This study aimed at providing answers to
two key questions: 1) Which subjects are most preferred by students in secondary
schools? 2) What are the reasons behind the students’ interest, or lack thereof,
in particular subjects? The study employed qualitative methodology using a
multiple case study holistic design. The students in the studied schools served
as the unit of analysis. The study involved a sample of 18 secondary schools
that were purposefully selected. Data were collected using focus group
discussions, observation and documentary review. The analysis involved the use
of the Miles and Huberman’s model of qualitative data analysis. The findings
show that the majority of students in secondary schools preferred arts subjects
notably because of the challenges they experience in learning science. The reasons
for students preference of a particular subject included the inspiration from
significant others, commitment and support provided by the subject teachers,
the availability of teachers and their teaching approaches and relevance of the
subject to their daily life experiences. On the basis of these findings, it is
recommended that the government should create a conducive learning environment,
especially for community secondary schools, that will allow students to select
subjects on the basis of their ability and interests.
Cite this paper
Ndalichako, J. and Komba, A. (2014) Students’ Subject Choice in Secondary Schools in Tanzania: A Matter of Students’ Ability and Interests or Forced Circumstances?. Open Journal of Social Sciences
, 49-56. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.28008
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