The role of principals in influencing preparation of students for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Hamisi District, Kenya
Omulama, Aston A
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This Research Project examines the principal's influence in preparing students for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in public schools in Hamisi district in Western Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to establish the factors that influence students' academic performance, establish how the principals' influence students' academic performance, and identify the principals' roles in controlling examination irregularities in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination. A questionnaire was self administered to 67 principals and deputy principals. Besides, the district Quality Assurance and Standards Officers were consulted. (Photography was used to obtain additional primary data). Stratified-random sampling was applied to collect data from the principals. The results of the study show that most of the principals (58.2%) are aged 41- 50 and 80.6% and above have Bachelor of education degree. The schools are also predominantly mixed day and boarding schools (85.0%) but 42.6% of them have not been inspected in the last one year. About 77.6% of the schools have a weak mean score of 3.0-5.9. Most principals strongly agreed that inadequate instructional materials (50.2%), understaffing and enrolment (55.3%) were prime successive determinants of students' performance in KCSE. It was reported that well structured and defined school routine stretching between 5.00a.m to 10.00p.m and 6.00 a.m to 5.30 p.m for boarding and day students respectively was the general tool used by principals to prepare students for KCSE. However, early completion of syllabus and topical revision (90%), teamwork for teachers, students and support staff (84%) and adequate learning facilities and instructional materials (88%) are the most specific strategies. Almost 91% of principals adequately contained examination irregularities in their schools. These comprise adequate preparation and briefing of candidates (95%), frisking of candidate prior to every examination session 91 %, providing examination materials/ facilities as well as organizing for prayer day meetings 90% and giving KNEC supervisors autonomy (85%) over the examination process. A significant moderate negative correlation (-.412* *, at 2- tailled test) was reported and therefore the null hypothesis was not accepted. The negative coefficient means that that principals help reduce examination irregularities through adequate preparation of students for KCSE while the moderate magnitude reveals that principals are handicapped in detecting and mitigating irregularities emanating from outside the school. This can be attributed mainly to the development of the information and communication technologies and reveals that preparation of students for, and control of KCSE examination irregularities is a duty for all the stakeholders and not a preserve of the principals. It was concluded that several factors emanating from within and without the schools influence students' performance in KCSE, but, the principals were held responsible for preparing the individual students towards successful examination results in their schools. A collaborative approach was recommended for preparing students for KCSE and eradicating examination irregularities in schools.