Promotion of scientific literacy in primary education: A case of a school in Taita-Taveta county, Kenya.

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Fredrick Mtenzi

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Samuel Andema


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Demands of 21st century living have rendered Scientific Literacy (SL) a more than just desired learning end in primary education worldwide. As a result, SL has become a core objective for teaching of primary science that is aimed at producing individuals capable of making choices and decisions affecting their daily lives that are based on considerations of science. However, in spite of educational professionals’ emphasis on the need for teaching for this objective, only a little fruit has been realized so far. Inadequate conception of SL, over-use of traditional teacher-centered pedagogies and low levels of motivation have partly been cited as some of the causes of poor SL scores in young learners in the developing world, Kenya included. For this reason, this study purposed to find out how understanding of SL was being promoted in a typical urban primary school in coastal Kenya. The focus was on perceptions of SL by teachers, how they prepare to teach for it, and their teaching and assessment strategies for developing it. Findings indicated teachers’ conception of SL did not conform to the 21st century science education practice. Preparation for teaching for SL also left a lot to be desired as paperwork overshadowed creation of resource-rich learning environment. Teaching was also initiated by extrinsic motivation strategies which had little impact on achieving this objective. Teacher-centered teaching approaches such as lecture, demonstrations and whole class discussions also dominated the classrooms too. Consequently, theoretical assessments were also overly used. Large classrooms, lack of science facilities and materials were also prevalent. As a result, producing scientifically literate persons from these classrooms was relatively untenable. This warrants re-thinking of science education by teachers, policy makers and curriculum developers if SL is to be achieved in Kenya.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library