Challenges faced by newly qualified primary school teachers during the probation period: a case of Kimilili district Kenya
Herman Masafu, Kingoro
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The government of Kenya is committed to the goal of quality education for all. However, the problem of poor performance in most primary schools undermines this achievement. Any factor that interferes with the commitment of primary teachers undermines the educational goal. For this reason, there is need to identify factors that contribute to the commitment of primary teachers to task performance in Kenya. This problem is more pronounced in public primary schools. While a number of researchers have addressed some of the issues related to attitudes of primary teachers, factors behind their commitment in the performance of their duties in Kimilili district have not been adequately investigated. This project attempts to determine the challenges experienced by NQTs during the probation period in Kenya today. Therefore the task of this study was to investigate the factors which contribute to the commitment of Newly Qualified Primary Teachers to task performance in Kimilili Sub-county, Bungoma County and in Western Kenya. The study focused mainly on Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) during the probation period in the identified schools. The specific objectives of the study were to find out: the preparedness of the NQTs for the teaching job, the critical challenges and issues they encountered and the techniques employed to overcome them, the school support and its impact on the performance of NQTs. This project significantly contributes to the advancement of knowledge about Teacher Education curriculum development in Kenya. It also highlights factors that influence quality teaching, and practically leads to improvement of strategies to manage teaching challenges by identifying the strengths and constraints in the implementation process. There is a direct link between challenges encountered by NQTs and their challenge management skills which translate to task performance at the onset of their teaching career. Descriptive survey design was used to establish the challenges facing the NQTs. The target population for the study was randomly selected. A total of 77 respondents made up of 32 NQTs, 24 school administrators and 21 local Education Officers in Kimilili Sub-county were involved. Questionnaires were used in collecting data. The data was then analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer programme in order to manage the three sets of questionnaires used and also take care of a fairly high number of respondents. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used. The pilot study of the instruments was done using respondents in two schools that were not included in the sample, and the reliability of 0.82 obtained was accepted based on the correlation coefficient of 0.75 and above. The study revealed that inadequate preparedness resulted into lack of commitment among the NQTs. However, majority (72.5%) of NQTs said that they were satisfactorily prepared for teaching, while the rest (27.5%) disagreed. Majority (62.5%) of them said that they were supported by the school during the probation period, while others (37.5%) said that the school was not supportive. Majority (56.25%) of the NQTs said that they were not assigned a mentor. Majority (65%) of the NQTs said they had challenges with their employer regarding payment, while the rest (35%) said that they did not have that challenge. Some (65%) NQTs cited challenges with the senior management team regarding timetabling, while the rest (35%) said that they were not challenged with timetabling. Some (48.75%) of NQTs said that most of the challenges encountered would be resolved by improving school facilities. It is recommended that internship be introduced and NQTs be employed soon after internship; cooperating teachers ought to be given in-service courses on how to guide and mentor the NQTs.