Public Secondary School Contextual Characteristics and Strategic Management Plans Implementation in Kitui County, Kenya.
Nzoka., John Mwangangi
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In many cases the output of the process of strategic planning, the school strategy, fails to get implemented or is implemented in a form, which is quite different from the original intent making success elusive. For instance, in the KCSE results for the year 2015, less than half of the entire cohort that sat for the examination scored a mean grade of C+ and above, which is the university entry minimum requirement, despites there being a long-term plan for the education sector at the national level. This shows that strategies at the school level are not being implemented successfully. The study sought to establish the public secondary school strategic management plan implementation outcomes in the characteristics of variables like resources, the school culture, leadership styles adopted by school principals and their boards of management, and stakeholders’ interests so as to find out whether the contexts of these factors facilitate or hinder implementation of strategic management plans in public secondary schools. The study was conducted in Kitui County, which has 188 public secondary schools. The study employed a descriptive survey design in which a census survey of the secondary schools in Kitui County was carried out. A purposive sampling technique was used to select three sub counties which were included in the study. A random sampling technique was used to select 48 schools and the 202 respondents who were used in the study. During this study, questionnaires were given to 48 principals of public secondary schools, representing 33.3% of the sampled population, 24 heads of department, representing 16.7%; 5 senior teachers or 3.5% of the sample; 19 teachers making 13.2% of the sample and 48 board of management members, or 33.3% of the sample. The analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered adopted descriptive statistics and was reported using frequency distributions, means, and percentages. The regression model showed the regression was statistically significant at 5% significance level. This showed that the combination of the independent variables in this study affected the dependent variable. The R square obtained was 70.5%, implying that the explanatory variables accounted for 70.5% of the variations in the response variable. Statistical inferences using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that a high reliability was achieved by the data collection instrument with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranging from 0.739 to 0.747. The test of significance using correlation analysis indicated a strong significance amongst the variables as well as when combined against the dependent variable. The resources, school culture, and leadership styles contexts, had a great significance (p=0.000) on strategic plans implementation while stakeholder interests context had a significance that was less than the other variables (p=0.048). This enabled a conclusion to be made that the resources, school culture, leadership styles and stakeholder interests contexts, all affect the effectiveness of the implementation of strategic management plans in public secondary schools in Kitui County. This study recommends that to enable public secondary schools to implement their strategic management plans successfully, the financiers of public secondary schools should provide enough resources; that a culture of hard work and success should be inculcated in all staff and students and everyone should be made to understand the school vision and mission; that teamwork and consultation should form the basis of engagement among all the staff in the schools, and should be embraced by all principals of schools to avoid camps of support and resistance to the changes being initiated from time to time; and that stakeholder interests should be limited to supporting the schools to achieve their goals. Negative advocacy by stakeholders against schools should be avoided at all times. This information is useful to education planners, school managers and stake holders seeking ways to manipulate the public secondary school contexts for effective execution of management strategies in the institutions.