unrest had increased tremendously from 22 (0.9%) to 187 (7.2%). These figures comprised the known and the recorded cases and perhaps the number of schools that had experienced unrest could have been higher. [Report of the Task force on student discipline and unrest in secondary school, 2001]. Tragically, the nature of student unrest took a new dimension as happened at St.Kizito Mixed Secondary School on 13 July 1991 when male students invaded the girl’s dormitory and violently raped a number of them.

In the melee that followed 19 girls lost their lives. In spite of the government’s effort to stem out the culture of student unrest in schools, the very nature of the unrests took a dramatic turn for the worse. Not only were they violent and destructive but they were also premeditated and planned to cause maximum harm to human life. The first such case was recorded in Nyeri District where a few students at Nyeri High School locked school prefects in their cubicles while they were asleep, poured petrol and set them on fire killing four of them.

[Report of the student discipline and unrest in secondary schools,2001] Cases of student unrest intensified with more schools being burnt,down, property destroyed and with more innocent lives being lost as happened in the arson attack in Kyanguli Secondary School, in Machakos District, where 68 children were burnt to death and scores injured. These increasing waves of student unrests take place against the background of Christian Religious Education taught in secondary school.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

With all these ugly incidences in mind, the researcher pursued this project paper by ascertaining the efficiency of CR.E. as far as moral and academic moulding of the student is concerned. The researcher tried to achieve this by gathering responses from CR.E. students and CR.E. subject teachers of Rongai Division in Nakuru District through questionnaires and interviews. This may not give comprehensive perception of the Kenyan Secondary.school students about the impact of CR.E. but it will at least provide an eye opener. These responses alongside other useful pieces of information gave the researcher a basis to make observations and critical-evaluation then came up with well thought recommendations that pertain to the objectives of C.R.E. and the entire syllabus.


1.2 Purpose of the Study.

The broad objective of this study was to underscore the role of C.R.E subject in moral development of students in secondary school. However, the specific objectives were:
• To investigate the moral values acquired by form four C.R.E
students in secondary schools.
• To find out how the form four C.R.E students express the moral
values acquired in teaching and learning of the subject in
secondary schools.
• To investigate how the teachers help students promote moral
values among CRE students in secondary schools.
• To find out the problems encountered in the teaching of C.R.E.
subject in secondary schools.
• To find out the problems encountered in the learning of C.R.E.
subject by students.

1.3 Research Questions

This study was guided by the following research questions based on the research objectives; What moral values do Form Four C.R.E students acquire through the teaching and learning of C.R.E in secondary schools? In what ways do form, four C.R.E students express the moral values acquired through the teaching and learning of C.R.E in secondary schools. How do teachers promote moral values among C.R.E students in secondary schools? What problems do teachers encounter in the teaching of C.R.E. subject in secondary school? What problems do students encounter in the learning of C.R.E. subject in school?

1.4 Significance of Study

The Study was intended to underscore the significance of C.R.E. in moral development of secondary school students. The prime purpose of the inclusion of C.R.E. in the Kenyan Secondary School Curriculum is geared toward cherishing morality among the students and promoting ethical ideals that nurture healthy co-existence. In our African traditions, the clan-web and the tribal identity guarded against abuse of morality according to the tribal norms. However, our life today goes
beyond tribal boundaries.

The individuals belong to a more expanded complex society, which call for moral principles that go beyond tribal norms. (National Committee in Educational Objectives and Policies,1976). Nationalism and globalization does not only advocate for national and, global consciousness but also proclaim inter-cultural, inter-racial peaceful co-existence and concern. This attempt obviously calls for supra-racial and supra-cultural ethical ideals for its realization and sustainability. Christian Religious Ethics is one sure option of achieving the 21st century’s international move to come with” a global village'” blending the diverse races and cultural practices.

The Kenyan Educational Policy makers have acknowledged the pertinent role C.R.E. plays in the moral development of the student instilling in him or her the importance of having a perfect relationship with the creator and in turn desire to nurture healthy interpersonal relationships based on Christian moral principles. The religious bodies and organizations making submissions to the Ominde Report [1964] underscored the fact that an education system is one-sided unless the spirit, the values and standards of Religion informs it. Religious Education provides the main avenue for religious instruction in educational institutions.

The essence of Religious Education is the redirection of individual life, from finite attachments to active love and devotion, and to God and Creator in a personal way. The purpose of Religious Education is, therefore, to impart in the learner the mental and the spiritual capacity for reverence to God who is the foundation of all knowledge. Religious study, therefore, is an exposition of what is true, excellent and just. It is also hoped that the findings of this study will be able to review and evaluate the efficiency of C.R.E. in the attempt to promote moral, development in the Kenyan high school students.

In the same vein, the study will try to explore on any additional information that may provide answers to the escalating moral decadence among secondary school students amidst the many moral principles instilled in them through the teaching of C.R.E.

1.5 Basic Assumptions of the Study

The basic assumptions of the study were: C.R.E. was a worthwhile area of learning and contributes to the development of the student’
character. – Subject heads and discipline masters play an important role in inculcating moral values in students. Indiscipline in secondary schools is contributed by lack of Christian values among the students. School administrators were aware of the objectives of teaching C.R.E. in schools.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study was carried out in Rongai Division, Nakuru District, in Rift 9 Valley Province. Indiscipline in secondary schools prompted the researcher to choose the area. The• study focused on the role of C.R.E. in the moral development of secondary school students. The study
involved a relatively small sample, hence; the significance of the findings would only claim immediate applicability to the area. In carrying out the study, the researcher encountered the following problems:

Relevant literature to this study was not readily available in the researcher’s environment. The area of study was large hence; only four schools were selected which may not be adequate for generalization of findings.

1.7 Definition of Significant Terms

For understanding this study, the following terms are defined: Education: A process of acquiring and developing accumulated and new knowledge, wisdom/values, attitudes and skills as a result of growth, maturation and learning which can be best utilized for life in a changing society [Malusu, 1997]. Moral: Concerned with the principles of right and wrong in conduct or character, teaching and upholding standards of good behaviour. The term is also used to refer to virtues and values in the text. Christianity: Is the body of religious beliefs and practices based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, who was believed by his followers to be the Son of God.

Religious Education: Process of acquiring knowledge, values and skills that enable one to apply religious standards to various issues that affect people individually and the society at large. It covers areas such as Christian Religious Education, Islamic Religious Education and Hindu Religious Education. C.R.E.: Christian Religious Education Secondary School: Second level of education after eight years of primary schooling. Secondary Education lasts four years and is a preparation for higher learning at the university or in other tertiary institutions.

Public School: An institution of learning that receives financial support from the government. Role: The part played or undertaken in this case by the Christian Religious Education on the moral development of students.

Objectives: Refers to specific desirable outcomes after a certain educational process. Morality: Any set of rules, standards or principles that define and guide good behavior [BennaarsetaI1990].

1.8 Organization of the Project

This chapter presents the problem to be investigated and put it in the proper context for the benefit of the researcher and other readers. It also outlines the Significance, objectives and assumptions on which the study was based. Research questions, scope and limitations are dealt with. Terms used in the study are defined so as to facilitate understanding and application of the research findings by consumers.

Chapter two presents the review of related literature highlighting the importance of Christian religious education, basic moral principles of Christianity and studies carried out in C.R.E. Chapter Three outlined the research design, study locale, population, sampling and data collection procedures. Data analysis and interpretation was dealt with in Chapter Four. A summary of the findings,· conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further research are presented in Chapter Five.


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