Strategic issues and performance of public secondary schools in Kisumu east and central subcounties,Kenya
Strategic issues are fundamental policy questions or critical challenges that affect an organization’s mandates, mission and values. The environment, in which firms operate as open systems, is the custodian of these issues. Performance is about the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal processes of a firm, which reflect in its competencies. Consistent environmental monitoring enables firms to position themselves to be able to strengthen their capabilities, ward off threats and hence achieve remarkable performance for prolonged periods. Public secondary schools in Kisumu East and Central sub-counties are organizations that interact with the environment in their bid to exercise their mandates, hence strategic issues there-in impact their achievement of desired performance. This study aimed at establishing strategic issues and their influence on performance of public secondary schools in Kisumu East and Central Sub- counties, Kenya. The study was carried out through a descriptive cross-sectional survey design. Strategic issues were identified using questionnaire while performance data was gathered by content analysis. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis to determine strength of influence of various strategic issues on KCSE performance. The study found that there are both internal and external strategic issues in these schools. These further revealed the possible internal strengths and weaknesses as well as possible opportunities and threats in their environments that influence performance as reflected in the mean scores and resultant transition numbers of various schools. The study concluded that issues such as student factors and funding are important to schools in carrying out their activities and present areas of weakness in most of the schools as independent variables. Strategic issues such as resources availability, staffing, networks and linkages and school-based factors were found to be statistically significant as independent issues influencing performance. Use of an exhaustive strategic issue list since the one used accounts for 98% of issues influencing performance in public secondary schools in Kisumu East and Central sub-counties; a wider context of study, to include all sub-counties in Kisumu county and use of other performance constructs, other than KCSE results would further give strength to these findings. Public secondary schools in Kisumu East and Central sub-counties are open systems, constantly communicating and interacting with the environment. Relevance to path dependence theory has been established in the role of school leadership in interpreting and enforcing national policies governing education in their respective schools. In relation to chaos theory, the study highlights the need for the schools to adapt to emerging changes in their environments while injection of new energy through embracing new technology, is in line with modern complexity theory. Studies on management of strategic issues in public secondary schools would further develop this area of study.