Influence of institutional culture on students’ involvement in arson at public boarding secondary schools in Kenya: the case of Migori county
K'odero, Jannes Okinyi
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There has been a marked global increase in episodes of school unrest since 2002, characterized by violence and arson attacks. Most of which have resulted to massive destruction of school property and loss of lives. Despite implementation of policies, recommendations and laws such as Education Act, Children Act and Penal Code of 2019, arson still persists and claims lives and valuable property destroyed with latest cases evident in the year 2021 immediately after recovery from COVID-19. Previous studies have not focused much on institutional cultural in learning institutions as the possible causes of arson. The The purpose of the study was to assess the influence of institutional culture on students’ involvement in arson in public secondary schools in Migori County, Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to determine the extent to which the application of school rules and regulations contribute to students’ involvement in arson; to find out the influence of informal discussions on students involvement in arson; and to establish the effectiveness of institutional intervention strategies aimed at curbing arson in public boarding secondary schools in Migori County. The study was based on Strain theory of Robert J. Merton. Descriptive cross-sectional survey design was utilized, and a sample of 380 students of forms 3 and 4 drawn from 28 public boarding secondary schools which had experienced arson from 2017 to 2020. Key informant interviews was conducted to the purposively selected principals in 28 schools. The study used triangulation sampling techniques by applying simple random sampling to select students, FGDs were conducted in 12 schools with 12 participants per school. Data was collected using structured questionnaires designed for students and interview schedule guide for school principals and FGD guide for students. Inferential statistics was analysed using Pearson’s product moment correlation with the aid of SPSS Version 26.0 while descriptive statistics presented using percentages, mean and standards deviation. Qualitative data was analysed thematically as per the objectives. The result showed that application of school rules and regulations had a positive and moderate relationship (r= .447, p<.000) with students’ involvement in arson, informal discussions had a positive and moderate relationship (r= .477, p<.000) with students’ involvement in arson, the study further established that institutional intervention strategies like guidance and counselling, punishment and price giving had positive and moderate relationship (r=.498, p<.000) with curbing arson in schools. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education should outline the guideline on students’ involvement in formulation of school rules and regulations, MOE should formulate guidelines for regular meetings between schools administrations and students to discuss student’s issues. The MOE in collaboration with the TSC should also develop a framework for training guidance and counselling teachers on professional counselling skills.