Problems faced by female headteachers in administration of secondary schools in Thika District
Kamau, Lucy Wanjiku
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The purpose of this study was to investigate and Identify the problems encountered by female headteachers in secondary schools in the management of their schools. In addition to the main purpose, the study also sought to find out the number of women occupying various positions of educational management and leadership in Thika District, their professional preparedness, ways they have attempted to cope with the management problems and the way teachers and students perceived them. The design used in the study was descriptive survey. The study was confined to secondary schools in Thika District headed by female headteachers. In selecting the schools, purposive sampling technique was used. The sample comprised of eight public secondary schools. A total of eight headteachers, sixteen teachers and thirty two students responded to questionnaires. The other instrument used was an interview schedule for the District Inspector of secondary schools. The researcher prepared codebooks from the data collected and used frequencies and percentages to summarize data. Results and findings were then arrived at. The study established that women occupy the lower levels of education management, from headquarters up to the district level. The study found that female headteachers faced various problems in the management task areas, but finance and business management was the most challenging. Finance and business management affected all other task areas. The study found that most of the female headteachers, 75% in the sample, were not trained in educational management, though qualified academically. The study established that there are several factors that hindered women's full representation in top managerial posts in education. The factors were personal and other external. Therefore, formal and informal barriers. Socio-cultural factors and sex role stereotyping were major barriers. The study found out that women faced certain difficulties due to their dual role as mother and teachers and the responsibilities in these roles. The study established that some female teachers failed to take up promotions due to insecurity in schools. Based on the findings of the study, it is recommended that the government should review appointments and promotion procedures of educational managers. There is need to eliminate sex stereotypes from the collective conscience. It is also recommended that female headteachers be trained in education management and the government to provide legislative and infrastructure support to women. The Ministry of Education should mainstream gender issues in its programmes and curricular, and formulate equal opportunity policies. Gender balance should be enhanced. The government should guarantee the security of headteachers and provide fund for students unable to pay school fees. Finally, it is recommended that further research should be undertaken to find out whether male headteachers faced similar problems with female headteachers and also to find out whether there is any correlation between headteachers academic qualification, age, professionalism and problems experienced.