Factors influencing public primary school headteachers' competence in Financial management in Kilifi District, Kenya
Abdulatif, Hassan A
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This study sought to establish the factors influencing headteachers' competence in financial management in public primary schools, Kilifi district, Kenya. The study was based on the premise that in spite of the efforts by Kenya Education Staff Institute (KESI) to equip the new educational managers on management courses to help manage schools better particularly in prudent management of fmancial management, cases of mismanagement still persist. Complaints have been raised by various stakeholders in relation to headteachers' low level of competence in fmancial management. A case in point is the District Schools Auditor's reports of 2004-2009 revealed low level of competence in financial management among headteachers. Two cases were reported of headteachers, who committed suicide over mismanagement of the free primary education funds. Headteachers have been interdicted while others have stepped down to avoid responsibilities in school financial management. This study sought to establish the factors that influence headteachers' competence in financial management. Specifically the study sought to determine extent to which headteachers' competence in financial management is influenced by exposure to financial management training, academic qualification, administrative experience and professional support groups. The Koech report (1999) argued that a headteacher must be a person with appropriate academic and professional qualification, experience, ability, competence, integrity and initiative. Jones (2001) noted that lack of training is responsible for inefficiency and ineffectiveness. There is need for training and exposure to continue professional development. This study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The target population was 75 public primary school headteachers and three ZQASOs in the District. Random sampling technique was used to select sixty (60) schools; from which central zone had twenty (20) schools, Chonyi zone twenty (20) schools and Shariani zone twenty (20) schools. This study used a sample size of sixty (60) public primary schools head teachers and three ZQASOs as respondents. Authorization to conduct the study was obtained from the National Council for Science and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya. Data was collected using two sets of questionnaires which had a reliability coefficient of 0.81. The data was analyzed using the computer programme, Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and presented in tables, charts and bargraphs. Various descriptive statistics tools like frequencies, percentages, tables, pie- chart and bar graph were used to arrive at conclusions. The finding was that most of the headteacher lacked the basic skills in financial management. In view of the findings it was established that exposure to management training, academic qualification, administrative experience and professional support groups influence public primary school headteachers' competence in fmancial management in Kilifi district. This was based on the fact that despite the government's provision of training through Kenya Education Staff Institute (KESI) to equip in-service training in fmancial management to the headteachers, the fmdings lead to the conclusion that majority (60%) of the headteachers had not attended even a single course financial management. This implies that most of the headteachers are managing the public funds /resources on trial and error, muddling through and this is very dangerous as it may lead to wastage of resources and legal implications on the part of headteachers who unintentionally mismanage the funds. In order to improve public primary schools headteachers' competence in financial management, induction courses and constant refresher courses should be identified as mandatory for all headteachers as in the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) policy on identification, selection, appointment, deployment and training of headteachers (Teachers Service Commission, 2008). Kamunge (1988). The Koech report (1999) and Ministry of Education had argued that school administrators need a high level of academic qualification of education to enable them to be competent in fmancial management. The study recommends that headteachers be required to take mandatory training in fmancial management at Kenya Education Staff Institute (KESI) to enable them to manage schools more effectively and efficiently. Teacher Training Colleges (TICs) should revise their curriculum with a view to including courses on fmancial management aspects in schools and the ministry should set aside funds for in-service training. The professional support groups should be encouraged and the KPSHA should not only fight for the welfare of its members but also strive to improve on its members' efficiency by organizing seminars for newly appointed headteachers and continuous development for the veterans. The study further recommends studies on challenges facing headteachers in administering fmancial management and role of school management committee in fmancial management in schools.