A study on preparation of school principals and implications on their administrative performance in Vihiga District - Kenya
Ira, Vo Amuhaya Mike
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Principals play a key role in achievement of educational goals and objectives in schools. The quality of schools depends largely on their leadership. It is said, "schools are as great as their principals? They are charged with the responsibility of managing their respective schools to ensure that educational aims are achieved. In spite of their very fundamental role, literature shows that principals are basically trained for classroom management and not school management. Yet the duties and responsibilities of a classroom teacher and a school manager (principal) are not synonymous. There was no empirical evidence to show whether principals in Vihiga schools faced any problem in performance of school management tasks as a result of inadequate training in school management hence the need for this study. The purpose of the study was to find out what problems principals faced in performing the six main tasks of school management, which were related to inadequate managerial preparation. The study also sought to establish principal's views on the reasons for the problems, ways which principals had used to cope with the problems and their (principals) recommendations on how to overcome the identified problems. It was also the intention of this study to find out from principals their recommendations on the training of current and future principals. A total sample of 44 principals from 84 public secondary schools in Vihiga District was involved in the study. The sample comprised of principals from 8 Boys boarding schools, 8 Girls boarding schools, 8 mixed boarding/day ,.' schools and 20 mixed day schools. The sample was selected using a three stage sampling procedure. At the initial stage, proportional stratified sampling technique was used to ensure equal representation of each of the 4 divisions in Vihiga District. The second stage was to stratify the cluster of schools in each division into Boys/Girls/Mixed/Boarding/Day schools and sample them again to ensure each stratum was represented. Simple random sampling method was used where more schools met the selection criteria. In a situation where only one school met the selection criteria, purposive sampling technique was used. Data was collected using a questionnaire to 44 principals who were sampled to represent the target population. This sample was 52.4%. The researcher carried out interview with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology officials. Three key officers who by virtue of their duties in relationship to secondary school administration were interviewed as scheduled by the researcher. Two officers were interviewed from Vihiga District (the area of study) and one senior Deputy Director of Education based in Nairobi. This enabled the researcher to obtain the in-depth information about the general picture of inadequate managerial training. It was also necessary for the researcher to carry out document study at Kenya Education Staff lnstitute to establish the authencity and credibility of the contingencies put in place in training and in-servicing principals to ensure provision of adequate managerial training to secondary schools principals. The researcher obtained the, training prospectus and current programmes in place which helped the researcher to conclude, principals face problems in performance of their administrative tasks as a result of inadequate preparation. The data was analysed using frequencies and percentages and summaries. The majority of the principals faced problems in performing all the six main tasks of school management. The problems faced by principals cut across all categories of schools. The most problematic task for principals was financial management. Most principals lacked technical skills in Financial management. In conclusion there was need to recognize that there is clear difference between the preparation process of a school teacher and one of a school principal (manager). The roles are not synomous. The principals' preparation process should focus on the three management skills namely technical, human relations and conceptual. The principals should be prepared through pre-service, in-service and on-the-job. Seminars/workshops should be used as forums for consultations in understanding the new change, challenges, policies and others in educational management. To ensure proper management of secondary schools the researcher suggests proper training of secondary schools principals in managerial skills. The researcher also recognizes the variant environment under which principals perform their duties which the conclusion of this study did not overlook. More researches could be carried out on the effects of other secondary schools actors (Sponsors, Communities, legal policies, B.O.G's, P.A.T's and others) in the proper management of schools.
CitationA project submitted in partial fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education in Educational Administration and Planning
Department of Education