Factors influencing performance of pupils in agriculture at secondary school: a case study of three schools
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The research sought to reveal factors which affect the performance of pupils studying agriculture at secondary schools in Shamva district. The target population of the pilot school was ninety two (92). The sample size was thirty (30) pupils out of 300 pupils studying agriculture at the three schools and three (3) key respondents (one head and two agriculture teachers). Stratified random sampling technique was used for pupils which is a probability method. Purposive sampling was used to select the teachers and the school head who are the key informants. The researcher used both the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, the main reason being that they cover each other’s weaknesses. Data was collected using questionnaires and focus group discussion from the participating pupils, and guided interviews for the three key respondents. Data collected was analyzed and presented through pie charts, tables, and utilizing a thematic approach. Most rural schools introduced agriculture as a practical subject but do not have much material support to attract interest of the pupils studying the subject. As a result the performance of the pupils has been affected due to lack of tools to use during the practical of the subject, how the lessons are delivered also the negative influence of parents. Using the theoretical paradigm of curriculum change and innovation, the study revealed that the performance of the pupils towards agriculture is influenced negatively among the secondary school pupil studying the subject. The research recommends improvement of tools to use in agriculture, training of the teachers and parent awareness. Parents to positively motivate their children towards the subject since agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.