Challenges in the implementation of strategic plans by secondary schools in Mandera county in Kenya
The strategic plan and its implementation are the focal point of any business organization and operation. To enable a company to strive, remain competitive and grow, proficient implementation form a core part of overall business growth and success. Strategy implementation is concerned with translation of strategy into action which is part of strategic management analysis and choice. The Ministry of Education introduced the strategic planning policy in secondary schools because once the policy is implemented it makes public spending on education more efficient by increasing the accountability of the agents involved and by empowering the clients to improve learning outcomes. The main objective of the study was to investigate the challenges in implementation of strategic plans by secondary schools in Mandera County. Since challenges of strategy implementation originate from the immediate environments, Mandera County is unique with its challenges ranging from insecurity, understaffing, environmental hardship and inaccessibility. The study adopted a cross sectional survey design and aimed at providing data on the entire population under study. The population of the study were all the secondary schools in Mandera County. As at 31st December 2014, there were 44 secondary schools (33 public and 11 private) schools in Mandera County. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the primary data. Descriptive statistics such as means, percentages and frequency distributions were used to describe the responses and presentation of the results was done on tables, pie charts and bar graphs. The study further found out that, Lack of enough staff; inaccessibility of the area and insecurity were the challenges encountered in strategy implementation by the secondary schools in Mandera County. Further, the management of schools at Mandera County were working closely with the locals in matters of insecurity; management was adopting a top down and horizontal communication with the staff as measures to deal with the challenges in strategy implementation. Based on the findings of the study, it can be concluded that the secondary schools in Mandera County had strategic plans which if properly implemented, would benefit the stakeholders in schools.The study however found out that most of the schools lacked enough finances to implement their strategic plans, which showed that lack of resources adversely affected the implementation of strategic plans in schools. The study recommended that all public secondary schools should engage in formal strategic planning because not only is it a policy but also its ability to help establish strategic direction and align resources to meaningful strategies to develop competitive advantage and compete successfully cannot not be overemphasized.The education policy makers should organize for workshops and seminars to train and sensitize school management on importance of stakeholder involvement in development of strategic plan, significance of intensive environmental analysis during strategic planning and the importance of striving to implement the agreed upon strategies. This study has policy implications as there has not been a standard benchmark on the secondary Schools implementation of strategic plan as it is for institutions of higher learning. There is need for secondary schools to form strategic alliances with development partners so as to enhance their performance. This makes this study therefore a critical part of the link between theory and practice within the confines of strategic education management in Mandera County and therefore there is need for the Kenya Government to review the education policies that are related to quality management and strategic planning and management in the Secondary schools.