Challenges faced by principals of newly established secondary schools and their coping strategies in Mwingi Central Sub County, Kitui County, Kenya
Mwendwa, Margaret Ndotu
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Rapid establishment of new secondary schools present unique challenges in the allocation and distribution of the few available resources which in turn affect the quality of secondary education. For example, in Mwingi Central Sub-county there has been an influx in numbers of pupils seeking secondary education due to the introduction of the free primary education and therefore establishment of new schools to accommodate the extra numbers among other factors. However, these new secondary schools are expensive to set up and maintain thus the resources available to the schools are far more limited than the demand. The principals managing these schools are therefore faced with unique challenges to ensure students acquire quality education just as their counterparts in well established schools. This study therefore, sought to find out the challenges faced by the principles in the management of these newly established secondary schools. The study sought to achieve the following objectives; to find out the contribution of free day secondary education to the rapid establishment of new secondary schools, to establish the availability and adequacy of physical facilities in the new secondary schools, to identify the financial related challenges faced by the principals in the newly established secondary schools, to find out the challenges principals face in the management of human resource and to identify the coping mechanisms by the principals to overcome the challenges of physical facilities, finance and human resources in the newly established secondary schools. The design used in this study was a descriptive survey. The target population was one DEO, one DQASO, and 32 principals from the 32 Secondary Schools in the Sub County giving a total population of 34 subjects. A sample size of 15 respondents comprising of one (1) DEO, (1) DQASO and 13 Principals was chosen for this study. Three instruments were used to collect data including; an interview schedule guide for the DEO and DQASO, and semi-structured questionnaires for principals. Descriptive statistics such (frequencies and percentages) were used to analyze quantitative data while content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. The findings were presented using pie charts, bar charts and count distribution tables. The study found out that the introduction of the FDSE had contributed largely to the establishment of new secondary schools in the Sub-county. Principals face financial challenges, lack of inadequate facilities and shortage of teaching staffs. Among the coping mechanism employed by principals include delegation of administrative duties, liaising with BOM to hire teachers to fill in the gap existing in the teaching staff embracing conflict management strategies and maintaining honesty and accountability in financial management. The study recommends that long-term planning which predict future secondary education demand should be formulated. Such plans will enable the stakeholders to put up enough facilities on time and reduce managerial challenges. The government and education stakeholders should enhance community sensitization, and participation on matters of school management. This will help to give a sense of school ownership to the community and establish them as key contributors to the education sector. This will reduce local community politics and their involvement in students’ indiscipline.