Institutional and headteachers' factors influencing student involvement in governance of secondary schools in Kikuyu District, Kenya
Muritu, Mercy W
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The term democracy in education refers mainly to vertical dimension or how educational institutions themselves operate. It refers to the relationship between individuals and between groups in educational institutions. It mainly refers to the extent to which the administrative processes in school are open and accessible to all its members. The study investigated the head teachers' and institutional factors influencing the students' involvement in governance in Kikuyu District. This study surveyed the literature for extent of students' involvement in governance, the modes of participatory governance practiced by secondary school students, institutional and head teachers' factors promoting or prohibiting the students' level of involvement in governance. This research is grounded on theory of participation advocated by Stewart and Taylor (1995). It also presents a conceptual framework showing head teachers and institutional factors influencing the level of students' involvement in governance. The study was prompted by the recurrent student unrest in Central Kenya especially Kiambu County; often blamed by education stakeholders on unequal decision making opportunities in schools. The study employed a survey research design, and was carried out in 31 Secondary schools in Kikuyu District, 112 teachers and 9 head teachers. Data was collected using three types of questionnaires, one for students, one for teachers and one for headteachers. The study sought to identify the levels of students' involvement in school governance in public secondary schools in Kikuyu District. A pilot study was initially carried out to establish the reliability and validity of the instruments. Reliability was determined using the testretest method as well as the Cronbach's coefficient formula. The reliability coefficients vary between values of 0.00 and 1.00 case of this study. A correlation coefficient of about 0.86 was considered high enough to judge the instruments as reliable. Instrument administration was undertaken through individual visits paid to each respondent. The data collected were analyzed using the frequency distribution table for presenting the mode of governance and the level of students' involvement in governance. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test whether size and category of schools influences the level of students involvement in governance while multiple regressions was used to rank both head teachers and institutional factors influencing the level of students involvement in governance. The study found that the amount of participation allowed in the Secondary schools in Kikuyu District was not sufficient to give students a chance to practice participatory governance. It was thus concluded that student participation in secondary schools was still wanting and needed to be expanded to include issues beyond student welfare issues. The researcher recommended that there is a need to expand the level of students' involvement in participatory governance in Kikuyu District. There is a need for a further study to find out whether involving students in school governance has an impact in improving their academic performance.