An investigation factors that influence choice of science in two co-educational secondary schools in Dar es salaam

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mweru Mwingi

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Peter Kajoro

Third Supervisor/Advisor

John Maundu


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Science education is important to socio-economic development of a country. Many policy makers worldwide regard economic growth as dependent on the scientific and technological capabilities of the labor force, which are in turn dependent on the educational foundation provided. Introducing children to science education in primary and secondary schools in therefore vitally important in this regard. It is I recognition of this link, that the Tanzanian government implemented a policy that includes science and technology as essential components of education and training in its education system. Despite the existing policy and emphasis in secondary schools on the importance of science education, science subjects appear to be some of the most unpopular subjects in many secondary schools in Tanzania. This study investigated the factors that influence choice of science by F3 students in secondary schools, in which studying all the science subjects in mandatory in F1 and F2. The study was conducted in two co-educational secondary schools in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. A 14 item Likert questionnaire about factors that were predicted to influence choice of science was administered to F3 and F4 students. A total of 114 students completed the questionnaires. Separate focus group interviews with eight students from each of the two schools were conducted and two teachers from each of the schools were interviewed individually. The questionnaire responses were analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics and the interviews analyzed qualitatively. The findings indicated that the most prevalent factor that influenced choice of science by students is, finding science useful in their lives and secondly the career/job they aspire for, requiring science education. Other factors that influence are having good performance in science and mathematics, belief that science subjects offer more opportunities in the university and teacher’s performance in teaching and handling students. Recommendations made included; science teachers using teaching strategies that enhance understanding of the subject, career exposure at the onset of secondary education and the school administration to prioritize allocating resources for the learning of science.

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