Influence of primary school headteacher's leadership attributes on academic performance of learners: the case of Bungoma West District, Kenya
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Academic performance of learners is the ultimate goal of education worldwide. Education being a basic welfare provision, it enabled those who succeeded take part fully in socio- economic and political development of a country and have a decent standard of living. Various reform packages are being implemented throughout the world to ensure that every child receives basic education, specifically so in the second millennium development goals. Parents had released their children to school in order to receive that education. The community has provided resources required by the schools. The government, especially Kenya is providing free primary education for all Kenyan children of school going age and is catering for the teaching force in all public schools. The remaining responsibility was what scholars acknowledged as the role of school leadership, which is significant in enhancing school performance. Academic performance in Kenya has been an issue year come, year go. Bungoma West district has been greatly hit in the recent past and therefore the warrant for this study; to investigate the influence of primary head teacher's leadership attributes on academic performance. The objectives of the study were; to establish how various forms of communication used by a head teacher influenced academic performance of learners, to establish the influence of head teacher's leadership styles on academic performance, to determine the influence of the head teacher's career progression on academic performance and to explore the influence of the head teacher's interpersonal relations on academic performance. The literature review revealed the declining standards of performance in education as compared to the inputs. The school leadership had been bestowed with all the responsibilities of stabilizing the ailing KCPE standards in Kenya. Since all the main components as regards education had been fulfilled, the remaining part was for the learners to perform academically. The head teacher had to use hislher leadership attributes .to co-ordinate all those components towards the success of learners. The study population comprised all the primary school head teachers, teachers, pupils and parents of Bungoma West district. From that population a sample was got of 35 head teachers, 70 teachers, 70 pupils and 35 parents. Perceived conceptual frame work which included all the variables and theoretical frame work were used. Max Weber's theory which emphasized that characters have to be influenced in order for results to be realized was used in the study. Questionnaires for head teachers, teachers and pupils and interview schedules for parents were used for data collection. It was then arranged, summarized, analyzed descriptively. It was described using tables, frequencies and percentages. Findings from the study showed that the head teachers faced challenges during communication due to physically disabled learners. They also faced a variety of situations leaving them in a dilemma on which leadership style was appropriate for which situation. A number of head teachers had not really progressed much in their careers locking them out of the current global educational occurrences. It was recommended that the teachers to be trained on how to handle learners with special needs as well as extending existing infrastructure to cater for such disabled learners. Schools to be equipped with ICT laboratories to access teachers with current information and enable them pursue on-line learning. Teachers who aspired for headship posts were to undertake leadership courses before being considered.